Holiday Events in Michigan

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    The holidays are upon us and nothing puts us in jolly spirits quite like creative events that get us out and about in our communities. At the Awesome Mitten, we have compiled some of our favorite holiday events in Michigan to attend in various regions. Scope out the list below and add some of your own that we need to know about!


    Elf – The Broadway Musical
    December 3rd – 15th, Detroit Opera House

    If you love Elf, the hilarious Christmas movie featuring Will Ferrell (and who doesn’t?!), then I highly recommend going to see the live, musical version. It is being performed at the stunning Detroit Opera House, which will make the experience even more magical. With an abundance of evening and weekend performances, Detroiters have plenty of opportunities to head out and see this musical.

    Photo Courtesy of Michelle Andonian Photography
    Photo Courtesy of Michelle Andonian Photography

    Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village
    December 6th – 28th, Greenfield Village

    This event literally has something for everyone: ice skating, candlelit paths, live entertainment, costumed presenters, horse-drawn wagon rides, live reindeer with Santa Claus, fun holiday shops, and fireworks! It’s busy. It’s fun. Let’s all go.

    Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo
    November 23rd – January 5th, Detroit Zoo

    The Detroit Zoo is putting on quite the display of more than one million LED lights that bring life to structures, animal sculptures, and trees around the zoo. There will also be refreshments, arts and crafts, ice carvings, and a holiday train display. Live entertainment consisting of carolers, bands, and bell choirs will be present as well.

    Ann Arbor

    Holiday Pops Concert
    December 13th, 8PM, Hill Auditorium

    Festive concerts are one of the best things about upcoming holidays. This one in particular is taking place at the University of Michigan’s Hill Auditorium, which is absolutely stunning for both the eyes and ears. It originally opened in 1913 and the acoustics can hardly be matched. This concert will feature music from the Nutcracker and performances by Measure for Measure.

    Manchester Christmas Home Tour
    December 7th, Noon – 8PM

    This is an extremely unique event that allows guests to tour five different homes and enjoy their Christmas decorations. This is great for those looking for extra decorating ideas or anyone who simply wants to enjoy a festive tour. Tickets are available from various businesses in the area or by calling 734-255-1498.


    MSU Holiday Arts and Crafts Show
    December 7th & 8th, MSU Union

    The MSU Holiday Arts and Crafts Show will be putting on its 50th anniversary show this year. For those of you who don’t know, this is a massive arts and crafts event, consisting of four floors of booths and over 200 exhibitors. The admission is free and this is a great opportunity to seek out unique gifts for friends and family.

    Photo Courtesy of Michigansteamtrain.com
    Photo Courtesy of Michigansteamtrain.com

    North Pole Express
    December 6th – 8th, 14th & 15th, 21st & 22nd, Steam Railroading Institute (Owosso)

    For those who have seen or read The Polar Express, you will understand why they recommend pajamas for this delightful ride. Passengers get to ride by train from Owosso to Ashley, while enjoying the winter scenery and sipping hot chocolate. The end of the train ride brings a tour of Santa’s workshop and a meet and greet with the elves and Santa himself.


    “Christmas at Wings” Art and Craft Show
    December 7th & 8th, Wings Stadium

    This is the largest craft show held in southwest Michigan, consisting of over 340 vendors. Great artwork, clothing, gifts, and so much more are available for browsing and purchasing. Craft shows really make the holidays more fun and create great opportunities for one-of-a-kind gift giving.

    Kellogg Manor House Holiday Walk – Hickory Corners
    November 29th – December 21st, Noon – 5PM

    This is an educational tour of the Kellogg Manor House, yet is also extremely festive. The whole home is aglow with beautiful lights and decorations for enjoyment as you learn about the mansion’s history. Admission is $7 and includes hot spiced tea and snacks.

    Grand Rapids

    The Santa Train (Coopersville)
    November 30th – December 22nd

    This is a fun-filled train ride along with Santa and his elves. Each child will receive a present and there will be a story-telling princess reading The Polar Express for everyone. Adult tickets are $15.50, children ages 2-12 are $13.50, and children two and under are free.

    Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World
    November 26th – January 5th, Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park

    The Frederik Meijer Gardens are putting on a spectacular event that allows for guests to learn about many different holiday traditions. There are over 40 displays that include international trees and displays, carolers, and horse-drawn carriage rides.

    Children’s Nutcracker Tea Party
    December 7th, Alpenrose Restaurant & Cafe (Holland)

    This will be a mini version of the real Nutcracker ballet for little ones and family to enjoy. Pink lemonade, tea, and a small luncheon are available for everyone, which will be accompanied by an etiquette session. There will also be story time and an extra special visit from the Sugar Plum Fairy. Reservations are required for this event.

    Traverse City

    Photo Courtesy of TraverseCity.com
    Photo Courtesy of TraverseCity.com

    Santa’s Arrival and Tree Lighting
    December 6th – Front Street

    Santa’s arrival is something Traverse Citians look forward to every year. The ginormous tree on Front Street will be lit up for the season and lots of snacks and hot chocolate can be found. Live reindeer will be in attendance and the State Theatre will have free holiday cartoons for children to enjoy after revealing their Christmas lists to Santa Claus.

    Tannenbaum Blitzen
    December 14th, 6PM – Shanty Creek (Bellaire)

    Shanty Creek is putting on a very festive evening for Northern Michiganders! This night will consist of a community buffett, Christmas caroling, a parade down the front of Schuss Mountain, and most importantly, a visit from Santa Claus. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.


    Winter Snow Fun Holiday Parade and Annual Tree Lighting
    December 5th, Evening – Fair Avenue and Marquette Commons

    If you are in the area, this is not something you want to miss. Not only is it a great parade to attend, but it ends with Santa Claus’ arrival! The parade consists of floats made by area businesses and organizations, as well as plenty of musicians and bands. There will also be sleigh rides and extremely festive lights that will be sure to put everyone in the holiday mood.

    A Christmas Tapestry – Music of the Season
    December 13th & 14th, 7:30-9:30PM – Redeemer Lutheran Church

    This is the 20th annual Christmas Concert put on by Redeemer Lutheran Church. This year, not only will it have the traditional, lovely Christmas music presented by The Marquette County Chamber of Commerce and The Marquette Male Chorus, but it will also present the world premiere of “The World Colored by Snow”. This will be performed by local composer, Brandon Nelson, and is a piece consisting of seven winter haiku.

    What is your favorite holiday event to attend? Are there any events not listed here we should know about?

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