Holiday Festivals and Tree Lightings in Metro Detroit and Beyond

Get details on some of the biggest holiday happenings in southeast Michigan and the surrounding area.
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Light Up Beacon Park will take place on Nov. 17, 2023. // Photograph by Doug Coombe

Looking for a magical way to celebrate the incoming season? Communities across metro Detroit and the surrounding area are gearing up for the holidays with festivals and tree lightings galore.

Find details on some of those events including Wayne County Lightfest, Detroit’s tree lighting, the Holly Dickens Festival, Noel Night, Rochester’s Lagniappe, and so many others in this handy guide.

Blissfield Yuletide Festival

Vendors set up at 121 South Lane and 124 South Lane kick off the event selling handcrafted items and food. Santa arrives at 6:30 p.m. and is ready to meet kids across from Historic Depot. Plus, carriage rides, live reindeer, performances by the Blissfield High School Small Ensemble, crafts, and more. Nov. 10-12. Fees vary by activity. Blissfield area; blissfieldmainstreet.com.  

Wayne County Lightfest

This annual drive-thru display features nearly 50 animated holiday displays that use more than 100,000 lights. Tune in to AM 1640 when you’re three to five miles away to get regular updates on wait times, traffic flow, and more. Nov. 16-Dec. 24. $5 per car, $20 for commercial vans, $25 for mini-buses, $50 for passenger busses, cash only. 7651 N. Merriman Road, Westland; waynecounty.com.

Silver Bells in the City

Thousands of people gather to take in millions of twinkling lights that adorn the city. In addition to the light displays, this holiday tradition features a variety of holiday events including a lighted parade in celebration of Santa’s arrival, fireworks, a holiday vendor market, the lighting of Michigan’s official Christmas tree, and so much more. Nov. 17. No cost for admission. Downtown Lansing area; silverbellsinthecity.com.  

20th Annual Detroit Tree Lighting

Downtown Detroit Partnership and DTE Energy Foundation present the 20th installment of Detroit’s tree lighting. Head downtown to see the 64-foot Michigan-grown Norway spruce illuminated by thousands of multi-colored lights. Performances by Olympic figure skaters, holiday shopping, music, food trucks, and more. Nov. 17. No cost for admission. Campus Martius Park, Detroit; downtowndetroit.org. 

Light Up Beacon Park

Bring the kids to Beacon Park for their very own tree lighting — complete with ornaments created by Detroit children — along with visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, real reindeer, “Polar Express” rides, music, and food trucks. There will also be gigantic light-up features including a giant walk-thru snowflake and a 15-foot infinity snow globe. Nov. 17. No cost for admission. Beacon Park, Detroit; downtowndetroit.org.

Canterbury Village Tree Lighting

Canterbury Village is ringing in the holidays with caroling, holiday shopping, hot cocoa and cider, costumed characters, and tree lighting. Bring a box of cereal to support The Village Food Pantry. Nov. 17. No cost for admission. 2325 Joslyn Court, Lake Orion; canterburyvillage.com.

Holiday Happenings

There’s a holiday parade that makes its way through the downtown area between Sycamore and Biddle before the community turns on the tree. Nov. 17. No cost for admission, Downtown Wyandotte area; wyandotte.net.

Downtown Rochester Festival of Trees

Walk through beautifully decorated trees, wreaths, tablescapes, centerpieces and more. Visit with Santa, too. Nov. 18. No cost for admission. Rochester Community House, 816 Ludlow Ave., Rochester; downtownrochestermi.com.

Blake’s Holiday Extravaganza

Spend the day at Blake’s for local maker and artisan booths, u-pick trees, fresh evergreen wreaths and other décor, ice skating, igloo dining, a tree lighting and more. Nov. 18-19 and 24-26. No cost for admission but advance registration is required. Blake’s Orchard & Cider Mill, 17985 Armada Center Road, Armada; blakefarms.com.

Tree Lighting Celebration

The Mall at Partridge Creek is gearing up for holiday shopping season by turning on the tree. Plus, complimentary face painting, free cider and donuts, live music, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and more. Nov. 19. No cost for admission. 17420 Hall Road, Clinton Township; shoppartridgecreek.com. 

Festival of Trees

Help support the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation with a preview of beautifully decorated trees, wreaths, and other holiday décor. Nov. 19-26. $5 for adults, $3 for kids, free for kids under 2. Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; fot.org.  

Lagniappe

For 50 years, the merchants in downtown Rochester have offered their customers “a little something extra,” around the holidays. This year’s event includes performances by The Keynote Sisters and the Meadow Brook Carolers, the debut of the Big, Bright Light Show, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and more. Nov. 20. No cost for admission. Downtown Rochester area; downtownrochestermi.com.

