7 Downtown Detroit Christmas 2023 Holiday Events | FUN Things To Do | Winter Activities | Detroit Tree Lighting, Horse Drawn Carriages, Ice Skating at Campus Martius Park

Top 7 Downtown Detroit Christmas Events 2023 FUN Things To Do | Detroit Tree Lighting, Horse Drawn Carriages, Ice Skating at Campus Martius Park This Winter

By: Sherry Trautman | Travel-Mi.com | Updated: November 10, 2023

This Christmas season, head to Downtown Detroit for a sprinkle of Christmas spirit topped with a jingle jangle of good cheer! Chris and I make it our annual tradition to enjoy the Detroit Tree Lighting Ceremony, ice skating at Campus Martinis and a head start on our holiday shopping at the merry Downtown Detroit Markets. This top Southeast Michigan destination is definitely worth a visit during the holiday season as the downtown area is transformed into a Michigan winter wonderland!  

There's so many fun things to do and holiday events in the Motor City! *In fact, we have 7 fun things to do in Downtown Detroit that are worthy of a Detroit day trip or romantic Michigan weekend getaway (lots of snuggle opportunities!)

MAP of Downtown Detroit Christmas Events and FUN Things To Do

See our map of Downtown Detroit Christmas Events and FUN Things To Do to do all in one area! Park once, play all day!

1. 20th Annual Detroit Tree Lighting Ceremony This November 2023 | Top Michigan Holiday Activity

The Downtown Detroit Tree Lighting Ceremony is an incredible event occurring on November 17, 2023 at 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm EST in downtown Detroit at Campus Martius Park. You can enjoy live entertainment, food trucks and of course, the magical lighting of the enormous Christmas Tree!

“Merry & Bright: 20 Years of Holiday Lights” is the 20th-anniversary special! All events are free at this annual Detroit event with Olympic figure skaters, best skaters in metro Detroit, live musical acts, holiday shopping, and lighting attractions across Downtown Detroit! 🎄

Read More: Detroit Tree Lighting Ceremony at Campus Martius Park This Christmas

2. "Light Up Beacon Park" | Downtown Detroit 2023 | Michigan Winter Wonderland | Perfect Date Night or Couples Event in Michigan

Occurring on the same day as the Downtown Detroit Tree Lighting Ceremony, "Light Up Beacon Park" is a must-see as this Detroit park is transformed into a winter wonderland and pop-up seasonal gathering space. 

When: November 17, 2023 from 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm

  • 5 pm to 9 pm: See the 20-foot, sparkling Michigan-grown Children’s Tree! See ornaments decorated by local Detroit children. 
  • 6:00 pm: Tree lighting ceremony, visit with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, see live reindeer! (keep an eye out for Rodolph!)
  • Choo Choo!! Embark on a fun train ride, the  “Polar Express" which is FREE for all!  
  • Nosh on yummy food truck food, and see live performances, too!
  • See the stunning “Northern Lights” that is larger-than-life! See a 15-foot Infinity Snow Globe, super huge walkthrough snowflake and huge polar bears! See 125,000 LED-efficient dazzling bulbs.

Read More: Detroit Tree Lighting Ceremony and Light Up Beacon Park at Campus Martius Park This Christmas 

3. See Beacon Park’s “Design Haus” November 17, 2023 to January 16, 2024

Beacon Park’s “Design Haus” is a warm, heated space with lots of live entertainment, art installations, visual displays, photo backdrops and a winter cocktail spritz bar by Lumen Detroit.

This Detroit destination is a festive atmosphere and great way to experience the Michigan outdoors all season long. Come out to Beacon Park November 17, 2023 to January 16, 2024.

Add this Michigan event  to your winter fun list as it is FREE and open to the public.

4. Go Ice Skating at The Rink at Campus Martius Park | November 18, 2023 through March 3, 2024 | Downtown Detroit

The Rink at Campus Martius Park opens for ice skating on November 18, 2023, the day after the incredible Detroit tree lighting.

  • The Rink at Campus Martius Park is open seven days a week, including holidays, November 18, 2023 through March 3, 2024. Check their website for hours and more information. 

See award-winning holiday lighting as you glide across this incredible Detroit ice skating rink!  It's a fun affordable Michigan event that is fun for the whole family! Add it to your winter fun list.

Note: Ice skating tickets and skate rentals at Campus Martius Park may be purchased onsite at the park and are offered on a first come, first serve basis.

Read More: If you love ice skating, check out our Detroit Ice Skating Rinks and dozens of super fun Michigan Ice Skating Rinks!

5. Start Your Holiday Shopping at the Downtown Detroit Markets

When: Open November 9, 2023 and will be open during the Detroit Tree Lighting!

Downtown Detroit Markets & Cadillac Lodge Hours: 

  • Mondays & Tuesdays: Closed 
  • Wednesdays & Thursdays: 11am – 8pm 
  • Fridays & Saturdays: 11am – 11pm 
  • Sundays: 11am – 7pm 

The Downtown Detroit Markets will be open until January 7, 2024.

