It's November, so now we can talk about the holidays in Traverse City. Bring on the community shopping festivals and events that enrich the holiday gifting experience with our small-town charm and tradition.

Whether it’s the pop-up craft fairs, the carolers who gather in the streets, or the downtown Traverse City merchants who donate a portion of their holiday sales to local charities -- these holiday events make the season shine even brighter.  

Where to Eat on Thanksgiving 


This is a Foodie Town, people, and there are lots of great restaurants open on Thanksgiving, with everything from traditional turkey-and-stuffing meals to table-creaking buffets. Here’s our list of places where you can enjoy a Thanksgiving meal.


Arts & Craft Fairs 


Traverse City Shop & Sip Market - Nov. 16 
Head over to the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa where you can browse through a selection of 70+ makers. And for the serious shoppers, the resort is also offering a special rate on lodging. 

Merry Makers Market Place - Nov. 22 - 23 
The Merry Makers Marketplace is an annual sale of fine art and fine craft during the holiday season. Shop from over two dozen artists and artisans at the Crooked Tree Arts Center. 

Glen Arbor Holiday Market - Nov. 30
Meet Santa and Mrs. Claus from 11 am - 1:30 pm and spend the rest of the afternoon shopping for treasures. The market will have 25+ artisans and holiday greenery. 

Christmas in the Village Artisan Market - Nov. 30 
Small town charm combined with holiday shopping up in the village of Northport at the Village Arts Building. There's sure to be some treasures at this one!

Unity of Traverse City Craft Fair - Dec. 14 
A wide variety of crafters will be offering their goods for sale, just in time for your Christmas shopping! Cookies will be available, too!

Holiday MRKT Share - Dec. 14 
Enjoy a hot cup of joe as you shop among the wares of local artists and craftspeople at the Warehouse MRKT! Pick out some nice gifts and stocking stuffers for everyone on your list!

Downtown Traverse City Light Parade, Santa's Arrival & Tree Lighting

Holiday Festivals 


Downtown Traverse City Light Parade - Santa's Arrival & Community Tree Lighting - Nov. 23
The Downtown Traverse City Light Parade, Santa’s Arrival and Community Tree Lighting make all your Whoville dreams come true. This year’s celebration kicks off at 5:30 pm. Come bundled up and ready to harmonize with all your caroling neighbors gathered on Downtown’s Front Street.

Light Up Leland for the Holidays - Nov. 27 
Kick off the holidays with the community tree lighting ceremony at Christmas Tree Corner and then welcome Santa as he rides into the village aboard a fire engine. Enjoy caroling, treats and time with Santa afterward!

Tree Lighting & Caroling in Glen Arbor - Nov. 29
The magic of the season comes alive in Glen Arbor for their annual tree lighting. 

The 12 Pubs of Christmas - Nov. 30
'Tis the season to make merry! Here is your opportunity to dress in your ugly sweater, Santa suit or costume and join other revelers as they travel to many participating bars to toast the season!

Holiday in the Village - Nov. 30 - Dec. 1  
The Village of Suttons Bay is a festive place to be in December! Join in welcoming Santa, indulge in a cookie extravaganza, and watch carolers during this seasonal celebration. 

Phil Kline's Unsilent Night - Dec. 6  
Hosted by Left Foot Charley, Unsilent Night is a free, outdoor participatory sound sculpture of many individual parts played through a roving swarm of boomboxes, mp3 players, iPhones, and iPads.

Light Up the Night & Soup Cook Off - Dec. 7
Head to Bellaire for a day filled with holiday events, including a free kid’s movie, ornament making, the annual “Soup Cook-Off,” and a visit with Santa.

Christmas Up in Northport - Dec. 15 
Enjoy an afternoon of old favorites and new and let the traditional sing-along that finishes the concert send you on your way filled with the joy of the holiday season! 

Christmas at the Village - Dec. 13 -15 
Tis the season for joy and celebration, join us at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons,” a weekend long celebration filled with music, Santa Claus, shopping specials, carriage rides and much more. Merchants are also featuring Stocking Stuffer items $20 and under. 

Christmas in the Village at Grand Traverse Commons

Shopping Events 
 

PJ Party: Shopping in Glen Arbor - Nov. 29
Rise and shine and get shopping -- in your jammies! Yup, you read that right! Lots of merchants will be offering specials. Don't miss the fun!

Black Friday & Small Business Saturday - Nov. 29 
Start your holiday shopping in downtown Traverse City and support our local merchants. Shop small, shop local!

Ladies’ Night - Dec. 12
Grab your girlfriends for a night out devoted to shopping! Sip on beverages and snack on appetizers while you browse the unique selections at participating Downtown Traverse City businesses. 

Holiday Open House at the Cheese Lady - Dec. 15 
Come see how The Cheese Lady can simplify all your holiday entertaining! Join us for two days of discounts, sampling and exploration of holiday gift ideas.

Men's Night  - Dec. 19 
Just in time to finish (or start) your holiday shopping -- enjoy beer samples, snacks, and specials throughout downtown. 

Entertainment 
 

Elf, the Musical at the Old Town Playhouse - Nov. 15 - Dec. 14 
Just like the movie, this comedy will delight all ages and spread holiday cheer. For details and tickets click here

Annual Messiah Sing at Central United Methodist Church - Dec. 1 
An annual holiday tradition in Traverse City, the 41st Anniversary of the Central United Methodist Church Messiah Sing will feature soloists, chamber orchestra and organ accompaniment!

Meet Elsa and Anna at the Filling Station - Dec. 7
A family-friendly event filled with fun activities for all including snowflake ornament-making, coloring and time for a photo op with Queen Elsa and Princess Anna! All proceeds benefit the historic Grand Traverse Lighthouse.

The Nutcracker - Dec. 13 - Dec. 14 
A Christmas classic at Interlochen Center for the Arts. 

Classic Christmas Movies at the State Theatre - Nov. 27 - Dec. 28
It's that time of year again when the State Theatre rolls out all the best iconic holiday films! From Elf to The Bishop's Wife to The Polar Express to National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, there's something to please just about everyone.

CherryT Ball Drop - Dec. 31 
NYE in TC! Celebrate and bring in the new year while watching a giant cherry drop from the sky. 10.9.8.7.6.5.4.3.2.1!

Additional events are on our calendar. Take a look here if you don't see the event you are looking for on this list.