FREE Family-Friendly Events in Metro Detroit in DecemberWe know…kids are expensive, so we’ve put together the top FREE events to enjoy as a family this month! WINTERFUN FESTIVALSaturday, December 1 / 8:00 am - 10:30 am@ The Crofoot,... FREE Family-Friendly Events in Metro Detroit in December skip to Main Content

FREE Family-Friendly Events in Metro Detroit in December

Cheerful girl and her friends spending time outdoors

We know…kids are expensive, so we’ve put together the top FREE events to enjoy as a family this month!

 

WINTERFUN FESTIVAL

Saturday, December 1 / 8:00 am – 10:30 am

@ The Crofoot, Pontiac

The WinterFUN Festival is a great opportunity for families to come together to participate in several activities. There is a Gallery of Ice with live ice carving competition, a petting farm with adorable animals, live Santa reindeer, s’mores and much, much more. There is also a children’s WinterART Center that allows kids to participate in several different craft projects, get their face painted and much, much more. 

 

MICHIGAN SCIENCE CENTER FREE DAYS

Saturday, December 1 / 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

@ Michigan Science Center, Detroit

Enjoy free general admission at the Michigan Science Center! General admission includes 250+ hands-on exhibits, live stage shows, Spark!Lab from the Smithsonian, Kids Town gallery, STEM Playground space and more. Planetarium theater tickets will be available for purchase online and at the box office during your visit.

 

VISIT SANTA AT VILLAGE CENTER MALL

Saturday, December 1 – December 22

@ Village Center Mall, Milford

Santa’s Coming to Visit at Village Center Mall and get some shopping done in downtown Milford!

 

HOLIDAY EXTRAVAGANZA ANNUAL PARADE

Saturday, December 1 / 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

@ Downtown Pontiac

There will be over 100 of your favorite costume characters handing out FREE hugs, beautiful professional floats from The Parade Company, professional balloons, marching bands, fire trucks and choreographed dancers all joining together to bring you a memorable parade. 

 

NOEL NIGHT

Saturday, December 1 / 11:00 am – 10:00 pm

@ Midtown Detroit

With over 110 participating venues and 150 free performances and activities, five hours of fun just doesn’t cut it anymore. Noel Night’s is extending the long-standing tradition with new daytime and nighttime hours. Participating daytime venues such as the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Public Library, Detroit Historical Museum, Charles H. Wright Museum, College for Creative Studies, and Michigan Science Center will feature family friendly performances and activities. All Cultural Center venues will be open free to the public.

 

HOLLY DICKENS FESTIVAL

December 1, 2, 8 & 9

@ Holly Dickens Festival

Don’t miss a historic Dickens themed festival, that the entire family will enjoy in Historic Downtown Holly.

 

SANTA’S MAGIC FOREST

Sunday, December 1 – December 23

@ Heritage Park, Taylor

Santa’s Magic Forest — Downriver’s finest holiday display — is open weekends from Thanksgiving Weekend through Christmas in the Heritage Park Activity Building. The magical winter wonderland includes hundreds of animated characters, dozens of Christmas scenes and beautiful holiday light displays. Visitors have an opportunity to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

 

CHRISTMAS IN FRASER

Saturday, December 1 / 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

@ Fraser Parks and Recreation

Join us as we ring in the Holidays at City Hall! We will sing Christmas carols, enjoy refreshments and welcome Santa to Fraser! Smores, Music, Performances and more! All ages are welcome and encouraged. 

 

HOLIDAY LIGHTED PARADE

Saturday, December 1 / 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

@ Downtown Lake Orion

Lake Orion is the home of one of the only nighttime holiday lighted parades in Michigan. In fact, it’s the second largest lighted holiday parade in the nation!

 

CHRISTMAS AGLOW

Saturday, December 1 / 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm

@ Clinton Township Civic Center

Clinton Township is officially “Aglow” at this event. This long standing tradition of the Township will once again mark the opening of our holiday season.  Bring your whole family and join neighbors from across Clinton Township at a night full of fun. Boys and girls will have a chance to personally visit with Santa and give him their Christmas list. Enjoy the music of the season, ice sculptures, horse drawn trolley rides, and light refreshments as we usher in the holiday season.

 

SENSORY SENSITIVE SUNDAYS AT CHUCK E. CHEESE’S

Sunday, December 2 / 8:00 am – 10:00 am

@ Chuck E Cheese, Canton

Chuck E. Cheese’s now offers a sensory-friendly experience on the first Sunday of every month. Our trained and caring staff is there to make sure families who have children with autism and special needs have a fun filled visit.

