Four Free Holiday Event Ideas in Metro Detroit

I’ve been on the hunt for free Detroit holiday events for the family to enjoy. Last night, we took the kids to see the Big, Bright Light Show in Downtown Rochester. We turned on holiday music and drove through the downtown area a few times so the kids could enjoy the sights and sounds. The kids loved looking at the vibrant holiday light display on the local businesses. Just something as simple as looking at holiday lights brightens their mood and I love it!

Afterward, we walked around for just a little bit to look at the Christmas window displays. Their favorite holiday display was the 1954 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV movie. The Home Bakery created life-size characters from the classic, animated movie: Santa Claus, Rudolph and, Sam the Snowman.

There are many wonderful holiday events happening in Detroit and the metro area. I wish we could go to all of them! After researching a few websites and Facebook’s event page, I’ve managed to narrow down our holiday activities list to four events.

Here are four free Detroit holiday events if you’re looking for something to do, too! And I’m also sharing more photos of our visit to the Big, Bright Light Show in Downtown Rochester. Check out my Santa George photos with the girls!



WHEN: Friday, 12/11

TIME: 6 to 8 p.m.

PLACE: Parks & Recreation Building, Circle Drive, 26000 Evergreen Road

EVENT DESCRIPTION: Southfield Parks & Recreation, in partnership with Southfield Police and Fire Departments and the Southfield Public Library, will host Holly Jolly Drive-Thru on Friday, December 11th.

  • holiday lights
  • festive ice carvings
  • Santa Claus with his reindeer
  • first 250 children will receive special treat bag
  • Bring your letters for Santa Claus and one of his helpers will put them in a special mailbox to take back to the North Pole. The first 250 children will also receive a special treat bag.

Your children can also bring their letters for Santa Claus and one of Santa’s helpers will put the letters in a special mailbox to take back to the North Pole. Remember– everyone must wear face masks and stay inside their vehicles at all times. Click here for more information or contact Southfield P&R at (248) 796-4620.


WHEN: November 20, 2020 to January 10, 2021

TIME: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

PLACE: Beacon Park Detroit, 1903 Grand River Avenue

EVENT DESCRIPTION: Beacon Park has transformed the city park into a winter wonderland. Here’s what you will find at the holiday event:

  • Interactive, life-size lightings like a gingerbread house, candy arches, a giant hot chocolate, and other sweet-themed light-up delights
  • Beacon Park’s signature Children’s Tree
  • Over 125,000 twinkling LED lights

COVID-19 Safety Guidelines in Beacon Park:
1. Stay home if you feel sick.
2. Mask or face covering required.
3. Maintain 6 feet of physical distance between others.
4. Frequently use hand washing stations located in every park.

Click here for more information about Beacon Park’s free Detroit holiday events!

Downtown Rochester, Michigan Christmas Santa Claus Display


WHEN: Now through February 28th

TIME: Friday 5 to 9 p.m. | Saturday 12 to 9 p.m. | Sunday 12 to 7 p.m.

PLACE: Robert C. Valade Park, 2670 Atwater Street, Detroit

EVENT DESCRIPTION: There are many winter activities offered at Valade Park in Downtown Detroit.

  • oversized outdoor fire chimneys
  • holiday lights
  • carolers (select dates)
  • live music (select dates)
  • warm drinks
  • marshmallow roasters
  • Sled Shed (featuring free sleds when it snows)
  • synthetic ice curling
  • takeout from these two local small businesses: Geisha Girls Sushi and Smokey G’s Smokehouse (open Wednesday – Sunday from 12 to 8 p.m.)

You can find the latest updates on Winter at Valade Park here.   

Classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Santa Claus Display


WHEN: Now through January 3, 2021

TIME: 5 p.m. to midnight

PLACE: Downtown Rochester, Michigan

EVENT DESCRIPTION: The annual Big, Bright Light Show is a metro Detroit favorite. The local businesses in Downtown Rochester will be covered in glimmering, vibrant holiday lights. Click here for more information about the event.

Sam the Snowman Christmas Display
Four Free Detroit Holiday Events

What Detroit holiday events are you attending this holiday season?

All photographs are courtesy of Jennifer Hamra for Good Life Detroit.



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