10 Detroit Holiday Events to Put on Your Calendar This Season

Modified: December 04, 2019

The festive season is coming, and Detroiters don’t have to go far to celebrate. The city is gearing up for a very exciting few months filled with everything from giant menorahs to light tours to festive bar crawls. November and December are filled with a diverse array of holiday events, festivals, and celebrations.

Here are ten of Detroit’s biggest and best holiday events to look forward to.

Detroit Holiday Events

1. Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village

Couple walking at Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Bundle up and head to The Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village for its famous Holiday Nights celebration. Explore the historic homes and storefronts along Main Street, and hop in a Model T for a ride. There is ice skating, a merry go round, bonfires, and of course Santa. Top off the night with a round of fireworks. Holiday Nights is the perfect family activity to kick off the holidays.

Dates: Dec. 5-8, 12-15, 17-23, 26-28

2. Menorah in The D

Menorah in The D crowd

Photo courtesy of Menorah in The D

For the biggest Hanukkah celebration in Detroit, you can’t miss the 8th annual Menorah in the D. This fun event features the lighting of a massive 26-foot tall menorah. You can also peruse the 100% kosher food trucks, as well as family friendly activities like face painting, live music, balloon sculpting, and even horse drawn carriage rides.

Date: Dec. 2

3. Kwanzaa Celebration at the Wright Museum

Kids at Kwanzaa at the Wright

Photo courtesy of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Celebrate Kwanzaa this year at the annual seven-day event at Detroit’s Charles H Wright Museum of African American History. The events are completely free, as the museum welcomes in the public to celebrate Kwanzaa and the rich culture of African Americans. Each day a candle will be lit in honor of a Kwanzaa principle. Festivities will also include slam poets, singers, and a traditional African drum circle.

Dates: Dec. 26 – Jan. 1

4. Detroit Tree Lighting

Campus Martius Park tree lighting event

Photo by Matt Schwedt

The annual Detroit Tree Lighting is one of the best ways to kick off the holiday season. Hundreds of people flock to downtown Detroit to witness the lighting of this year’s Christmas tree. And what a tree it is. This year’s tree is over 60 feet tall, Michigan grown, and will be wrapped up in over 19,000 lights. Make an evening of it and join in the activities, from figure skating shows, to the holiday market, and more.

Date: Nov. 22

5. Wayne County Lightfest

Snuggle up in your car this season and drive the colorful four mile stretch that makes up Wayne County Lightfest. With over 10,000 lights, animated displays, and the opportunity to visit Santa’s Workshop at the end, Wayne County Light Fest makes up the Midwest’s largest light festival. Entry is $5, and $8 for a visit to Santa’s Workshop.

Dates: Nov. 21 – Dec. 31

6. Drink Detroit: Holiday Lights Cocktail Crawl

For an adults-only holiday celebration, be sure to reserve your spot on Drink Detroit: Holiday Lights Cocktail Crawl. Enjoy cocktails and snacks at The Buhl Bar, The Skip, Rusted Crow Detroit, and other establishments. What’s more, this is so much more than a bar crawl! Attendees will be treated to a walking tour, and visit iconic Detroit holiday spots such as the Campus Martius tree, the giant Menorah, and more.

Date: Dec. 20

7. Santa Claus Visits at Bronners

Bronners Christmas Wonderland

Photo courtesy of Bronners

Although it’s not in Detroit per se, a day trip to Bronners should be on any Michigander’s wish list this season. Bronners is famous across the state as a year-round Christmas wonderland – but the festivities really amp up in December. Bring your little one (and their own wish list) to Bronners to meet Santa this year.

Dates: Nov. 29 – Dec. 24

8. Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo

A lion at Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo

Photo by Kalynne Defever

Every year, the Detroit Zoo lights up for a truly spectacular month long holiday lights display. Wander the zoo and marvel at the animal-shaped light sculptures, or maybe have a go on the skating rink, or even visit the 4D Rudolph exhibit. Tickets range from $11-18.

Dates: Nov. 16 – Jan. 5

9. Noel Night

Noel Night in Detroit

Photo courtesy of Midtown Detroit Inc.

Think of Noel Night as Detroit’s annual holiday open house. For one night only, over 120 Detroit museums, galleries, historical buildings and more open their doors free of charge to the public. There are also plenty of free activities such as carriage rides, crafts, music performances, and plenty of shopping discounts. Put on your mittens and get ready to explore downtown Detroit.

Date: Dec. 7

10. Moscow Ballet Nutcracker

The Nutcracker is a stunning ballet that is traditionally performed during the holiday season. This year, Detroit is lucky to have the Moscow Ballet perform their rendition of the Nutcracker at the gorgeous Fox Theatre. Experience the classic story of Clara and her Nutcracker from a truly world class ballet troupe.

Date: Dec. 22

No matter what holiday you’re celebrating, there is a holiday event in Detroit that you’ll want to put on your calendar.

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