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.
Top 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.
Downtown Houghton has been turned into a scene straight out of the North Pole! Families can enjoy rustic horse-drawn carriage rides along the Keweenaw Waterway. 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 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.
Stay updated on any new Christmas events that are scheduled in the Upper Peninsula through New Year's Eve.
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!
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.
Each year, Downtown Marquette kicks off Christmas with the Winter Snow Fun Holiday Parade, and the name is no exaggeration. It’s a blast! Bundle up to watch the carefully designed floats pass by, spreading Christmas cheer with their lights, tinsel and joyful carolers on Third Street. Your young ones can also drop off their Santa letters to the Marquette Post Office for safe sending to the North Pole. After the parade, the annual tree lighting happens at Marquette Commons — with Santa in attendance!
If you’re in the Bays de Noc region the first weekend of December, then melt your holiday stress with a good, old-fashioned time in the Antique Village. This is two acres of Christmas fun that brings joy to all ages. Check out the twinkling lights, sing with carolers, get cozy by the bonfire, go for a wagon ride, shop for gifts or baked goods in the village and much, much more. Of course, Santa will be there, too! Plus, you can see farming antiques and artifacts at the Agricultural Museum in the U.P. State Fairgrounds where the village is located. Don’t forget to grab some complementary chestnuts!
Sault Ste. Marie
After Thanksgiving, Downtown Sault Ste. Marie brings sparkling lights, singing voices and plenty of grins to a cherished family outing — the Parker Ace Hardware Christmas Parade of Lights. Watch Santa Claus come to town in the parade before he joins the mayor in flipping the official Christmas tree switch at City Hall on Portage Avenue. In the days following, do your Christmas shopping at over 30 local businesses. Many of them will offer deals and delicious treats! Take a horse-drawn wagon to the next shop and spot some carolers along the way. Make sure to visit Avery Square for their Christmas Tree Forest inside the Atrium. Your family can admire the different tree decor while waiting for a picture with Santa.
Have a real hometown holiday in St. Ignace. Between the tree lighting, toy giveaways, visits with the Claus family and general holiday magic, you are sure to get in the holiday spirit!
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. Plus, hit up these holiday shopping hotspots!
Choose from craft shows and gift markets to holiday performances, light shows and even 5k races. We’ve hung a list of holiday events in the Upper Peninsula with care. Now you just have to pick your favorites and merrily make your way over here.
Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing
Learn the best tips and see the best views as you immerse yourself into our winter wonderland with cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
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!