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12 Unique Winter Things to Do in West Michigan

Everyone knows that Michigan experiences a real winter every year. But you might not know that it is a great place to be when the weather turns icy! There are lots of great things to do in Michigan in the winter, so don’t feel like you have to sit at home throughout the snowy months.

If you’re looking for the best winter things to do in West Michigan this year, we have 12 unique activities that you can’t miss.

Best Winter Things to Do in West Michigan

Don’t feel like winter has to be the time of year where you sit in your house with nothing to do. In fact in west Michigan, things are downright buzzing with activity!

This is the perfect place for outdoor winter sports, holiday festivals, and fun family activities. Snow and ice definitely can’t keep Michiganders from having a good time!

Take in the Sights

Western Michigan has some of the most stunning winter sights in the country. In places like Muskegon, you will find places to take in snow-covered vistas, icy forests, and peaceful farmland.

Many people take to the West Michigan lakeshores and woods to get away from the crowds and enjoy the peaceful view of undisturbed snow on Lake Michigan’s dune hills or among the trees. 

Best Winter Things to Do in Holland Michigan

Visit a Winter Market in Holland

The winter market in Holland is one of the best places to get your hands on local goods even when the ground is covered in snow! Even though you won’t find field-grown fruits and veggies at this time of the year, you might be surprised by the selection of greenhouse produce and other goods.

But fruits and vegetables are far from the only thing you’ll find at the Holland winter market. You will also get the chance to buy everything from fresh meat and seafood to homemade quiche, baked goods, pastries, and cheese.

There is also plenty of farm-fresh honey, maple syrup, jam, and juice. This is definitely your one-stop-shop for all things delicious and fresh. 

Winter Market In Holland, Holland - Winter In Southwest Michigan, Winter In West Michigan
Winter Market in Holland | photo via @paulareneeartstudio

Go Snowshoeing in the Woods

Michigan is a great place to be for winter outdoor enthusiasts. West Michigan is one place where people flock in the winter to go skiing, tubing, skating, and snowshoeing!

During the summer, this region attracts many visitors to the coastline to enjoy the sand and surf near Lake Michigan. But when the snow starts to fall, people flock here to enjoy winter sports.

The 1800 acres throughout the local parks — as well as eight miles of trails — are an extremely popular spot for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and other winter sports. There are local equipment rentals and even a lodge where you can warm up with hot chocolate. 

Pigeon Creek Park, West Olive - Winter In West Michigan
Pigeon Creek Park | photo via @outofdoors

Best Winter Things to Do in Grand Rapids Michigan

Holiday Celebrations at Frederik Meijer Gardens

Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids is a popular destination at any time of the year. But just because the temperature is dropping doesn’t mean that the gardens are off-limits.

Instead, this time of year is the time to celebrate cultures and holidays are a community. You’ll find elaborate light displays, cultural exhibits, fun activities for people of all ages, and a tree lighting ceremony. 

View Holiday Lights in Grand Rapids 

Seeing local holiday decorations is a fun activity in any part of the country, but it is a pretty big deal in Grand Rapids. The city takes the holiday season very seriously, with its dedication earning its accolades as the Jolliest City in America and the best holiday light display in Michigan.

Visitors come from all over the state to participate in the holiday walking tour, which winds through downtown Grand Rapids. Along the way, you will pass some other well-known sites in Grand Rapids, including Rosa Parks Circle.

You can also hop in a horse-drawn carriage to view the lights in a slightly different way.

Ice Skating at Rosa Parks Circle 

If you have ever gone skating at a public outdoor rink, you know what a fun and unique winter activity it is!

Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids serves as an outdoor events plaza during the warm months. But when the temperature drops, it gets converted to an ice skating rink.

Then visitors from all over (not just Grand Rapids!) break out their ice skates and hit the rink. The plaza’s official website estimates that more than 750,000 people visit the plaza every year, many of them for ice skating in West Michigan. 

Stop by an igloo at a local restaurant to warm up!