 

DOWNTOWN LIONS TAILGATE & WATCH PARTY

Sunday, December 2 / 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

@ Beacon Park, Detroit

Join us at Beacon Park for five family friendly Detroit Lions tailgates, watch parties and two very special ticket giveaways!

 

KERRY TALES: OLD KING COLE AND MOTHER GOOSE

Sunday, December 2 / 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

@ Kerrytown Market, Ann Arbor

Join Mother Goose and Old King Cole telling Kerry Tales in Hollander’s.

 

MERRY & BRIGHT: LIVONIA’S HOLIDAY PARADE AND TREE LIGHTING

Sunday, December 2 / 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

@ Livonia Civic Center Library

Find a seat and watch the parade, then head to City Hall and the Civic Center for more holiday fun!

 

MENORAH IN THE D

Sunday, December 2 / 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm

@ Campus Martius Park, Detroit

The Menorah In The D is a 26′ menorah which stands in downtown Detroit during Chanuka. The evening of festivities include strolling entertainment, Chanukah Gelt for the children, dancing dreidels & dreidel mascot, Mitzvah station and horse-drawn carriage rides and more.

 

CHRISTMAS TREE-LIGHTING & SING-ALONG

Monday, December 3 / 6:00 am – 9:00 pm

@ Ford Community and Performing Arts Center

Join us as we mark the beginning of the end-of-the-year holidays at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center with a performance by the Dearborn Youth Symphony (DYS) String Quartet, a Sing-Along with Mayor John B. O’Reilly, Jr., annual tree lighting ceremony and an opportunity to visit with Santa Claus.

 

26TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY LIGHTS

Tuesday, December 4 / 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm

@ Farmington Hills City Fire Department

The beautiful trees at City Hall will be illuminated as well as a 20-foot candle that represents our commitment to peace and unity in Farmington Hills. Santa will make a visit and refreshments will be served after the ceremony

 

ANNUAL TREE LIGHTING

Wednesday, December 5 / 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm

@ Summit Canton

Annual Tree Lighting Celebration Kick off the holiday season with the annual Township Tree Lighting Event. The ‘official’ tree will be lit in front of the Summit on the Park at 6:30pm and special festivities will take place both indoors and outdoors. Join us for seasonal entertainment, crafts, activities, refreshments, and visits with Santa!

 

MOMMY & ME HIKES

Thursday, December 6 / 10:30 am – 11:30 am

@ West Bloomfield Recreation Activities Center

We invite you and your child to join our Naturalist on a nature discovery and exercise walk. After the walk, you may explore our Outdoor Natural Play Area,”BYOL” (bring your own lunch) to enjoy with other moms. The trail is unpaved so only all-terrain strollers are recommended. A baby backpack/carrier is suggested for infants. 

 

CHRISTMAS IN PLYMOUTH

Thursday, December 6 / 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm

@ Downtown Plymouth

Downtown Christmas shopping event with carriage rides, wagon rides, caroling, music and a festive Holiday atmosphere. City sidewalks dressed in holiday style. Horse-drawn carriages, shopping specials, dining specials, live street music, caroling, live reindeer, appearances by Santa and his elves, and more!

 

CHRISTMAS AGLOW

Thursday, December 6 / 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

@ Shelby Township Municipal Grounds

Welcome Santa, sing carols and join us to share in the spirit of Christmas as we light the big township tree. Visit with St. Nick afterwards to deliver your wish list, enjoy kids’ crafts and partake in delicious cookies, hot chocolate and a marshmallow roast. We’ve even got horse-drawn wagon rides and food trucks like Crepe-Day Twah and Mac Shack for feasting. This year’s theme is “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” so expect a fun guest.

 

MASCO FREE FIRST FRIDAY

Friday, December 7 / 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm

@ Cranbrook Institute of Science, Bloomfield Hills

Courtesy of the MASCO Corporation Foundation, the Institute of Science is free after 5pm the first Friday of each month. Join us for a free evening of science fun! 

 

ROYAL OAK HOLIDAY GLOW

Friday, December 7 – Saturday December 8

@ Downtown Royal Oak

The Royal Oak Holiday Glow will feature traditional holiday activities like photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, live reindeer, horse drawn carriage rides, letters to Santa and caroling. A warming tent on Fifth Ave will house a Winter Market, hot beverages, bar and music. There will be live ice carvings each day of a life size sleigh and reindeer.

 

DOWNTOWN TREE LIGHTING

Friday, December 7 / 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

@ Ypsilanti District Library

Join us at 5:30pm for cookie decorating and hot chocolate. At 6pm the Ypsilanti Community Choir will lead caroling followed by a visit from Santa and photo-ops! Sponsored by the Downtown Association of Ypsilanti.

