Best places to go for Christmas in Michigan’s U.P.

Posted on November 22nd, 2021

With holiday and winter breaks right around the corner, we know some of our readers are starting to map out that time off. Are you looking for some fun recreation for the family? Hoping to catch some unique holiday happenings? Maybe you just want to extend the cheer of the season and visit a place that makes you feel like you’re living inside a winter wonderland snow globe. We know where you can find all of that and more — here! Regardless of how you are looking to fill this time, here are some of the best places to go for Christmas in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. 

Best Christmas Vacation Spots in the U.P. 

Several of our small towns come together as a community to ring in the holiday season, light up the Christmas trees and decorate the town.

Each of these locations are just as visit-worthy in the off-season. Here’s where the lights are up and the holiday cheer will be at upcoming events perfect for the family. 

Christmas

the giant santa clause in Christmas, Michigan
Photo Credit: emily.outdoor2

This town just a few miles west of Munising has holiday cheer all year round. It’s hard not to when you are named after a holiday! Here, you’ll find a giant roadside Santa, snowmen and a few other favorite North Pole characters. Don’t miss taking a photo with them for next year’s Christmas card! 

Crystal Falls 

Crystal Christmas | Dec. 11 | Downtown Crystal Falls on Superior Avenue

Events on this day will be scattered throughout Crystal Falls, and the schedule may be updated closer to the event. Follow the link above for changes and additions. Here’s what’s on the docket so far: 

  • 9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Sales and specials in stores throughout town.
  • 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: Craft Show in the lower level of United Lutheran Church.
  • 11 a.m.-1 p.m.: CF Contemporary Center Soup Lunch Fundraiser at United Lutheran Church (lower level)
  • 6 p.m.: Ice Shack Parade — See several hilarious Northwood-themed floats

Curtis

Christmas by Candlelight Concert featuring Violinist Paul Lundin and Pianist Robert Conway | Dec. 4 | 7 p.m.-9 p.m. | Erickson Center for the Arts

Escanaba

woman walking along boardwalk under christmas lights
Photo Credit: @wanderup906

Harris 

The Island Resort & Casino is the perfect holiday destination for a home away from home this season. Christmas decorations include a snowman family located in the Island Convention Center, a 15-foot Christmas tree in the Palm Tower Lobby, a Santa Claus display on the Prize Bank Platform and a 12-foot Christmas tree just outside of the Island Showroom. Check out upcoming events on their Facebook page

Houghton

A couple standing in front of an upper peninsula Christmas tree
Photo Credit: jtjurasin5

Downtown Houghton has been turned into a scene straight out of the North Pole this year! Families can enjoy rustic horse-drawn carriage rides along the Keweenaw Waterway on Dec. 11 and 17 from 4-7 p.m. Santa may also be in attendance, along with local staff members dressed as holiday characters for photo-ops. 

Speaking of photo-ops, you can’t miss the new, giant Christmas ornament at Bridgeview Park next to the city Christmas tree. It’s six feet in diameter! While downtown, enjoy the hot food and beverages, holiday music and festive lighting displays. 

Iron Mountain

Christmas Craft Show | Dec. 4 | 11 a.m.-4 p.m. | N3332 Pine Mountain Road, Iron Mountain

Iron River

  • Christmas in Lights: This event features a lighted parade of more than 30 floats carrying thousands of lights followed by a stellar fireworks show. The parade route starts at the post office and proceeds down Genesee Street. 
  • Be sure to check the holiday events at Ski Brule ski resort, which include a Thanksgiving feast and New Year festivities. 

Marquette 

Paradise

Paradise Christmas Bazaar | Nov. 27 | 10 a.m.-3 p.m. | Whitefish Township Community Center

Sault Ste. Marie 

Parker Ace Hardware Parade of Lights | Nov. 26 | 7-9 p.m. | 225 E. Portage Ave., Sault Ste. Marie

Stay updated on any new Christmas events that are scheduled in the Upper Peninsula through New Years Eve at this link

Best Christmas Vacation activities in the U.P.

When you’re headed to the best Christmas vacation destinations in the Upper Peninsula, you can expect the best activities to keep the whole family entertained. From shops and sleigh rides to all things winter recreation, here’s where you can find what you’re looking for. 

flannel shirts on at an upper peninsula store
Photo Credit: @yoopershirts

Snowmobiling

Once snowmobiling season begins on Dec. 1, rev up your engines and try these trails. You can find the trail report here: https://www.uptravel.com/snowmobile-trail-report/.

Shopping

Find everything you need to take home a little piece of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – from jewelry and fine art to traditional folk art and crafts at malls, to outdoor markets and everywhere in between! Check our places to shop page. 

a person cross country skiing in the upper peninsula
Photo Credit: @jill.lindenberg

Cross country skiing and snowshoeing

Learn the best tips and see the best views as you immerse yourself into our winter wonderland on our cross country skiing/ snowshoeing page. 

Other winter activities 

Don’t see an activity listed? You can locate ice rinks, sleigh rides and hills for tubing, sledding and skiing on this page through our search filter! 

Find winter activities