Open Road

10 best cities for automotive enthusiasts

Open Road

(Photo: hmboo | Flickr)

Whether you like classic cars, muscle cars, racecars, supercars, off-roading, cruising, or just plain getting your hands dirty in an engine, some cities are better than others in the pursuit of all things automotive. These cities are known for horsepower and hairpin turns, often drawing automotive enthusiasts from all around the world.

1. Austin

Car and Driver ranks Austin as one of its top 10 drivers' cities. It has an average of 300 days of sunshine (for perfect driving conditions) and low insurance rates. Plus, the winding hill country surrounding the city makes for scenic Sunday drives, whether you prefer to hit the road solo or take your family for a spin.

2. Los Angeles

If you're looking for dozens of automotive clubs and miles of beautiful coastline driving, Los Angeles is your best bet. Southern California is known for originating car culture and offers a variety of car-themed museums as well as vehicle design studios.

3. Daytona Beach

Keeping with the theme of warm, sunny climates, Daytona Beach offers more than just sun and surf. This is the home of the Daytona International Speedway, one of the most famous raceways in the world and host of the legendary Daytona 500. Because of the track, there are always plenty of car events to attend, and it's the perfect place to make friends with like-minded interests.

4. Detroit

There's a reason Detroit is called Motor City, and it has nothing to do with the city's heinous rush hour traffic (though that isn't a point to overlook). Detroit is the hub of the automotive industry, serving as headquarters for General Motors and American Axle, among others.

5. Portland

If classic, vintage, or antique cars are where your heart lies, Oregon should be among your top places to visit or live. Fox News cites its lack of snow and beautiful scenery as reasons for its popularity among rare car collectors, and you will see plenty of beautiful pieces of machinery every time you leave your home.

6. Phoenix

Visit Phoenix International Raceway, take a leisurely drive through the dessert, or spend a few hours in the Martin Auto Museum. Phoenix offers automotive enthusiasts a hot, dry climate with very little precipitation and almost no chance of a blizzard interrupting your plans for a day behind the wheel. You're also not too far from Scottsdale, another destination for avid drivers and collectors.

7. Snoqualmie

Just about any city in Washington State would be an excellent destination for automotive enthusiasts. The beautiful views and winding roads create the perfect recipe for fun behind the wheel. Snoqualmie, however, is notable for one important distinction: DirtFish. It's one of the world's top rally schools. You'll learn to drive in all types of conditions, often at high rates of speed, and you'll get plenty of experience in the driver's seat.

8. Atlanta

It's a beautiful city, but it's also home to the Atlanta International Auto Show, a must-see if you are interested in the latest offerings from all the major manufacturers. You'll meet famous faces in the world of racing, view a fantastic selection of classic cars, and test-drive some of the most intriguing cars in the world.

9. Las Vegas

If you need another reason to take a trip to Vegas, the plethora of custom car shops should provide adequate incentive. Las Vegas is home to 702 Motoring, one of the top venues of its kind in America. The strip is always crowded with the nicest wheels in the world, so car watching is always a fun experience in Sin City.

10. Las Cruces

Off-road enthusiasts should make a point to visit Las Cruces, New Mexico, not far from the Texas border. Visit the first week in February, when the Los Cruces 4WD club hosts the Chile Challenge event. Bring your biggest tires, your favorite tunes, and your sense of adventure, because you'll find hundreds of miles of off-road vehicle trails right around this dessert city.

Content by Steve Thompson.

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