Detroit vs St Louis

This is the first time my team has qualified for World Championships since it moved from St Louis to Detroit. Are there any notable differences between how things were in St Louis vs how they are now in Detroit? This is of course aside from the fact that they are in two different cities. Also, is there anything that our team must do and/or avoid while in Detroit? Any help and advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

Congrats for qualifying. Welcome to Detroit, have fun.

Venue is awesome, you can see Canada (Windsor skyline) across COBO center. Very negligible chances of tornado in and around Detroit. Public transportation is probably the biggest negative and then going to finale across the town to FORD field.

Detroit is not as bad as outsiders perceive, almost every inner city has problems and Detroit is no exception. Walking around downtown is much safer than some other major cities. People are relatively nicer.


I can’t attest to St. Louis (as my team’s only went to champs once, last year) but I can say that our Detroit experience was great.

We had a hotel out in Southfield and commuted in on the coach bus there and back (around 16 miles). Overall Southfield felt a lot like North St. Paul (a suburb of St. Paul).

The commute wasn’t the best situation, but we learned to deal with it, and not paying for parking was a plus. We had the bus drop us off right infront of Cobo and pick us up there, and the same worked for finals at Ford Field.

While I wasn’t there for Wednesday, I heard that the load in line took forever and that they sat in line for over two hours.


At least last year - the seats in the stands are a lot worse in Detroit than St. Louis. It’s bleachers versus stadium seating. If you have chairs that make bleachers better make sure to bring them.


Also pits is way closer at Detroit than they were at St. Lewis. In general everything inside the building itself is a lot closer, you no longer have to bring scooters to get around.


Well some things that are nice at Detroit are that it is not a 5 minute walk to the pits. Also the weather was very nice there last year. Certainly an upgrade from the torrential downpours and tornadoes that St. Louis had, although of course, no guarantees of good weather this year. The food options near and in the venue are very good in my opinion compared to St. Louis, nice courtyard outside the COBO Center.

No playing regular matches in a football stadium though :frowning:

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I miss ST, Louis. The venue was huge, and gave off a championship vibe. Detroit just feel like another regional : (

The pits are much closer to the fields, and you can watch multiple fields from the same spot in the stands, which you couldnt do at st. Louis.


I also miss St. Louis, the venue was just amazing, I miss it so much :sob:

Detroit feels like a district event but you’re berated by the sounds coming from another field. I miss the U shape of champs (I wasn’t there for the 8-field O shape).

On the bright side the food situation in Detroit is way better!

You can run into sketchy areas of Detroit pretty easily (we ran into places that didn’t give out change for the customer’s safety), but it’s nothing like I expected it to be. It’s a really great area!

edit: Einstein at Cobo is terrible. My team wasn’t on Einstein in Ford Field so I just watched the live stream.

edit2: Also the Bathrooms at St. Louis were way better! And I loved how the practice field was mixed in with the pits.


Never made it to champs, but as long as you keep near the downtown Detroit is really nice.

Downtown Detroit is fine to be in. It’s boring. Comments from people who’ve never been there about how scary and violent it is are nonsense - if there’s violence in Detroit it’s not in the downtown business district where you’ll be the whole time.

The main difference is that you’re not playing in a stadium anymore - you’re playing in a large convention center room. Fields are placed next to each other end to end. Behind the fields are the pits. The entire event is essentially in this room, except for the Einstein finals, which are moved to a sports arena 2 miles away. This is good and bad - good in that walks are shorter, everything is right there; bad in that there’s a little less room in the stands and it just sort of feels like a mega-regional.

You will almost certainly need to commute to the event from a hotel in a nearby suburb - and the only way to do that is by car - essentially the entire city is flanked by several highways. (This actually physically separates the central business district from residential areas - which is part of why it’s so quiet downtown).

I prefer St. Louis, really.

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My opinion is that Detroit was WAY nicer than St. Louis. Now, I’ll concede that the bleacher seating wasn’t as nice as St. Louis, but you aren’t a mile away from the fields either. The pits are super close to each field, and the selection of restaurants outside of Cobo are plentiful and delicious.

Of course, being from MI, I am slightly biased, just a little, but I say this as objectively as I can. Detroit is an amazing city with incredible people. You’ll thoroughly enjoy yourself here!

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I am from Michigan, but not from Detroit.

