Southeast Michigan holiday events guide

'Tis the season for holiday events!

Whether you're looking for the perfect gift, photos with Santa, or want to see spectacular light displays, holiday activities are popping up everywhere.

This guide will be updated regularly so check back for more things to do!

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North Pole Express

  • Weekends through Dec. 19
  • Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso

Take a ride on the North Pole Express. The excursion will take you to the Village of Ashley’s Country Christmas and back.

Find more details here.

Downtown Detroit Markets

  • Through Dec. 31
  • Cadillac Square

Shop from local vendors and enjoy treats from the Cadillac Lodge.

The markets and lodge are open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

See a list of participating businesses here.

1001 Winter Wonders

  • Through Jan. 30
  • 1001 Woodward Ave.

This free North Pole-themed walk-thru includes ice paths, igloos, and a mailbox for letters to Santa. 

Winter Wonders will be open from 4-8 p.m. on Fridays and noon-4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Wayne County Lightfest

  • Through Dec. 31
  • Hines Park in Westland

Drive through a light show featuring more than 100,000 lights and nearly 50 animated displays.

The lightfest starts at the Merriman Road Hines Park entrance between Ann Arbor Trail and Warren Avenue in Westland.

It cost $5 per car, $20 per commercial van, RV, or limo, $25 for a mini bus with 20 passengers, and $50 for a bus with 40 or more passengers. Cash is the only payment accepted.

Find more details here.

Wild Lights

  • Through Jan. 9, 2022
  • Detroit Zoo

Lights will take over the Detroit Zoo again. Stroll the zoo and see millions of lights.

Tickets start at $17 and parking is $8. Get tickets here.

Ice Skating in Frankenmuth

  • Now through mid-February
  • Zehnder Park

The Frankenmuth Christmas Experience includes a a driving light tour, the city's large Christmas tree, and a home decorating contest. Also this year, there is an ice skating rink.

The rink is open from 4-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Sundays.

Skating is $10 and rental skates are $3.

Canterbury Village Holiday Stroll

  • Nov. 24, 26-28, Dec. 3-5, 10-12, 17-19, 23
  • Canterbury Village in Lake Orion

Walk through a holiday display of lights and decorations. There will be carolers, s'mores, hot cocoa, beer, hard ciders, cocktails, and wine to enjoy.

Tickets are $14.99. Children under 2, active military members, and veterans are free.

Get tickers here.

Nite Lites Christmas Light Show

  • Nov. 25 through Dec. 31
  • Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn

A 5 mile stretch of MIS boasts one million lights and about 500 lighted displays.

The cost is $25 per vehicle Sunday through Thursday and $30 per vehicle on Friday and Saturday. Limos, motorhomes, and minibusses are $4,  and tour buses are $100.

Gates open at 5:30 p.m. every day and close at 9 p.m. The show goes until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Get more info here.

Tunnel of Lights

  • Nov. 26 through Jan. 9, 2022
  • Blossom Heath Park in St. Clair Shores

See the lights decking out Blossom Heath Park from 5-9 p.m.

On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, there will be food trucks.

Glenlore Trails Aurora

  • Nov. 26, through Jan. 2, 2022
  • Glenlore Trails in Commerce Township

This one-mile trail has been transformed for the winter. See the lights and experience the magic of the outdoor attraction that changes with the seasons.

Tickets are $25 for people 13-64, $20 for people 65 and older, and $15 for children 4-12. Children 3 and younger are free.

Buy tickets here.

Santaland Parade

  • Nov. 27 at 10 a.m.
  • Downtown Garden City

Garden City's annual parade returns this year. The event will also be live-streamed if you can't make it. Watch it here.

Depot Town Holiday Market and Tree Lighting Celebration

  • Nov. 28 from noon-7 p.m.
  • Ypsilanti Freighthouse

The annual tree lighting will start with a holiday market from noon until 4 p.m. at the Frieghthouse in Depot Town

Then, the tree next to Aubree's Pizzeria will be lit at 6 p.m.

The YCHS Choir will perform and there will be cider, hot cocoa, cookies, other treats, and photos with Santa at the frieghthouse afterward.

Christmas in the Village

  • Dec. 3-4
  • Northville Historical Society & Mill Race Village

The Village will be decorated for the season. It includes a Christmas Market, holiday inflatables, Santa and Mrs Claus, Christmas music, and more.

Tickets are $10 for members and $12 for nonmembers.

Buy tickets here.

Winter Markt

  • Dec. 3-5
  • Birmingham Shopping District

The annual Winter Markt event features displays from local artists, European cuisine, thousands of holiday lights, ice sculptures, entertainment and more. Warming stations, visits with Santa, live reindeer on Dec. 5, and the Kinderhaus children’s activity area.

Also, the Birmingham Holiday Tree Lighting will be held on Friday at 6 p.m.

Get more details here.

Holiday Ale Trail

  • Dec. 4 from 1-5 p.m.
  • Detroit Historical Museum

Detroit’s Brewing Heritage at the Detroit Historical Museum is closing with a sampling of holiday beers.

Tickets are $30 for museum members and $40 for non-members. Get them here.

Christmas at the Fort 

  • Dec. 4 at 2 p.m.
  • Fort Wayne in Detroit

This tour showcases Christmas traditions of the past. Meet soldiers and civilians from the Revolutionary to Spanish-American Wars and learn how Christmas was celebrated in their eras.

There is also a gift shop.

Tickets are $10 per person and $5 for children 5 and younger. Get tickets here.