17 Best Michigan Christmas Towns You Must Visit This Holiday Season! + Map (Lovely Hallmark Towns for a Christmas Vacation!)

Best Michigan Christmas Towns | By: Sherry Trautman | Travel-MI.com | Updated: October 21, 2023

When Christmas nears, Chris and I love to bundle up and visit all the lovely Michigan Christmas Towns in Michigan. It's such a great way to get into the Christmas spirit! 


  • And one of Hallmark Christmas towns involves an incredible steam train ride, can you guess which one? 

Are you ready? Let's go! 

If you are looking for the best Christmas towns in Michigan, keep reading!

Interactive Map of the Top Michigan Christmas Towns To Visit

1. Frankenmuth Michigan Christmas Town Should Be at the TOP of Your Michigan Bucket List!

We have been asked, "What is the name of the Christmas town in Michigan?" It's Frankenmuth and a super popular Bavarian village to visit during Christmas.

So if you are wondering, "Where should I go for Christmas in Michigan," we say, "Frankenmuth!!"


Well, From the moment you arrive in Frankenmuth Michigan, you will be engulfed in the Christmas spirit...It happens to everyone, even the Grinch!

Many people, and I'd have to agree, think Frankenmuth is the best Christmas town in Michigan... 

  • There are so many things to do in Frankenmuth at Christmas
  • You can go on a nostalgic horse drawn carriage ride, go ice skating, shop the Bavarian Inn Castle Shops, get hot chocolate, go on a Christmas lights driving tour and so much more!

Store decorated for ChristmasCute shops like the Jerky Joint offer Christmas goods - Frankenmuth Christmas

See our Christmas in Frankenmuth guide ---> 10 Magical Things to do in Frankenmuth at Christmas!

Northern Star Railroad in Midland MichiganBest Michigan Christmas Towns

2. Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village is so Charming at Christmas!

Where: The Henry Ford - Greenfield Village, 20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn, MI 48124

Fee? Yes

It's so fun to bundle up warmly as you wander this lovely Michigan Christmas "town." You'll hear carolers, smell the freshly cut wreathes and trees, sip creamy hot chocolate and enjoy the happy feel of Greenfield Village at Christmas as you stroll down Main Street.

It's a great place to shop for holiday goods and stocking stuffers for everyone on your Christmas list.

Hungry?  There are several places to enjoy food and warm beverages.

You can also take an unforgettable ride on a historic Model T or cuddle up in a lovely horse-drawn carriage. 

Reindeer laying down in an outdoor snowy penSee Adorable Reindeer and Santa During Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village

Oh and you can visit with Santa with his real live reindeer (so incredibly cute!)

There are several dining experiences too.

If you get cold, there are plenty of shops to step into or you can huddle around communal hot fire pits.

Pro Tip: You will need to buy your tickets for Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village very early, most likely before November or whenever they first go on sale as they sell out very quickly.

3. Visit Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad for a Norman Rockwell Christmas

Where: Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad at 6140 N Bray Rd, Flint, MI 48505

Fee? Yes

My friends, if you want to feel like you just stepped into a Norman Rockwell painting, you absolutely must visit Crossroads Village in Flint Michigan.  You can wander through several vintage buildings, enjoy a buffet dinner, ride a vintage carousel and Ferris wheel. Such a Hallmark Christmas town!

But the crem de la crem of the night is the riding the vintage Huckleberry railroad! 

4. Midland Michigan Is Wonderful During Christmas!

Where: Mid Michigan

Were you surprised that we included Midland in our list of favorite Michigan Christmas towns?

Midland is home to the famous Tridge (3 way bridge, Dow Gardens and Whiting Forest...all scenic and fabulous places to visit during Christmas.

I also discovered a couple fabulous downtown Midland stores called Serendipity Road and Heather 'n Holly where I bought most of my local Christmas presents! 

Shop featuring gifts and dessert itemsHeather'n Holly - Cute downtown Midland store

Heather N' Holly as a wonderful assortments of chocolates and treats that are perfect for Michigan Gift Baskets, stocking stuffers and more! I appreciate the great assortment of delicious gift items!

