The Christmas season in Michigan is one of the most magical times of the year! What better place to feel festive than the wintery wonderland of Michigan? This great state is full of must-see celebrations for everyone.
A merry mood will be well on its way with a visit to any of these awesome attractions. Embrace the holiday spirit at all of these best places to visit in Michigan for Christmas.
Where to spend Christmas in Michigan
Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth
A perfect place to begin your jolly journey is, of course, at the world’s largest Christmas store. Heading here is one of the best things to do in Frankenmuth, especially in the winter. There are over 6,000 ornaments to browse and buy at the famous Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. Yes, that automatically bumps it to the top of this Christmas Michigan list.
It’s open all year round but definitely has an extra special feel this time of year. Miles of Christmas lights cover the grounds, and there’s even an enchanting chapel to check out.
Take part in a sing-along of carols while shopping for every favorite adornment imaginable, including trees, garlands, nativities, stockings, advent calendars, and more.
Michigan’s Official Christmas Tree in Lansing
The official Christmas tree in Lansing is a time-honored tradition that has been going on at the State Capitol for decades. First, they search Michigan high and low for the perfect specimen of a tree, taking nominations from local helpers all around. It’s always tall, never failing to impress and delight, with a towering height requirement of at least 60 feet.
It can be a spruce or a fir, and once transported to the capitol, it is ceremoniously lit for all the town to see. It’s a lovely way to commence the festive season we all know and love.
The best time to see this tree is during the annual Silver Bells in the City, which is the official lighting of this massive tree and one of the best things to do for Christmas in Michigan. It’s always the Friday before Thanksgiving in downtown Lansing around 7:30 pm. There’s an incredible display of fireworks and an Electric Light parade too! Afterward, make sure to check out one of these fantastic Lansing restaurants!
America’s Tallest Singing Christmas Tree in Muskegon
Set in Muskegon’s performing arts center, the tallest singing Christmas tree is just what Santa ordered to cure any winter blues. It’s made of metal, covered in brightly colored lights, and 67 feet tall. A beloved community tradition since the 1980s, it’s a beautiful way to celebrate the holidays here.
All 240 members of the Mona Shore High School Choir gather together inside the tree and belt out all the Christmas classics. It’s an elaborate performance perfect for some extra cheer.
Skiing at Boyne Mountain Resort – Boyne Falls
Nothing feels quite like Christmas in Michigan as much as flying down some white powdery slopes. This expansive alpine and ski spot has over 60 runs and seven terrain parks to play in. The most significant vertical drop is 500 feet, and there are 12 lifts to carry you back up the mountainsides after catching serious air.
Skiing at Boyne Mountain Resort is a popular pastime in the state and has been since it opened its doors in 1948. The accommodation options are luxury lodges with hot tubs and warm fires to cozy up and soak up the surrounding Christmas scenery.
Fat Biking and Snowmobiling – Marquette
If you’ve never heard of fat biking, Marquette is the ideal place to learn all about it. In this quaint Michigan county in the Upper Peninsula, there are over 60 miles of well-groomed single-track snow bike trails to traverse. Fat biking is a thrilling challenge for all outdoor adventure enthusiasts. The oversized tires on these off-roading vehicles make exploring any conditions a joy.
Their annual snowfall is so high, and their population is full of dedicated bikers who enjoy embracing their wondrous wintery landscape. Make sure to check out Yellow Dog River Fall; it’s one of Michigan’s most beautiful waterfalls.
Ice Climbing Frozen Waterfalls in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Ice Climbing usually begins in early December at the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Munising, perfect timing for a festive athletic outing. The many waterfalls in the region are transformed through cold temperatures and ample lake snow effect into ethereal icy curtains you can actually climb up.
Some are up to 50 feet high. Try Trout Bay, Miners Falls, Munising Falls, and Sand Point for the most majestic and merry ice-climbing excursions.
Saint Ignace City
Set in the scenic Upper Peninsula, Saint Ignace is one of Michigan’s best places to visit for Christmas. Within this tiny community, you’ll find an abundance of fun outdoor activities to try, from ice golfing to ice skating to sledding to snowmobiling.
A short ferry ride away lies Mackinac Island, a small sandy hamlet with a renowned Christmas Bazaar and tree lighting.
This annual event has a charmingly old-fashioned feel to it. The Hometown Christmas Stationary Parade will march through the streets of Saint Ignace, showing off carolers in costume and festive floats for all to enjoy with a cup of hot cocoa in hand.
