Christmas in Michigan: 20 Wonderful Places for Holiday Cheer

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

Christmas Michigan

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.

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

Christmas in Michigan

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 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. It’s always the Friday before Thanksgiving in downtown Lansing around 7:30pm. There’s an awesome display of fireworks and an Electric Light parade too!


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 of 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

Christmas in Michigan

Nothing feels quite like Christmas as much flying down some white powdery slopes. This expansive alpine and ski spot has over 60 runs and seven terrain parks to play in. The biggest 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 they opened their doors in 1948. The accommodation options are luxury lodges complete with hot tubs and warm fires to cozy up by and soak up the surrounding Christmas scenery. 


Fat Biking and Snowmobiling – Marquette

Christmas in Michigan
Travel 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. When you are doing make sure to check out Yellow Dog River Falls, it’s one of Michigan’s most beautiful waterfalls.


Ice Climbing Frozen Waterfalls in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Christmas in Michigan

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

Christmas in Michigan

Set in the scenic Upper Peninsula, Saint Ignace is one of the best places to visit in Michigan 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 and sandy hamlet that holds 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. 


Detroit

Credit: Downtown Detroit Partnership

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. It’s an extra festive (and free) event that includes horse-drawn carriage rides and live music. 


The Town of Christmas, Michigan

That’s right, folks – there’s actually 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, which makes 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 just 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 local this season.

You’ll discover wide selections of specialty shops for buying that perfect present for any loved ones that made it onto the nice list. 


Holiday Lights at Greenfield Village in Dearborn

@NickHagan

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 costume, 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, 26-28, but it’s best to check their website for up to date information.


Kerstmarkt in Holland

Kersmarkt is an outdoor European-style market full of merry magic in the wonderful 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 family 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 every year 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 reindeers all aglow with over 300,000 twinkle lights. It honors holiday cultures from around the world 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, of course, 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 a 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 differently each year. 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 offers many delicious holiday delicacies as well, 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 ride aboard the Polar Express for Christmas? 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 the world-famous Pere Marquette 1225 is has 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.

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About Natasha

Natasha is the co-founder of The World Pursuit. She is an expert in travel, budgeting, and finding unique experiences. She loves to be outside, hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow on her snowboard, and biking. She has been traveling for over 10 years experiencing unique cultures, new food, and meeting fantastic people. She strives to make travel planning and traveling easier for all. Her advice about international travel, outdoor sports, and African safari has been featured on Lonely Planet, Business Insider, and Reader’s Digest.

Learn more about Natasha Alden on The World Pursuit About Us Page.