West Michigan Santa Sightings

He’s made his list, he’s checked it twice, and he’s making a few last minute stops in West Michigan before his big sleigh ride on Christmas Eve! Here’s a few places you can spot Santa Claus and his friends this month.

Santa’s North West Michigan Stops

Say hello to Santa at Short’s Brewing in Bellaire December 24th from noon – 2:00 before his big trip Christmas Eve!

There are so many ways to celebrate Christmas with Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire. Plan a weekend getaway with friends and family to relax, unwind, and celebrate. Join as Shanty Creek celebrates the holiday season at Ivan’s Café on Saturday, December 21st. Enjoy dinner, Christmas carols around the tree, Christmas cookie decorating, and a visit from Santa. The evening is capped off with the Torchlight Parade, led by the big guy himself, down the face of Schuss Mountain, and immediately followed by fireworks over Schuss Mountain. Can’t make it to the resort before Christmas? Make sure to visit on Christmas Day for the annual Ski Free with Santa, Shanty Creek Resort’s gift to you this holiday season. Santa will hit the slopes of Schuss Mountain from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. Pay it forward with a donation of non-perishable food items, gently-used winter clothing, and/or household items to benefit local food pantries.

Santa will be stopping by Grand Traverse Resort and Spa! Come meet him in the lobby 6:00 pm-8:00 pm Saturdays December 7th and December 14th.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be visiting the Oliver Art Center in Frankfort Sunday, December 8th, 3:00 pm-5:00 pm. Bring the family for cookies and cocoa, crafts, story time, and a chance to visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Stop by Castle Farms in Charlevoix to see if you can find Santa! There are rumors that he will be checking his model train collection on December 7th and 8th as well as the 14th and 15th, so bring the whole family to this model train extravaganza! This family friendly event includes interactive trains, riding the railroad trails for the little ones, and a picture taken with Santa. Santa’s Holiday Wonderland is a great time for families to get their pictures taken with Santa and put you in the holiday spirit.

Families who want to get away pre-holiday can escape to the Petoskey Area for visits with Santa. Bring your own camera or cell phone to capture the memories. Here are some spots you will find him this month: 

Join Santa for some Christmas Eve on-hill fun and Ski with Santa at Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville starting at 1:00 pm on December 24th.

Brunch with Santa will be back in the Inn at Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay on Saturday, December 21st. Kids will enjoy magical visits with Santa in between trips to the popular pancake bar and other brunch stations. Wagon rides around the farm will be offered between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. 

Santa’s Central West Michigan Stops

All visitors are welcome to share their holiday wishes with Santa at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. Remember to bring your camera for a Santa selfie or a photo with him on his sleigh. Santa will be located in the Peter C. & Emajean (Pat) Cook Entry Arbor December 3rd, 10th, and 17th from 5:00 pm-8:00 pm.

Join the Grand Rapids Public Museum for a special morning with Santa & Mrs. Claus for pictures, breakfast, Let it Snow in the Planetarium, a holiday gift, and endless exploration of the museum all day. This holiday fundraiser supports exhibitions and programming at the museum. Celebrate the holidays with the GRPM through this exclusive experience. Tickets are limited and can be purchased at  or by calling 616.929.1700. Breakfast with Santa will have two sessions on December 14th, at 8:30 am and again at 10:00 am.

Stop by the Grand Rapids Downtown Market to visit the big guy himself 2:00 pm-6:00 pm on December 14th and 15th. Bring your wish list to ensure you land on Santa’s ‘nice’ list this year.

Enjoy brunch with Santa at Wheelhouse Kitchen & Cocktails in Grand Rapids December 14th & 15th. The event includes a delicious brunch buffet, professional photos with Santa, cookie decorating, kids activities, and more. Brunch is $29.95 for adults and $14.95 for kids.

Santa arrives in Downtown Holland, escorted by bands, floats, trucks, family, and friends all decked out in thousands of sparkling holiday lights during the Parade of Lights, December 3rd! More than 80 entries will illuminate the streets of Downtown Holland. At the end of the parade, Santa will greet his fans – young and old alike! The parade begins at 8th Street and Columbia Avenue and continues on to the Eighth Street Market Place, home of the Holiday Kerstmarkt.

