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  • Thrive Detroit

Great Winter Happenings in the City

The holiday season offers many cultural events for people of all ages, in and around Detroit. Here are just a few highlights to mark on the calendar. These events are all housed at wonderful Detroit or metro-area gems, which is why they are featured. The history and beauty of the venues is always a cause for celebration, and during the holiday season, they shine just a bit brighter. Enjoy!

The 42nd annual Noel Night is on Saturday, December 6 this year (it’s always the first Saturday of December and seems like an official kick-off for the holiday season in Detroit). Several arts organizations such as the DIA, The Charles H. Wright Museum, the Detroit Historical Museum, the Detroit Public Library, galleries, and more will be open from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. offering music, art, dance, crafts, and activities. Parts of Woodward Avenue are closed and food vendors are set up. The evening ends with a sing-a-long outside on Woodward with the Salvation Army Band. Local singer Thornetta Davis is always on hand to offer her unique sound and holiday cheer, but be advised that her session always fills up quickly! For a schedule of events and information on parking, visit This is an excellent free family event and has much to offer many different cultural tastes.

Greenfield Village always has good seasonal events, and their Holiday Nights event is no exception. Holiday music, a lantern-lit Village, Santa, ice skating, bonfires with roasting chestnuts, and fireworks fill the Village with magic. This event requires advanced tickets (events at Greenfield Village tend to sell out, so don’t plan on arriving without a ticket). While some of the events are outdoors (and no refunds if the weather is zero degrees!), there are plenty of places go inside the historic buildings and concession areas to have a hot cider or hot chocolate. The event runs the four weekends in December. Tickets and information can be found at

The Detroit Opera House will host The Nutcracker Ballet again this year, which runs November 28, 29 and 30. This holiday classic is good for children and adults. Pre-production crafts and visits with reindeer and a live-action Nutcracker are available, so plan to arrive early. This Tchaikovsky classic is always beautifully staged and the music is wonderful—a worthy yearly tradition. For more information, visit

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has been doing a holiday pops concert for years, and it’s always a highlight. This year’s dates for the Home for the Holidays concerts are December 19-21. The lineup of selections is always a nice mix of classic holiday tunes, and our wonderful orchestra is always backed up by guest choirs from local high schools. Santa has been known to make an appearance at this event. For information on tickets, visit


Holiday Home Tours:

The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe is always a treat to tour, but it really comes to life during the holidays, with the house decorated and string musicians providing holiday music as you stroll through the house. Docents are available to narrate how the Ford family celebrated the holidays, and how the house was used. The Cotswold Café is a lovely little restaurant on the property that is great for a pre- or post-tour meal.  Tours are timed from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Information is at

The historic Boston Edison Holiday Home Tour (which they’ve been doing for more than 40 years) is Sunday, December 14. Five homes, decorated for the holidays, are open for visitors to explore. These homes were built in the early 1900s and have been preserved with dedication by homeowners. The tours begins at the Sacred Heart Seminary, which is an architectural stunner itself, at the corner of Linwood Avenue and Chicago Boulevard in Detroit. Back in the days of what some call the “Golden Age of Detroit,” notable Boston-Edison residents included Henry Ford I, James Couzens, Charles T. Fisher, and S.S. Kresge. These days, the notable residents are friendly Detroiters who open their homes and share an infectious neighborhood pride. Tickets are $30. More information can be found at:

The Palmer Woods Association also celebrates the holidays with a home tour, and the event is generally held the first Saturday of December. As of press time, the association had not announced the event officially. Check for this event and others that this hard-working association offers.

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