Top 23 Michigan Winter Festivals 2023, Events and Family FUN Things To Do January and February + Map | Detroit Region, Upper Peninsula, West Michigan, Northern MI and More!


Top 23 Michigan Winter Festivals 2023, Events and Family Friendly FUN Things To Do + Map | Detroit, Upper Peninsula, West Michigan, Northern MI and More!

By: Sherry Trautman | Travel-Mi.com | Updated: January 6, 2023

Happy winter, my friends!  Let's get outside to enjoy lots of Michigan winter festivals including ice festivals, snow festivals, ice fishing festivals, polar plunges, ship burning (what?) and all things winter! I'm so freakin' excited to attend these festivals this year, especially the Nordic Fire Fest!


Find a FUN Michigan Winter Festival Near You on Our Map!

1. World of Winter Festival (Grand Rapids)

When: January 6-March 5, 2023
Where: Throughout Downtown Grand Rapids!

World of Winter is a super popular Grand Rapids winter festival held throughout downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan January 6-March 5, 2023.  Chris and I love walking the downtown area "finding" each of the 44 incredible art installations. 

And World of Winter is FREE to the public! There are several events and fun activities to keep us busy this winter. It's one of our favorite Michigan winter festivals!

--->See our World of Winter Guide! Walking map, schedule, events and more!


2. Come to Mackinaw City Winter Festival In Northern Michigan This January!

Where: Mackinaw Crossings front parking lot, Mackinaw City

When: January 21, 2023!!

Mackinaw City's 30th Annual Winter Fest is January 21, 2023!

It's so fun watching the Outhouse Races at The Hook Restaurant. There's also a Kids BIG Freeze obstacle course at the Mackinaw Crossings front parking lot (behind Igloo’s).  

  • There will be after and during party celebrations at the Dixie Saloon, too. Great Northern Michigan winter festival.


3. Tip Up Town Winter Festival (Houghton Lake) | Kids Day, Polar Bear Plunge and Beer Tents!


Where: The southern DNR boat launch, off of M-55 near the Pines theater and Pineview Golf Course in Houghton Lake, Michigan.

When: January 21, 22, 28, 2023

Learn More: Schedule at Tip Up Town!

So guys, if you love a good hometown winter festival and carnival, come to Houghton Lake for Tip Up Town USA! 

  • This fun family friendly winter carnival involves a polar plunge (my personal favorite), ice fishing contests, beer tent, snowmobile drag races, pony rides, kids games and activities, an ice slide and lots of fun!

The Houghton Lake Chamber has applications for the Queen contest, rules and more info. Great Northern Michigan winter festival.


4. Grand Haven Winterfest in West Michigan - See The Famous Cardboard Sled Race!

When: January 26-29, 2023
Where: Mulligan’s Hollow, 600 Y Dr, Grand Haven, MI

Grand Haven Winterfest is January 26-29, 2023 in Grand Haven! Come on out for some silly winter fun and good times! Join in on their World Famous cardboard sled race!

  • So many fun family activities such as snow volleyball, bon fires bash, ski and snowboard competition, kids day, family dog pull, glowbowl, euchre tournament and so much more! 

We recommend catching a ride on their FREE shuttle service from downtown parking (Franklin and 1st, 2nd or 3rd streets) out to Mulligan’s Hollow for the events on Saturday

There are so many fun things to do in Grand Haven!


5. Michigan Tech Winter Carnival in Marquette: See Breathtaking Ice Sculptures in the Upper Peninsula!


Where: Michigan Tech's Campus
When: February 8-11, 2023

Learn More: Michigan Tech's Winter Carnival

Winter Carnival is one of the most WOW inducing Michigan Winter Festivals! Head to Michigan Tech's campus in Marquette (Michigan's Upper Peninsula) to see incredible snow sculptures created by Michigan Tech's students during Winter Carnival.  They will seriously blow your mind!  There are also tons of fun winter events such as:

  • Broomball
  • Curling 
  • Sleigh Rides
  • Cross Country Skiing 
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snowboarding 
  • Human Dog Sled Races 
  • Ice Bowling and more!


6. Plymouth Ice Festival - See Incredible Ice Sculptures!


Where: Kellogg Park in downtown Plymouth, Michigan.
When: February 3-5, 2023

February 3-5, 2023 marks an incredible winter festival where you can watch over 50 ornate ice sculptures created by world renown ice carvers!

The Plymouth Ice Festival is one of the largest free ice festivals in Michigan, you won't want to miss it!


7. Zehnder's Snow Fest (Frankenmuth Michigan)


Be sure to attend this year's Zehnder's Snowfest, it's one of Chris and I's favorite Michigan winter festivals!

Where: Main Street, Frankenmuth

When: January 25-29, 2023

Learn More: Guide to Zehnder's Snowfest

There are so many fun things to do at Zender's Snowfest! See world class ice carving, enjoy the warming tent, a fireworks display, petting zoo and children’s activities and more! What a fun Frankenmuth Michigan winter activity. Oh, and this is a free event!


