Southcentral Michigan contains many great communities that provide a great amount of outdoor and indoor fun during the long Michigan winter months. A variety of attractions and special events ensure you can find plenty of good fun in this winter wonderland.
Winters in Michigan can be notoriously long and very cold. But when the snowfall is just right and the air is not too cold, a bevy of outdoor and indoor events can warm your heart and soul. And you get a great opportunity to beat the wintertime blues with great fun for people of all ages.
The following are some of the better-known communities in Southcentral Michigan, including special places to visit and events to attend throughout the winter, highlighting the best winter things to do in southcentral Michigan.
Winter Things to Do in Battle Creek & Marshall
Battle Creek is the most populous city in Calhoun County while Marshall is where the county seat is located. The wintertime cloaks the area in a white blanket that really makes the holiday lights stand out when you go on a drive.
Festival of Lights
The annual International Festival of Lights makes the holidays a great time to tour the local area and see the many great holiday light displays in and near Battle Creek.
You also could visit the Leila Arboretum Fantasy Forest, which contains a collection of fantasy-themed sculptures and artworks. The arboretum contains a wide selection of tree species and provides a great backdrop during all four seasons of weather. The arboretum also is home to the Kingman Museum of Natural History, which makes for an entertaining and educational stop for the entire family.
Ice Wine, Beer, and Blues Festival
The wintertime fun extends to nearby Marshall, which once was the seat of government in Michigan. The town’s annual Ice Wine, Beer, and Blues festival is a very popular attraction. It helps to combine ice sculpture, music, and regional brewery offerings in one great event. Marshall also is fun to visit for its many great homes and holiday displays.
Many visitors to Battle Creek and Marshall enjoy stopping for dining and maybe taking in a live show at Firekeepers Casino. The tribal casino ranks among the best gaming establishments located outside of Las Vegas and offers fine dining and live entertainment throughout the year.
Winter Things to Do in Ann Arbor & Ypsilanti
Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan, and Ypsilanti is home to Eastern Michigan University. With two prominent public universities located very close to one another in great college towns, there is a lot of fun winter things to do in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. Both offer great live theater and restaurants that you can visit throughout the winter.
The Ann Arbor Art Center hosts an annual Artini festival in early February that combines the love of art with the fun of a martini bar crawl.
Ann Arbor Film Festival
The annual Ann Arbor Film Festival also gives you plenty of options for enjoying first-run films and arthouse offerings.
Outdoor Snow Sports
Nearby Ypsilanti Township hosts a variety of outdoor parks that are especially popular among wintertime visitors. You can go sledding, hiking, cross country skiing in a variety of local parts.
Rolling Hills County Park is a local favorite and features the area’s tallest sledding hills, plus three miles of groomed cross country ski trails in Michigan.
And if you enjoy snowmobiling or riding ORVs in the snow, you can check out the area’s groomed snowmobile trails.
If you want to do some downhill skiing, nearby Mt. Brighton provides great slopes and affordable skiing. The Mt. Brighton Ski Resort has served locals and visitors for six decades and offers a variety of ski runs and lifts. New skiers can take lessons while experienced ones can enjoy longer runs with more technical challenges.
Lansing and Jackson Winter Things to Do
Silver Bells in the City
Silver Bells is a rain-or-shine event held prior to Thanksgiving. It officially kicks off the holiday season in the state capital and includes a great holiday parade and the official lighting of the state Christmas tree at the Capitol Building.
The Lansing Winterfest is another fun Lansing winter thing to do in February. The fun-for-all event includes live ice sculptures, a coffee and cocoa walk, and pet photo booths. The truly all-ages event is designed to provide a great family outing that can include your family pet.
The Winterfest celebration helps to make the cold winter days a lot more fun while bringing the local community and visitors together.
Southern Michigan Winter Beer Festival
The Southern Michigan Winter Beer Festival in Jackson Michigan is another fun event with a decidedly adult vibe. After all, it is a beer festival and an ideal way to help shake off the cabin fever that can grip many folks during a long and cold winter.
More than 150 craft beers from regional breweries make the event a very special one. Live music, barbecue, and a variety of other great foods help to round out the fully entertaining event.
Michigan Songwriters’ Showcase
If you are a fan of live music and especially singer-songwriters, the Michigan Songwriters’ Showcase in February should prove especially enjoyable. The annual songwriter’s show features many of the most talented songwriters in the state.
The Michigan Theatre of Jackson hosts the event and delivers an exceptional venue experience. You can enjoy up-and-coming talent in one of the states that produce world-class musical talent.
Winter Things to Do in Adrian and Coldwater
Adrian and Coldwater are located just north of the Indiana and Ohio borders in the southern area of Michigan.
Both locales are relatively small in population but offer a variety of outdoor recreational activities. A variety of local inland lakes enable you to fish through the ice with the weather is especially cold and target a variety of popular freshwater species.
Adrian Winter Entertainment
Adrian hosts the annual Nativity with Live Animals during the Christmas Holiday at the Trinity Baptist Church. The holidays get a start in early December with a Holiday Lights Parade held in Adrian and followed up in other local communities.
If you are a fan of the Charlie Brown Christmas specials, you can take in a live stage version on Adrian’s Croswell stage.
Outdoor Winter Sports in the Irish Hills
The nearby Irish Hills offer scenic drives and plenty of holiday lights that impress locals and visitors alike. And if you enjoy cross country skiing the Irish Hills are a great place to get that done.
Locals also enjoy ice skating at the Arrington Arena at Adrian College as well as on local municipal rinks. You can, too, if you bring your skates or rent a pair at a local ice rink.
Coldwater Winter Fest
The annual Coldwater Winter Fest offers live wood carvings, sled dog presentations, and a soup and chili cookoff.
If you like panfish caught through the ice, Coldwater has a variety of local lakes with public access. When the ice is thick and safe, you can enjoy your days and even the nights targeting perch, panfish, pike, or others.
More Winter Things to Do in Southcentral Michigan
You also can enjoy indoor fun with holiday concerts, festivals, food, and adult beverages. It just takes a little planning to help ensure you get the most out of your next wintertime venture to these southern Michigan communities.