If you plan to be in Detroit this holiday season, there is no reason why you should be sitting at home. The city is home to dozens of festive events throughout the holidays, starting as early as November and often continuing until January.
No matter what holiday you celebrate or where you are located in metro Detroit, you are bound to find an event that you love. In this article, we’re highlighting the BEST holiday events in Metro Detroit to check out this year…
Best Downtown Detroit Holiday Events
Downtown Detroit Markets
Every year, vendors of all kinds gather in downtown Detroit from November through January. This regular event offers local artists and artisans the chance to show off their work while providing opportunities for the public to support local artists and of course, do their holiday shopping.
800 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
Every year, Detroit’s largest Chanukah event takes place in the heart of the city at Campus Martius. This festive celebration includes a giant menorah lighting, Chanukah games, food, Chanukah gelt, a fire show, and educational info for guests who want to learn more.
Noel Night is an annual celebration that takes place in the heart of the city. During this time, hundreds of local businesses come together to host an event unlike any you’ve ever seen, including carriage rides, shopping, food, music, and hundreds of live, free performances.
800 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
Each year, the Annual Detroit Tree Lighting Ceremony draws thousands of attendees to Campus Martius in the center of the city. Featuring half a million lights, the enormous tree overlooks the outdoor ice rink, another popular attraction. The night is free and features plenty of food and entertainment!
What Time is the Tree Lighting at Campus Martius?
The annual tree lighting event at Campus Martius starts at 5 p.m., but the tree won’t be lit until Santa Claus arrives just after 7 p.m. If you don’t make it in time, don’t be disappointed — the event continues until midnight, so there is still plenty of time to enjoy the sights and sounds.
When is Ice Skating at Campus Martius?
Campus Martius’ outdoor ice skating rink is one of the most popular spots to skate during the holidays in Detroit. This low-cost, family-friendly Michigan ice rink is open daily at varying hours from late November to early March.
Is the Campus Martius Tree Real?
The famous tree put up in Detroit’s Campus Martius is a real tree! Though it may vary from year to year, the tree is usually Michigan-grown, often a Norway spruce. Most importantly, it is as tall as possible so that it remains an impressive sight throughout the holiday season while decorated with thousands of lights.
17360 Lahser Road, Detroit, MI 48219
The Redford Theatre is a historic movie venue located in the heart of Detroit. It screens classic movies throughout the year, and when the holidays roll around, it is time to show some old favorites, including White Christmas, The Grinch, Die Hard, and It’s a Wonderful Life.
1526 Broadway Street, Detroit, MI 48226
The soundtrack to The Nutcracker is so deeply ingrained in us that it’s barely Christmas without it. The Detroit Opera House features two performances of The Hard Nut in December, so you’ll get a chance to enjoy a twist on this holiday classic.
The show brings the spirit of The Nutcracker into the stylistic 70s. Keep your eyes peeled for dancing action figures, fairies, and a performance, unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Bottom line: This is fun for the whole family and takes everything you love about a holiday classic and improves on it.
60 Cadillac Square, Detroit, Michigan 48226
Cadillac Lodge is a one-of-a-kind lounge located in Cadillac Square in downtown Detroit. Here, you’ll find a luxury experience like no other, complete with an upscale menu and facilities. There are always events going on at the Cadillac Lodge, especially during the holiday season.
Ice Skating at Campus Martius Park
800 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226
Campus Martius Park is also a great spot for ice skating during the holiday season and is open from November to March. It opens up following the tree lighting and is a great place to skate a few laps and warm up with a hot chocolate.
Best Holiday Events in Farmington Hills
Multiple locations around Farmington Hills
Holly Days is an annual, multi-weekend event with attractions for visitors of all ages. Kids will enjoy the treats, crafts, and chance to see Santa. Adults will love the chance to enjoy an adult beverage while strolling the market. There is a photo booth and tree lighting for everyone!
Holiday Events at Heritage Park
24915 Farmington Rd, Farmington Hills, MI 48336
The festivities begin in late November during Cookies with Santa, which allows parkgoers to see Santa’s workshop while enjoying sweet treats.
The fun continues during HoliDOG Pictures with Santa, where visitors can bring their four-legged friends to get a picture taken with Jolly Ol’ St Nick.
The holidays really get into full swing with the Holiday Lights Celebration in early December. Santa makes an appearance and a 20-foot candle is lit that symbolizes unity and peace.
Oh Deer, Santa’s Here in early December is one of the best family events in the area. Not only can visitors stop by to get a picture taken with Santa, but there are also seasonal crafts, and campfires to sit around and enjoy hot cocoa.
Visitors can also purchase s’mores kits for $1 apiece to perfectly pair with the hot cocoa.
Visitors can have more fun closer to Christmas during Breakfast with Santa. The Man in Red joins visitors for a meal, and shares stories of his time at the North Pole, sing songs and even play some reindeer games.
Best Holiday Events in Rochester
The Big Bright Light Show is an annual tradition where the local businesses throughout downtown are decorated with more than one million lights. During this time of year (running from November to January) downtown Rochester becomes a beacon of holiday spirit, the perfect backdrop for your seasonal shopping.
Rochester Tap Room, 6870 N. Rochester Rd., Rochester Hills, MI 48306
Everyone loves looking at holiday lights, but if you’re looking for something a little more adult, you’re in luck. The annual BYOB Christmas Light Trolley Tour invites visitors to don an ugly Christmas sweater, bring their booze of choice, and enjoy a holiday ride through metro Detroit.
Meadow Brook Hall, 350 Estate Dr., Rochester, MI 48309
Meadow Brook Hall is a historic mansion located in Rochester, sitting on 1500 acres of land. Its annual holiday walk is a nearly 50-year-old tradition, offering visitors the chance to enjoy refreshments while strolling the historic rooms and grounds, decorated with dozens of trees and thousands of lights.
