Things To Do in Michigan Winter 2022 – Our A to Z Guide
For the first few years of Travel the Mitten, we put together seasonal lists of unique Michigan events in an A to Z format. Those posts were typically well received but also some of our more time consuming to produce. As we enter 2022 with the goal of providing our best year of content yet, I decided it was time to bring back our Things to Do in Michigan series. Winter offers plenty of fun and unique events across Michigan, and the 26 ideas we put together in this list cover the months of January, February, and March. Festivals, art exhibits, outdoor activities, and sporting events are a few of the things you’ll find in this 26 Things to Do in Michigan Winter 2022 guide. Enjoy and feel free to reach out with ideas for our upcoming list in the spring!
Alpenfrost in Gaylord (February 19-20) – Just as Gaylord’s summer Alpenfest has become a beloved community event, Alpenfrost has become a great winter tradition for the community and a reason for others to head to the Alpine Village in February. Gaylord used to host a Winterfest event and Alpenfrost “is a rebirth and evolution of this exciting winter celebration in downtown Gaylord, combining anchor events such as The Polar Plunge and a Craft Beer and Wine Festival at Treetops Resort, with a flurry of downtown activities, games and merchant sales.” Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/gaylordalpenfrost.
Butterflies are Blooming at Frederik Meijer Gardens (March 1 – April 30) – “The annual Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies Are Blooming exhibition at Meijer Gardens is the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibition in the nation. Tropical butterflies from around the world fly freely in the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory every March and April.” This is a great chance to get inside where it’s warm (85 degrees!) and be surrounded by 7,000 tropical butterflies. Check out our 2019 Photo Gallery: Butterflies are Blooming post or head over to https://www.meijergardens.org/calendar/butterflies-are-blooming/ for more information.
Chippewa Nature Center Evening Snowshoe Hikes and Snowshoe Sampler (various dates in January and February) – Midland’s Chippewa Nature Center is a 1,500 acre outdoor classroom that offers year-round public access to its trail and also offers a wide variety of educational opportunities. In the winter months, you can try out a pair of snowshoes and hit the trails during their Snowshoe Sampler or Evening Snowshoe Hike events. The Winter Animal Tracking program (February 12) will give young visitors tips on figuring out the clues left behind in the snow. The best part? All of these events are free, with pre-registration required. Visit https://www.chippewanaturecenter.org/ for more information.
Downtown Rochester Snowglow (January 14-15) – “Enjoy safari themed ice sculptures, an ice carving competition, live carvings, marshmallow roasting, shopping, and the Big, Bright Light Show” in Rochester this January. Find out more at https://www.downtownrochestermi.com/downtown-rochester-snowglow.
Evening Guided Snowshoe Hikes at Ludington State Park (January 15 and 29, February 12)- Looking for free winter fun (and a little exercise) at one of our most popular state parks? “Enjoy a guided snowshoe hike through Ludington State Park’s dunes and forests. Participants should meet at the Warming Shelter and dress in layers to be prepared for the weather. If there is not enough snow, we will still hike around the park. The park will have 60 pairs snowshoes available first come, first served. Snowshoe sizes fit ages 8 and up. Reservations are not offered. Event could be cancelled in the event of severe or icy weather conditions.” Daytime guided hikes are also offered in the winter, stay up to date by following the Ludington State Park Facebook page.
Fat Chance Fat Tire Bike Race at Crystal Mountain (January 29) – Northern Michigan’s premier Fat Tire bike race takes place on January 29th at Crystal Mountain. “We’re switching up our race this year and holding it on a new, fun course located at the new Cross-Country center near our summer driving range! The course will offer 360 degree viewing for spectators. The 90-minute race will have single sections to break up the pack and add some excitement to the race!” Find out more at https://www.traversecity.com/event-detail/9th-annual-iron-fish-distillery-fat-chance-fat-tire-bike-race/13510/
Grand Rapids Griffins Hockey (various dates) – See future Detroit Red Wings in action this winter at Van Andel Arena. The AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins have 8 home games in January, 6 home games in February, and 6 home games in March. Highlights include Princes Night on February 5th, Heroes vs. Villains Night on Jan. 8, 90s Night on Feb. 19, and Star Wars Night on March 5th. There are also giveaway nights for bobbleheads and other keepsakes. Find out more and get tickets at https://griffinshockey.com/.