Rosa Parks Circle Ice Rink, Grand Rapids - Winter Olympic Sports, Michigan Ice Skating Rinks, Winter In West Michigan
Rosa Parks Circle Ice Rink | photo via @jaleeza881

Try Skiing or Tubing at Cannonsburg

Some of the best skiing in Michigan can be found in Cannonsburg, with thousands of visitors flocking there every winter. If you aren’t sure of your ski legs, feel free to rent a tube and have some fun in the snow that way, too!

There are plenty of ski rentals, trails, and slopes for skiers of every level. You can even find lessons if it is your first time hitting the slopes. Try downhill skiing, snowboarding, or cross-country skiing at this West Michigan ski resort.

Cannonsburg Ski Area, Belmont - Tobogganing &Amp; Snow Tubing, Winter In Grand Rapids, Winter In West Michigan
Cannonsburg Ski Area | photo via @altrombley2

Best Winter Things to Do in South Haven Michigan

Go to the Ice Breaker Festival – South Haven

If there was ever a local event that was truly one-of-a-kind, it is the South Haven Ice Breaker Festival.

During this February celebration, shops throw their doors open while visitors skate at outdoor rinks, eat at a fish fry, drink beer, and participate in races. Other competitions include snowsuit fashion, ice sculpting, and a chili cook-off.

There are also plenty of activities for kids, including arts and crafts, cookie decorating, cardboard sledding, and horse-drawn wagon rides. The main event is the famous fish fling, where adults and kids alike compete to throw a frozen fish as far as they can.

Ice Breaker Festival, South Haven - Winter In West Michigan
Ice Breaker Festival | photo via @ray_inchaarg

Best Winter Things to Do in Muskegon Michigan

Try an Olympic Sport

If you have ever watched the luge team at the Winter Olympics in awe, you will need to make the trip to visit Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park.

This park is open throughout the year for adventurous activities. In the winter, it offers opportunities to ski, snowboard, skate, and snowshoe. The luge track is one of just four in the continental US.

Here, visitors will receive gear and training before participating in the nail-biting sport. The luge track is made for beginners to ensure that everyone stays safe (even while flying along at 30 mph!). 

Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park, Muskegon - Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park, Winter In West Michigan
Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park | photo via @muskegonluge

Best Winter Things to Do in Southwest Michigan

Attend the Annual Winter Ice Fest in St. Joseph

The Annual Winter Ice Fest in the town of St. Joseph is an event you won’t want to miss. This weekend takes place in February and features everything from community competitions to treats from local vendors and all kinds of family fun.

Visitors can participate in ice sculpting competitions and scavenger hunts, races, and yard games. Of course, you will have the opportunity to enjoy delicious treats from local vendors.

Though the event changes somewhat every year, it has long since become a beloved staple in St. Joseph, drawing visitors from all over Michigan. 

Visit a Family-Owned Tree Farm in Gobles

Visiting a family-owned farm is a treat at any time of the year. But once winter rolls around, that doesn’t mean it is time to stop! You will find some amazing Christmas tree farms in western Michigan.

Wahmhoff Farms Nursery, located in Gobles, opens the day after Thanksgiving. Visitors are welcome to come pick a Christmas tree. During their visit, they will also have the chance to take a wagon ride and enjoy some hot, fresh popcorn.

Starting in late November, you will also have the chance for a visit with Santa Claus, making it a perfect place for families to visit. 

Christmas Tree Farms, Winter In West Michigan
Christmas Tree Farm | photo via James Fry

Check Out the Annual Winter Beer Festival in Kalamazoo

January is a dreary time of the year, with the holidays over and the winter at its coldest and longest. So of course the citizens of Kalamazoo decided that it was the perfect time for a Winter Beer Festival!

This annual event takes place during the first month of the year and showcases local craft beers, brewers, and vendors from all over Michigan and most particularly the Kalamazoo region. This adult event is a great add-on to a winter romantic getaway in West Michigan.  

For another beer festival be sure to check out Grand Rapids as well!

More to Do During a Michigan Winter

It’s not just the western part of the state that comes to life during the winter months. There are many things to do throughout Michigan when the temperature starts to drop!

Many people enjoy going outside to take part in sports in Michigan in the winter, but you will also find seasonal festivals, family events, and holiday markets. Skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding are popular. 

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