Canterbury Village Holiday Stroll

Kids are invited to bring their letters to Santa and drop them in his mailbox and explore holiday displays that feature live characters. Nov. 22, 24-26, Dec. 1-3, 8-19, 15-17, and 21-23. Canterbury Village, 2325 Joslyn Court, Lake Orion; canterburyvillage.com.  

Fantasy of Lights & Fantasy 5K

State Street transform into Festival Street and offers everything from holiday shopping, to visits with Santa and his reindeer, and live entertainment. This event also features one of the longest-running holiday parades in the area and a 5K race. Nov. 24. No cost for admission. Downtown Howell area; howell.org/fantasy-of-lights.

Holly Dickens Festival

This year marks the 50th anniversary for this annual festival, which transforms historic Holly into a scene right out of a Charles Dickens story. Wander the streets for live music and performances, try delicious food, and shop local vendors. It all kicks off with a lighted parade on Nov. 24. Nov. 25-26, Dec. 2-3, and Dec. 9-10. No cost for admission. Downtown Holly area; hollydickensfestival.org.

Christmas in Frankenmuth

Michigan’s Little Bavaria is celebrating Christmas with a driving light tour, a spectacular Christmas tree, Mid-Michigan’s largest open-air holiday market Frankenmuth ChristKindlMarket, and an ice rink. The entire community is decorating for the season to compete in the neighborhood decoration competition. Be sure to visit Bronner’s to visit with Santa, too. Kicks off Nov. 24. No cost for admission. Downtown Frankenmuth area; frankenmuth.org. 

The Holidays at Meadow Brook

Meadow Brook celebrates the holidays with its Holiday Walk and Winter Wonder Lights events. The Holiday walk will take you on a tour of the historic mansion, which is decked out in its holiday best, while Winter Wonder Lights takes you around the grounds to see the breathtaking seasonal displays. Nov. 24-Dec. 30. $20.50 for adult holiday walk, $8 for kids 3-12 Holiday Walk, $22.50 for Winter Wonder Lights, $12.50 for kids 3-12 Winter Wonder Lights, free kids under 2. Meadow Brook Hall, 350 Estate Drive, Rochester; meadowbrookhall.org.

Home for the Holidays at Ford House

Take an evening self-guided through the beautifully lit historic estate. As you make your way around the home and grounds, you’ll hear stories about its history. Each ticket includes hot chocolate. Nov. 24-Dec. 30. $20-$30 for adults, $10-$15 for kids. Edsel & Eleanor Ford House, 1100 Lake Shore Road, Grosse Pointe Shores; fordhouse.org.

Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo

Visit the zoo to take in spectacular light displays themed to animals that live at the zoo. The event takes place in the front half of the zoo and animal habitats are not accessible during the event. Nov. 24-Jan. 7. $17+. Detroit Zoo, 8450 W. 10 Mile Road, Royal Oak; detroitzoo.org.

Winter Carnival

Enjoy performances by the Turkey Trot Dancers, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, check out light displays, and explore cars decorated for the season. Nov. 25. Toys for Tots donation required for admission. Mill Race Historical Village, 215 Griswold St., Northville; mayburfarm.org.

Annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Depot Town

Find live reindeer, free unicorn rides, strolling caroling with Crystal Harding’s children’s choir, and snacks including cookies, hot cocoa, and cider. Gifts from Santa and the community tree lighting, too. Nov. 26. No cost for admission. Depot Town, 39 E. Cross St., Ypsilanti; cityofypsilanti.com.

Madison Heights Holiday Tree Lighting

Santa will be on site to turn on the holiday lights for the season. Plus, free cookies and cocoa, holiday music and photos with Santa. Nov. 27. No cost for admission. Madison Heights City Hall, 300 W. 13 Mile Road, Madison Heights; madison-heights.org. 

Christmas Aglow

Watch a 34-foot Christmas tree light up to guide Santa Claus to town. Enjoy these festivities along with hot chocolate, horse-drawn carriage rides, marshmallow roasting, “Holiday Express” train display, and live reindeer. Nov. 30. No cost for admission. Shelby Township Municipal Campus, 52700 Van Dyke Ave., Shelby Township; shelbytwp.org.

Auburn Hills Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony

Embrace the holiday magic as you watch the tree light up for the first time this season. Dec. 1. No cost for admission. Downtown Auburn Hills area; auburnhills.org. 

Chesterfield Christmas Tree Lighting with Santa and Mrs. Claus

Santa joins in the fun at this community tradition, which offers visits with The Big Guy and the lighting of the Christmas tree. Dec. 1. No cost for admission. Downtown Chesterfield area; parks.chesterfield.com.

Tree Lighting Festival

Watch the giant tree light up after Santa and his reindeer arrive. Other activities include face painting, kids’ crafts, ice sculpting, horse and carriage rides, food, beer, and live music. Dec. 1. No cost for admission. Wixom Community Center, 49015 Pontiac Trail, Wixom; wixomgov.org. 

