Are you trying to wow friends and family with your gifts this holiday season? Try gifting these uniquely Michigan experiences!
Some of the best gifts to give during the holiday season are Michigan experience gifts that give residents and Mitten State visitors alike a chance to experience the best of what the state has to offer.
No matter who you’re trying to check off your holiday gift list, there’s a Michigan experience gift for friends and loved ones of all ages. Michigan experiences — from food gifts to attractions to hands-on experiences — offer the chance to give those you care about a truly memorable gift.
Elk Viewing at Thunder Bay Resort
Majestic elk are quite the sight to see in person, and the Thunder Bay Resort in Hillman — just west of Alpena — offers a chance to see elk up close. The elk-viewing experience can be purchased for multiple people, but it makes the perfect gift for couples.
The excursion includes a carriage or sleigh ride out to the elk viewing area and a gourmet dinner and wine-tasting event afterward.
Tickets to a Pro Sporting Event
Tickets to sporting events can be found in cities across the nation, but a ticket to see a Michigan sports team lets a friend or loved one in your life experience the thrills of professional sports up close.
A ticket to a Pistons, Red Wings, Tigers, or Lions game gives the sports fan in your life the perfect excuse to spend some time in downtown Detroit since all of Michigan’s pro teams are headquartered there.
A Golf Package at a Michigan Golf Course
The golfer in your life will have a hard time saying no to a round of golf that’s already been paid for. The fact that Michigan has immaculate golf courses from coast to coast offers no shortage of options either. If you want to give something really special, buy a round at one of Michigan’s award-winning golf courses, like Arcadia Bluffs.
A Tour of a Fabulous Michigan Winery
Michigan’s climate is perfect for growing grapes, and wineries have popped up all over the state, turning Michigan into a wine lover’s paradise.
A gift certificate to a Michigan winery allows a visitor to not only sample a variety of delicious wines but also take in incredibly scenic views of the vineyards and have an authentic experience too.
TIP: Marvelous wineries can be found in many areas of the state. So if you know that your friends and loved ones spend time in a particular part of Michigan, gift them a certificate for the closest winery.
The NASCAR Racing Experience at Michigan International Speedway
The thrill-seeker in your life will have a hard time keeping a smile off of their face when they’re given this gift.
The NASCAR Racing Experience allows NASCAR fans and adrenaline junkies alike to take their turn behind the wheel of a race car and drive the superspeedway just like the pros. Drivers get instructions on how to drive, tips from a spotter, and even get to take pit stops.
TIP: Gift cards for this experience never expire and can be personalized.
The Delicious Gift of Pasties
While Michigan pasties themselves aren’t an experience, eating them could be considered an experience. These beef, onion, and rutabaga-packed bundles of goodness are a staple food in the Upper Peninsula, and those who have never had them — whether or not they live in Michigan — are in for a treat.
Many companies that specialize in pasties can ship them directly to people. This makes it very easy to share your love of pasties with family and friends during the holidays.
A Detroit Pizza Passport
The gift of food is always a good go-to during the holidays, and the new pizza passport in Detroit allows the pizza lover in your life to experience a Motor City staple.
FUN FACT: Detroit was named the Best Pizza City in America in 2023 by a team of researchers and data scientists.
Visit Detroit announced the Detroit Pizza Passport in fall 2023. This digital pass makes a swell gift because it allows hungry pizza devotees to experience a variety of pies without downloading an app, and they can earn points at participating locations.
A Ride on the Silver Lake Dunes
The dunes along the Lake Michigan shoreline are a sight to behold from a distance, but they’re even better up close! In Silver Lake, visitors have the chance to take guided tours of the dunes. The tours last about 40 minutes and take riders to dune summits, down into valleys, and along gleaming Silver Lake.
TIP: Reservations at Mac Wood’s Dune Rides are only accepted for school groups and charter bus tours, but a monetary gift toward a tour will provide a memorable experience.
A Mine Tour in the Upper Peninsula
Michigan has a rich mining history, and a reservation for a mine tour is a great gift for those who like history and adventure. Companies like Adventure Mining Company take visitors into a former copper mine in Greenland Michigan.
Reservations can be made in advance, and several tours are available, so visitors can choose everything from an easy walking tour to a tour that includes rappeling to some of the deeper parts of the mine.
Gift Cards for Fun on Mackinac Island
Gift certificates can be purchased for ferry rides to the island as well. So depending on how generous you feel, your gifts will come in handy on a trip to the island from start to finish!
A Gift Card for Bavarian Inn Restaurant & Lodge
A gift card isn’t a unique Michigan gift, but a Bavarian Inn gift card allows visitors to Frankenmuth, Michigan’s Little Bavaria, to create their own experience.
Gift cards for Bavarian Inn can be used for both the Bavarian Inn Lodge and the Bavarian Inn Restaurant, so they’re a great gift for those taking a day trip or planning an extended stay.
The lodge offers comfortable accommodations, several dining options, and fun amenities — like an arcade, an indoor water park, and indoor mini golf.
The restaurant, which is a short walk away from the lodge, is renowned for its chicken dinners, and the warm, friendly atmosphere always makes a meal here enjoyable.
A Trip to Frederik Meijer Gardens
TIP: Gift cards for the park can be purchased at the park and redeemed for admission, gift shop purchases, and more.
Whoever receives this card as a gift is sure to be thankful because it gives them access to a place with incredible sculptures, exciting annual events, an on-site art museum, beautifully maintained gardens, and much more.
Membership at a Michigan Zoo
Michigan has many great zoos, and a zoo membership is a perfect gift for zoogoers of all ages. It’s a great way to give the gift of adventure, and they usually don’t have to be used right away.
The Detroit Zoo, John Ball Zoo, and Potter Park Zoo are just a few places that offer memberships. These include a variety of perks (depending on the zoo) — free admission, gift shop and concession discounts, early access and special pricing for special events, and more.
Give Friends & Loved Ones Michigan Experience Gifts
There are plenty of awesome and unique Michigan gifts that you can give to those you care about this season. But Michigan experience gifts offer just that — unforgettable memorable experiences that they can remember for years to come.
Whether you’re shopping for toddlers, teenagers, or adults, there’s a Michigan experience gift for everyone. The smiles on their faces when they go on their experience will tell you right away how much your gift meant to them.