 

MICHIGAN SCIENCE CENTER FREE DAYS

Saturday, December 8 & Sunday, December 9

@ Michigan Science Center, Detroit

Enjoy free general admission at the Michigan Science Center! General admission includes 250+ hands-on exhibits, live stage shows, Spark!Lab from the Smithsonian, Kids Town gallery, STEM Playground space and more. Planetarium theater tickets will be available for purchase online and at the box office during your visit. Visit Mi-Sci.org for showtimes.

 

HOLIDAY ICE FESTIVAL

Saturday, December 8 / 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

@ Downtown Ferndale

Ring in the holidays with Downtown Ferndale’s annual Holiday Ice Festival, Saturday, December 8th from 10am to 4pm! Come for plenty of traditional holiday-time activities for the whole family to enjoy. Experience downtown as it transforms into a winter wonderland with nearly 50 magnificent ice creations lining streets! Watch the ice carvers as they chain-saw, chisel and shape blocks of ice into magical holiday masterpieces.

 

CORKTOWN-A-GLOW

Saturday, December 8 / 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm

@ Corktown, Detroit

Join us for our 3rd Annual Corktown Aglow Saturday, December 8th starting at noon and going into the evening. Stop by Corktown all day on Saturday, December 8th for heaps of holiday fun and family friendly festivities throughout the neighborhood including time with Santa and a tree lighting ceremony.

 

FREE SECOND SUNDAY

Sunday, December 9 / 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

@ Charles H Wright Museum, Detroit

Bring your list and visit Santa. There will be seasonal crafts, guest musicians and goodies to eat. Photos with Santa are taken on your own device. 

 

ELF THE MOVIE

Sunday, December 9 / 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm

@ Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor

This modern holiday classic comedy stars funnyman Will Ferrell as Buddy, a human who was raised as an elf and thus struggles to fit in. 

 

WINTERFEST: MULTI-CULTURAL HOLIDAY CELEBRATION IN THE LOG CABIN

Sunday, December 9 / 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

@ Palmer Park, Detroit

Bring your whole family for an afternoon of old-fashioned holiday fun at WinterFest, a multi-cultural holiday festival at the historic Log Cabin. Enjoy Christmas magic with Santa and Mrs. Claus, horse and carriage rides through the woods (suggested donation $5per adult or family, $2 per child), sweets, treats and hot cocoa, holiday ornament making and music as well as Hanukkah with the Downtown Synagogue and Kwanzaa with the Wright Museum of African American History.

 

THE CHANUKAH BASH

Sunday, December 9 / 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

@ Congregation Shaarey Zedek, Southfield

We hope you’ll join us for the 8th night at our first annual Chanukah Bash! It’s the perfect way to celebrate the holiday for families with children ages 0 to 4 with something for every kid and kid at heart!

 

BELLE ISLE HOLIDAY STROLL

Friday, December 14 / 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

@ Belle Isle State Park, Detroit

The Dossin Great Lakes Museum is pleased to partner with the Belle Isle Aquarium and the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory for the 5th annual Belle Isle Stroll. Families are invited to visit all three attractions for good holiday fun. At the Dossin, families can enjoy hot cocoa and cookies, holiday music and free winter-themed crafts.

 

SELFIES WITH SANTA AND FAMILY FUN

Saturday, December 15 / 1:00 pm – Sunday, December 16

@ Beacon Park, Detroit

Put on your best holiday outfit and head to Beacon Park Detroit to see Saint Nick. Don’t forget to snap a few photos with the larger-than-life holiday light installations that transform the park into a winter wonderland!In addition to selfies with Santa, come enjoy activities for the whole family to enjoy, including make and takes.

 

ISLAND PRINCESS CELEBRATION

Saturday, December 15 / 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

@ Farmington Community Library, Farmington Hills

This princess will sing, lead the audience in a hula dance, and pose for a group photo. Registration is required; Register one child and note how many people will be in your party.

 

HOLIDAY STORYTIME WITH MRS CLAUS

Saturday, December 15 / 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

@ Shelby Township Library

Visit with Mrs. Claus to hear favorite holiday stories and join in singing classic holiday songs. Children will also make a holiday craft to take home. Be sure to have a picture taken with Mrs. Claus by the glow of the library’s Christmas tree!

 

CAROLING IN THE CITY

Sunday, December 16 / 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

@ Downtown Rochester

Join us for more holiday spirit than you can shake a candy cane at! Christmas Around The World Choirs, Christmas Cookie Station and the debut of the Rochester Community Carolers and so much more! You won’t want to miss it when we transform Downtown Rochester into Whoville with the grand finale of the community caroling around the Christmas tree in the middle of Main Street.

