Free Kid-Friendly Events in Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor

Searching for free things to do in southeast Michigan? Find great budget-friendly family fun in Livingston, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.

Photo via Rochester Festival of Trees Facebook

With kids in tow, seeing the latest stage show or attending that super popular special event can put a real dent in the ol’ bank account.

It’s great once in a while, but geez, where are all of the free southeast Michigan events this weekend?

Actually, there are plenty if you know where to look! Every activity listed here will cost you absolutely nothing for admission. Zilch. Maybe you’ll have to splurge a buck or two for parking. But that’s it!

Want to attend events in Detroit that won’t cost you a fortune? Searching for activities in Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties that won’t break the bank?

Then check back here regularly and mark your calendars so you don’t miss any of the free family fun happening over the next week or so.

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Note: Things change. We try our best to update details, but be sure to call ahead before attending just in case. Also, some events may require pre-registration. When noted, contact the organizer for more details.

Macomb County

The Macomb County Santa Parade in Mount Clemens

Nov. 23, 2019

Local marching bands and businesses put together floats and celebrate the incoming holiday season at this annual procession.

Elsa and Anna Meet and Greet at Whistle Stop Hobby & Toy Inc in St. Clair Shores

Nov. 23, 2019

  • Address: Whistle Stop Hobby & Toy Inc, 21714 Harper Ave., St Clair Shores
  • Time: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

Your favorite Frozen and Frozen 2 characters come to life to sing and take pictures with kids.

Holiday Tree Lighting and After Glow at the Macomb Township Recreation Center 

Dec. 3, 2019

  • Address: Macomb Township Recreation Center, 20699 Macomb St., Macomb Township
  • Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

This 15th annual event offers a tree lighting, caroling, a tree lighting, visits with Santa and more.

Christmas Aglow at the Shelby Township Municipal Grounds

Dec. 5, 2019

  • Address: Shelby Township Municipal Grounds, 14975 21 Mile Road, Shelby Township
  • Time: 7-10 p.m.
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

This holiday celebration offers tree lighting magic, crafts, sweet treats, carriage rides and much more.

SatARTdays at the Anton Art Center in Mount Clemens 

Dec. 14, 2019

Talents from All the World’s a Stage host caroling with kids at December’s installment of this monthly.

Oakland County

The Big Reveal in Milford 

Nov. 21, 2019

Local kids unwrap the storefronts to reveal their holiday displays.

Downtown Rochester Festival of Trees at Rochester Community House 

Nov. 23-24, 2019

  • Address: Rochester Community House, 816 Ludlow Ave., Rochester,
  • Time: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

This holiday spectacular features trees, wreaths, table and porch displays, plus crafts with Santa.

Royal Oak Tree Lighting 

Nov. 28, 2019

See the tree light up for the holiday season and enjoy musical performances and refreshments too.

Holly Dickens Festival in Downtown Holly

Nov. 29-30, Dec. 1, 7-8, 14-15, 2019

  • Address: Downtown Holly area
  • Time: 7:30 p.m. opening day; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays, noon-5 p.m. Sundays
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

The Village of Holly turns into a magical scene straight from a Charles Dickens story during this annual festival.

Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony in Auburn Hills 

Nov. 30, 2019 

Take a carriage ride, get a picture with Santa and enjoy roasted s’mores at this annual.

Washtenaw County

Storytime at the Museum at the University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor 

Nov. 23, 2019

  • Address: University of Michigan Museum of Art, 525 S. State St., Ann Arbor,
  • Time: 11:15 a.m.-noon
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

Kids enjoy stories that relate to the artwork on display.

Turkey Trek Storybook Trail at the Baker Woods Preserve in Dexter

Nov. 25, 2019

Dress for the weather and take an outdoor nature walk to hear seasonal stories. Advance registration required.

Kerry Tales: Be Nimble with Mother Goose at Kerrytown Market and Shops in Ann Arbor 

Dec. 1, 2019

Trudy Bulkley, aka Mother Goose, entertains kids with themed-stories and rhymes.

Hometown Holiday in Downtown Chelsea 

Dec. 6-8, 2019

This annual winter celebration offers a tree lighting, visits with Santa, caroling, crafts and much more.

Milan Christmas Parade 

Dec. 7, 2019

Watch floats, marching bands and more make their way through the city. It culminates with Santa getting the key to the city and a tree lighting ceremony.

Wayne County

Detroit Tree Lighting at Campus Martius Park

Nov. 22, 2019

Come see the Michigan-grown, the 60-foot Norwegian spruce light up for the first time this season at this annual event. Stage and rink performance, too.

Santa Claus Parade in Grosse Pointe

Nov. 29, 2019

This annual holiday procession features marching bands and floats themed to “Hometown Heroes.”

Kwanzaa Celebration in the Alex Manoogian Ethnic Heritage Building at Wayne State University in Detroit

Dec. 3, 2019

  • Address: Alex Manoogian Ethnic Heritage Building, 906 W. Warren Ave, Detroit
  • Time: 5:30-9 p.m.
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

This 12th annual celebrates Kwanzaa with food, music and activities designed to strengthen the community.

Christmas Parade in Downtown Trenton 

Dec. 7, 2019

The streets are hand-lit with candles to mark the path for this evening procession, which ends with an appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Detroit Lions Watch Party at Beacon Park in Detroit 

Dec. 8, 2019 

Families enjoy food, drinks, lawn games and a screening of the Lions’ game on the big screen.

Livingston County 

Family Gingerbread House at the Brighton District Library

Dec. 14, 2019

Kids and grown-ups can build and decorate your dream gingerbread house. Registration required.

Hartland’s Polar Express Day in Hartland’s Historic Village

Dec. 14, 2019

This 7th annual event offers tons of fun throughout Hartland’s Historic Village including a children’s activities at the Florence B. Dearing Museum, a reading of The Polar Express at the Cromaine Library, train rides along Avon St. and so much more.

This post is updated regularly.