Holiday Events In Traverse City

From where to eat on Thanksgiving to shopping and craft fairs, this page is a resource for spending the holidays in Traverse City!

Christmas preparations in the region start in autumn when local churches, clubs, and artists' cooperatives begin staging the holiday arts and crafts fairs for which the region is justly famous. By December, it’s hard to find a weekend without some event that brings crowds of shoppers into Downtown Traverse City. The town’s shopping season starts in mid-November with a light parade, the arrival of Santa Claus and the lighting of the community Christmas tree.  

Nearby, a festive holiday tradition takes place each December in the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, a unique retail/residential district. “Tis the season for joy at “Holiday in the Village”. This weekend-long celebration is filled with music, carriage rides, Santa Claus and shopping specials.  

Just as popular with visitors are the late-night shopping sprees held in Traverse City’s downtown: Ladies Night, followed by Men's Night, all featuring entertainment, food and drink specials in addition to the usual in-store sales.
Villages such as Suttons Bay are also bursting with holiday spirit. Join the fun during their Holiday Festival in early December. Activities include a nighttime stroll down luminaria-lined streets while enjoying refreshments, hors d'oeuvres, local wines, restaurant specials and over 50 decorated trees. 
Exciting as the shopping may be, it’s only part of this charming area’s holiday celebrations. The arts culture is thriving in Traverse City and shines particularly brightly during the holidays. You'll find new and traditional live entertainment at several venues around town. 

The City Opera House and Old Town Playhouse both feature a holiday performances beginning at the end of November and playing throughout the month of December. Another venue downtown that gets into the holiday spirit is the The State Theatre. Plan an evening out to watch a classic Christmas movie, or spend the afternoon with the kids at a family-friendly show.   
A different sort of musical event is held in December at the Left Foot Charley Winery in Traverse City. It’s “Phil Kline's Unsilent Night,” a free “participatory sound sculpture” in which attendees participate by bringing their own boom boxes, laptops, iPhones, iPads and other portable music devices and create a “roving swarm” of sounds as they wander the grounds.
New Year’s Eve isn’t forgotten here, either. For the past five years, hundreds of people have gathered for the annual “CherryT Ball Drop”, a three-hour “street party for charity” that culminates with the lowering of a large illuminated cherry over downtown Traverse City. It’s a family-friendly event where attendees pay their admission by bringing donated items for local food banks.

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