Best Holiday Events in Westland
7651 N Merriman Rd., Westland, MI 48185
If you love Christmas lights, you’ll be utterly amazed at what you see along this four-mile stretch of Hines Park. The entrance to this display is at 7651 North Merriman Road in Westland.
Along this wondrous stretch, you’ll find almost 50 wonderful animated light displays, lit up by more than 100,000 lights.
If you’ve got kids, make sure to stop at the halfway point of the light fest at Perrin Park to drop off a letter to Santa.
The Lightfest is open from mid-November to Christmas Eve though weekends may have longer wait times Vistors who want to see these displays can do so for a fee and updates on the event are available on AM 1640.
Best Holiday Events in Royal Oak
8450 W.10 Mile Rd., Royal Oak, MI 48067
If there was ever anything better than a visit to the zoo, it’s the zoo decorated for the holidays. The Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak offers nighttime visits from November to January, featuring thousands of LED lights in one-of-a-kind displays. The Polar Patio package will get you access to refreshments, too.
Royal Oak Farmers Market, 316 E 11 Mile, Royal Oak, MI 48067
Shopping for the holidays is the perfect time to support local businesses, and the Holiday Magic Marketplace at the Royal Oak Farmers Market makes that easy. This annual market offers visitors the chance to meet local artisans and shop for unique Michigan-made gifts. There are also refreshments for sale provided by locally-owned food trucks.
Best Holiday Event in Birmingham
Corner of Henrietta and Merrill, Birmingham, MI
Taking a horse-drawn carriage ride might be one of the most classic holiday traditions of all time. In Birmingham, these take place throughout November and December. They are free and open to the public. The route goes through downtown, offering sights of local light displays.
Best Holiday Events in Grosse Pointe
1100 Lake Shore Dr., Grosse Pointe Shores, MI 48236
Ford House is a historic mansion located on the shore of Lake St. Clair in Grosse Pointe. The mansion is home to many holiday events. One of the most popular is Starry Nights, during which visitors have the chance to explore the grounds and see a light show.
Downtown Grosse Pointe
Grosse Pointe loses no time in preparing for Christmas. Just after Thanksgiving ends, it’s time to celebrate with a Santa Claus parade. This event features a holiday-themed parade as well as a snowman-building contest and other activities. It’s a family-friendly event that’s perfect for all ages.
1100 Lake Shore Dr., Grosse Pointe Shores, MI 48236
Throughout December, bring your child to the historic Ford House to meet Santa. Kids have the chance to bring St. Nick their Christmas wishes, take holiday photos, and head home with special treats. It all takes place with the beautiful backdrop of the historic Ford mansion on Lake St. Clair.
Lakeshore Drive Christmas Lights
Lakeshore Dr, Grosse Pointe
As a kid growing up in Metro Detroit, one of my parents’ favorite things to do was get in the car and drive around looking at the Christmas lights in the area. We saw a lot of great displays but the area that always blew me away was Lake Shore Drive in Grosse Pointe.Kati Bethuy
The houses are so huge and impressive to begin with that when you add lights to them, they become like something out of a movie. Some of the houses have a theme for their light displays, others are set to music, and all are incredible.
The best part is that it doesn’t cost you anything to drive around, perhaps with some hot chocolate and Christmas music, and take it all in.
Best Holiday Events in Dearborn
20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn, MI
Greenfield Village is fun to visit any time of year, but it really comes alive during the holidays, especially with this tradition that’s been going strong for more than 20 years.
Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village takes several times in December. With the smell of chestnuts in the air, fires crackling, and carolers caroling, all the ingredients are there for holiday merriment.
Take a ride in a Model T, relax with warm drinks, and much on holiday goodies too. You can get into the holiday spirit even further with a Supper With Santa dinner package or chowing down on a holiday feast at Eagle Tavern.
Best Holiday Events in Lake Orion
2359 Joslyn Ct, Lake Orion
If you love the holidays, then a trip here is a must. It’s even designated as a historic landmark.
The village is open from late November to just before Christmas on select dates. This family-friendly event is the perfect outdoor winter event.
The Holiday Stroll has everything you need to enjoy the holidays: a choreographed light show, carolers, a chance to meet classic holiday characters like Jack Frost, sing-a-longs, hot chocolate, marshmallows and so much more.
Youngsters can even bring their letters to Santa and have them mailed to the North Pole!
If you think the Holiday Stroll sounds fun, just wait! Canterbury Village is chock-full of events during November and December to fill you full of good cheer, including:
- The Canterbury Cookie Crawl
- Holiday Markets
- The Canterbury Cocoa Crawl
- Dickens Weekend
This is a fun way to kick off the holiday season. With appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus, live entertainment, fire pits, hot cocoa, roasting marshmallows, and more, it’s not to get into the holiday spirit.
These wonderful holiday rides are offered throughout November and December in downtown Lake Orion.
If you love holiday shopping, fear not! During the holiday season, shoppers get rewarded for shopping at downtown shops and get rewarded with gift certificates when they turn in receipts.
Of course, the holiday wouldn’t be complete without a Christmas parade. Lake Orion’s takes place on the first Friday in December and offers plenty of pomp and circumstance to get you in the holiday spirit.
Metro Detroit Holiday Events & Festive Things to Do
No matter what holidays you celebrate or what you’re interested in, there is no shortage of holiday fun and things to do Metro Detroit this winter, with something for everyone!
From family events to 21+ activities and more, you can find it all in Detroit and its surrounding suburbs, with plenty of things to keep you entertained until the New Year.