Growing up in the Tri-City area of Michigan (Saginaw, Bay City and Flint), I have fond memories of the holidays. If you are going to spend the holidays in this area, following are some event and/or destination suggestions.
There could be no better place to visit during the holidays then Frankenmuth (known as Michigan’s Little Bavaria). Only 30 minutes or so from both Saginaw and Flint, Frankenmuth is a must stop for the entire family. The greatest place to visit there is Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland (the worlds largest Christmas store). The kids will be captivated by all of the Christmas lights and great animation figures, and the adults excited by the great Christmas collectibles and unique gift items. Be sure to check out their web site for special events at Bronner’s. Throughout the year they will have special guests and/or special exhibits. For example, they will have sing-alongs on the days just before Christmas which could be a blast for the young and the old alike. On the way back from shopping, be sure to stop by the Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn Restaurant for their famous “all you can eat” chicken dinner. They also offer great german dishes like – german potato salad, bratwurst, schnitzel and even homemade ice cream. If you’re up for an overnight stay, you might want to consider staying one night at the Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark. The kids will have a blast swimming in the winter time in Michigan. They offer over 30,000 square feet of water fun and excitement and they offer great package deals.
Just up the street from Frankenmuth is Birch Run, Michigan known for it’s shopping outlets. This is a great “after Thanksgiving” stop. Do you know that the outlets will be opening at midnight on Thanksgiving? That’s right, so set your clocks. Here you can purchase items from the factory outlets like – Coach, OshKosh B’Gosh, Carter’s, Gap, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Pottery Barn and much, much more.
There is a very special place to visit during the holidays in the Flint area. Crossroads Village is a wonderful Winter Wonderland during the holidays. Celebrating the heritage and life of Michiganders in the 1800’s, Crossroads Village will be not just a fun stop, but also an educational stop for the children. Costumers will be dressed in period clothing and the village lit with over 600,000 lights. You can also enjoy entertainment, shopping and eating as a family.
Other Special Events/Activities In the Tri-Cities During The Holidays
The Saginaw County Christmas Parade on November 18 at 11 a.m. in downtown. There will be bands, floats and of course Santa.
Festival of Trees – November 17 – November 19 @ Apple Mountain in Freeland. Don’t want to cook on Thanksgiving? Enjoy the Thanksgiving Buffet also at Apple Mountain.
Holidays in the Heart of the City – November 17 starting at 5:30 p.m. Tree lighting ceremony, horse drawn carriage rides and a a free concert are just a few of the activities that will take place at Celebration Square (along Court Street, Ezra Rust and Washington Avenues, near the zoo). The zoo will also be open for activities, like carousel rides, and I hear there will be hot chocolate, apple cider and chocolate chip cookies. If you haven’t been to Saginaw in a while, the zoo has really improved so don’t poo poo this stop.
White Christmas/Muppet Christmas Carol – See White Christmas with Bing Crosby at the Temple Theatre in Saginaw on November 24 & 26, or The Muppet Christmas Carol at the theater on November 25. Establish a tradition that the whole family can enjoy.
On Nov. 24, Santa will make his appearance at Wenonah Park in Bay City. Later in the week you can go and visit Santa’s House in Bay City. There will be animated figures who dance and sing and will be a hoot for the entire family. Santa’s House is open from November 25 – December 22. Visit the web site for the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce for more information on both of these events.
The Nutcracker Ballet – A real treat for the family would be to see The Nutcracker performed by the Dance Theatre of Harlem and students from the Flint School of Performing Arts. There will be three performances on December 2 and December 3.
You might also want to consider traditional “Michigan” holiday fun like skiing, sledding, snow shoeing or just a good old fashioned snow ball fight! My family always made a tradition of taking a sleigh ride the day after Thanksgiving (try a farm – like Cinnamon Stick Farm for this activity). You and your family should establish your own traditions, but whatever you do, may you and your family have a wonderful holiday in the Tri-Cities, Michigan.