We've got some great northern west Michigan and upper peninsula destinations hosting holiday events this December - find all the details below! Imported Image

1. Mackinac Island & Mackinaw City

Visiting Mackinac Island in the winter is a perfect time to enjoy the quiet beauty of the island – hike, ski, snowshoe, take beautiful pictures, read a good book, and do some holiday shopping at some of the most unique stores in Michigan. While most stores on the island close by the end of October, there are some that remain open for business during the winter season. Find the full list here The annual Mackinac Island Christmas Bazaar returns this year on December 3 and 4. It’s a time when residents come together to benefit the island’s churches as well as the Mackinac Island Medical Center. You will find crafts and homemade goods as well as both live and silent auctions of donated items and services. There is even a planned visit by Santa Claus on the fire truck! Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry Company provides ferry service to the island all winter so that winter enthusiasts, shoppers, and residents can conveniently get from the island to the mainland. Buy tickets and view the winter schedule online.  Come to Audie’s Restaurant in Mackinaw City for their In The Spirit of Christmas event. Enjoy a seven course feast accompanied by a wonderful performance by the Northland Noteables. This event will be taking place on Monday December 5 through Wednesday December 7. Tickets are $40 per person and are available for purchase by calling (231)436-5744.

2. Marquette

Celebrate the holiday season with a parade for the entire family. Marquette’s traditional Holiday Parade returns for its 12th year for an evening of festivities and holiday cheer on December 8, 2022, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Bundle up with friends and family as illuminated floats, tinsel-strewn trucks and colorful carolers transform Third Street into an enchanted scene from the North Pole. Holiday Lasers on the Ore Dock runs through December  31. The light display will transform the Ore Dock with the colors of the season. New for this year, the display will incorporate more abstract materials, themes and overall appreciation of the natural Marquette surrounding while including direct references to the holidays and the season. Downtown Marquette Holiday Farmers Market will return Saturday’s December 3-17, 2022. This weekly market that features fresh produce, small farm raised meat and eggs, flower bouquets, tasty baked goods, jams, handcrafted artisan products and more will be transformed for the season and is the perfect stop for those looking to cross off some items on their gift list this year.

3. Harbor Springs

The sights and sounds of a holiday winter wonderland at The Highlands in Harbor Springs are spectacular! With an abundance of holiday activities in the Highlands-from sipping hot cocoa to visits with Santa, there is something for everyone.  The annual Merchants Holiday Open House will be held Saturday, December 3 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm in Harbor Springs.  Enjoy a fun-filled evening of shopping thanks to the downtown merchants. Main and State Streets will be closed to allow the community to stroll between stores and enjoy a relaxing evening of tradition. Come be a part of a wonderful local tradition this season and celebrate the holidays in Harbor Springs! Imported Image

4. Petoskey

Join the Petoskey Area for many fun filled Christmas events! The holiday open houses of Harbor Springs and Petoskey fall back-to-back on a Friday and Saturday the first week of December.  Emmet County hosts a “Visit with Santa '' at the Emmet County Fairgrounds in Petoskey which is free admission. There is also a “Santa Skate'' at the Petoskey Ice Arena in Harbor Springs with complimentary cookies and cocoa. The Village of Bay Harbor will have a Christkindlmarkt Boutique that is inspired by traditional European markets that will be tons of fun! Also in Bay Harbor they will have performances of the Nutcracker Ballet on the same night as the holiday market. Lots more in town – even just walking around to enjoy the fluffy snow and lights as you shop any of the area towns.

5. Bellaire

Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire celebrates the holiday season with the annual Tannenbaum Blitzen, Saturday, December 17. Enjoy the torchlight parade down the face of Schuss Mountain, sing along with Christmas carols around the tree, Christmas cookie decorating and a visit from Santa. Make sure to stay for the fireworks over Schuss Mountain immediately following the event. 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’s gift to you. Join Santa on the slopes of Schuss Mountain and ski for Free from 9am to 4:30pm.  Plan a weekend getaway with friends and family to relax, unwind, and celebrate. Downtown Bellaire comes alive for the holiday season with the Light Up the Night and Soup Cook-Off celebration on Saturday, December 3. Celebrate with family and friends with a day full of Holiday Events including a free kid’s movie, ornament making, the annual “Soup Cook-Off” with 10+ participating restaurants, turkey bowling, and of course a visit with Santa after the Parade of Lights.

6. Walloon Lake

Get into the holiday spirit and bring the family to Barrel Back Restaurant in Walloon Lake for a special Brunch with Santa & Mrs. Claus on Saturday, December 10 and 17! Stop in to enjoy classic brunch favorites, bottomless-ish mimosas, and give Santa your Christmas wish list this year! Imported Image

7. Keweenaw Peninsula 

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, the Keweenaw Peninsula certainly delivers. Colorful lights and merry décor line their historic streets and each community is bustling with holiday cheer. Their charming small towns are full of festive family fun, so grab your winter coat and mittens and start planning your Keweenaw Christmas visit. To get you started, here are some holiday events and activities that will make your Christmas in the Keweenaw one to remember.

8. Sutton's Bay

Brunch with Santa will be back at the Inn at Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay on Saturday December 3. Children will enjoy magical visits with Santa in between trips to the popular pancake bar and other savory brunch stations. A multigenerational event to celebrate the season, gives another reason to gather with loved ones at the elegant winery Inn. Seating takes place from 9:00 am to 1:30 pm and reservations available here  Snowshoes, Vines and Wines returns to Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay! Snowshoe through forest and vineyard trails, then warm up at a chili bar accompanied by other hearty fare, hot mulled wine, and hot chocolate. The heated outdoor terrace will be set for snowshoe rental and lunch selections. Varied terrain and trail distances make the recreation trails appropriate for all ages and levels. Snowshoe rental provided, or bring your own.  Details and dates can be found here. Imported Image Check out our West Michigan Holiday Gift Guide for ideas for everyone on your list.