Visit Santa Claus at Santa’s House in Downtown Holland through December 23rd. There is no charge to sit on Santa’s lap, but be sure to bring your own camera for photos!

You’ll find Santa in Grand Haven Main Street’s Centertown (7th Street Corridor) 11:00 am – 2:00 pm on December 14th at a number of participating merchants. 

Santa and his elves are coming to the Cartier Mansion in Ludington on December 7th to help support the Ludington Cares program. Cookies and hot cocoa will be provided, and don’t forget your camera for pictures with Santa! Cash donations will be accepted to help purchase winter gear, toiletries and non-perishable food items for the Ludington and Scottville Cares boxes.

Visit with Santa Claus and have your photo taken at the Ludington Library, December 7th, 10:00 am-3:00 pm.

Santa Claus is coming to the White Lake Christmas Parade on December 7th! Over 50 participants will line up and follow the parade route from Whitehall to Montague along Colby Street. The 67th annual parade promises to provide excitement with floats from area churches, civic organizations, businesses, area neighbors, cartoon characters, clowns, parading fire trucks, and animals of all shapes and sizes, all handing out candy and goodies. As the Grand Finale, Santa will make his entrance with a horse drawn carriage. He will be eager to see children of all ages following the parade at his house outside Montague City Hall located on Ferry St. 

There will be plenty of opportunities to visit Santa in Mecosta County. He will be hopping from storefront to storefront through December 21st. All of the times and information about catching Santa in downtown Big Rapids can be found on the Mecosta County community events calendar.

Visit with Santa at his home at Town Center in Downtown Mt. Pleasant the weekends leading up to Christmas. Click here for the Santa Visits schedule. Stop by to eat pancakes with Santa at the pancake breakfast Saturday, December 7th, during the Mt. Pleasant Christmas Celebration.

Santa’s South West Michigan Stops

The city of Marshall keeps Santa Claus busy. He’ll be popping up at different stores in the quaint downtown all throughout December. Kids will want to bring their wish lists, but it’s also a good excuse to get some holiday shopping done. In locally owned stores, you’ll find outdoor gear, stationary, mandolins, plants, Michigan-themed housewares, natural dog treats, books, and more. For a complete list of Santa sightings, go to

Grandma’s Treats and Toys in Marshall is going to celebrate the elves (not Santa) with an Elf Party – after all, it’s the elves who do the hard work of making the toys. There will be activities and ice cream sundaes. It’ll be held in the toy store’s new Party and Play location. From 9:00 am to 1:00 pm Mondays through Fridays, kids can use the play stations and toys.

Christmas comes alive during the annual Quincy Lights & Holiday Market in Coldwater Country, Friday, December 6th, as Santa arrives in town. Kids will enjoy cooking, decorating, games, crafts, and of course, visiting with Santa at the Quincy Fire Station.

Head to downtown Coldwater on Saturday, December 7th for the annual Christmas Parade and a visit to Santaland. Tree lit streets, bands playing Christmas carols, children anxiously awaiting a glimpse of Santa, and more await you during the magic of the holidays in Coldwater.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of a steam engine train in the winter with a ride aboard The Christmas Express at Coldwater Country’s Little River Railroad. Visit with Santa on the train, enjoy holiday treats, and a Christmas tour of the depot on Saturdays and Sundays, December 7th & 8th, and 14th & 15th. 

Have brunch with Santa at Plank’s Tavern at The Inn at Harbor Shores in St. Joseph December 8th and 21st. Reservations are recommended. 

Picture perfect holiday fun is available weekends in December in downtown St. Joseph. Santa’s house, located on the corner of State and Pleasant Streets will be open Thursdays & Fridays 4:00 pm-6:00 pm, Saturdays noon-5:00pm, and Sundays 1:00 pm-5:00 pm through December 23rd. 

Airway Fun Center in Portage will be hosting Breakfast and Bowling with Santa, December 22nd from 9:00 am-noon. Admission to the event is $15 per person and comes with unlimited bowling, shoe rental, and all you can eat breakfast buffet as well as a visit from Old St. Nick. Seats can be reserved in advance or at the door the day of the event. 

On December 7th, Santa stops by Crane’s Pie Pantry in Fennville noon-3:00 pm. Come by and whisper in his ear what you want for Christmas!