All cities are transformed at Christmastime: lights on the main streets, bright window displays, people bustling around. Traverse City has been snow-kissed and lovely for the last few weeks, and I’m excited to spend my holidays visiting even more new breweries, tasting at new restaurants, and enjoying the outdoor recreation available to those who dare to venture outside!
Ladies’ Night/Men’s Night
First things first. If you are female, still have shopping to do for gifts, or if you just need an excuse to go see how enchanting the downtown looks this time of year, check out the Ladies’ Night Out on December 11, from 5-9 PM. Enjoy snacks, refreshment, and special sales as the local stores prepare for the storm of shoppers! The matching Men’s Night Out is on December 18, same time, same benefits.
The Old Town Playhouse
While it’s always fun to see a movie, and there are wonderful theaters in downtown TC, use your holiday season to try something different at the Old Town Playhouse. If you have a free evening, almost any of day of the week has productions for the public. Until December 13, check out A Christmas Story, the 1940s’ look at Ralphie Parker’s Christmas quest for a Red Ryder BB gun. The playhouse has been open since 1960 and is nestled just outside of downtown. Check out their schedule of upcoming productions to plan ahead if you can’t make it to see Ralphie.
Festival of Trains
Although the Historical Center of Traverse City has just come through a financially difficult fall season, that hasn’t stopped them from preserving a beloved holiday tradition: The Festival of Trains. Go check out the impressive collection seven days a week (except for Christmas and New Year’s Day) until January 3, 2015. Admission is $5, but children four and under are free. This could be especially valuable information if your children’s Christmas break seems inordinately long this year.
To help feel better about the Christmas cookie consumption this season, I suggest heading outdoors, there’s nothing wrong with playing outside – no matter what age. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is offering ranger-led snowshoe hikes through the dunes and you can call ahead to book a snowshoe adventure on Saturdays from December 27, 2014 to March 7, 2015. Don’t have snowshoes? Doesn’t matter! You can borrow a pair at no cost when you meet at the Phillip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire, just let your ranger know when you call to book your place on the hike.
Traverse City Winter Beer Festival
In true, beer-crazy fashion, the Michigan Brewer’s Guild Winter Beer Festival in Comstock Park once again sold out after just thirty minutes of online ticket sales. But don’t fret! The 2015 TC Microbrew and Music Winter Beer Festival is happening February 7, 2015 from 4-10 PM at the Sara Hardy Farmers Market Parking Lot in downtown Traverse City. Tickets went on sale December 5, 2014, but it’s not too late to buy some as gifts…or just for yourself. For $45, you can enjoy an evening of four live music stages, fifty breweries, local food trucks and vendors in the fresh February air – dress accordingly.
Looking forward to the happiest of holidays in beautiful Traverse City! May your days be merry and bright as we get through this Michigan winter together.