 

SANTA AND HIS FURRY FRIENDS

Monday, December 17 / 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

@ Clarkston Independence District Library

Rumor has it . . . Santa is coming back!  He will have his furry reindeer friends with him again this year, along with a host of new crafts and activities!  Come tell him all of your holiday wishes!

 

SANTA VISITS

Monday, December 17 / 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

@ John F. Kennedy Jr. Library, Dearborn Heights

Christmas is near, and Santa is coming to the libraries! He will read stories especially for the season. All ages are invited. There will be plenty of time at the end of the program for children to meet Santa- feel free to bring a camera if you wish to take photos.

 

GINGERBREAD HOUSE CHALLENGE

Tuesday, December 18 / 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

@ Novi Public Library

Make and decorate your own gingerbread house. All supplies provided. 

 

NATURE TOTS

Friday, December 21 / 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

@ Belle Isle Nature Center, Detroit

Join us for a FREE program for children ages 2-4 and their adult caregivers. Enjoy stories, crafts and activities as we use our senses to explore nature together! 

 

TEA-TIME THEATRE: MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO

Wednesday, December 26 / 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

@ Detroit Film Theatre

A deceptively simple tale of two girls, Satsuki and Mei, who move with their father to a new house in the countryside and discover that the surrounding forests are home to a family of Totoros, gentle but powerful forest spirits seen only by children.

 

FROZEN SING ALONG

Thursday, December 27 / 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

@ Bloomfield Public Library, Bloomfield Hills

Sing-along and celebrate five years of Frozen! All ages and abilities are welcome to join us as we sing along to the move!

 

TEA-TIME THEATRE: THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG

Friday, December 28 / 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

@ Detroit Film Theatre

Disney’s return to traditional hand-drawn animation features award-winning music, irresistible characters and a modern twist on a classic fairy tale. Set in New Orleans in the 1920s, our heroine Tiana, a hard-working, determined girl, meets a frog prince who desperately wants to be human again.

 

PUPPET PERFORMANCE: THE RAINBOW BRIDGE AND OTHER STORIES

Saturday, December 29 / 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

@ Detroit Institute of Arts

The Rainbow Bridge and Other Stories feature Hobey Ford’s unique style combining stunning shadow puppetry and storytelling to retell three folktales. The Rainbow Bridge recalls the origins of the Chumash, a Native American tribe who inhabited the southern coastal regions of California. Then, we learn how the little coqui frog got its song in the Puerto Rican tale El Coqui, followed by an ecological twist on the Nordic tale Three Billy Goats Gruff.

 

HARRY POTTER YULE BALL

Saturday, December 29 / 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm

@ Clinton-Macomb Main Library, Clinton Township

Brush off your dress robes and get sorted into your house to compete in Triwizard tasks; earn house points, or just relax with some Butterbeer while we play the movie Goblet of Fire.

 

MICHIGAN SCIENCE CENTER FREE DAYS

Saturday, December 29 & Sunday, December 30

@ Michigan Science Center, Detroit

Enjoy free general admission at the Michigan Science Center! General admission includes 250+ hands-on exhibits, live stage shows, Spark!Lab from the Smithsonian, Kids Town gallery, STEM Playground space and more. Planetarium theater tickets will be available for purchase online and at the box office during your visit.

 

NOON YEAR’S EVE

Monday, December 31 / 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

@ Detroit Historical Museum

Save the date for our family friendly New Year’s celebration! Preschool and elementary-aged children and their families can make their own noisemaker, write a time capsule letter, enjoy cookies and hot cocoa, and most importantly, ring in the New Year with a countdown to noon!

 

NEW YEAR’S EVE KIDS COUNTDOWN

Monday, December 31 / 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm

@ Beacon Park, Detroit

10…9…8… Let the countdown begin until the new year, with a family friendly event at Beacon Park. The New Year’s Eve Kids Countdown will offer all the fun and excitement of a traditional New Year’s Eve party while allowing you and the kiddos be be home and tucked safely into bed long before the clock strikes midnight.

 

NEW YEAR’S EVE IN NEVER NEVER LAND

Monday, December 31 / 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm

@ Downtown Mount Clemens

Family fun and fireworks in downtown Mount Clemens.

 

Photo credit: Facebook

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Chrissy

About Chrissy Hartig

Chrissy Hartig is a recent graduate of Wayne State University and contributing writer for Little Guide Detroit. Born in the Metro Detroit suburbs, she moved to Midtown to be closer to the excitement of the city. She loves spending her time outdoors and enjoying nature in places like Belle Isle and the Riverwalk.

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