Where: Cadillac Square

What are the Downtown Detroit Markets?  The Downtown Detroit Markets are a great chance to shop local Detroit small businesses selling their Christmas wares in a pop-up style.  Several local retailers will set up shop for the holiday season in this outdoor marketplace. You can find great gift items such as apparel, accessories, jewelry, bath products, home décor, children’s toys, pet goods, books, snacks and more!

6. Warm Up in the Beautiful Cadillac Lodge! | Downtown Detroit

When: Open November 9, 2023 and will be open during the Detroit Tree Lighting! The Cadillac Lodge will be open until January 7, 2024.

Downtown Detroit Markets & Cadillac Lodge Hours: 

  • Mondays & Tuesdays: Closed 
  • Wednesdays & Thursdays: 11am – 8pm 
  • Fridays & Saturdays: 11am – 11pm 
  • Sundays: 11am – 7pm 

Where: The Cadillac Lodge, 60 Cadillac Square, Detroit, MI 48226

This heated, cozy, family-friendly space is conveniently located next to the Downtown Detroit Markets.  There's no charge to enter the Cadillac Lodge this November, December and January.  The Lodge is beautifully decorated with plush couches and chairs so come on in to warm up and play fun games like Jenga and Chinese checkers!

  • Plus, Cadillac Lounge offers a variety of eats and treats plus festive drinks all in the comfort of a lovely ski lodge setting, all in Downtown Detroit!  It's such a warm and welcoming spot to relax and enjoy cocktails or hot cocoa with friends and family.

7. Cuddle Up on Romantic Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides | Downtown Detroit | Top Spot for a Romantic Winter Getaway!

When: Horse-drawn carriage rides are available on Fridays and Saturdays beginning November 18 – December 30, 2023.  6 pm – 11 pm

Where: Woodward Esplanade next to Campus Martius Park

What a fantastic way to ignite your Christmas spirit!  Experience the magic of Downtown Detroit from the comfort of a magical horse-drawn carriage! These lovely holiday horse-drawn carriage rides embark from the Woodward Esplanade next to Campus Martius Park (see our map above).   Chris and I can't wait to to experience this fun Michigan holiday activity!

Tickets can be purchased at the time of the ride (credit or debit only) on a first come, first served basis. We are excited to take a horse drawn carriage ride around the city and also to see the brilliantly lit Detroit Christmas Tree at Campus Martius Park.

New Year’s Eve Carriage Rides: December 31 from 6 pm – 11 pm.

Rides Per Person: $10

Private Group Rides: $40

Downtown Detroit Places To Park (See Our Map Above)

These are two ideas, of course there are other lots and choices in the area. 

  1. One Campus Martius Garage at 1188 Farmer Street, Detroit, MI. With over 1,750 parking spaces, the One Campus Martius Garage is located at 1188 Farmer Street and is connected to both One Campus Martius and the People Mover. Amenities including a complimentary air pump, window washing stations, bicycle parking and electric vehicle parking/charging stations. 24/7 Security, Daily rate parking available.
  2. The Kennedy Square Garage at 720 Griswold Street is also one block away. Convenient and secure garage in downtown Detroit, across the street from Campus Martius Park. 

Things to Do Nearby in Detroit!

Sherry Trautman Bio Picture

About the Lead Author | Sherry Trautman

Thanks for stopping by!

Our Words of Wisdom: “Never follow anyone else’s path. Unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path, then by all means follow that path.”

"Sherry & Chris"

We're Sherry and Chris the founders of one of Michigan's most comprehensive and Top Travel Blogs!

    Sherry Trautman is a seasoned business owner and a multifaceted content creator, deeply entrenched in the world of travel in Michigan. With her extensive background in writing, editing, photography, marketing, website design, web mastering, social media, and publishing, she is the driving force behind the acclaimed Michigan Travel site "Travel-mi.com." A lifelong Michigander, Sherry's journey began in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan led her to St. Joseph during her formative years, and further to Kalamazoo for her higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and Fine Art from Western Michigan University. Her career initially blossomed in Battle Creek, where she contributed significantly to aviation, marketing, and the art industry.

    In 2018, Sherry, alongside her husband Chris, embarked on a passionate endeavor with the inception of Travel-MI.com. This venture was not just a business but a full-time commitment to exploring and celebrating the diverse landscapes and communities of Michigan. Together, they tirelessly traverse the state, curating unique experiences, capturing stunning visuals, and weaving engaging narratives that showcase Michigan's rich cultural tapestry and natural beauty. From her early experiences in different Michigander locales to her extensive professional background, Sherry's life and work epitomize a deep-rooted expertise in Michigan travel, making her an authoritative voice in this niche.

Sherry & Chris are at the Inn at Bay Harbor and looking out at the lake.
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