You don’t have to be obsessed with the holiday season to appreciate the most brilliant and festive Christmas towns in Michigan. After all, the Great Lakes State is hard not to love when the winter season rolls around, as our entire region comes to life with snow, lights, and festive gatherings galore. If you’re on the hunt for a small-town Christmas atmosphere that will warm your heart, explore these seven delightful destinations.
It’s easy to see why we’re kicking off our list with Frankenmuth, where Christmas has a special role all year long. After all, this Bavarian-inspired community is home to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, a massive holiday store that boasts a whopping 320,000 square feet of shopping space. If that weren’t enough, the town offers a German holiday market, a beautiful decorated covered bridge known as the Holz-Brucke, and decorations throughout downtown.
An homage to Christmas is right in Holly’s name, rendering it the perfect spot for a December visit. When you make a visit to this small town, which houses a population of just over 6,000 residents, you’ll be filled with seasonal spirit in no time. In addition to its annual Charles Dickens festival, Holly offers a walk-through Christmas light trail known as HollyDazzle and a quaint, welcoming downtown district.
3. Spring Lake
Tucked away on the west side of the state, Spring Lake is a small community with a big personality and a truly welcoming vibe. During Christmastime, the town is a true wonderland for those who appreciate holiday decor, offering a display of more than 125,000 lights at its Spring Lake Sparkle event. Throughout the month of December and into the early days of January, you’ll have the opportunity to drive or stroll through downtown Spring Lake for an eye-catching and heartwarming experience.
4. Sault Ste. Marie
Venture northward to Sault Ste. Marie, affectionately referred to as “the Soo.” This Upper Peninsula city is a popular destination for travelers making their way to Canada or simply appreciating Great Lakes Maritime history at the Soo Locks, but it’s also worth checking out during Christmastime. When the holidays arrive, Sault Ste. Marie is illuminated via its “Light Up The Soo” event, during which residents and businesses alike are encouraged to decorate their properties and practice spreading holiday cheer.
Downtown Holland is one of Michigan’s most beloved shopping destinations — and with good reason. This city on the shores of Lake Michigan boasts heated sidewalks throughout its downtown area, which makes it a great spot to stroll and do a bit of Christmas shopping. If that weren’t enough, holiday shoppers can check out an annual Dutch Christmas market and appreciate vibrantly decorated trees at Centennial Park.
This Detroit suburb is one of our favorite Michigan destinations during the holiday season, as its annual Big, Bright Light Show provides a magical experience for all ages. This incredible display, which brings more than one million holiday lights to the downtown area, continues throughout the month of December and makes for a genuinely spectacular sight. You’ll want to bring along your camera as you do a bit of seasonal shopping in lovely Rochester.
While its most popular Christmas event, a Victorian Sleighbell Parade and Old Christmas Weekend, takes place during the earliest days of December, there’s still so much to love throughout Manistee as the season continues. This quaint town is home to a 30-foot Christmas tree that’s a true sight to behold during December. Visitors will also appreciate holiday-friendly lodging at Dempsey Manor Bed & Breakfast and plenty of lovely shops, where last-minute gifts can be purchased. Talk about winter charm.
Have you been lucky enough to visit any of these bright and welcoming Christmas towns in Michigan during previous holiday seasons? Do you have a favorite that wasn’t included on our list? We would love to hear from you, so leave a few thoughts in the Facebook comments or share your official suggestions with us by filling out our nomination form here.