Where to Find a Great Christmas Market or Festival in Michigan
Even though it’s still a bit off, I’m already looking forward to Christmas in Michigan, and getting my festive on with decked-out drive through Christmas lights, mugs of mulled cider, and mounds of good cheer.
We’ve sourced the top Christmas Markets and Christmas events in Michigan you simply won’t want to miss. As a British gal far from home, where Christmas is the big holiday (no Thanksgiving for us, obvs!) finding fabulous festive celebrations here makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, and I can’t wait to share these Christmassy delights with you.
If bustling stalls, warm drinks, and unique gifts are a bit of you, here’s the heads-up on Michigan’s best open-air Christmas markets this holiday season.
What is a Christmas market?
When I think of a Christmas market, I’m imagining mooching around craft stalls bursting with unique gift ideas, drinking mulled wine and hot chocolate, all whilst wrapped up in my coziest hat, scarf, and winter coat watching lights twinkle and listening to Christmas music.
Are there Christmas markets in Michigan?
Yes, there are Christmas markets in Michigan, BUT while you can find Christmas parades and Santa listings by the dozen, Christmas markets seem to be Michigan’s best-kept secret. This is why we’ve done the hard work for you, so you can add some fantastic celebrations to your calendar NOW.
When do they start?
Christmas events in Michigan start sooner than you think! Don’t wait until your family comes into town just ahead of the big day. Start getting your festive on early – with events beginning in November, you won’t want to miss out.
Christmas is coming!
Top-notch Michigan Christmas events can be hard to find, but they do exist!
I’m determined to bring you the best festive events this season to enjoy the lights, tastes, sounds, and sights of Christmas and have you rockin’ around the Christmas tree well before December 25.
Here’s the list:
1 – Victorian Sleighbell Parade & Old Christmas Weekend
December 1-4, 2022
Manistee, MI 49660
For one weekend only, downtown Manistee transforms into an old-time Christmas wonderland. From December 1-4, celebrate Christmas Victorian-style as the town hosts a tree festival, craft bazaar, art exhibitions, and ‘Santa’s Headquarters’ where the great man himself is waiting to receive Christmas lists from good little boys and girls!
Don’t miss the weekend’s most spectacular holiday parade at 5:30 pm on Saturday, December 3: horse-drawn carriages pull the 30-foot tree down historic River Street, accompanied by bagpipers, reindeer, and carolers, followed by the lighting of the tree and festive fireworks.
The full schedule of events (most are free, but some are ticketed) can be found here, and running enthusiasts can even sign up to run or walk the ‘Jingle Bell Jog’ at 10 am on Saturday morning (entry fee $20).
Where to stay ➞
2 – ChristKindlMarkt in Frankenmuth
3 Long Weekends: November 25-27; December 2-4, December 9-11 2022
Frankenmuth, MI 48734
Frankenmuth’s ‘ChristKindlMakt’ is the absolute epitome of everything I am looking for in a Christmas market! Artisan handmade gifts? Check. Spiced wine? Check. Magical and traditional atmosphere? Check.
It’s the largest open-air holiday market in mid-Michigan, spanning three weekends:
(Nov 25-27th; Dec 2nd-4th; Dec 9th-11th) in the run-up to the big day.
Fridays and Saturdays 11 am-8 pm, Sundays 11 am-4 pm.
Admission is free, so no excuse not to start your Christmas shopping early!
Take a spin on the new ice rink in the heart of the town, and catch the 7-minute spectacular light and music Christmas tree show at the Visitor Center, where you can also pick up a Christmas Experience guide and light tour map.
No visit would be complete without a trip to Bronners Christmas Wonderland (pictured), known as the world’s largest Christmas Store. You know you need one more bauble for your tree!
Where to See the Best Drive Thru Christmas Lights in Michigan
3 – Holland’s Kerstmarkt
Select dates, November 19 – December 10, 2022
8th Street Market Place, 150 W. 8th Street, Holland, MI 49423
Looking for unique gifts you won’t find anywhere else?
