Michigan Bucket List: Christmas Light Displays

Michigan winters mean colder temperatures, snow and less daylight. While many may view the wintertime as being the dreariest season, Michigan offers many fun winter activities that everyone in the family can enjoy. One of the best Michigan winter activities is visiting one of the many extravagant Christmas light displays.  

Whether you want to experience the glimmering lights from the comfort of your car, or you want to brave the cold and walk through an immersive light exhibit, Michigan has colorful light displays across the state that will be sure to please you.  

Visiting a light display could provide a break from the stress of the holiday season, or it could even become your family’s newest holiday tradition.  

Here are some of the best light displays to visit this holiday season. Be sure to check their websites before you go to verify hours. 

Drive-through light displays in Michigan

  1. Wayne County Lightfest, Westland: The Wayne County Lightfest, located in Hines Park, is a four-mile drive with more than 100,000 lights. In addition to the lights, the Lightfest has a holiday mailbox where children can drop off their letters to Santa. The Wayne County Lightfest opens on November 17 and runs until Christmas Eve, December 24.  
  2. Christmas at Crossroads, Flint: The Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic begins on November 25 and allows visitors to experience the holiday magic by seeing the thousands of lights around the village. The Crossroad village is also home to the Huckleberry Railroad where you can ride the holiday train and see even more lights. There are also drive-through nights where you can experience the whole village and its lights from the warmth of your car.  
  3. Christmas Lite Show, Comstock Park: 2022 is the Christmas Lite Show’s 24th year of hosting West Michigan’s largest drive through light show. With close to two miles of holiday festivities and over a million lights, the Christmas Light Show is fun for the whole family. Families can visit the Christmas Light Show starting on November 24.  
  4. The Big Bright Light Show, Rochester: During the holiday season, downtown Rochester is decorated with over one million lights. The lights line the local buildings and attract visitors from around the state.  Driving through the downtown area is a must when looking for extravagant light displays but stopping in to support local businesses makes the experience more enjoyable. Downtown Rochester will begin being illuminated by lights starting on November 21.  
  5. Nite Lites, Brooklyn: Open from Thanksgiving until New Years Eve, Nite Lights in Brooklyn offers five miles of twinkling holiday light displays. Drive through this light display with your car or view them from the Nite Lites express train to get the full holiday experience. If you want to be adventurous, sign up to walk the Nite Lites 5K and run or walk to see and experience the holiday light displays.  
  6. Magic of Lights, Clarkston: Pine Knob Music Theatre turns into a winter wonderland over the holiday season with the dazzling Magic of Lights holiday light display. Experience the magic of the holiday season and see your favorite holiday scenes with this sparkling drive through display. Magic of Lights is a great holiday tradition that families can participate it starting on November 18.  

Walk and hike-through light displays in Michigan

  1. Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village, Dearborn: During the holiday season, Greenfield Village becomes a winter wonderland. Visitors can walk up and down main street to see the village decorated with glimmering lights and tinsel. Guests can also ride in a historic model T, ice skate, ride the carousel or view the firework display. Greenfield Village is the perfect place to visit this holiday season. Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village start on December 2.  
  2. Glenlore Trails Aurora, Commerce Township: Different from other walk-through experiences, Glenlore Trails uses lights to create an illuminated, immersive winter light show in a forest. This over one-mile path uses lights and sounds to create a holiday story for families to follow on their walk in the wintery forest. Families can begin visiting Glenlore Trails on November 17.  
  3. Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo, Detroit:  The Detroit Zoo’s annual light festival is a holiday tradition for many families. Trees, buildings and sculptures across the zoo are illuminated with millions of lights. The zoo also has a long walk-through light tunnel that is a fan favorite of many light show visitors. The Detroit Zoo makes the holiday season fun for people of all ages. Zoo lights will begin on November 19.  
  4. Frankenmuth’s Spectacular Musical Tree Show, Frankenmuth: A magical 40-foot-tall Christmas tree at the Frankenmuth Visitor’s Center is decked out with lights and ready to put on a musical show. Shows are free and play from Sundays to Thursdays from mid-November to mid-January. When the tree is not putting on a show, there’s a changing light display to take in and other Christmas activities to enjoy in downtown Frankenmuth.  
  5. Tree Lighting, Detroit: Attending the Detroit Tree Lighting is a great way to kick off the holiday season. This year’s tree lighting is on November 18, but the tree will be lit all throughout the holiday season. Visit Campus Martius Park this holiday season to see the holiday lights, ice skate, ride a horse-drawn carriage or even visit Santa!  

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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