November 25, 2020

15 spirited Christmas light displays within driving distance of Detroit

Life might feel grim and dim these days but things are still merry and very bright in metro Detroit, where more than a dozen holiday light displays can be found, ranging from high-tech drive-thrus to festive neighborhood drive-bys and walking tours through nature preserves. Even the Detroit Zoo is getting wild with holiday ferocity. Let these visual spectacles melt the icicles from your frozen soul and let the spirit of Christmas in — but, like, with a mask and from six feet away.

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Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village
20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn; 313-982-6001; thehenryford.orggreenfieldvillage; Tickets are $22.50-$30.
No one kicks it old school quite like Greenfield Village, where butter churning and Model Ts are preferred to TikTok and a hands-free Tesla. Keeping with 20 years of old school holiday fun, Greenfield Village reprises its Holiday Nights tradition, though with some tweaks. This year, while attractions and happenings like the Weiser Railroad, ice skating, indoor caroling, outdoor caroling with Santa, the horse-drawn carriage, and Model T rides are cancelled this year, the Greenfield Village grounds will be decked out with holiday decorations with some  holiday vignettes presented in period attire throughout. Oh, and the carousel remains open and free, and there’s talk of some famous reindeer making an appearance. For anyone who may need a sensory-friendly experience, inquire with a team member who can provide such accommodations. Holiday Nights is presented from 6:30 p.m.-10 p.m. and will run Dec. 4-6, 11-13, 15-23, and 26-28. 
Photo by Doug Coombe

Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village

20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn; 313-982-6001; thehenryford.orggreenfieldvillage; Tickets are $22.50-$30.

No one kicks it old school quite like Greenfield Village, where butter churning and Model Ts are preferred to TikTok and a hands-free Tesla. Keeping with 20 years of old school holiday fun, Greenfield Village reprises its Holiday Nights tradition, though with some tweaks. This year, while attractions and happenings like the Weiser Railroad, ice skating, indoor caroling, outdoor caroling with Santa, the horse-drawn carriage, and Model T rides are cancelled this year, the Greenfield Village grounds will be decked out with holiday decorations with some holiday vignettes presented in period attire throughout. Oh, and the carousel remains open and free, and there’s talk of some famous reindeer making an appearance. For anyone who may need a sensory-friendly experience, inquire with a team member who can provide such accommodations. Holiday Nights is presented from 6:30 p.m.-10 p.m. and will run Dec. 4-6, 11-13, 15-23, and 26-28.

Photo by Doug Coombe
Wayne County Lightfest
7651 Merriman Rd., Westland; 734-261-1990; Facebook.com/WayneCountyParks; Tickets are $5 per car.
Ho-ho-holy reindeer crap! This year, Hines Park will get a holiday makeover when it transforms into Wayne County Lightfest. The scenic drive-thru event will feature nearly 50 larger-than-life animated holiday displays. The Fest will be available for visitors Wednesday-Friday from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. and Saturday and Sundays from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. The event will run through Dec. 31, but will be closed on Christmas Day. 
Photo via Wayne County Parks/Facebook

Wayne County Lightfest

7651 Merriman Rd., Westland; 734-261-1990; Facebook.com/WayneCountyParks; Tickets are $5 per car.

Ho-ho-holy reindeer crap! This year, Hines Park will get a holiday makeover when it transforms into Wayne County Lightfest. The scenic drive-thru event will feature nearly 50 larger-than-life animated holiday displays. The Fest will be available for visitors Wednesday-Friday from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. and Saturday and Sundays from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. The event will run through Dec. 31, but will be closed on Christmas Day.

