When you think of having winter fun in Michigan, you probably think of outdoor activities like skiing, ice skating, or snowshoeing. Those are all great activities for fun during the winter months, but there’s plenty of indoor winter things to do in Michigan too.
If you’re looking to have some fun this winter while staying out of the chilly weather, the possibilities are endless. Whether you take a drive to a local museum or do an activity in your own neck of the woods, there’s indoor fun aplenty in Michigan during the winter.
Catch a Movie at a Historic Theater
No matter what time of year it is, it’s always fun to go to the movies for date night. If you’re looking for something fun to do this winter, skip the chain theaters and take in a movie at one of Michigan’s historic theaters. If you’re an elder, these theaters are almost like time machines, transporting you back to simpler times.
Metro Detroit Historic Theaters
If you’re around Metro Detroit, you can check out the Birmingham 8 Theatre on Old Woodward Ave. It still looks a lot like it did when it opened in 1927.
The Redford Theatre in Detroit features an interior meant to resemble a medieval Japanese motif. It continues to operate as a single-screen theater, the same as when it opened in 1928.
The Farmington Civic Theatre in downtown Farmington is a classic example of an old movie theater. It invites patrons inside with neon signs and bright lights. The building is historic, but the movie-watching experience is updated so that you can watch a current movie you’ve been anxious to see.
A Historic Theater in the Upper Peninsula
If you’re in the Upper Peninsula, consider a visit to the historic The Braumart in Iron Mountain. It opened in 1925 and offers a little bit of everything from classic movie screenings to live theater and music.
Visit Local Museums for Indoor Winter Things to Do in Michigan
If you’re trying to stay out of the cold weather, there’s no better way to spend a winter day than at a Michigan museum. It’s the perfect place for family fun activities, offering bits of knowledge, interactivity, and family bonding.
Local Museums in the Upper Peninsula
Start in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where you can check out the Michigan Iron Industry Museum. It teaches you all about Michigan’s mining history through exhibits, including interactive ones.
If conditions aren’t right to hit the slopes outside, you can head to Ishpeming. The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame has skiing artifacts and collections.
Northern Michigan Local Museums
Below the Mackinac Bridge, take a drive along the Sunrise Side to Alpena, where you can visit the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan. You’ll find dozens of artifacts along with animal exhibits and spaces dedicated to local art.
You can also drive to the Lake Michigan side to Traverse City’s Dennos Museum Center. It hosts live music and film events throughout the year.
A Local Museum in Grand Rapids
In West Michigan, you can’t go wrong visiting Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. It has continuously been named one of Michigan’s “Must See” museums and features more than 150 sculptures.
Lighthouse Museums Throughout Michigan
While not all lighthouse museums are open in winter, you can see a great deal of Michigan’s maritime history by driving by them. If nothing else, they make for great photo backdrops, especially when they’re covered in snow and ice.
Eat Dinner in an Igloo
Believe it or not, igloo dining has become an increasingly popular dining option over the last few years. It promoted social distancing during the pandemic and has become the perfect intimate dining experience.
If you want this experience, plan to make a reservation in advance. Also, be aware that some places have a minimum spending requirement to dine in an igloo.
Restaurants With Igloo Dining
In Dearborn, you can visit Mint 29 for a festive igloo dining scene. You could go to Camp Ticonderoga in Troy to nosh on black Angus steaks and pulled pork sandwiches.
If you’re looking for some different menu items, check out Moose Preserve. It serves dishes such as buffalo burgers, whiskey-glazed BBQ ribs, and fresh fish.
Enjoy a Hot Cup of Coffee at a Local Coffee Shop
Nothing warms the body on a cold winter day more than a fresh cup of joe. Even if you’re beholden to chains like Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts, there are many local Michigan coffee shops worth checking out.
Mid-Michigan Coffee Shops
At Foster Coffee Company in Owosso, you’ll find favorites like mochas and pumpkin drinks. All of the coffee is roasted in-house, and every drink is made with fresh ingredients.
At Blue Owl Coffee Co in Lansing’s REO Town neighborhood, you’ll delight in craft nonalcoholic coffee cocktails that taste like their alcoholic counterparts. If you really feel daring, you can order one of the signature Nitro brew flights.
Coffee Shops in West Michigan
At Muskegon’s Drip Drop Coffee Bar, you can sip on craft coffee offerings. You’ll be able to taste the care that the employees put into your drink.
If you’re on the go, check out Water Street Coffee Joint in Kalamazoo and Portage, which offers cafe and drive-thru options. You can grab your favorite latte or espresso drink and continue with your day of exploring.
Take the Kids to an Indoor Waterpark
If you’re looking for the perfect family indoor winter things to do in Michigan, head to an indoor water park. It’s a great way to have fun. Plus, while it may be in the single digits outside, it’s nice and balmy in the water park!
Northern Michigan Water Parks
Avalanche Bay in Boyne City is a popular spot during the winter season. It has 88,000 square feet of indoor water fun, including water slides, a lazy river, hot tubs, and a climbing wall. The water park is close to the many ski resorts around Petoskey too.
Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City is also another must-stop destination in the north. It has plenty of bells and whistles, including five unique pools, a 1,000-gallon tipping bucket, and eight water slides.
Water Parks in Mid-Michigan Michigan
Consider a stop in Frankenmuth, a city that’s known for its Bavarian-style architecture. Here, you’ll find the Bavarian Inn Lodge and Zehnder’s Splash Village.
The Lodge has five indoor pools and three whirlpools. It has plenty of dining options, an arcade, and a mini-golf course as well.
Splash Village features huge dumping buckets, a lazy river, slides, an area for toddlers, and geysers. All of these features ensure that your family spends a fun day splashing away.
Walk Through a Botanical Garden
If you love nature, there’s no better place to go than a botanical garden. The work of master gardeners livens up the state, and offers visitors a chance to see a wide range of beautiful foliage.
The Gardens in Grand Rapids
Again, the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is one of the best indoor winter things to do in Michigan. The gardens are considered some of the best in Michigan and are some of the most celebrated.
With three indoor conservatories — which house tropical, arid, and carnivorous gardens — there’s something to see that will delight everyone. You’ll also find a Japanese garden and many impressive works of art.
University of Michigan Botanical Gardens
The Matthaei Botanical Gardens at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor are some of the state’s most diverse. You can easily spend a day viewing tidy perennial gardens or exploring mature hardwood forests. It has a Gardens Trail that connects with a network of nature trails in Washtenaw County too.
Michigan State University Botanical Gardens
The W.J. Beal Botanical Garden at Michigan State University are impressive as well. It houses the nation’s oldest continuously-operating botanical garden. Visitors can take note of fruits and vegetables as well as medicinal plants, flowering plants, and rare and endangered plants.
Gardens in Mid-Michigan
If you’re talking about botanical gardens, no winter trip through Mid-Michigan is complete without a stop at Dow Gardens in Midland. This 110-acre spot is breathtaking to behold, whether you’re meandering along the 1,400 foot Canopy Walk, exploring the Whiting Forest, or marveling at the estate gardens.
Traverse City Garden & Park
In Northern Michigan, check out the Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park in Traverse City. This 25-acre garden showcases the plant life in Northwest Michigan. You’ll see hardwood trees and many kinds of flowers as you explore on your own or on a guided tour.
Experience More Winter Things to Do in Michigan
Winters in Michigan can be bitterly cold at times, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fun. You could learn in a fun way at the cultural center in Flint, find ways to beat the winter blues in Alpena, or hit the ice at an indoor rink.