This vibrant city is full of holly, jolly holiday-themed events, pop-ups, and parties to partake in. Campus Martius Park has one of the best ice skating rinks in the state. It’s open until midnight and boasts the breathtaking Detroit Christmas tree as a backdrop. Playground Detroit offers a pop-up market for fulfilling all your gift-giving needs with goods made by local artists and creators.
Feast on fine fare inside Lumen’s Igloos at Beacon Park or visit Sippin Santa at The Skip for Christmas cocktails that really go all out. A drive down Lake Shore Drive is a sight to behold, with some of the fanciest abodes in town all decked out with holiday displays.
Early in December, museums around the city open their doors for Midtown Detroit Noel Night, which is one of the best Michigan Christmas activities. It’s an extra festive (and free) event that includes horse-drawn carriage rides and live music. Definitely one of the best things to do in Detroit.
The Town of Christmas, Michigan
That’s right, folks – there’s a tiny town in Michigan named Christmas! Aside from its telling title, there are so many merry reasons to head here for the holidays. Every business in town touts a Santa Claus theme which is adorably kitschy all the time and even more magical in December. You might think you’ve stumbled into the set for a Hallmark movie.
The 35-foot tall Santa is only one of many claims to Christmas fame here. The Yule Log Resort is the picture-perfect place to spend some spirited time in a winter wonderland. Be sure to mail some Christmas cards from town and take advantage of that extra special postmark. There’s plenty of snow in this part of Michigan, making it a super fun time to try snowmobiling in the Upper Peninsula!
Olde World Canterbury Village in Lake Orion
Less of a shopping center and more of a festive fairy tale, Olde World Canterbury might be the ultimate gift-buying destination in Michigan. It’s adorned with bright lights everywhere you look and offers a super way to shop small and support locals this season.
You’ll discover wide selections of specialty shops to buy that perfect present for any loved ones that made it to the nice list.
Holiday Lights at Greenfield Village in Dearborn
Come Christmas season, Greenfield Village in Dearborn becomes a beacon of yuletide. Take a trip back in time and treat yourself to some old-fashioned Christmas cheer at this famous Henry Ford attraction. Historic homes are decorated traditionally, and Main Street is filled with handmade goods and warm beverages.
You’ll find roasting chestnuts, carolers in period costumes, reindeer appearances, and cozy bonfires. Fireworks fill the sky every night for an impressive display of holiday fun. Holiday nights are December 3-5, 9-12, 16-23, and 26-28, but it’s best to check their website for updated information.
Kerstmarkt in Holland
Kersmarkt is an outdoor European-style market full of merry magic in the beautiful city of Holland. It translates to Christmas Market in Dutch and is a classic annual affair in the Netherlands. They provide traditional bites, beverages, and entertainment. You’ll find holiday gifts from local vendors and even artisan and dog sled demonstrations.
Each booth is historically crafted with care for this open-air scene and filled with everything from trees and wreaths to clothing and jewelry to folk art and toys. It’s a great place to gather and wander through the wonderful wares available. The Kersmarkt runs from November 20 – December 11; it’s a short and sweet time but wonderful for families searching for that perfect Michigan Christmas.
Afterward, head into town and sit at Big Lake Brewing for a brew at one of the best breweries in Michigan!
The Big Bright Light Show in Rochester
Throughout December, downtown Rochester is adorned with literally millions of colorful lights. A stroll around these festive streets quickly fills us with that Christmas feeling. The Big Bright Lightshow has been around for over a decade and runs from before Thanksgiving to after the New Year. Each building picks a different color to decorate the entire facade with.
It runs all the way from November to January, offering plenty of chances to get a gander. Be sure to catch the Snowglow here as well, which includes ice sculptures and carving demonstrations. This twinkling wonderland is a must-see in during Christmas in Michigan.
Festival of Wreaths in Muskegon
What was once the Festival of Trees hosted yearly by the Muskegon Museum of Art has recently been transformed into a delightfully spirited Wreath Walk. It’s spread all throughout the charming downtown of Muskegon, where every local business and organization designs an elaborate wreath display to discover. There’s also a gallery exhibit and a Hot Cocoa Hop at the MMA to enjoy.
Metro Health Christmas and Holiday Traditions in Grand Rapids
The Metro Health Chrismas is an annual exhibition that rolls all kinds of rollicking Christmas activities into one joyous event. It’s set in the scenic surroundings of the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. You’ll find 46 internationally inspired trees representing a diverse selection of countries.
