It’s hard to predict what Michigan vacation travel will look like this season, but an increase in travel to the state is likely.
âCOVID changed everything,â Travel Michigan vice president Dave Lorenz said. “What we do know is that people generally stay relatively close to home, even if they start to travel further afield.”
Most Michiganders will stay in Michigan, he said, and there are plenty of destinations to explore in the Mitten.
Lorenz suggests starting near you by visiting places such as the Impression 5 Science Center and the Peanut Shop in downtown Lansing.
âI think of places like the old town, with all the galleries and things, when it comes to giving gifts,â he said. âIt’s a great way to support the locals. “
Cities like Detroit, Ann Arbor and Rockford also offer a variety of shops and restaurants, Lorenz said.
He suggests heading to the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners. It houses one of the largest collections of classic and vintage automobiles in the state.
âPeople don’t even realize there are indoor and outdoor exhibits,â Lorenz said. âAt this time of year, they’re going to have four or five different light-themed areas that you can drive around through their beautiful campusâ¦ and you can visit Santa with the kids. You could spend the whole day there. . “
Here are four places to visit this holiday season, whether you’re looking to shop, eat and drink, have fun with the kids, or enjoy outdoor winter activities.
Great Christmas shopping
If ‘go big or come home’ is your motto this time of year, then why not head to Frankenmuth and shop at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the world’s largest Christmas store.
Open every day of the year except four since 1945, the huge holiday store sells over 6,000 styles of ornaments, Christmas trees, cards and lights, nativity scenes, collectibles, of garlands, stockings, advent calendars and wreaths.
The store’s campus is decorated for the holidays and located a short distance from downtown Frankenmuth – and more shopping.
Known as “Michigan’s Little Bavaria,” guests can take horse-drawn carriage rides, shop for gifts at downtown stores, ice-skate at a public ice rink, and eat chicken dinners at Zehnder, a popular restaurant.
âIt’s such a cool place any time of the year, but there is something special about being in the city this time of year,â said Lorenz.
Go out and enjoy the snow
There’s a long list of things you can do outdoors at Boyne Mountain Resort and Boyne Highlands Resort, but skiing is what both are known for, said Erin Ernst, director of communications for Boyne Resorts Michigan Operations. , who owns it.
The properties are only 42 km apart, located in Boyne Falls and Harbor Springs, but Boyne Mountain is the oldest. It was founded by Everett Kircher in the late 1940s, Ernst said.
Boyne Mountain occupies 5,000 acres, with 415 skiable acres and 60 trails. Boyne Highlands comprises 4,000 acres, including 435 skiable acres and 55 trails. The pitch is laid out “very differently” to everyone, Ernst said.
If skiing isn’t your favorite outdoor activity, both resorts offer a host of other options, including ice skating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ziplines, tubing, horseback riding, snowshoeing, outdoor pools and SNO-GO ski bikes.
There’s plenty to do inside the resorts, including spa services and dining.
A food and wine experience in Grand Rapids
After Grand Rapids native Kris Mathis and his wife, Chawntrell, took a weekend trip to Traverse City, he wondered, “Could I recreate this experience in my own city?” “
His company, Raise a Glass Wine and Beer Tours, aims to do just that. It offers private, all-inclusive wine and beer tours of Grand Rapids restaurants and wineries, with transport between stops.
âWe don’t do anything traditional,â Mathis said, adding that what his company offers are not wine tours. “They’re all city-style so they’re young, hip, urban where you’re going to visit different restaurants and wine bars and they’re going to set up a semi-private experience for you.”
Groups are given a total of five courses during each visit, which typically lasts four hours.
âOur entire menu is blind tasting, which means you can’t order a menu with us,â Mathis said. âThe reason is that we don’t want customers to order the normal burger and fries. Our goal is to get you to try new things and we do that by allowing our restaurants and wine bars to impress you with their most creative and exclusive tableware. “
Learn more about Raise a Glass Wine and Beer Tours at www.raiseaglasstours.com .
Detroit Zoo in Christmas Lights
If your ideal vacation is to see spectacular light shows, consider a trip to the Detroit Zoo.
Wild Lights, its annual exhibit of over 5 million sparkling LED lights, 445 trees and 280 sculptures, many of which are inspired by wildlife, will fill the front half of the property until January 9.
The zoo’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit featuring award-winning photographs is included with admission to Wild Lights.
Entrance tickets cost between $ 17 and $ 24, and children under 2 are admitted free. The zoo offers a âPolar Patioâ package for $ 30 to $ 38 which includes entry to the light and photo exhibit as well as unlimited food and desserts, hot chocolate in a souvenir mug and the access to a cash bar.
Guests are encouraged to dress for the weather when they arrive. Learn more about Wild Lights at www.detroitzoo.org .
Contact Rachel Greco at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @GrecoatLSJ.