Holiday Lighting Fest

Kick off the holidays by welcoming Santa to town and the lighting of the community’s holiday display. There will also be refreshments, crafts, music, live reindeer, photos with Santa, and special giveaways. Dec. 1. No cost for admission. Macomb Township Recreation Center, 20699 Macomb St., Macomb; macomb-mi.gov.

Hometown Holiday

The evening begins with free Jet’s pizza and hot cocoa from Lakehouse Bakery (while supplies last). It ends with the official tree lighting and Christmas sing-alongs. Dec. 1. No cost for admission. Pierce Park, Chelsea; chelseamich.com. 

Christmas in Ida

Experience the magic of the holiday season at this winter wonderland. It all kicks off with the parade of lights, which features two hours of illuminated and animated displays. After, explore a craft and vendor show, watch the high-flying BMX show, listen to the Jingle Bell Rockout concert, check out ice sculptures, and much more. Dec. 1-2. Ida East St. area, Ida; christmasinida.com. 

Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village

This event has been a holiday tradition in metro Detroit for nearly 25 years. Explore the 80-plus acres of the village for holiday goods, seasonal food and warm drinks, Model T rides, and horse-drawn wagon rides. There’s also carolers, bonfires, and fireworks. Dec. 1-3, 8-10, 14-17, 19-23, and 26-28. $29.25-$32.50 for adults, $24.25 for kids 5-11, free for kids 4 and under. Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn; thehenryford.org.

Christmas in the ‘Ville

This all-day Christmas celebration kicks off with a hot air balloon show and breakfast with St. Nick. As the day progresses, there will be a cookie walk Christmas story times, holiday crafts, a pet parade, hay and sleigh rides, visits with Santa, and even a parade. Dec. 2. No cost for admission. Downtown Fowlerville area; michigan.org/event/christmas-ville or christmasintheville.com.  

Noel Night

More than 80 cultural and educational institutions, small businesses, galleries, restaurants, and more participate in this 49th annual event. Explore some of these organizations, shop pop-up markets, enjoy seasonal food and drink, check out artwork and performances, and more. Dec. 2. No cost for admission. Midtown Detroit area; noelnight.org.

Holiday Extravaganza

The communities of Auburn Hills, Pontiac, Waterford, and White Lake come together to put on this annual festival, which includes the annual parade, meet-and-greets with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and a jolly 5K run. Dec. 2. Fees apply. Downtown Pontiac area; holidayextravaganza.org.  

2023 City of Warren Tree Lighting

The city of Warren is ringing in the holidays with an evening of seasonal fun including ice skating, photos with Santa, live music, a parade, and a tree lighting. Dec. 2. No cost for admission. Warren City Square; cityofwarren.org. 

Menorah in the D

Celebrate Hannukah with greetings from community leaders and the annual lighting of a massive 26-foot Menorah. The event also features strolling entertainment, kosher eats, Chanukah treats, games and more. It’s all broadcast live on the event’s website. Dec. 7. No cost for admission. Campus Martius, Detroit; menorahinthed.com.  

Krampusnacht

This first-ever event aims to “capture the spirit of old work European Krampus celebrations” with a traditional Krampus parade, a costume contest, the vendor market Misfit Market, photos with Krampus, games, visits with Santa, and more. This event may feature a few scares. Dec. 9. Fees may apply. Old Town Neighborhood, Lansing; facebook.com

Holiday Hoopla & Tree Lighting

Enjoy photos with Santa, visits with reindeer, crafts, cookie decorating, and more ahead of the community tree lighting. Dress for the weather. Dec. 9. No cost for admission. Waterford Town Hall, 5200 Civic Center Drive, Waterford; waterfordmi.gov. 

Taylor Winterfest & Stroll

Make a reservation in advance to take a stroll by carolers and characters, check out the Holiday Barn, snap a photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and more. Dec. 15-17 and 22-23. Heritage Park, Taylor; cityoftaylor.com.   

Winter Beer & Holiday Cocktail Festival

Purchase a ticket and get a glass and 12 sampling tickets to try a selection of seasonal beers or unique holiday-themed cocktails. Live music, too. This event is 21+ only. Dec. 16. Fees apply. District 142, 142 Maple St., Wyandotte; 360eventproductions.com.

Kwanzaa at The Wright

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is once again hosting its annual Kwanzaa celebration. It all kicks off with the lighting of the Motor City Kwanzaa Kinara downtown followed by special events and programming celebrating the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith). Dec. 26-Jan. 1. No cost for the Kinara lighting. Additional fees may apply for some events. Various locations, Detroit; thewright.org.  

Did we miss your favorite holiday festival or tree lighting? Tell us about it in the comments so we can add it to our list.