The holidays are here! Cue a sparkling wonderland for your family with these fantastic Christmas activities. But you may be wondering, what are the best Christmas activities in Lansing?

The greater Lansing area holds so many opportunities to enjoy this special season, from shopping and shows to unique Christmas experiences—where else can you both watch fireworks at the State Capitol AND meet live reindeer attended by Disney Princesses? Lansing, of course!

Things to do in Lansing

1. Find That Perfect Gift

Trying to find something special for someone special? Make this Christmas activity more fun by looking in fun places!

First, on Friday, Nov. 11 from 5 – 9 PM, leave the kids at home and shop the incredible Holiday STEM Market & Adults Night Out at the Impression5 science center! View live demos and find inventive gifts for your curious young one, then head to the gift wrap station where all proceeds benefit this fantastic local institution. See impression5.org for more information.

Then Saturday, Dec. 3 from 10 AM – 2 PM, hit the Holiday Art/Craft Fair/Farmer’s Market with the whole family at Lansing’s Southside Community Center. You’ll find artists, crafters, growers, and bakers—more than 60 vendors with unique gifts you’ll find nowhere else! Enjoy hot food and stroll the market for Christmas treasures. See southlansing.org for more information.

2. Attend the Nutcracker Ballet

A classic Christmas activity that’s perfect for the young child in your life, Lansing’s historic Turner Dodge Mansion hosts “Tea & Treats with the Nutcracker and Capitol Ballet Theatre” on Saturday, Nov. 12 from 12-2 PM.

Enjoy a preview of Capitol Ballet Theatre’s performance of “The Nutcracker Ballet,” followed by tea, treats, and a chance for a meet & greet and pictures with the principal dancers! Tickets are $10/person, call (517) 483-4220 for more information.

3. Go Ice Skating

Does watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” make you want to grab your blue blanket and join Linus on the ice? Glide to the soundtrack in your head at MSU’s Munn Ice Arena! Admission to weekend public skating is $7 for adults, $6 for those under 18, and skate rentals are only $3. See munnicearena.msu.edu for current hours.

4. & 5. Find a Christmas Tree, Meet Santa

There’s nothing like finding your own tree outdoors. As Farmer Ed of the Peacock Road Family Farm says, “Christmas tree farmers feed our soul.” Find your own in the field or let them do the work and select from pre-cut trees.

Peacock Road Family Farm makes this Christmas activity extra special with the option to book a private group “train” car ($85, up to 7 people) or covered wagon ($85, up to 8 people) that transports you to Santa’s cabin in the woods where Mrs. Claus greets you with hot cocoa and all your Christmas dreams come true (just guessing on that last part).

If that wasn’t enough wonder, Peacock Road Family Farm also has a Christmas Shop filled with an array of beautiful ornaments and decorations. Pick one to commemorate something special this Christmas! See peacockrff.com for tickets, current hours, and more information.

6. Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting

What Lansing Christmas activity list would be complete without Silver Bells In The City? Friday, Nov. 18 from 5 – 9 PM, this electric light parade kicks off the holiday season in Downtown Lansing.

Dress for the weather, bring your holiday spirit, and cheer for some fantastic school bands (will the steel drums return?!) and crowd-favorite parade floats. The event finishes in front of the State Capitol Building with the lighting of the state tree, a community sing, and—weather permitting—fireworks! See silverbellsinthecity.com for more information.

If small town fun is more your speed, head a few minutes down the road for the Mason Holiday Lighted Parade on Friday, Nov. 25 from 6 – 7:30 PM. This event begins with the lighting of the Mason tree followed by the parade, starting from Bond Park. See masonchamber.org for more information.

7. Look at the Lights

Driving around to find those sparkling light displays is a classic Christmas activity, but Potter Park Zoo gathers all that shine in one place at their 30th Annual Wonderland of Lights.

From Saturday, Nov. 19 to Dec. 23 you can visit the Zoo from 5-8 PM, Thursday through Sunday and stroll through thousands of twinkling lights in beautiful displays as Christmas music drifts in the air. Admission is $9 adults and $5 for children 3-12, seniors, and military.

To make this Christmas activity extra special, on Saturday, Dec. 3 only, Potter Park Zoo will partner with Toys for Tots and admission will be one new, unwrapped toy donation per person. See potterparkzoo.orgfor more information.

8. Meet Live Reindeer

Gone are the days when libraries meant only “books.” Now they also mean… “reindeer?” Capital Area District Library is hosting live reindeer encounters at numerous locations in Nov. – Dec. with different special activities at each location.