8. Fire and Ice Festival (Downtown Rochester) + Food Trucks, Ice Skating, Cross Country Ski!

Where: E Third St and Water St, Rochester, MI 48307

When: Fire and Ice is held January 20-21, 2023  

The Fire & Ice Festival, held in downtown Rochester is one of the premier winter events in Michigan!  so many wintry things to do! 

  • Friday, 1/20/2023: 5 pm - 9 pm
  • Saturday, 1/21/2023: 10 am - 9 pm

Enjoy incredible ice sculptures along Main Street, go for a spin on the ice skating rink, try snowshoeing and commune with nature while cross-country skiing!  There will also be fireworks, food trucks and so much more!


9. Hunter Ice Festival (Niles Michigan) | See Incredible Ice Carvings

Where: Downtown Niles 

When: January 13-15, 2023

The Hunter Ice Festival features the Niles Frigid 5k, beer tasting event, timed ice sculpting competition, ice cream, and Downtown merchants will offer free hot refreshments in their "warming stations" and much more! 

  • The festival showcases more than 150 ice sculptures throughout the downtown area.

Hunter Ice Festival History: Per the Hunter Ice Festival Blog, the festival pays tribute to the history of Niles Michigan's Hunter Brothers Ice and Ice Cream Company.  They created delicious ice cream at the turn of the century, but also cut ice blocks out of Barron Lake and shipped it pretty much everywhere!


10. Nordic Fire Festival (Charlotte) This February

Where: Eaton County Fairgrounds, located at 1025 Cochran Ave, Charlotte, MI.  
When: February 24-26, 2023

The super popular Nordic Fire Festival is February 24-26, 2023 and the Ship Burning (Knörr Blόt) is on Friday, February 24, 2023 at 7:00 PM!  

Fun events include:

  • Demonstrations
  • Reenactments
  • Viking Camp
  • Musical performances
  • Fire Performers


Festival Hours:
Friday 5pm-11pm
Saturday 10am -11pm
Sunday 11am- 4pm


11. Annual Ice Breaker Festival in South Haven (West Michigan)


When: February 3, 2023 - February 5, 2023
Where: Downtown South Haven

Chris and I love the annual Ice Breaker Festival in South Haven. It's held annually on the first weekend of February in West Michigan.  This fun winter festival showcases a chili cook-off, cardboard sled races, pub slide, frozen ice fling, Break the Ice 5k, Snowsuit Fashion Competition, Curling, and many more exciting activities throughout downtown South Haven.

On Saturday, February 5th is “Heat the Streets” get ready to GET TOASTY as three fire pits will be hot and ready for s’more roasting! YUMMY!  Also on Saturday, be sure to enjoy the Professional Chili Cook-Off!



  • Try beginner curling lessons!
  • Try your hand at the Ice Breaker Festival's Annual Frozen Fish Fling at the South Marina! 
  • And you can't miss the annual Cardboard Sled Race on Saturday afternoon at the Coast Guard hill!   
  • Glide across the ice at the covered outdoor ice skating rink in downtown South Haven! 

So many fun Michigan Winter Festivals and things to do in winter!



One of the highlights of this annual event is watching incredible ice sculpting! See more than 40 blocks of ice, weighing 300-600 pounds each, transform into works of frozen art!


12. Heikki Lunta Winter Festival (Negaunee, Michigan's Upper Peninsula)

When: February 3-5, 2023
Where: Downtown Negaunee

Heikki Lunta Winter Festival is a celebration of all things winter in Michigan's Upper Peninsula! Featuring Irontown Rail Jam, snowshoe lantern tours, fish fry, fat tire races, fireworks, a parade and fun all weekend long. So come out and embrace the winter spirit of Michigan's Upper Peninsula!  



While visiting Michigan Winter Festivals in the Upper Peninsula, be sure to check out the Best Places to See Frozen Waterfalls in Michigan's Upper Peninsula!


13. The Big Freeze Winter Festival in Escanaba (Michigan's Upper Peninsula)


Fire and Ice night, carriage rides, ice fishing derby and winter fun during the Big Freeze Winter Festival in Escanaba.

  • February 17, 2023, 5-8 pm at U.P. State Fairgrounds, Ruth Butler Building, 2401 12th Ave N, Escanaba, MI. FIRE & ICE NIGHT. Enjoy a Chili Challenge & live Ice Carving performance by Food Network's Randy Finch, 50/50 raffle, silent auction, LIVE music and more!
  • February 18, 2023, 4:00 AM - 2:00 PM. at Little Bay De Noc for the ICE FISING DERBY! Register early! Lots of prizes. PLUS 12 pm -6 pm at the U.P. State Fairgrounds, Ruth Butler Building, 2401 12th Ave N, Escanaba for kids crafts, carriage ridges, bonfires with smores and more!

So much fun in Michigan's Upper Peninsula!



So many questions in my head!