Detroit-Lots of parking on the roof of Cobo Hall. Food trucks were plentiful for lunch, in a park a block walk from the venue. Staffing was extremely friendly and helpful. But the Bleacher seating is tight and uncomfortable. Narrow paths close to the play fields makes walking tight and unsafe. End to end play fields leaves narrow two way walkways through to a bleacher opening passge to the pits. So again, it’s really tight. Kind of a cattle car Event at best. Pits are large and well lighted. There is quite a walk, if you plan on following FTC too.

I loved St. Louis. Lots of restaurants. Clean safe streets around the Stadium. But the rain coming through the Dome down onto the corner of our field was not welcomed. Nor were the plastic tarps that they used as the “fix”.

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How about versus Houston?

We’ve attended all three cities, now (but not Atlanta or earlier).

We stayed in Greektown this year. The hotel was expensive but it was still cheaper for us than having to get ground transportation every day after flying in. The People Mover was right there. Getting to/from Cobo was a breeze. We tried a lot of restaurants that were reasonably priced and had great food. Parking the trailer that drove up was a disaster and took hours to find a parking spot for it. After being on Carver in Houston last year (farthest field from the pits) having the pits adjacent to the field on Carson in Detroit was amazing. Food was easier to come by over the other two venues without the lines being as long. I did see one guy get dragged off the DPM by police, and another mentor saw a drug bust with a ton of police.

Houston: Discovery Green = great for meeting and eating. The convention center configuration = terrible with the pits so far away from the fields. Ford Field & EJ Dome >> Minute Maid Park for viewing experience. There were enough rooms that we could stay downtown both times so I can’t really comment on traffic although I know it can be a bigger issue than in the other two cities. Having NASA and the beach as pre- or post- event activities is a huge plus.

St. Louis: I remember having tons of trouble finding food near the venue that didn’t have long lines or wasn’t $15 for a cheese sandwich at the venue. But we really didn’t have a good plan for travel and didn’t know what we were doing so I am not sure I can judge as well. We had several people get sick after eating the EJ Dome food. City Museum is awesome and we went there all three years we were in St. Louis. Food on The Hill is great if you can get there. Long walk from pits to queue.

Out of all the activity nights we’ve had, the favorite of the kids (aside from City Museum) was the year that FIRST had the big inside carnival at Americas Center after closing ceremonies. For some reason they liked the indoor party at Ford Field this year better than the outdoor party at Discovery Green last year even though they had basically the exact same activities. Maybe it was because Ford Field was a little more crowded and had more energy than being outside.

They’ve all been good in different ways, and have all had some issues. It’s hard to put together a massive event and have it go off without a hitch. The Minute Maid experience the first year in Houston was the worst time we had just due to the length of the program and the crazy security line.

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The thing I missed most from St. Louis are corn dogs and funnel cake. I couldn’t find either in the Cobo.


Our team got to go to Detroit this year and I thought it was great! Its really quick and easy to get back and forth between the field and the pits and the Einstein experience is way better than Houston (the worst seats in Detroit are better than the best seats in Houston!). It did seem like the amount of seats in the divisions were just barely enough though. The area in Detroit seemed safer than St. Louis and a lot safer than Houston from my minimal experience.


Honestly I liked St. Louis more because sure worlds is about the competition but a big part of worlds at least for me is the spectacle of the event, St. Louis did that very well being in a stadium with the massive scale of everything but I think the way detroit is better is because you don’t have to go far to pit where at St. louis you had to walk quite a ways and the innovation fair is right near the event were at st. louis it was in an entire different building but going back to the spectacle part of the event detroit does not provide except for ford field. I was never able to experience einstein is St. louis because I got super sick that day and had to go back to the hotel so I was not able to see that and that is why I did not comment on it.


The thing I missed most from St. Louis are corn dogs and funnel cake. I couldn’t find either in the Cobo.

But Detroit has yummy robot-made donuts. :doughnut:


There were funnel cakes in one of the tents outside of Cobo on Thursday.

Anyone find corndogs?

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Service - St Louis beats Detroit hands down. It seems anywhere beats Detroit hands down in this category. Seriously, why is the service in Detroit and surrounding areas so bad? On top of that, the servers seemed to be on edge or angry at most places. And why the ungodly wait times for food and drinks?

Is this normal for all of Michigan?