Welcome to my holiday guide for the Metro Detroit Area in Michigan. Michigan is a tourist haven all year round, and I’m here to show you some of the many things we have to do during the holiday season.
Every year, my family visits two holiday light displays. The first is the biggest light display in the midwest.
Wayne County Lightfest (2006)
This year it runs from November 16th, 2006, to January 1st, 2007 (closed on Christmas day, Santa will be resting). As usual, it’s 4.5 miles of lighted displays including animated scenes that make even adults’ jaws drop. At the end there is always Santa Claus to ask you about your trip. It’s not a necessary part of the journey, but a side trip.
You get to drive through the display, by the way. It isn’t a 4.5 mile walk.
Hours: 7pm to 10pm daily
Fee: Minimum $5 per car
Enter at Hines Drive and Merriman, 2 ½ miles south of I-96 in Westland.
Each year, Dominos Farms in Ann Arbor also has a drive-through light display, and they open up their pizza place for everyone to come in and get a bite to eat afterwards. I’ve gone almost every year for almost a decade now. It may not be as long or impressive as the Wayne County Lightfest, but I find it a fun and festive holiday experience. If you go, you won’t be disappointed!
From I-94 West: (Detroit area)
Take I-94 to US-23 North. Take US-23 North to Plymouth Road exit (exit 41). Turn Right onto Plymouth. Turn Left on Earhart Road. Farm is on right approximately ½ mile.
The Metro Detroit area is bristling with malls. Don’t believe me? Here’s a short list:
Briarwood Mall – Ann Arbor
Eastland Center – Harper Woods
Fairlane Town Center – Dearborn
Great Lakes Crossing – Auburn Hills
Guide2Detroit Online Shopping Mall
Lakeside Mall – Sterling Heights
Laurel Park Place – Livonia
Livonia Mall – Livonia
Macomb Mall – Roseville
Northland Center – Southfield
Oakland Mall – Troy
Olde World Canterbury Village – Lake Orion
Orchard Mall – West Bloomfield
Riverfront Shops – Detroit
Somerset Collection – Troy
Southland Center – Taylor
Tanger Outlet Center – Howell
Tel-Twelve Mall – Southfield
Twelve Oaks Mall – Novi
Universal Mall – Warren
Village of Rochester Hills – Rochester Hills
Westland Center – Westland
So you can get your shopping on, take the kids to see Santa, and enjoy something from the Pretzel Peddler or Ms. Field’s any day you choose. Oh yeah, and Ikea just opened this year in Canton. Go check it out!
If you’re really feeling adventurous, you can head on up US-23 North to Birch Run and go to their outlet mall. It’s right off the expressway, you can’t miss it.. Don’t forget to stop in in Frankenmuth, where Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland is open 364 days a year! Get a world famous chicken dinner at Zehnder’s or Bavarian Inn. Birch Run is about an hour north of Ann Arbor, give-or-take.
Not enough? Plymouth and Ann Arbor both have interesting shopping districts within the city limits. Take a walk down Main Street and see what you can find!
Into theater? No problem! Check the Detroit Opera House’s online calender to see that the Nutcracker will be there in Late November-Early December, as is the Fisher Theater (performed by the Moscow Ballet). In December, the Fisher Theater has “Dorothy The Dinosaur’s Dance Party” and “Monty Python’s SPAMALOT”, and the Masonic Temple has “My Little Pony, The World’s Biggest Tea Party “. Take the kids, have a blast.
If you’re in the mood for skiing, head on up to Mt. Brighton. They open in November. You want to gamble? We have 3 casinos in Detroit and one right across the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor (where your money will go farther). Head on over to the Greektown Casino, the Motor City Casino, or the MGM Grand Detroit or hop the Detroit River to Casino Windsor. You can get in some good shopping there, too.
Into food? Foodies love Detroit and Ann Arbor. Michigan has almost all the types of cuisine you could imagine thanks to our largely diverse population in the Metro Detroit Area.
I regret that Tip-Up Town won’t be up this year. We’ll have to snowmobile elsewhere I suppose.
And hey, if you’re still around in January, the Ice Festival comes to Plymouth. We go every year, maybe we’ll see you there!