This year, Holland hosts its 25th Kerstmarkt! Running from Saturday, November 19 to Saturday, December 10, browse each artisan vendor’s wares from their delightful wooden huts at this traditional Dutch Christmas market at the 8th Street Marketplace. (See the schedule for specific daily times here.)
Enjoy live music, delicious food, and even dogsled demos! Fill those stockings with some truly special finds at this European-style Christmas market.
And, while you’re in town, get ticket’s to the city’s first-ever holiday light show, Magic at the Mill.
4 – The Big, Bright Light Show in Rochester
November 21st – January 15th, 2022
Downtown Rochester, MI 48307
Rochester seriously knows how to do the holiday season.
Downtown Rochester lights up in splendor on Monday 21st November for the Big Bright Light Show and the illuminations run all the way through to 15th January.
But that’s not all! Rochester also boasts a tree festival (Nov 18-20) at The Rochester Community House, which is free to attend, AND they host ‘Snowman Stroll’ (Nov 28-Jan 15) where local artists are encouraged to design 12 different fiberglass snowmen to line Main Street.
Plus their ‘Neighbourhood Light Fight’, where different streets compete against each other to have the best displays, runs from Dec 1-11, and you can vote for your favorite. They’ve got Christmas covered!
Michigan’s Best Christmas Trains
5 – Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village
December 2-4, 9-11, 15-23, 26-28, 2022
The Henry Ford, 20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn, MI 48124
Might you find yourself in Metro Detroit? Then look no further than Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village for a fully immersive yuletide experience.
At this 80-acre open-air museum outside of Detroit, enjoy an after-hours celebration of American holiday traditions (6:30-10 pm, members early entry from 6 pm, selected December weekends).
Explore the historic homes decorated in their holiday best, sample roasted chestnuts and other delicious Christmas treats along Main Street, be serenaded by carolers, ride a historic Model T, take a horse-drawn carriage or skate the ice rink.
The evening rounds off with a spectacular fireworks finale and sing-along.
Tickets start at $35 (age 12+) or $27.75 for members. Pre-sale to members start at 8 am on Wednesday, October 26. General tickets available from November 2, so put a reminder in your diaries to book!
This is my idea of festive heaven!
6 – Eastern Market Holiday Markets
Sundays, November 20 – December 18, 2022
Tuesday, November 22 – Thanksgiving Food Shopping
Saturday, December 24 – Last-Minute Gifts & Food Shopping
Eastern Market, 1445 Adelaide St Detroit, MI 48207
Another iconic Detroit Christmas experience: a visit to Eastern Market’s Holiday Market.
The Sunday dates at this Christmas market feature plenty of gift options including clothing, art, jewelry, and beauty products, helping you fill stockings with unique Michigan-made items.
Bonus Christmas Festivities
My calendar is now bursting with all these wonderful events to really get me in the Christmas mood!
But if you want (need) to squeeze in just a few more-
7 – Holiday Traditions Around the World & New Light Show
November 22, 2022 through January 8, 2023
Frederik Meijer Gardens – 1000 East Beltline Avenue NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Don’t forget that Frederik Meijer Gardens host their wonderful annual Christmas and Holiday Traditions event, where they celebrate cultures from all around the world.
The beautifully decorated trees from each country are stunning to view, and, new for this year, they have an immersive light show at the amphitheater (6 pm Dec 19-23 and 26-30). Free for members, or $18 adults, $13.50 students, and seniors, $8.50 children.
8 – Santa House in Midland
November 29 and after
The town of Midland, MI is another Christmas gem you’ll want to check out.
Their gorgeous Santa house (with occasional reindeer visits) opens the Tuesday evening after Thanksgiving for the season, for kids to visit the big man himself, PLUS they run a Christmas train throughout the Santa house season (apart from Dec 2-3).
Check here for Santa house and train dates, including dates set aside for those with sensory or accessibility needs. No advance tickets available, walk-ups only, so get there early.
PS- If it’s reindeer that you’re interested in, we do also have an article on Michigan reindeer farms that is a bit magical in itself.
Have a merry festive season y’all!