If you’re looking for spectacular Christmas lights, holiday decorations, and activities, look no further than Michigan. This Midwestern state delivers holiday cheer across its many exciting cities and charming small towns. Choose a waterfront Michigan vacation rental along the shores of one of the Great Lakes, or stay at a trendy loft in downtown Detroit to enjoy renowned restaurants, museums, and city life. Take a look at the top five places in Michigan to see Christmas lights.
1. Wayne County Lightfest, Westland
Don’t let the cold Michigan winter hamper your quest to see holiday lights when you visit the Wayne County Lightfest. This is the largest display of lights and created holiday scenes that you can drive through in the state. Open from the middle of November and throughout the month of December each year, the Lightfest offers more than 45 light holiday displays, and many of them are animated to keep small kids entertained. Several nights throughout the holiday season, they offer the chance to see the lights for free with the donation of a toy.
After you finish the drive, stop by Santa’s Village. Here, kids delight as they climb onto Santa’s lap to share their holiday dreams and get a photo. Inside the village, there’s a concession stand that offers warm beverages to keep you warm and small snacks to stave off hunger before you can return to your vacation rental and cook dinner.
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2. Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic, Flint
Find hundreds of thousands of lights twinkling when you visit Crossroads Village for the Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic in Flint. This is an outdoor event so don’t forget your coat, gloves, hat, and scarf. Listen to holiday music as you look at the beautiful Christmas lights and walk past locals dressed in vintage holiday costumes. You’ll find local craftsmen creating vintage holiday gifts that you can purchase as a last minute gift, too. Many evenings, this event offers live entertainment from dance performances to local bands.
Get a cup of hot chocolate to stay warm as you wander past the model trains. This event also gives you and the kids the chance to take a ride on an actual train. The Huckleberry Railroad provides a festive evening ride to see more Christmas lights out the window as it moves along. Don’t forget to take the kids to see Santa and get their pictures taken.
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3. Nite Lites, Jackson
Stay warm in your car while you enjoy the three miles of lighted displays at the Nite Lites in Jackson. Each year from the end of November to the start of the new year, this light display festival welcomes visitors every night. The displays use a couple of million lights to get your family in the holiday spirit. Located at the Michigan International Speedway, this display features more than 60 themes each year and a 250-foot lighted tunnel. There is even a forest of lighted trees on display. See the live reindeer that make an appearance on three nights throughout the season. At the end of the drive, stop by the tent to see Santa Claus and get a photo with him and his elves. You’ll find a small gift shop with last minute stocking stuffers and hot beverages to keep you nice and toasty.
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4. Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo, Royal Oak
Go wild with Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak. After the sun goes down and the animals go to bed for the night, this zoo comes alive in a riot of Christmas colors and scenes. The zoo uses more than five million energy-efficient LED lights to illuminate the trees and buildings. They also use the lights to create animal displays and Christmas scenes. Purchase tickets online and early since this display is only available on the weekends starting in mid-November and closes at the end of the year. After walking through the park, you can enjoy the movie “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 4-D” at the 4-D Theater or don ice skates and see if you can manage a spin at the zoo’s temporary rink. The park also offers a carousel for kids and adults to take a spin as it plays Christmas tunes. Santa stops by every night for a photo op and the chance to share a wish or two.
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5. The Big, Bright Light Show, Rochester
The Big, Bright Light Show in Rochester is the must-see holiday display in Michigan. Every building in the downtown area comes alive in holiday lights so you can drive through town and see each building with its own distinct color or bundle up and stroll down the blocks. The more than one and a half million lights glow every evening from the end of November through the first week of January.
Get in some last minute shopping in the downtown area while you view the lights at James and Olive with its great selection of clothing or Cockeyed Sock Company for a pair of socks that are as cute as they are warm. You can get a warm drink and a sweet treat at Holy Cannoli’s or enjoy a meal at the Paint Creek Tavern.
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