Michigan Bucket List: Christmas Light Displays
A Healthier Michigan
| 6 min read
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
Wayne County Lightfest, Westland: The Wayne County Lightfest, located in Hines Park, is a five-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.
- Dates and times: The Wayne County Lightfest is open from Nov. 16 and runs until Christmas Eve, Dec. 24. The display is open from 6-10 p.m. between Wednesdays and Sundays.
Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic, Flint: The Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic allows visitors to experience the holiday magic by seeing the thousands of lights around the village. The Crossroads 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.
- Dates and times: Open for Christmas Lights Drive Throughs on Dec. 4, 11, 18 and 24, from 5-9 p.m. each night. Tickets are $10 per vehicle and ticket sales end at 8:30 p.m.
Christmas Lite Show, Comstock Park: West Michigan’s largest animated drive-through light show is back for another year of magic. With close to two miles of holiday festivities and over a million lights, the Christmas Light Show is fun for the whole family.
- Dates and times: Families can visit the Christmas Light Show between Nov. 22 and Dec. 31. Between Sundays and Thursdays, the show runs from 5:30 until 9 p.m. On Fridays and Saturdays, it runs from 5:30 until 10 p.m.
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.
- Dates and times: The lights officially lit up on Nov. 20 and will illuminate downtown Rochester throughout the holiday season.
Nite Lites, Brooklyn: Nite Lights offers five miles of twinkling holiday light displays, and does so for longer than any drive-through display on this list. Drive through with your car or view them from the Nite Lites express train to get the full holiday experience.
- Dates and times: Nite Lites opens Nov. 17 and runs through Jan. 7, 2024. Sundays through Thursday it runs from 5:30 until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday shows run from 5:30 until 10 p.m.
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.
- Dates and times: Nov. 17 through Dec. 30, from 5:30 until 10 p.m. nightly.
Sparkle in the Park, Bear Lake: Sparkle in the Park's impressive setup features more than 80,000 lights across 50 holiday displays. You'll see angles, Christmas trees, Santa Claus and his reindeer, nods to our veterans, every animal under the sun and much more. This lighting event is set up for driving, but if you choose to walk through, please keep an eye out for traffic and rough walking conditions.
- Dates and times: Nov. 25 through Jan. 1, from 5-10 p.m. on each day.
Walk and hike-through light displays in Michigan
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 fireworks display.
- Dates and times: Tickets are required for this event, which runs during each weekend in December. Holiday Nights tickets are still available for Dec. 27-28. Those events are open between 6:30 and 10 p.m. Member-exclusive preshow entry is at 6 p.m.
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. The one-mile walk lasts about an hour. Be sure to enjoy the activations by snapping some photos.
- Dates and times: Glenlore Trails opened on Nov. 17. Tickets are required. Guests can purchase tickets to visit between Thursdays and Sundays all the way through Dec. 30. Booking times run on 15-minute intervals between 5:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
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.
- Dates and times: Zoo lights begins Nov. 24. They will run through Jan. 7 on select weeknights as well as Sundays from 5-9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 5-10:30 p.m.
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. 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.
- Dates and times: The shows, which are free, began Nov. 21 and will play through Jan. 8 between Sundays and Thursdays, seven times per day each day. There will also be a bonus show at 9:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday within this date range.
The Enchanted Trail, Harbor Springs: This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Highlands at Harbor Springs resort, so light engineers are guaranteeing the most enchanted display ever to mark the milestone. This leisurely 1.5-mile walk along a path adorned is decked out with twinkling lights and interactive displays. Midway, take a break at their charming yurt for a warm drink. The Enchanted Trail is free for kids ages 5 and under.
- Dates and times: Dec. 9, Dec. 15-17, Dec. 22-31, Jan. 1-7, Jan. 12-14, Jan. 19-21, Jan. 26-28, Feb. 2-4, Feb. 9-11, Feb. 16-25. Each walk begins at 5:30 p.m. with time slots until 8:30 p.m.
Holly Dazzle, Holly: This magical three-quarter mile outdoor trail features more than a dozen lighted Christmas scenes and includes Santa Claus, Sledding Penguins and Candy Land Castle in a magical winter wonderland walk through at the Renaissance Village. Kids ages 4 and under walk for free. Parking is free.
- Dates and times: Nov. 24-26, Dec 1-3, Dec. 8-10, Dec. 15-17, Dec. 21-24, Dec. 29-31, between 5-10 p.m. (Sundays it's 5-9 p.m.).
More from AHM:
- 5 Winter Things to Do in Michigan
- Health Benefits of Wallyball
- 5 Things to Do This Fall in Rogers City
Photo credit: @hollynicoletimekeeper