When the halls have all been decked with boughs of holly, sugar cookies with perfectly piped icing line sheets of parchment all over the kitchen, and the Hallmark holiday movie marathon's been watched on repeat for weeks — there's no better time to form some festive, new family traditions here in Michigan's Great Lakes Bay!
And, from the aisles of the world's largest Christmas store to the heated tents of a traditional, European-style Christmas market, quaint candlewalks to city-wide celebrations — our festive holiday gathering spots are welcoming you to climb on for a horse-drawn carriage ride, grab a cup of hot cocoa, and bask in the simple joys of Pure Michigan at Christmastime.
Holiday Traditions & Festivals
Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland (Frankenmuth) — Year-round — The world's largest Christmas store, dripping in 50,000+ trims and gifts, more than 300 decorated trees, and over 8,000 styles of ornaments! Have your finds signed by the artists themselves during special ornament signing events and make time for a memorable drive down Christmas Lane, where 100,000 twinkling lights are illuminated dusk ‘til midnight, every night of the year.
Zehnder's Holiday How-To's (Frankenmuth) — November 13 - 15, 2018 — Hands-on classes led by the Zehnder's pros that'll have you hosting a fabulous holiday party or learning to bake treats like Braided Butterhorn Coffeecake, just in time for your holiday soirées!
Holidays in the Heart of the City (Saginaw) — November 16, 2018 — City lighting ceremony, free horse-drawn carriage rides and holiday concerts, 1,200+ luminaries lining the streets alongside food vendors, and fireworks over Ojibway Island!
Frankenmuth Christkindlmarkt (Frankenmuth) — November 23 - 25 & November 30 - December 2, 2018 — Outdoor, European-style holiday marketplace under toasty-warm tents filled with artisan wares. Shop everything from hand-poured seasonal candles to festive holiday decor, greenery and garlands to baked goods, while you cozy into one of Time magazine's "9 Most Christmassy Towns in America".
Holiday Celebration & Candlewalk (Frankenmuth) — November 23, 2018 — Hot cocoa and cookies at Frankenmuth River Place Shops, followed by a candlelit stroll to the Frankenmuth Chamber Platz for the community tree lighting celebration and visits with Santa.
Chesaning Christmas Candlelight Walk (Chesaning) — November 23-24, 2018 — Streets lined with hand-lit luminaries, free horse-drawn carriage rides, and an annual tree lighting extravaganza. Browse the Festival of Trees, see Santa and real, live reindeer, and join in an "O, Christmas Tree" village-wide sing-along, straight from the pages of a storybook.
Santa's Village - The North Pole USA (Chesaning) — Saturdays & Sundays, November 24 - December 16, 2018 — 25,000-square-foot Christmas wonderland, 175+ beautifully trimmed trees, model train display, holiday carnival rides, Christmas-themed crafts, and visits with Santa himself.
Sundays in the City (Bay City) — Sundays, November 25 - December 16, 2018 — Magical holiday memories made throughout Downtown Bay City, on the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. Strolling carolers, free horse-drawn carriage rides, and classic holiday films shown inside the historic State Theatre.
Midland Santa House (Midland) — November 28 - December 23, 2018 — Home to the world's oldest Santa Claus School, and open seasonally for visits with Santa and the Mrs. — not to mention their real-life reindeer! Take advantage of this magical photo op and follow it with a ride along our festive Downtown Midland streets aboard the miniature, trackless Northern Star Train.
Dow Gardens Christmas Walks (Midland) — December 6 - 8 & December 14 - 15, 2018 — Stroll the snow-covered beauty of this garden for all seasons, softly illuminated by candlelight, and listen to live carolers along the paths. Meet Santa's reindeer, sip hot cocoa in the historic barn, and stop to warm up inside the conservatory, where you'll find a towering poinsettia display, too!
Holiday Makers Markets (Multiple Cities) — Dates vary by event — From The Great Lakes Market - Winter Market in Bay City to the Weekend In The Country Holiday Market in Birch Run, shop seasonal wares at these festive holiday spots.
Holiday Concerts & Films
Temple Theatre (Saginaw) — Dates vary by event — From Holiday Movie Double Features to the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra's "Magic of the Holidays" concert, enjoy it all inside this historic 1927 theatre.
State Theatre of Bay City (Bay City) — Dates vary by event — Double features of classic holiday films, shown during Sundays in the City, plus a "Holiday Concert with The Bijou Orchestra" and other favorites including "A John Denver Holiday Tribute" with Ted Vigil.
The Dow Event Center (Saginaw) — Dates vary by event — "Mannheim Steamroller Christmas" by Chip Davis to Lightwire Theater's "A Very Electric Christmas", enjoy an exciting lineup of holiday performances here.
Midland Center for the Arts (Midland) — Dates vary by event — Listening to Center Stage Choirs' "Jingle: A Holiday Extravaganza" or hearing Midland Symphony Orchestra perform The Nutcracker alongside the Grand Rapids Ballet Company, enjoy all the sounds of the season at MCFTA.
For more festive gatherings from Santa visits to Christmas concerts, check out our full calendar of upcoming holiday events in Michigan's Great Lakes Bay Region!