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Travel, Lodging & Food
On this page you’ll find all the important details you need for planning your youth group’s visit to Detroit.

Travel, Lodging & Food


Youth groups will be traveling to Detroit in many different ways. Some arrange for their own charter bus, some come in a church van, some fly and some take the train. Often groups share rides. There is a person in each synod, called a Gathering Synod Coordinator, who helps to make connections. Reach out to him or her for answers to all of your Gathering-related questions.

If your group plans to come in a charter bus, the Gathering may be interested in sub-contracting so we can use your bus in Detroit for transportation to/from the daily service experiences. There will be information about sub-contracting – which generally lowers the amount you pay the bus company – along with the registration materials, and later on the Gathering’s website.

The Gathering’s Transportation Team has identified and will secure lots at or near the main venues in downtown Detroit. Each hotel controls its own parking facilities, so check with your assigned hotel for information.

If you are flying to the Gathering, we are partnering with Transportation Management Services (TMS) to provide complementary airport transfers to your hotel on both Tuesday and Wednesday, July 14 and 15. You can also book a return trip on Sunday, July 19. Use this link https://events.tms.com/ELCA2015 to reserve your seats. Pay close attention to your hotel.  Many hotels have similar names, so double-check your three-digit hotel code when you reserve transportation.

Hear more from our Transportation Team Leader Kim.Travel director
For more information, click here.



The two main venues for the Gathering include the Cobo Convention Center and Ford Field, both in downtown Detroit. Accommodations will be downtown and in the surrounding area.

The Gathering conducts site visits of potential hotels and contracts with the ones that meet our needs. Groups are assigned to hotels to maximize the capacity. In Detroit, especially, groups need to abide by the number and type of rooms to which they are assigned. We recommend that groups budget for two people to a room, and then rejoice when they can put three and four people in some rooms based on their assignment.

It is critically important that groups stay in Gathering-authorized accommodations. The Gathering will not be responsible for, nor can it provide services to, groups staying outside of the approved block. That means groups may not be able to attend their service experience or participate in community life.

We recommend that groups budget $300 per person for housing. That is based on two people to a room that costs $150/night times four nights. The price of Gathering accommodations varies, as well as amenities. Some hotels include breakfast, but most don’t. We are proud to say that the nightly rates for hotels in Detroit are comparable to the rates paid in New Orleans three years ago.


Gathering participants are responsible for their own meals. Gathering staff and volunteers are working to make sure there is food available in or around all Gathering venues. We recommend groups budget $40 a day per person for food.

Downtown Detroit has a lot of dining options from which to choose. There are long-time landmarks, local favorites and restaurants that simply provide a unique dining experience. Many young innovators and change-makers are making their mark on Detroit through the food business. We hope to support these young Detroiters, and are working to feature their food trucks and/or restaurants here, alongside the more time-honored eating establishments. As we get closer to the Gathering, you can look here for a list of places to get food for your group — restaurants, grocery stores, food truck — as well as a map of their locations.