There are carefully handcrafted creative displays, virtual Santa encounters, and rooftop reindeer, all aglow with over 300,000 twinkle lights. It honors holiday cultures worldwide for a truly well-rounded Christmas experience. It’s a botanical wonderland sure to enchant even the most stubborn Scrooge. This event has a long operating date – from the end of November until after the New Year!
Annual Wonderland of Lights in Lansing
The Potter Park Zoo of Lansing is a perfect pick for getting into the holiday spirit, especially with the kiddos. Their Wonderland of Lights is exactly what you may expect, with the added bonus of cute creatures to encounter. There are thousands of twinkling displays and fun, festive activities like cookie decorating and Christmas crafts.
Santa is there for photo ops, and you can even take a peek into his wonder-filled workshop. It’s surely a shiny seasonal staple of this capital city.
Holiday Walk at Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester
Meadow Brook Hall is a family favorite of all the best places to visit in Michigan for Christmas. It’s a massive mansion on an 88,000-square foot estate that offers a Holiday Walk full of unforgettable glitter galore.
They sure know how to deck the halls, including 50 themed trees with all the trimmings, one of which is a giant living poinsettia creation. Each historic room is expertly designed and adorned each year differently. It’s an evening full of enchanting spirit and splendor.
Hollydazzle: A Renaissance Christmas in Holly
Located inside Hollygrove, a recreation of a 16th-century village, this is a shimmering holiday spectacle like no other and one of the most romantic places in Michigan to enjoy. The grounds are covered in magical light displays stretched out over a three-quarter-mile trail. It’s a super spot for some Insta-worthy Christmas shots.
Inspired by an earlier era, old-world charm abounds at Hollydazzle. The on-site sweets shop also offers many delicious holiday delicacies, from fruit bread to fudge.
Nite Lites at Michigan International Speedway
Nite Lites at MIS is the drive-thru Christmas lights show of all our dreams. From the comfort of your own car, you can take in over 500 elaborate exhibitions at the largest lights display in the entire state. The Michigan International Speedway is known as the fastest NASCAR track most of the year, but the famous Pit Road truly transforms into a winter wonderland for Christmas.
It’s a five-mile route that weaves its way through thousands of lights, including six tunnels and 15 mega trees. Blast your favorite Christmas tunes and bask in the ambiance of these magical masterpieces.
North Pole Express in Owosso
What could be cooler than an actual Christmas ride aboard the Polar Express? Located at the Steam Railroading Institute, the North Pole Express is a jolly journey has become quite the festive fan favorite in Michigan.
The ride on the world-famous Pere Marquette 1225 is as holiday-themed as it gets, with train cars decked out to the max. It’s an authentic steam locomotive that takes you through the wintry Michigan countryside to a village named Ashley, which hosts a quaint community celebration.
Sip hot cocoa while writing a letter to Santa and listening to the sweet sounds of Christmas carols. It’s a four-hour adventure in total, with an hour spent on the actual train each way.
READ MORE MICHIGAN TRAVEL TIPS
I hope you enjoyed this guide on where to spend a Michigan Christmas. Here are a few relevant articles for more travel around Michigan.
- Things to do in Traverse City
- Things to do in Saugatuck
- Things to do in Petoskey
- Things to do in Ludington
- 21 Places to See Beautiful Michigan Fall Colors
- 23 Best Things to do in Michigan
Plan For Your Trip
- Protect Your Trip: We don’t travel without travel insurance, nor should you. You never know what can happen while traveling, so it’s best to be prepared. HeyMondo provides excellent short-term and long-term travel insurance plans.
- Find Cheap Flights: Sign up for Going (formerly Scotts Cheap Flights) to get notified when prices get low.
- Book a Rental Car: We use Discover Car to book all our rental cars! You can also read our top tips for renting a car abroad here.
- Travel Adapter: Make sure you find a good adapter to keep your personal electronics charged. Otherwise, you may be paying for a cheap one once you land. Purchase one here.
- Travel Backpack: We like the Nomatic Travel Backpack for our travels. Check the price here.
- Our Favorite Travel Shoes: Our answer to this question is always ALLBIRDS! Check them out on their site!
- Get a Travel Credit Card: We travel worldwide for free because we have leveraged our spending into points. See why you should get a travel credit card and how you can do the same with our favorite travel credit cards.