View the Holt-Delhi tree lighting and meet reindeer on Wednesday, Nov. 30, or see the reindeer with Disney Princesses in Leslie on Monday, Dec. 5 and in Haslet on Friday, Dec. 9. Check with your closest CADL location for dates, times, and special activities. See cadl.org for more information.

9. Cue the Music

What is Christmas without that classic holiday music? The Lansing Symphony Orchestra is bringing it with “Seasons Greetings” at MSU’s Wharton Center on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 3 PM. Join Flint native LaKisha Jones for your favorite pop tunes and traditional carols and let the music carry you to Christmas. Tickets range from $25-$58. See lansingsymphony.org for tickets and more information.

10. Epic Sledding

Once the snow starts to fly (children praying now!), it’s time to hit the slopes. Ingham County Parks maintains two fantastic sledding hills at Hawk Island Park and Burchfield Park. Due to an amazing moving walkway that transports you up the hill (seriously!), Hawk Island requires a ticket ($11 per person) and they sell out quickly, so jump on those reservations.

Burchfield Park may be a little quieter and lower-tech, but it offers the same high-quality Canadian resort tubes for rental ($3 each) and a cozy fire to warm frozen fingers at the top of the hill. See parks.ingham.org for updated hours, park admission info, tickets, and more information.

Christmas activities indoor

You don’t have to leave your home to get into the Christmas spirit. In face, much of the holiday magic can happen right inside your own front door:

  • Decorate the Christmas tree with loved ones.
  • Host a cookie decorating competition.
  • Invest in an Advent calendar to do as a family.
  • Make popcorn garland.
  • Build a gingerbread house.
  • Watch your favorite Christmas movie.

Additional Christmas activities in Lansing in November

  • Friday, Nov. 18, 5 – 9 PM Silver Bells In The City, Downtown Lansing, silverbellsinthecity.com
  • Saturday, Nov. 19, 9 – 10 AM Silver Bells 5K race and costume contest, Downtown Lansing, $35 registration here
  • Saturday, Nov. 19 through Friday, Dec. 23, 5 – 8 PM, 30th Annual Wonderland of Lights, Potter Park Zoo, potterparkzoo.org
  • Friday, Nov. 25, 6 – 7:30 PM, Mason Holiday Lighted Parade, masonchamber.org
  • Wednesday, Nov. 30, 6:30 – 7:30 PM, Holt-Delhi Tree Lighting in Veterans Memorial Garden with hot chocolate & Santa, live reindeer and special activities next door at library, delhitownshipmi.gov

Additional Christmas activities in Lansing in December

  • Saturday, Dec. 3, 10 AM – 2 PM, Holiday Art/Craft Fair/Farmer’s Market at Lansing’s Southside Community Center, southlansing.org
  • Saturday, Dec. 3, 5 – 8 PM, Toys for Tots at the 30th Annual Wonderland of Lights, Potter Park Zoo, potterparkzoo.org
  • Wednesday, Dec. 7, 3:45 – 5 PM, Drop-In Holiday Cupcake Decorating for children 5 – 17 yrs., CADL Williamston, cadl.org
  • Friday, Dec. 9, 4:30 – 6 PM, Visit A Live Reindeer & Disney Princesses at CADL Haslett, cadl.org
  • Saturday, Dec. 10 Saturday, 11 AM – 2 PM, East Lansing Winter Fest, Hannah Community Center, cityofeastlansing.com
  • Sunday, Dec. 11, 2 – 4 PM, Meet Santa, tour buildings, and enjoy a holiday concert at Meridian Historical Village during Christmas in the Village, meridianhistoricalvillage.org
  • Sunday, Dec. 11, 3 PM The Lansing Symphony Orchestra’s “Seasons Greetings” featuring LaKisha Jones at MSU’s Wharton Center, lansingsymphony.org
  • Tuesday, Dec. 13, 4:30 – 6 PM, Visit A Live Reindeer & Disney Princesses at CADL Okemos, cadl.org
  • Wednesday, Dec. 14, 4:30 – 7 PM, Make & Decorate A Gingerbread House, CADL Aurelius, all supplies provided but registration required at (517) 628-3743

You’re invited to a Christmas Eve candlelight service at 242 Community Church right here in Lansing on December 24th at 12pm, 1:30pm, 3pm, 4:30pm, or 6pm.

Check out our website for more information. We always welcome new friends to worship with us. Find a location that’s close to you! You can learn more about our beliefs and visit our video library to explore more topics like this one. You can also check out our events page to find out what fun new things we’re doing this season. 

About the Author: Emily Asbenson
Emily Asbenson is a Michigander and 2|42 volunteer who made it back after being exiled to D.C.--twice! She loves her family and her home state, setting aside a history career to homeschool while introducing her children and husband to all the wonders that lie from Monroe to Copper Harbor.

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