Best Cheap and Free Family January Events in Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor

Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor are jam-packed with family fun for those on a budget all year round. Here are some of our favorite cheap and free family events happening in January.

Free and cheap family events in January in metro Detroit and Ann Arbor

What are the best cheap and free family events happening this month? Looking for things to do with kids that won’t break the bank? We’ve got you covered.

Metro Parent is partnering with WDET 101.9 FM to offer southeast Michigan families a roundup of some of the best cheap (under $20 for a family of four) and free weekend events and activities each month.

In January, families can hit up the pop-up Rainbow City Roller Rink or Cadillac Square holiday market in downtown Detroit. There’s also numerous winter festivals cropping up all over southeast Michigan – plus MLK Day celebrations, cat-centric events and one very cool comic character con.

For the weekend of Jan. 11-13

Plymouth Ice Festival

Jan. 11-13, 2019 

  • Address: Downtown Plymouth area
  • Time: 5-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing 

Find ice carving competitions, family activities – including an ice playground! – and more at this 37th annual. Admission is free.

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Warren Cold Rush 

Jan. 12, 2019

This annual winter celebration offers ice skating, putt-putt, an ice carving show, live animals and much more. Admission is $4/person or $2/seniors.

Winterfest at Pier Park

Jan. 12, 2019 

Find ice carving, ice skating, live animals, winter games, crafts and meet-and-greets with Anna and Elsa from Disney’s Frozen. Admission is free.

Coloring with Cats at the Tiny Lions Adoption Center

Jan. 12, 2019 

Enjoy cat “zen,” de-stress and help homeless cats from our community by coloring with some adoptable cats. Snacks, soft drinks and coloring supplies are provided but families are welcome to bring in their own non-alcoholic drinks, snacks and coloring supplies. Registration required as space is limited. Aimed at ages 12 and up. $10/person.

For the weekend of Jan. 18-21

Health Fair and Tastefest at Chandler Park Academy

Jan. 18, 2019

Parents find flu shots for kids, dental and vision screenings and much more at this seventh annual. Admission is free.

Oakland County Fire & Ice Festival 

Jan. 18-20, 2019 

  • Address: Downtown Rochester area
  • Time: 5-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

This annual offers tube sledding, snow shoeing and ice skating; plus an ice carving competition and other winter family fun. Admission is free.

North American International Auto Show 

Jan. 19-27, 2019 

  • Address: Cobo Center, 1 Washington Blvd., Detroit
  • Time: 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday (admittance ends one hour prior to closing)
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

Muscle and electric cars, high-octane supercars, full-size trucks – see all the vehicular wonders this giant annual expo has in store. Admission is $14/adults, $7/seniors 65-plus and kids ages 7-12, and free/children 6 years old and younger

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service 

Jan. 19 and 21, 2019 

  • Address: Various locations in Macomb and Wayne counties
  • Time: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m.-noon Monday
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing 

Honor the life and legacy of Dr. King by volunteering at a local community organization like Forgotten Harvest, Gleaners Food Bank, Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Windemere Park and others. Registration required.

Quicken Loans Winter Blast Weekends at Campus Martius Park 

Jan. 19-21, 25-27, Feb. 8-10 and 15-17, 2019

  • Address: Campus Martius Park, 800 Woodward Ave,, Detroit
  • Time: Opening weekend: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday; other weekends: 4-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing 

The annual Winter Blast has been redone to span four weekends. Swing by for ice sculptures, ice skating, live music, food and tons of fun. Admission is free.

MLK Day at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Jan. 21, 2019 

  • Address: Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren Ave, Detroit
  • Time: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing 

Today is the busiest day of the year for this historical hotspot because they celebrate the iconic civil rights leader’s life with kids workshops, musical performances, educational presentations, stories, artifacts and so much more. Museum exhibits are open for viewing, too. Free with museum admission: $8/ages 13-61, $5/ages 3-12, free/under 3

Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation 

Jan. 21, 2019 

  • Address: Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn
  • Time: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing 

Celebrate MLK’s life with free admission to the museum, historical presentations, artifacts and hands-on fun.

MLK Jr.: Bring the Dream to Life at the Detroit Historical Museum 

Jan. 21, 2019 

The museum offers a wide variety of activities, crafts and performances that let families of all backgrounds play together, and learn of King’s life and legacy, in honor of what would have been his 90th birthday. Admission is free. Parking fees apply.

MLK Day Family Fun! Gallery Adventures at the Detroit Institute of Arts 

Jan. 21, 2019 

Learn about the Civil Rights leader through fun games and engaging activities in the African American galleries. Free with museum admission: free/residents of Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties, $6-$14/others

For the weekend of Jan. 25-27

Metro Parent Kids Hero Con 

Jan. 26, 2019

Kids are welcome to dress up as their favorite superheroes or princesses and have their pictures taken with Bat Hero, Spider Hero, Snow Queen and many more. In addition to superheroes and favorite movie and cartoon characters, there’ll be fun activities, games and plenty of photo ops. Admission is just $5/child. Kids under 2 are free.

Cat Fanciers Association Cat Show 

Jan. 26-27, 2019 

This show features the exhibition and judging of cats and kittens throughout the weekend. Meet the breeds! Fun for cat lovers of all ages. Admission is $6/adults, $5/seniors, $4/kids, free/under age 6.

Events are subject to change. Please be sure to verify dates and times before heading out – and if you’re looking for more cheap and free family events in November and beyond, visit the Metro Parent calendar

This post is updated monthly.