Photo via Wayne County Parks/Facebook
Magic of Lights at DTE Energy Music Theatre
33 Bob Seger Dr., Clarkston; magicoflights.com/clarkston; Tickets are $20+.
Your favorite place to watch artists like Kid Rock perform has transformed into a drive-thru winter wonderland made up of more than 1 million LED lights. The traveling spectacle features high-tech displays and digital animations that span 1.5 miles. Want to amp up the festivities? There’s a radio station that visitors can tune into for accompanying holiday music. The lights display is open Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday through Saturday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and runs through Jan. 2. 
Photo courtesy of Live Nation

Magic of Lights at DTE Energy Music Theatre

33 Bob Seger Dr., Clarkston; magicoflights.com/clarkston; Tickets are $20+.

Your favorite place to watch artists like Kid Rock perform has transformed into a drive-thru winter wonderland made up of more than 1 million LED lights. The traveling spectacle features high-tech displays and digital animations that span 1.5 miles. Want to amp up the festivities? There’s a radio station that visitors can tune into for accompanying holiday music. The lights display is open Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday through Saturday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and runs through Jan. 2.

Photo courtesy of Live Nation
The Big, Bright Light Show
Downtown Rochester; 248-656-0060;  facebook.com/BigBrightLightShow; Event is free.
This year, downtown Rochester is, once again, getting lit. Along Main Street, the buildings are decked in glistening, glimmering lights from top to bottom. You can check out the lights while shopping locally, grabbing food to-go, or by simply driving annoyingly slow as your passenger hangs out of the window to get some shots for the ‘Gram. The Big, Bright Light show will take place every evening from 5 p.m.-midnight through Jan. 3. As a bonus, select stores will remain open until 9 p.m. during the week.
Photo by Brad Ziegler Photography

The Big, Bright Light Show

Downtown Rochester; 248-656-0060; facebook.com/BigBrightLightShow; Event is free.

This year, downtown Rochester is, once again, getting lit. Along Main Street, the buildings are decked in glistening, glimmering lights from top to bottom. You can check out the lights while shopping locally, grabbing food to-go, or by simply driving annoyingly slow as your passenger hangs out of the window to get some shots for the ‘Gram. The Big, Bright Light show will take place every evening from 5 p.m.-midnight through Jan. 3. As a bonus, select stores will remain open until 9 p.m. during the week.

Photo by Brad Ziegler Photography
The Merry Mile
720 Fair St., Marshall; 269-781-8161; calhouncountyfairgrounds.com/the-merry-mile; Tickets are $10 per car.
Have a very merry Christmas with Marshall’s Merry Mile, an illuminated drive-thru event along the Calhoun County Fairgrounds. The event will take place every day from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. through Dec. 27.
Photo via The Merry Mile/Facebook

The Merry Mile

720 Fair St., Marshall; 269-781-8161; calhouncountyfairgrounds.com/the-merry-mile; Tickets are $10 per car.

Have a very merry Christmas with Marshall’s Merry Mile, an illuminated drive-thru event along the Calhoun County Fairgrounds. The event will take place every day from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. through Dec. 27.

Photo via The Merry Mile/Facebook
Winter Wonder Lights at Meadow Brook Hall
350 Estate Dr., Rochester; 248-364-6200; meadowbrookhall.org/holidays; Tickets are $9-$18. 
Things may not feel super festive right now, but take a stroll through Meadow Brook’s Winter Wonder Lights and your Scrooge tendencies might just melt away. Winter Lights is a self-guided outdoor light show spanning the historic grounds of Meadow Brook Hall where visitors can take in light displays, music, and, yes, some holiday magic like selfie-stations, Christmas carols, and glow-in-the-dark cotton candy, which can be eaten without a mask (which are required) once you’re socially distanced from other visitors. Winter Wonder Lights will run through Dec. 30. 
Photo via Winter Wonderlights Rochester/Facebook

Winter Wonder Lights at Meadow Brook Hall

350 Estate Dr., Rochester; 248-364-6200; meadowbrookhall.org/holidays; Tickets are $9-$18.

Things may not feel super festive right now, but take a stroll through Meadow Brook’s Winter Wonder Lights and your Scrooge tendencies might just melt away. Winter Lights is a self-guided outdoor light show spanning the historic grounds of Meadow Brook Hall where visitors can take in light displays, music, and, yes, some holiday magic like selfie-stations, Christmas carols, and glow-in-the-dark cotton candy, which can be eaten without a mask (which are required) once you’re socially distanced from other visitors. Winter Wonder Lights will run through Dec. 30.

