Downtown Milford At Christmas

26 Best Towns in Michigan for Shopping Local This Holiday Season

The holiday season is a time to enjoy being with family and friends, attend magical winter festivals and shows, see Christmas light displays, send a letter to Santa Claus, and visit Michigan Christmas towns. Of course, it’s also a time for gift-giving.

To help you find the perfect Michigan gifts, we’ve put together a list of the best towns to shop local in Michigan this holiday season and a few of our favorite shops in each!

Experiencing Christmas In The Frankenmuth Outdoors - The Awesome Mitten
Frankenmuth | photo via Aaron Cruz

Upper Peninsula Holiday Shopping Towns


The biggest of the Upper Peninsula’s cities, Marquette has tons to explore outdoors, but there are plenty of retail therapy options as well. In particular, downtown features art studios, gourmet candy shops, chic boutiques, adventure outfitters, gift shops, jewelers, and more.

On top of that, you can find a lot of handmade goods at the Downtown Marquette Farmers Market.

Sault Ste. Marie

If your idea of the ideal shopping destination is discovering one-of-a-kind merchandise, Sault Ste. Marie is the right place to be. You’ll find local-run galleries, gift shops, specialty stores, and more. Plus, sweet shops, coffee shops, and restaurants are sprinkled in between.

Grandpa Shorter's Gifts, Petoskey - Holiday Shopping In The Petoskey Area
Petoskey | photo via @alexchildressphoto

Towns for Holiday Shopping in Northern Michigan

Harbor Springs

Offering a picturesque shopping district to walk through, Harbor Springs is situated on a quaint waterfront.

Among the jewelry, souvenirs, clothing, collectibles, and more, you won’t find cookie-cutter stores here. And, many of the specialty shops offer personalized services, such as gift wrapping, custom orders, and more.


Holiday shopping in Petoskey for unique gifts and other items is nothing short of fantastic. From children’s clothing and high fashion to art galleries, souvenir shops, and specialty stores, you can find everything that you need for the special people in your life, as well as holiday decor.

Bay Harbor

Along Little Traverse Bay, the upmarket district of Bay Harbor has a magical village vibe during the holiday season. While not all of the top shops are in the charming Village at Bay Harbor, this area has some of the best Northern Michigan shopping. You’ll find a variety of seasonal decor and gifts.


There’s nothing like shopping with breathtaking views, and that’s just what you get in Charlevoix Michigan. In fact, the city name means “the beautiful.” You’ll find a slew of boutiques, galleries, and locally-owned stores that sell home accessories, clothing, and gifts.


In the Sanctuary of the Great Lakes, you can expect a small-town shopping experience. Whether you’re looking for your favorite brands or distinct gifts downtown, you’ll find something for everyone on your list. Best of all, dining is just a short walk away!

Traverse City

You can find extraordinary gifts and Michigan-themed merchandise in Traverse City. There are more than 100 boutiques, galleries, and shops downtown alone. And, the festive city sidewalks and Victorian storefronts along Front Street make shopping adventures not only easy but also enjoyable.


Welcoming you to the Leelanau Peninsula, the friendly shopkeepers in Suttons Bay and Leland invite you to shop until your heart’s content. The downtown areas have several specialty stores that you don’t want to miss — clothing, art, home decor, collectibles, and more.

Glen Arbor

Despite its small size, there are some big finds to discover in Glen Arbor — next to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. There are numerous boutiques and other shops to walk through along Western Ave (M-22) and Lake Street.

Manistee, Michigan
Manistee | photo via @manisteemedia

West Michigan Towns for Holiday Shopping


For a shopping experience that piques your interest, head to Manistee Michigan. The city has an alluring mix of new and old stores — upscale boutiques, creative galleries, and other fine shops. Many of them line both sides of River St for about a half-mile.

Grand Rapids

One of the best Michigan towns for holiday shopping, Grand Rapids is a leading entrepreneurial city, which is evident in its quality shopping options.

From brand-name retailers to local store owners, you can find wonderful antiques, art, clothing, home goods, and unique items when shopping local in Grand Rapids.


Known for its brick sidewalks, outdoor sculptures, and Victorian architecture, Holland is already a top holiday destination in Michigan. Additionally, it’s home to more than 200 art galleries, shops, and other businesses that offer home accents, music, books, jewelry, clothing, gifts, and more.


The wide range of stores in downtown Kalamazoo practically guarantees that you can check off everything on your holiday shopping list. You can even get special holiday decorations, cards, stationery, and gift wrap.

St. Joseph

There are many reasons to go to St. Joseph — the charming harbor scene, golf courses, wineries, craft breweries, and beaches. The city is no slouch when it comes to holiday shopping either because there are plenty of local businesses where you can buy unique jewelry, clothes, gifts, home decor, and more.

Bay City Mitten Trip 3Rd Street Star Bridge
Bay City

Holiday Shopping Towns in Mid-Michigan


Teeming with beautiful, midcentury modern architecture, Midland is an artsy city with an abundance of creative gifts for the holiday season. In addition to art, the downtown area has toys, candy, and other various items for your loved ones.