Clothing and gift shop in the downtown areaSerendipity Road - Cute downtown Midland store

Serendipity Road has so many fantastic gift items! I love that the great choice of Michigan items including syrup, coffee, soaps, clothing and home décor.  

Walk the super scenic Midland Tridge (three-way wooden footbridge) with views of the Chippewa and Tittabawassee Rivers in Chippewassee Park. One direction leads to the park and the other direction leads to baseball diamonds and Chippewa Nature Center.

Midland Santa House: Come see Santa! 

Midland Santa house is a huge Michigan attraction that you must check out! The lines are long during the evenings the closer you get to Christmas! So you can see why we included Midland in our Michigan Christmas Towns list!

Oh, and for more fun Michigan fun, ride the FREE Northern Star train! The short ride takes you in a scenic loop of the downtown Midland area, past the Loon's stadium. Perfect for seeing Michigan Christmas lights!

5. Spring Lake is Stunning at Christmastime!

Every December, Spring Lake goes all out to decorate their city for their annual Spring Lake Sparkle Festival.  You can see more than 120,000 multicolored lights decorating trees, storefronts, and even their clocktower along the downtown’s main thoroughfare between Division and Buchanan streets. Definitely worthy to be included in our Michigan Christmas Towns list!

6. Downtown Rochester Christmas Lights are Magnificent! | One of our Favorite Michigan Christmas Towns!

If you want to see incredible Christmas lights from the comfort of your vehicle, drive on over to Rochester this Christmas season.  Their drive through lights are absolutely incredible and FREE!

7. Visit Ashley Michigan Christmas Town and Ride the Polar Express Stream Train!

Where: Steam Railroading Institute, 405 S Washington St, Owosso, MI 48867

So guys, if you love trains, visiting with Santa, and exploring cheerful Michigan Christmas Towns, you have to check out the Christmas town of Ashley! 

But do you want to know the best part?

You get to ride on a steam train to get there!

The 1225 Pere Marquette steam train from Owosso, Michigan to be exact!  The Polar Express steam train is an incredible experience!

Just hearing the raw power of the the 1225 Pere Marquette steam train is exhilarating.  Chris and I just had to pose in front of the train! 

Sherry standing behind a Grinch sign in Ashley MichiganI just love anything with the Grinch! This sign in Ashley Michigan was awesome!

Once arriving in the village of Ashley, you can shop for gifts and stocking stuffers (Chris and I purchased personalized ornaments) and enjoy a small town meal.

8. Visit Fredrick Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids!

Where: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, 1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

Throughout the month of December (and a bit before and after), be sure to see visit Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park! The University of Michigan Health-West: Christmas & Holiday Traditions exhibition is just magical! 

See several adorned Christmas trees, lovely Christmas displays and the beloved Railway Garden. Be sure to walk the nature trails outdoors too. Indoors and out, Fredrick Meijer Gardens sparkles with 350,000 lights!

9. Canterbury Village Christmas is Simply Magical!

If you love seeing popular characters, festive light shows, professional carolers, twinkling light displays, roaring firepits and trying a variety of beers you will love Olde World Canterbury Village's Holiday Stroll!

Buy your tickets online at their website to enjoy an outside wintery wonderland lights walk throughout the month of December.

10. South Haven | Southwest Michigan Christmas Towns

Downtown South Haven is a lovely nostalgic Michigan small town to visit during the Christmas season.  The downtown is decorated with lights and the storefronts are bright with holiday cheer. 

Be sure to stop by the South Haven Center for the Arts' Mistletoe Market. After you're all shopped out, slip on a pair of ice skates at the South Haven Ice Rink and glide across the ice! 

Be sure to drive by the South Haven lighthouse as many times it's covered with ice which makes an incredible photo!

11. Marquette | Michigan's Upper Peninsula | See the Holiday Parade & Tree Lighting!

Marquette's Holiday Parade & Tree Lighting is a fun family-friendly annual event in Downtown Marquette.  The Winter Snow Fun Holiday Parade happens December 8, 2023 from 6:00-8:00 pm. Enjoy brightly lit parade floats, tinsel-covered trucks and cheerful carolers as the parade turns Third Street into an enchanted scene from the North Pole! Keep an eye out for Santa!

