13 Places to See Santa in West Michigan

The ho-ho-holidays are coming up, and with them comes no other than Santa! The old Saint Nick is back for the Christmas season, and he wants to meet you and the kiddos. He’s visiting select destinations this November and December, so we’ve put together a guide on where some Santa sightings are taking place in West Michigan. Gather your lists, and be nice, not naughty because Santa Claus isn’t coming – he’s already here!

1. Saugatuck (South)

The Saugatuck Antique Pavillion is open from 10am through 6pm all holiday season and will be open Christmas Eve from 10am until 4pm. They’re hosting a Santa Sighting drawing where a lucky winner will receive a $100 shopping spree giveaway! Everyone spotting or finding the 6’ tall Santa will get a free entry into the giveaway, and the winning ticket will be drawn on New Year’s Eve. So get on over to Saugatuck Antique Pavillion for some gift shopping, and the chance to win a shopping spree.

2. Battle Creek (South)

Have a letter to drop off to Santa? Battle Creek Welcome Center has a special mailbox where you can drop it off. Make sure to include a mailing address for Santa’s personalized, hand-written response. Letters can be dropped off any time, but make sure you send it soon so Santa has plenty of time to reply in between packing gifts in the North Pole.

3. Coldwater (South)

Enjoy the sights and sounds of a steam engine train in the winter when you hop aboard Coldwater Country’s Little River Railroad for The Holiday Express train. Visit Santa on the train, enjoy holiday treats, and even a Christmas tour of the depot. Taking place on December 4th and 5th, along with the 11th and 12th, tickets are available online and are in high demand. So, make sure you reserve your spot as soon as possible! Santa is eager to meet you.

Taking place on December 4th, Coldwater’s Holiday Parade and Santaland are lighting up the streets with bands playing Christmas carols, and Santa waiting to meet your kids. Bring your lists, and make sure you’ve been nice and not naughty. And maybe your wishes and gifts will come true. There’s only one way to find out, and that’s by visiting Coldwater that Saturday.

Also in Coldwater on December 10th, Christmas will be coming alive during the annual Quincy Lights & Holiday Market. Santa will be arriving in town to see the kids at the Quincy Fire Station, and the kiddos can even decorate cookies, play games, and make crafts. Swing by to have some merry fun, and say hi to Santa as he takes a break from the hustle and bustle of the North Pole.

4. Fennville (South)

Modales Wines in Fennville is hosting Sipping with Santa on Saturday, December 11th. Join them for an afternoon of festive fun featuring Santa Claus himself, who will be here for meet & greets and photos from 4–6pm. Enjoy mulled wine and delicious sips for the adults, hot chocolate and crafts for the kiddos, and holiday music playing all day long. Reservations are encouraged, so claim your spot today!

5. Kalamazoo (South)

Santa’s Workshop, at the Radisson Plaza Hotel and Suites in Kalamazoo, is a magical place filled with holiday spirit, twinkling lights, and a jolly old soul! Santa will be coming to town from November 27th – December 24th. Visits with Black Santa will be available on Thursdays and Sundays. Kids who visit can take home a kit to write a letter to Santa, and mail it out in one of the several Santa mailboxes placed throughout downtown Kalamazoo!

6. Lowell (Central)

Saturday, December 4th is the day to rally everyone together and head to Lowell, as they host their Christmas Festivities! During the day, enjoy shopping throughout Lowell, an art and craft holiday sale, a live nativity scene, Rudolph’s Craft Workshop, visits with Santa Claus, and a pancake dinner at the fairgrounds. Then, at 6pm, the Annual Night-time Santa Parade will begin to conclude the full day of holiday fun – this year’s parade theme is Light it Up with the Magic of Christmas! You won’t want to miss it!

7. Grand Rapids (Central)

BattleGR is putting on their eagerly awaited ‘Cookies with Clause’ event on December 12th from 12pm to 1pm and 1:30pm to 2:30pm. This super fun activity includes 1 game of laser tag, a picture with Santa, cookie decorating, and crafts. The spots will fill up fast, so reserve your spot on their website today.

Also in the Grand Rapids area, celebrate the holiday season at annual Santa Brunch events at Reds at Thousand Oaks, FireRock Grille, and RedRock Grille! Join each of these locations for a family-friendly brunch with Kris Kringle himself. Enjoy a delicious buffet, cookie decorating, and a hot chocolate bar. Plus, don’t forget to get your photo with Santa Claus! Santa brunch events are happening on December 12 and 19th, and space is limited, so make your reservation today.

8. Coopersville (Central)

The Coopersville & Marne Railway’s Santa Train will be taking to the rails again this month. This family friendly event has become an annual tradition for many in West Michigan, and includes a 90-minute trip on the vintage train from Coopersville to Marne and back. During the trip, a storytelling Princess will read the ‘Polar Express’ and kids will be able to look for special Christmas symbols located along the route. Each child will also have an opportunity to talk directly to Santa Claus using a special direct video connection. In addition, each child receives a toy by which to remember their journey on the Santa Train.  

9. Ludington (Central)

Tell Santa all about your Christmas List on December 12th at Ludington Bay Brewing Company. Santa is taking a break from the North Pole and Christmas preparations to say hi to you and your family. So make sure to visit and tell him how nice you’ve been this year from 1-4pm that Sunday. And who knows? Maybe you’ll get that puppy you’ve been wishing for.

10. Lansing (Central)

Visit Lansing this season to get some pictures with Santa and Nana Claus in front of the State Christmas tree on December 10th from 6pm – 7:30pm. It’ll be a great way to pass on your Christmas list, get in the holiday spirit, and see the glorious Christmas tree.

Celebrate the time of the year from December 6th-11th with themed shopping nights, live entertainment, and pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus. There’s even an exciting and challenging scavenger hunt for you to partake in, alongside surprise visits from some of your favorite holiday friends. This event stretches out from Old Town to REO Town, providing all the sights to see of Downtown Lansing.

11. Suttons Bay (North)

Get into the holiday spirit and gather the family for a special brunch with Santa at Black Star Farms! Located in Suttons Bay, Black Star Farms is a beautiful winery and will even be hosting a cash bar serving mimosas and wines by the glass/bottle. Santa will be available for memorable photo opportunities, and is there to grant your kids’ wishes! So get together and celebrate Christmas at Black Star Farms on December 11th.

12. Bellaire (North)

Santa loves Northern Michigan’s Shanty Creek Resort! He makes it a point to visit frequently during the holiday season.

Head to Shanty Creek the weekend prior to Christmas as he kicks off the holiday season with Tannenbaum Blitzen. Enjoy 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.

But the fun doesn’t stop there! Santa returns to Shanty Creek on Christmas Day, so make sure you join him on the slopes of Schuss Mountain, from 9am-4:30pm. You even get to ski the mountain for free. Pay it forward with donations of non-perishable food items, gently-used winter clothing, and/or household items to benefit local food pantries. So not only do you support a good cause, but you also get to have a memorable Christmas with the whole family and friends.

13. Mecosta County (North)

There are plenty of opportunities to visit Santa in Big Rapids. He will be hopping from store front to store front through December 16th, and the full details can be found on the local visitors bureau’s website. Plus, now through December 22nd, kids can drop letters off in the Santa Mailbox and receive a response from Santa himself!

Christmas truly is the most magical time of the year! Make sure to set out cookies and milk for Santa, and don’t be naughty – be nice by showing support to all the destinations listed above. Enjoy seeing Santa, spending time with family and friends, and gift-giving this holiday season. Stay jolly, and stay safe.

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