Bay City

Whether you’re looking for holiday souvenirs, handcrafted goods, or something passed down for generations, Bay City is the place to go. This city is ideal for holiday shopping in the Great Lakes Bay Region. After all, it’s home to the biggest antique center in the state!


Frankenmuth is one of the most walkable Michigan towns for holiday shopping, featuring a Bavarian-style village with cobblestone streets. Alongside Bavarian and Michigan-themed gifts, you’ll find the world’s largest Christmas store, fashion-forward boutiques, and more.


Downtown Flint is an excellent place to go for a walk, and the storefronts proudly display their wares — from Michigan-made specialty gifts and delicious treats to antiques and art.

Also, the Flint Handmade holiday market is a great place to peruse more than 40 vendors to check off your Christmas list. You can support even more local artisans at the Flint Farmers’ Market.


The downtown shopping district in Lansing Michigan is a big part of the local economy with small businesses selling gifts of all kinds — the classic, unique, and everything in between. Shopping here during the holiday season means that you’re supporting the wider community too.


Alongside the trails, golf courses, museums, and good eats, Jackson Michigan is a great place to get your holiday shopping done. Whether you want to look through a mall or walk the streets of downtown, it’s easy to find gifts for all of your loved ones.

The Big Bright Light Show, Rochester - Holiday Events In Metro Detroit
Rochester | photo via @ingridaskk

Towns in Southeast Michigan for Holiday Shopping


Are you looking for big brand names? Or, would you rather shop for locally crafted items? Detroit’s Woodward Ave and downtown shopping district have it all. Eastern Market is especially a holiday shopper’s dream destination, while Corktown is the best place to find vintage wares.

Royal Oak

With some of the best Metro Detroit holiday shops, Royal Oak is a bohemian village on the city’s outskirts. It has an array of shops — antique stores, art galleries, and specialty spots. While you’re here, you’ll experience a vibrant, entertaining atmosphere.


With such a friendly, walkable downtown, Birmingham is one of the leading shopping destinations in the American Midwest. Almost 300 local boutiques and national retailers offer a diverse variety of goods and services that are perfect for gift-giving at Christmastime.


Downtown Rochester is unique in the waterways and green spaces that contribute to its natural beauty.

But what makes it such an outstanding shopping experience is the more than 350 shops, restaurants, and other businesses that call it home. Best of all, the majority of the merchants are independent.


Awesome Mitten writer Stefanie Caloia highly recommends the charming town of Milford local holiday shopping.

“Online holiday shopping drained my soul. Shopping in big-box stores and malls stressed me. I didn’t want to be one of those people so overwhelmed by the holidays that I ended up hating the season. 

My solution? Shopping small and local. Last year, I made a point to check out downtown Milford. What a different and delightful experience it was. I got out of the house. I interacted with small business owners and my fellow shoppers. The stores bustled without overwhelming. I enjoyed the festive, wintery decorations and atmosphere.

Milford offers a well-rounded selection of shops without the torture that is the mall parking lot. You can amazing places to shop, including:

The shop owners are friendly and willing to help you find the perfect, unique gift for your loved ones (or yourself!).

When you need a break, plenty of options for a meal or a snack abound. The little Center Street Park is a cute place to sit and relax when you need a minute. You can also take a short walk to Central Park (closed for construction until summer 2024) on the south end of Main Street or the waterfall on the north end.

Several events throughout winter are the cherry on top, including many opportunities to meet Santa. Outside of events, the best time to visit is Tuesday-Saturday afternoons as several shops are closed Sundays and Mondays.

So this holiday season, or any time of the year, save yourself a lot of hassle. Get out into the world, support small Michigan businesses, and get in the holiday spirit by visiting downtown Milford.”

Awesome Mitten writer Stefanie Caloia
Downtown Milford At Christmas
Downtown Milford | photo via Stephanie Caloia

Shop Small, Big Impact: Small Business Saturday in Michigan

‘Tis the season to shop ’til you drop! Why not support your community while you are at it?

The nationally celebrated, annual event Small Business Saturday is always sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Started by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday has taken off and gained support in communities all throughout the United States. In 2015, nearly 95 million people participated in Small Business Saturday shopping.

This official day — approved unanimously by the U.S. Senate in 2011 — encourages people to shop at independent and small businesses instead of chain stores and online.

Small businesses are often described as the backbone of local economies and can have a large impact on communities. In 2014, for instance, nearly $14.5 billion was spent on Small Business Saturday!

Shoppers’ appetites also support local eateries and restaurants, helping more than local retailers on this busy day. So, as you search for unique and memorable gifts, be sure to visit these Michigan towns for holiday shopping.

Holidays In The Heart Of The City, Saginaw - Holidays In The Great Lakes Bay Region
Saginaw | photo via @gogreatlakesbay

Visit All the Best Michigan Towns for Holiday Shopping

No matter which Michigan town you choose for your holiday shopping, you’re bound to find one-of-a-kind items and, possibly, some gifts to take home for yourself. If you need some gift ideas for this holiday season, take a look at our Michigan gift guide.

What are your favorite Michigan stores for holiday gifts and treats? What neighborhoods and communities do you support on Small Business Saturday?

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