Plus, be sure to drive by Carter's Christmas Lights located on 1313 N. Vandenboom Road in Marquette. Incredible Marquette County Christmas Lights!  They know how to decorate for Christmas!

12. St. Joseph | Southwest Michigan

Downtown St. Joseph shops and streets are fully decorated for the Christmas holidays! It's so beautiful, especially in the early evenings.  I grew up in St. Joe and I still LOVE walking along the downtown streets to see the decorated storefronts, popping into boutiques, walking along the bluff, and driving past Silver Beach to see if the St. Joseph Lighthouse is frozen over yet.

The Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra puts on holiday concerts in December. There's also a lovely Holiday Artisan Market at Union + Social that occurs early December. 

An event I love is the Ice Fest that happens in February. 

13. Saugatuck | Southwest Michigan

Downtown Saugatuck is just stunning at Christmastime.  The storefronts, light posts and buildings are draped with greens and lights. 

Celebrate the season Saugatuck style at Saugatuck’s Festive Holiday Parade on Saturday, December 2, 2023 at 1 PM on the famous Butler Street. Don't miss the Tree Lighting Ceremony!

Also, the elegant Felt Mansion offers a Christmas Coffee And Cocoa Tours events. Check their webpage for more info. 

14. Holly Michigan | Southeast Michigan Christmas Towns

What Hallmark Christmas movie was filmed in Michigan? "Cupid's Christmas" 

Cupid's Christmas” follows Santa as he searches for his lost reindeer. This fun Christmas movie was filmed entirely in Holly, Michigan and produced by Michigan native, Sam Logan Khaleghi in 2022. How cool is that? Stream Cupid's Christmas on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, and Vudu.

So not only was there a Christmas movie filmed in Holly, but you can enjoy a Renaissance style Christmas during Holly Dazzle each December! Wander the booths at the Renaissance Fest and enjoy lights all across the event grounds!

15. Detroit | One of the Most Festive Michigan Christmas Towns!

Downtown Detroit Christmas

At Christmas, come on out and enjoy pop-up Cadillac Square Markets and Capitol Park Markets.  Shop small and local for food, clothing, home goods, gifts and more.

Warm up inside the lovely Cadillac Lodge, a large heated tent with games, comfy couches, and ski lodge amenities. Grab lunch as you warm up! Find your perfect Christmas tree at the Christmas Tree Farm in Capitol Park.

  • Holiday horse-drawn carriage rides leaving from Campus Martius are a magical way to tour downtown. Rides are offered Fridays and Saturdays mid November through December.

Grab our Guide to 7 Downtown Detroit Christmas Activities to enjoy this holiday season!

16. Grand Haven | Southwest Michigan

Wander along Washington Avenue this Christmas season to see the holiday cheer and seasonal Christmas lights in Grand Haven, Michigan! The thousands of twinkling lights will get you in the holiday mood for sure!

  • Love trains? Check out the Santa Train, available Saturday's & Sunday's in late November through December at the nearby Coopersville & Marne Railway in downtown Coopersville, Michigan. 

Your family will also love the Grand Haven Jingle Bell Parade held the 1st Saturday in December in Downtown Grand Haven. Each year, over 70 floats and groups will march west on Franklin Avenue beginning at Second Street, to Harbor Drive, north on Harbor Drive to Washington Avenue, then east on Washington to Central Park for the annual lighting of the Community Christmas Tree. Enjoy carol sing with Santa and his lovely Mrs. Claus.

17. Petoskey | West Michigan Christmas Towns

This Christmas, visit Petoskey for their lovely Santa Parade and Open House (December 1, 2023 6:00 pm - 9pm), craft shows, sleigh rides, and so much more.

Downtown Petoskey Holiday Parade is November 25, 2023 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Plus, downtown Petoskey is a lovely town to visit during the Christmas season. The entire downtown area is decorated with greens and lights to put you in the holiday cheer. 

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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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