As the holiday season approaches, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula transforms into a winter wonderland brimming with festive lights and holly jolly celebrations. Ditch the hustle and bustle of your everyday life and embrace our laid-back charm as you witness dazzling Christmas parades and explore twinkling displays of holiday lights. Consider planning your winter trip around these Christmas light displays and holiday parades in the U.P. Much like a sip of warm cocoa on a snowy day, the Christmas cheer here will warm you up with happy, rosy cheeks to boot.
Sault Ste. Marie
No matter the weather, join us for the Parker Ace Hardware Parade of Lights as it makes its way through Downtown Sault Ste. Marie. Ashmun Street will be lined with rosy faces awaiting Santa, who will arrive at the end of a line of festively lit floats. The parade concludes at City Hall on Portage Avenue with the lighting of the City tree, where the local Salvation Army will provide complimentary hot chocolate and music.
The parade kicks off at 7 p.m. on Nov. 24.
The Annual Escanaba Christmas Parade happens on Dec. 1. While you watch festive floats pass by, warm up with some delicious hot chocolate at the Escanaba Marketplace event. You don’t want to miss this jolly time!
Gather in downtown Norway for the Santa Parade and Scandinavian Christmas! On Dec. 1, Santa and Mrs. Claus will make their way into town, then greet children after the parade at City Hall.
You can look forward to the Jack Frost Festival of Lights Parade with decorated floats full of twinkling lights to ring in the holiday season. It takes place on Dec. 2, and there are several other events that weekend, including the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus.
If you’re in town on Dec. 2, be sure to make time for watching their annual Christmas in Lights Parade! This town presents an old-fashioned Christmas like no other with the entire parade day being full of activities. A bonfire and fireworks also follow the parade.
On Dec. 8, experience the magic of the holiday season as children of all ages take in the wonder of the 13th annual Downtown Marquette Winter Snow Fun Holiday Parade. Bundle up with friends and family as illuminated floats, tinsel-strewn trucks and colorful carolers transform Third Street into an enchanted scene from the North Pole. After the parade, spectators are welcomed to the Marquette Commons where Santa Claus and friends will light up Downtown at the 48th Annual City of Marquette Tree Lighting.
A Crystal Christmas takes place on Dec. 9, and boasts an Ice Shack parade of hilarious Northwoods themed floats! Events will take place throughout Crystal Falls.
Tinseltown comes to Michigan! The Tinseltown Parade will happen Dec. 9, at 5 p.m. in downtown Negaunee.
Christmas light displays
The downtown area lights up for the holidays — be sure to stop by the lit Christmas tree for a family photo!
Lights in the Park in Rapid River, features a holiday lights display in Masonville Township Park with over 100 inflatables and thousands of lights! Santa will be visiting and hay rides will be available.
Located in Iron County, visit the Christmas Tree Galleria at the Iron County Museum. Christmas tree decor fanatics will love admiring these gorgeous creations. Entry will be open from Nov. 25-Dec. 10.
The Lights at the Lake is a beautiful display at Lake Antoine Park, featuring thousands of lights. It runs daily from 4-10 p.m. from Thanksgiving to New Years. Don’t miss this drive-thru, free, festive wonderland!
Sault Ste. Marie
The Light Up the Soo festival has been canceled for 2023, but the downtown area is still decorated for the holidays with festive lights and decorations.
The annual Christmas Bazaar will be Dec. 1- 3. There will be a Christmas Tree Lighting on Friday evening at 5:30 p.m. on Main Street, followed by a silent auction, live auction, 50/50 raffle, snowmobile raffle, crafts, bake sale, balsam pillows, ice cream and more throughout the weekend at Community Hall!
The Carters’ Christmas Light Display is a popular residential display with thousands of twinkling lights and festive decorations. It’s a fan favorite each year!
Holiday Lasers on the Ore Dock is also a hit. Thanksgiving weekend through December, embrace the festive spirit in downtown Marquette. Watch as they merge local history with modern technology with a laser light display on the iconic Lower Harbor Ore Dock every Thursday through Saturday.
On Dec. 16, Winter Wonderfest promises a holiday marketplace featuring local artists' work and a scrumptious bake sale. There will also be ornament making for kids and a visit from Santa arriving on a fire engine! Then at 6 p.m. sharp, kick off the season with the Tree Lighting in the Town Park and some fireworks.
Plan your winter stay!
These are just a few of the many places where you can find holiday lights and happenings in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. You can also read our blogs on holiday events in the U.P., best Christmas destinations and holiday shopping in the U.P. to help extend your stay. Enjoy the festive lights and have a happy holiday season!