‘Tis the season. And what a different season we are experiencing this year! With so many things to get done around the house and with a raging pandemic out there, how can we squeeze in some time to safely enjoy the beauty and fun of this time? Simple: light shows. Many places are now offering a drive-through experience so that you can enjoy the holiday nights display from the comfort and safety of you vehicle. Others are allowing guests to stroll through their lights displays by limiting the number of visitors at the once and observing social distancing guidelines. 

I strongly suggest you visit the website listed under “More information” in each listing. Most of these light shows are requiring reservations or online ticket purchase. Better safe than sorry.

Here are some of our favorite ones. Enjoy!

1. The Big, bright light show in downtown rochester

Big, bright light show in Downtown Rochester. Christmas Lights.
Photo: The Big, Bright Light Show in Downtown Rochester website

This has been a great tradition for our family for many years: take a stroll in downtown Rochester to enjoy the lights, then stop by the Royal Park Hotel to see the gingerbread house (or gingerbread train) and get a cup of hot chocolate. The diversity of colors and the more than 1 million points of glimmering holiday lights make this an unforgettable experience for the entire family.

The display will be lit every evening (5 pm – Midnight) through January 3, 2021.  Missed it? Don’t worry, the bonus time to catch the lights after January 3 is every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in January through January 17th. Free.

More information: The Big, Bright Light Show 

2. International festival of lights, battle creek

Photo: International Festival of Lights website

The International Festival of Lights has our downtown radiating with holiday spirit. This tradition continues to attract visitors from near and far every year. To see the twinkling lights, you can take a stroll down State Street or stop by the W.K Kellogg Foundation’s backyard.

The colorful light displays aren’t the only attraction. From horse-drawn wagon rides to free ice skating, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Take a trip downtown to enjoy the festivities. From November 23 to January 2. Free.

More information: International Festival of Lights 


3. Christmas at Cross-roads, flint

Christmas Light Show Michigan Travelist Blog
Photo: Michigan Travelist

Make memories to last all year from the comfort of your own vehicle. Join family and friends for an evening drive through historic Crossroads Village – magically lit by over one million twinkling lights. See displays of your favorite holiday scenes as Christmas music fills the air. Carry on your tradition or make new ones this year with Crossroads Village’s Holiday Magic Drive Thru. $10 per carload

November 27-29
December 4-7, 11-14, 17-24, 26-30

More information: Christmas at Crossroads


4. Wild lights at the detroit zoo

Photo: Detroit Zoo Website

The Detroit Zoo will be aglow for 32 magical nights with more than five million LED lights illuminating trees, buildings and over 280 sculptures throughout the front half of the Zoo. Experience the magic of the Detroit Zoo in winter as you take in the lights, sights and sounds of the season for guests of all ages. Light up your night at the Detroit Zoo. Children younger than 2 are admitted free.

November 20, 2020 through January 3, 2021

More information: Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo

5. Sparkle in the Park, Manistee

Photo: Sparkle in the Park website

Join us for the 16th Annual Sparkle in the Park, a partnership between the Bear Lake Promoters and the Bear Lake Village Council.

In its 16th year, Sparkle in the Park features more than 80,000 lights set up in nearly 50 holiday displays. The lighted displays include angels, Christmas trees, Santa and his reindeer, a salute to troops, snowmen, various animals and several Christmas scenes, all arranged in Bear Lake’s lakeside Hopkins Park, US 31 corridor, and village homes. Free. Donations accepted for next year’s event.

November 28, 2020 through December 31, 2020 (5:00pm-10:00pm).

More information: Sparkle in the Park


6. The merry mile, marshall

Photo: The Merry Mile Website

The Merry Mile 2020 is back!! Bigger and better than ever! More lights, more to see and enjoy, and lots of ooohs and ahhhs. Celebrate The Merry Mile at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds! $10 per car/truck/van; $20 per bus (larger groups with 15+ people).

November 27 – December 27, 2020. 

More information: The Merry Mile


7. DTE Magic of lights, clarkston

Photo: DTE Magic of Lights website

Magic of Lights is a dazzling, drive-through holiday lights experience featuring favorite holiday scenes and characters of the season using the latest LED technology and digital animations. Experience Magic of Lights from the comfort and safety of your own car as you wind through the sparkling path of Clarkston’s favorite holiday tradition. One carload, one price.

Nov. 13th – Jan. 2nd, 2021
Sunday – Thursday 5pm – 10 pm. Friday – Saturday 5pm – 11pm.

More information: The Magic of Lights


8. Glenlore Trails, Commerce twp

Photo: Glenlore Trails website

This holiday season you don’t have to be stuck indoors! The creatures of Glenlore Trails return with another seasonal extension: Aurora! Come explore new segments of trail, over a dozen installations, and new interactive content in this wintry holiday experience!

Aurora takes place along a 1/2 mile wooded trail, located in the center of Multi Lakes Conservation Association. Tickets are limited to ensure social distancing, and must be purchased online prior to the event. Masks are also required for participation. This is a walk-through and tickets are per person.

More information: Glenlore Trails


9. holiday nights in greenfield village

Photo: Henry Ford website

Mingle with merrymakers amid the smells of roasting chestnuts and warming bonfires and the sounds of carolers, fiddlers and bustling yuletide activity at Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village. One of the country’s premier holiday celebrations, Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village has been an annual tradition for countless visitors for more than 20 years.

Our 80 acres of living traditions etch America’s most heartwarming holiday experiences into your memories. Main Street brims with holiday goods, food and warm beverages. Historic home tours open the doors to centuries of favorite family traditions. Make our holiday story a cherished part of your own. From the finest tinseled detail to fireworks-filled sky that marks each evening’s finale, make our holiday story a cherished part of your own. Tickets per person

December 4-6, 11-13, 15-23, 26-28, 2020
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

More information: Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village


10. nite lites, brooklyn

Photo: Nite Lites website

Nite Lites is a drive-thru Christmas Light Show.

Where: Michigan International Speedway
US-12 Entrances only, 12626 US-12, Brooklyn, Michigan 49230

When: Nov. 26 thru Dec. 31, 2020

More information: Nite Lites

bonus: christmas lights on bell road in niles

Play Video

A small road in Niles, Michigan delivers a big Christmas Lights show to delight spectators. If you are in the are, do not miss! Tune in to 88.3FM to watch the lights dance to the music.

Now through Christmas Day. Free.

Lights on Bell Road is located in Niles Michigan at
185 Bell Road, Niles Michigan 49120

Sunday—Saturday: 5:00AM–11:00PM

More information: Lights on Bell Road


Did we miss anything?

Let me know in the comments if you liked the list or if we missed anything. Feel free to share as well. 

Sharing Michigan's beauty with the world.

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