When the hustle and bustle of holiday get-togethers and gift shopping galore starts to overwhelm, it’s time to take back your holidays and reflect on the reason for the season. That’s why we’re sharing Your Grand Rapids Guide to some of our favorite West Michigan family holiday traditions – so you can spend the season loving and laughing with the ones who matter most!
Art Van Santa Parade
November 18, 2017
Kick off winter festival season in West Michigan with the always-adored Art Van Santa Parade, where Downtown Grand Rapids fills with the sweet holiday sounds of carolers, marching bands, and musicians while joyfully-decorated floats pass by. Can’t make it in person? Gather round the TV and tree to watch it all live on WOOD TV8, starting at 8AM!
Christmas & Holiday Traditions From Around The World @ Frederik Meijer Gardens
November 21, 2017 – January 7, 2018
Nearly 400,000 glowing lights, strolling carolers, visits from Santa, rooftop reindeer and more than 40 international trees and displays make this exhibition a must-see for the entire family (and a piece of real Christmas magic-come-true!).
Christmas Lite Show @ Fifth Third Ballpark
November 22 – December 31, 2017
Experience 20 years of cheer in the making along an almost 2-mile stretch of magical light displays with a cruise through Fifth Third Ballpark at Christmastime.
Gaslight Village Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 24, 2017
Take a carriage or trolley ride, craft an ooey-gooey, sweet s’more by bonfire, visit Santa and his reindeer, and experience the tree lighting extravaganza found only here in East Grand Rapids’ own Gaslight Village.
Light Up Downtown @ Rosa Parks Circle
December 1, 2017
Kick the season off right (and bright!) when you see all of Downtown Grand Rapids’ holiday lights turned on before your eyes and take in a free kids’ skate at the seasonal opening of the Rosa Parks Circle ice skating rink.
Rockford Holiday Lighting Ceremony
December 1, 2017
Be there when thousands of lights come to life in Downtown Rockford and along the dam during this downright cheerful celebration (complete with holiday carriage rides!).
Grand Rapids Ballet Presents The Nutcracker
December 1-10, 2017
Feel like you’re seeing this holiday classic for the first time (even if you aren’t!) when you see it re-imagined and brought to life by our own Grand Rapids Symphony and Grand Rapids Ballet. But, don’t forget to snag your seats early: this holiday favorite sells out fast (and ticket prices can fluctuate based on demand)!
29th Annual UICA Holiday Artists’ Market
December 2, 2017
Shop carefully crafted and curated artisan goods inside this festive holiday market, from fine art and jewelry to homegoods and holiday cards!
Rockford Santa Parade
December 2, 2017
See more than 60 floats lining the Downtown Rockford streets as Santa Claus arrives in his white carriage to help you and yours welcome the season warmly. While your little ones wait to share their wishlists with Santa, they can snack on free milk & cookies!
Uptown Holiday Shop Hop
December 7 , 2017
Stroll through the streets of Uptown’s four unique districts: East Fulton, East Hills, Eastown, and Wealthy Street, while searching for the perfect holiday homegoods and gifts from more than 150+ local businesses at this combination of open-air, outdoor marketplace and indoor boutiques (and plan to take the shuttles from district to district to pack in even more holiday gifting than you imagined!).
Grand Rapids Symphony Holiday Pops
December 14-17, 2017
Share in heartwarming classics and Christmas favorites (like Twas The Night Before Christmas and the Hallelujah Chorus) as your Grand Rapids Symphony, vocalist Leon Williams, the GR Symphony Chorus and Youth Chorus, and the Embellish Handbell Choir bring the sounds of the season to life before your eyes and ears.