Dazzling Holiday Light Displays in Michigan to See This Winter

Embrace the spirit of the holidays with a trip to one of these spectacular light displays.
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Drive through The Big Bright Light Show in Rochester or get out of your car and walk around the downtown area. // Photograph by Emily Morris

The holidays are almost here, and the halls in metro Detroit are getting decked with holiday light displays that are sure to put even the biggest Scrooge in the holiday spirit.

From special events that feature lights to communities that go all out this time of year, and even a couple of drive-thru options, here are 10 of our favorite local displays that you simply can’t miss this winter.

Wayne County Lightfest

The annual Wayne County Lightfest drive-thru display occupies four miles of Hines Park and features nearly 50 animated displays made up of more than 100,000 lights. The event runs 6-10 p.m. on select days. Enter the display on Merriman Road between Ann Arbor Trail and Warren Ave. Wednesday-Sunday Nov. 17-Dec. 24, closed Monday and Tuesday. $5 (cash only) per vehicle. Hines Park, 7651 N. Merriman Road, Livonia; waynecounty.com. 

Glenlore Trails: Aurora

Back by popular demand, Michigan’s original illuminated forest will offer a one-mile outdoor path that is illuminated by glowing lights, and full of seasonal story moments and other activities. Select nights Nov. 17-Dec. 23. $15-$25, free/kids 3 and under. Glenlore Trails, 3860 Newton Road, Commerce Township; glenloretrails.com. 

Magic of Lights

Drive through more than a mile of spectacular displays and digital animations that showcase beloved holiday characters. Highlights of this display include a 32-foot-tall holiday Barbie, the Bigfoot monster truck, life-sized dinosaurs, Mega tree displays. In addition, the drive-thru Blizzard Tunnel, along with the 12 Days of Christmas, Winter Wonderland, and The Nightmare Before Christmas displays, will return. Catch it 5:30-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5:30-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Nov. 18-Dec. 31. $20/vehicle Pine Knob Music Theatre, 33 Bob Segar Drive, Clarkston; magicoflights.com.  

Light Up Beacon Park

Detroit’s Beacon Park offers a two-part holiday celebration full of twinkling lights to enjoy. Bring your kids to the family-friendly experience from 5-9 p.m. on Nov. 18 to see the Children’s Tree light up for the season, and explore “Toyland,” which has light features, a train, giant teddy bear and more. It will remain open through Jan. 16. The Detroit Tree Lighting runs concurrently, and Campus Martius will be all decked out for the season too. Nov. 18-Jan. 16. Free admission. Beacon Park, 1901 Grand River Ave., Detroit; empoweringmichigan.com. 

Wild Lights

The Detroit Zoo, and all the animals that live there, are celebrating the holidays with 35 nights of light displays that feature millions of twinkling LED lights adorning the zoo’s buildings, trees, and sculptures. Plus, train rides, a 4D showing of The Polar Express, and the all-new Enchanted Trail. Select nights Nov. 19-Jan. 8. $17-$65, $8/parking. The Detroit Zoo, 8450 W. 10 Mile Road, Royal Oak; detroitzoo.org.

The Big, Bright Light Show

Downtown Rochester will glow as more than 1 million lights drape the area’s buildings and businesses. They will click on at 7 p.m. during Lagniappe (Creole for a little something extra) on Nov. 21 and will light up every evening from 5 p.m.-midnight through Jan. 21. You can drive through the downtown area to see them or take them in while you shop. Nov. 21-Jan. 21. Free. Downtown Rochester Hills; downtownrochester.com.

Night Lites

Take in this five-mile display from the comfort of your own car or hop aboard the Night Lites Express for a train ride through the lights. The display is open 5:30-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5:30-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Nov. 24-Dec. 31. $30-$45/vehicle; $60/train ride. Michigan International Speedway, 12626 US-12, Brooklyn; nitelitesshow.com.

Winter Wonder Lights  

Meadow Brook Hall hosts this self-guided outdoor event where everything is washed in a glow of holiday lights and sounds. It also offers unique concessions, such as glow-in-the-dark cotton candy, and drinks. Plus, bonfires and more seasonal activities. Nov. 25-Dec. 30. $12-$22. Meadow Brook Hall, 350 Estate Drive, Rochester; meadowbrookhall.org.

Holiday Lights at the Farm

The Farm Center at Wolcott Mill Metropark gets into the spirit of the holidays with traditional holiday decorations and thousands of sparkling lights. Listen to holiday music on a tractor ride around the farm fields to see them all. Pre-registration is required. Select nights Dec. 2-17. $8/person, free/kids under 2. Wolcott Mill Metropark, Farm Center, 65775 Wolcott Road, Ray Township; metroparks.com.

Holiday Lights  

Take a walk down Main Street in Greenfield Village to see carolers, fiddlers, and tons of lights adorning the village’s historic homes. Guests can also take a ride in an historic Model T or a horse-drawn carriage. There’s shopping, too. 6-10 p.m. on select days. Dec. 2-28. $26-$35, free/kids under 5. Greenfield Village, 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn; thehenryford.org.

Looking for even more holiday fun? Check out our list of Nutcracker and Holiday Shows in metro Detroit.

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