  • So I asked Jason from Visit Escanaba, "How are the ice tents and shanties brought out on the ice? Please tell me more about this!"  He says, "The ice tents are easy to set up and provide protection from the cold, but once the ice gets really thick and people can bring vehicles out onto the ice we will start to see bigger and heavier shanties (like the green one) set up."

He continued saying, "The fisherman will drag the shanties out onto the ice, usually with a side-by-side. People usually have their own but, there are businesses set up to accommodate those who do not have the necessary equipment"   

So during their festival, you can still ice fish even if you don't have a shanty. 


14. Winter Cheer Fest 2023 (Leland, Northwest Michigan)

Where: The Leland Lodge, 565 Pearl St, Leland, MI
When: January 1, 2023, 2:00-10:00 pm

Ring in the new year right with music from The Broom Closet Boys, sledding, food & drink specials and MORE during Winter Cheer Fest!

Free admission and fun for the whole family. Hope to see you then!


15. Chilly Fest in Beautiful Port Huron, Michigan


Where: McMorran Place is located at 701 McMorran Blvd, Port Huron, Michigan

When: January 27, 2023 and January 28, 2023

Celebrate winter in the Blue Water Area! Visitors of all ages will enjoy outdoor activities, s’mores station, carriage rides, a chili crawl, live entertainment (music) and much more!  PoHo Hot Cocoa Run, Carriage Rides, and the Fuzzy Penguin Hunt too! 



16. Michigan Ice Festival | Munising (Upper Peninsula)

When: February 8-12, 2023
Where: Munising, Michigan. Many events are at the Community Center, Mather Auditorium

Michigan Ice Festival offers ice climbing gear demonstrations, climbing classes for ice climbing enthusiasts and tons of opportunities to learn about ice climbing in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  Check the Michigan Ice Festival schedule, it's jam packed. We recommend scheduling early. 



17. Cold Rush Festival in Warren Michigan (Southeast Michigan)

When: January 21, 2023. 2 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Where: 1 City Square, located in front of Warren City Hall.

There will be fun and activities throughout the day, including:
• Free Ice Skating 
• Ice Carving & Ice Sculptures
• Bon Fires & S’mores
• Food Trucks
• Hot Chocolate!

Admission is free!


18. Winterfest at Pier Park

When: Saturday, January 14, 2023, 12:00 pm -4:00pm. 

Where: Pier Park, Grosse Pointe Farms

  • Winterfest will have a petting farm, ice carving demonstrations, ice skating, plenty of food trucks, putt putt golf and live entertainment!


19. Family Winter Fun Fest (Bay City) 


When: February 18, 2023, 10 AM – 2 PM

Where: Center Court at Bay City Town Center, 4101 E Wilder Rd, Bay City, MI

Kids zone, entertainment, food, vendors and more!


20. Annual Suds & Snow Festival at Timber Ridge Resort (Traverse City in Northern Michigan)

When: Saturday, March 4, 2023, from 1:00-6:00 pm.
Where: Timber Ridge Resort

Annual Suds & Snow is an afternoon with beer, wine & cider plus great eats from local restaurants & food trucks.  Event is for guests 21+. 

  • The annual themed Suds & Snow event includes a 1/2 mile hike through the woods of Timber Ridge Resort to enjoy two live-music stages with local musicians, several breweries serving craft beers, wine, & cider, and local food trucks.

This Traverse City winter microbrew event is sure to be Northern Michigan’s ultimate “Party in the Woods” with the fun theme of Mardi Gras!


21. The City of Houghton Winter Wonderland (Michigan's Upper Peninsula)

When: December 3 & 17, 2022

Where: Near the Michigan Tech Lakeshore Center

Come on out to the city of Houghton for their annual Winter Wonderland! Attractions include free horse-drawn carriage rides, hot chocolate, a bonfire, and an appearance from Santa! Plus meet Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Olaf!  Open skating at the Dee Stadium from 5-6 PM


22. 2023 Toyota U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships

When: January 2 - January 7, 2023

Were: Michigan Tech's trail system is located right across the street from the Student Development Complex, or the south end of the Michigan Tech campus on MacInnes Drive.

The championship spans a week and will take place on Michigan Tech's world-class Tech Trails. This championship week includes the selection of several teams that compete nationally and internationally, including the Nordic World Championships, U23/Junior World Championships, U18 Scandinavian Champions/ World Junior Championship, and SuperTour World Cup Qualification.  The Toyota US Cross Country Ski Championships schedule is jam packed.


23.Tecumseh's Annual Ice Sculpture Festival

When: Tecumseh's Annual Ice Sculpture Festival is January 21-22, 2023

Where: Downtown Tecumseh, MI 49286

Come on out to downtown Tecumesh to see over 50 ice sculptures! The Michigan Avian Experience will be their so you can see a Great Horned Owl on Saturday from 1pm-3pm. Play the Scavenger Hunt through the participating merchants and enjoy the Chocolate/Beverage Walk through the downtown businesses.  Yummy AND Fun! Win-win!


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