Photo via Winter Wonderlights Rochester/Facebook
Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic Drive-thru
6140 Bray Rd., Flint; geneseecountyparks.org; Tickets are $10 per car.
Did someone say magic? That’s the name of the game when it comes to Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic Drive-thru, which invites Christmas loving drivers, and passengers, to explore the Flint-area park decked out in more than 1 million lights while holiday music cheer is blasted for all to hear. Folks can get festive with it Dec. 4-7, 11-24, and 26-30. 
Photo via Crossroads Villiage and Huckleberry Railroad/Facebook

Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic Drive-thru

6140 Bray Rd., Flint; geneseecountyparks.org; Tickets are $10 per car.

Did someone say magic? That’s the name of the game when it comes to Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic Drive-thru, which invites Christmas loving drivers, and passengers, to explore the Flint-area park decked out in more than 1 million lights while holiday music cheer is blasted for all to hear. Folks can get festive with it Dec. 4-7, 11-24, and 26-30.

Photo via Crossroads Villiage and Huckleberry Railroad/Facebook
Northville Symphony of Lights
41355 Six Mile Rd., Northville; livonialights.com; Event is free.
We love free stuff, which is why we love the Northville Symphony of Lights. The free drive-up event will take place at the Northville Christian School where light displays will be synchronized with contemporary Christmas tunes, including songs from Trans Siberian Orchestra and Christmas Eve Sarajevo. The light show will run through Dec. 25 and will take place Saturday and Sundays at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., and 8 p.m., and during the week between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. with shows every 15 minutes. 
Photo via Northville Symphony of Lights/Facebook/a>

Northville Symphony of Lights

41355 Six Mile Rd., Northville; livonialights.com; Event is free.

We love free stuff, which is why we love the Northville Symphony of Lights. The free drive-up event will take place at the Northville Christian School where light displays will be synchronized with contemporary Christmas tunes, including songs from Trans Siberian Orchestra and Christmas Eve Sarajevo. The light show will run through Dec. 25 and will take place Saturday and Sundays at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., and 8 p.m., and during the week between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. with shows every 15 minutes.

Photo via Northville Symphony of Lights/Facebook/a>
Glenlore Trails presents Aurora
3860 Newton Rd., Commerce Twp.; glenloretrails.com; Tickets are $10-$20.
From the folks that brought you the happily haunted Glenlore Trails Halloween walk-thru event comes Aurora, an interactive seasonal spin on a winter wonderland featuring digital projections, custom-designed light displays, and, of course, the star of the show: the half-mile of an enchanting forest. 
Photo courtesy of Bluewater Technologies

Glenlore Trails presents Aurora

3860 Newton Rd., Commerce Twp.;
glenloretrails.com; Tickets are $10-$20.

From the folks that brought you the happily haunted Glenlore Trails Halloween walk-thru event comes Aurora, an interactive seasonal spin on a winter wonderland featuring digital projections, custom-designed light displays, and, of course, the star of the show: the half-mile of an enchanting forest.

Photo courtesy of Bluewater Technologies
Light Up Beacon Park
1901 Grand River Ave., Detroit; 313-566-8250; empoweringmichigan.com/lightupbeaconpark; Event is free.
The holiday spirit is alive and well at Detroit’s Beacon Park for the third annual entry in its family-friendly holiday light event. Light Up Beacon Park returns with illuminated walk-thru elements made up of more than 125,000 LED lights. Visitors are invited to take in the lights and sights until 10 p.m. every day through Jan. 10. 
Photo courtesy of Beacon Park

Light Up Beacon Park

1901 Grand River Ave., Detroit; 313-566-8250; empoweringmichigan.com/lightupbeaconpark; Event is free.

The holiday spirit is alive and well at Detroit’s Beacon Park for the third annual entry in its family-friendly holiday light event. Light Up Beacon Park returns with illuminated walk-thru elements made up of more than 125,000 LED lights. Visitors are invited to take in the lights and sights until 10 p.m. every day through Jan. 10.

Photo courtesy of Beacon Park