Best Holiday Activities for Metro Detroit Families

Make the season even brighter with these kid-friendly holiday happenings the whole family will love.

The only thing better than the holiday magic you remember as a child is getting to share the magic of the season with your kiddos. 

To help your family kick off the most wonderful time of the year, we’ve rounded up the best holiday activities in metro Detroit that the entire family will love. Find dazzling light shows, holiday attractions, winter activities, gift guides for kids and so much more to help you add just a bit more magic to your festivities. 

Happy holidays! 

Stroll through holiday lights

Illuminate your festivities by visiting a holiday light display. Stroll through decked-out parks and downtown areas, or visit a light show like Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo

Visit Santa Claus

You better not pout I’m telling you why… Because Santa Claus is coming to metro Detroit, that’s why! Don’t stop at just snapping a photo with the old man. These awesome Santa events across metro Detroit include having milk and cookies, snacks or breakfast with Santa, visits with Mrs. Claus and more festive fun. 

Explore a winter wonderland close to home

Start a new family tradition or revamp an old one with a visit to Decked Out Detroit’s downtown winter wonderland.

Do your holiday shopping at the annual Detroit Downtown Winter Markets, then warm up with warm food and beverages at the Cadillac Lodge. Find winter bumper cars, puck putt hockey-golf and a 20-foot-high, 80-foot-long Arctic Slide at the Monroe Street Midway

All aboard a holiday train

Even kids who aren’t in their planes, trains and automobiles stage will love taking a ride on one of these holiday trains. Recreate the movie magic at events based on “The Polar Express” or meet Santa on a holiday train ride. 

Hit the ice

Make the most of the Midwest winter by getting outdoors for some holiday fun. Outdoor ice skating is a great way for families to stay active while appreciating the season. Check out these outdoor rinks where families can hit the ice. Many offer skating lessons, hockey games and other kid-friendly activities. 

See The Nutcracker

It’s a classic for a reason! With the dance of the sugar plum fairies and the waltz of the flowers, “The Nutcracker” is a ballet that families should see at least once. Not into ballet? There are plenty of other great holiday performances for families, like “A Christmas Carol,” “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer – The Musical” and more holiday orchestra and choir concerts

Dress up for a holiday tea

Holiday tea can be a wonderful tradition that generations of family members can share. Enjoy tea, pastries, sweet and savory bites and more scrumptious goodies at one of these holiday teas in metro Detroit. Or, get tips on how to host your own special tea at home! 

Find the perfect gift 

No need to order directly from the North Pole! Our holiday gift guide has everything your kiddos need to have a happy holiday. Find some of the most popular toys, crafts, games and more for your son who loves animals and nature to your STEM-obsessed daughter. 

Looking to avoid adding more unnecessary toys and gadgets to your home? Consider gifting your child an experience — like tickets to a sporting event, a subscription box or a museum membership — so they create family memories that will last way longer than the newest tech or trendiest toy. 

Participate in a toy drive

Before your child tears into their stocking or the presents under the tree, help them learn the true spirit of the season by donating to a local toy drive so that other kids can create special holiday memories, too. Find even more hands-on volunteering opportunities the entire family can get involved in this holiday season.


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Nikki Roberts
Nikki Roberts
Nikki Roberts is the assistant editor on the Metro Parent team. She is always on the lookout for the coolest and trendiest new attractions, restaurants and events for metro Detroit families. Her newsletters, online family guides and exciting digital content keep families informed on all the latest happenings around town.

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