HAMILTON comes to Broadway Grand Rapids (February 8 – 20) – The wildly popular musical Hamilton will visit Grand Rapids for two weeks in February. “Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway, HAMILTON has taken the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton and created a revolutionary moment in theatre—a musical that has had a profound impact on culture, politics, and education. With book, music, and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, direction by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, and musical supervision and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, HAMILTON is based on Ron Chernow’s acclaimed biography.” Find out more at www.broadwaygrandrapids.com.
I-500 Snowmobile Race in Sault Ste. Marie (January 31 – February 5) “The International 500 Snowmobile Race is not just Michigan’s most thrilling experience for riders and motorsport fans of all kinds, it’s not just the United States either, or for that matter, North America’s! It’s the most grueling and prestigious snowmobile race in the World! Since 1969, hundreds of thousands of diehard snowmobile and winter enthusiasts have journeyed to Sault Ste. Marie, MI to enjoy the frozen, snowy spectacle of the I-500, and be a part of the Upper Peninsula’s most astonishing snowmobile action! Here, you’ll feel your heart thump in your chest at the sights and sounds of professional drivers giving it their all. You’ll feel sweet chills and thrills of the track, as the industry’s fastest, sleekest snow machines tear around the only 1-mile high-banked oval ice track in the world!” Find out more about this awesome event at https://i-500.com/.
Jurassic Quest at DeVos Place Convention Center (January 7-9) – After a visit to the Detroit area in December of 2021, Jurassic Quest heads to Grand Rapids in January. “Come see for yourself why Jurassic Quest is American’s biggest and most popular dinosaur event, and walk among the dinosaurs at DeVos Place this January. Jurassic Quest and the skyscraping dinosaurs bring supersized family fun – only here can you get up close to more than 100 LIVE-SIZE realistic dinosaurs and even see them move and roar. Whether the dinos had skin that was scaly, feathers or fun, Jurassic Quest has spared no expense to bring the dinosaurs to life.” Find out more and get tickets at https://www.devosplace.org/events/2022/jurassic-quest.
Kalamazoo Craft Beverage Week (January 29 – February 6) – It’s no longer just about beer during this celebration in Kalamazoo! Enjoy special events and tastings at the area’s numerous breweries, wineries, and distilleries: “This celebration is for anyone who shares a passion and an affinity for hand-crafted products, made by people who care about an enriching experience and carefully fashioned flavor profiles. Patrons will meet the brewers, distillers, or winemakers themselves, learn about what it takes to develop these kinds of intricate, highly desired products, and hopefully achieve a greater sense of the craft beverage industry.” Find a full schedule of events at https://www.kalamazoocraftbeverageweek.com/.
Lantern Lit Snowshoe Hikes at Michigan State Parks (various dates and locations) – Every winter a handful of Michigan state parks offer lantern lit snowshoe hikes on their trails. These scenic outings are sure to make lasting memories, and this year they will be offered at Mitchell State Park, Hartwick Pines State Park, Fayette Historic State Park, Ludington State Park, and more. You can find a great list on Mlive.com or on the DNR’s website.
Michigan Tech Winter Carnival (February 9-12) – When thinking about winter events in Michigan you can’t forget the Keweenaw Peninsula, which sees more snow each year than many places in Michigan. One of the signature winter events in Houghton is the Michigan Tech Winter Carnival, known for its amazing ice sculptures. “Featuring dozens of huge, intricate snow statues all around campus and the community, this event also brings together students to participate in broomball, comedy skits, sleigh rides, a queen coronation, and lots of winter fun.” This year marks the 100th edition of the carnival, so it’s sure to be quite the party! Find out more at https://www.mtu.edu/winter-carnival/.
January 7 starts Golden Fridays in 2022: $2 beer, $2 hot dogs, and $5 @foundersbrewing Solid Gold. Plus Family Fare Fridays: Bring a Family Fare receipt of $25+ to any Friday night game and get two free tickets ️️ pic.twitter.com/97sYBMs03j
— Grand Rapids Gold (@NBAGrandRapids) December 27, 2021
NBA G League Basketball (various dates) – Basketball fans can now catch two different Michigan teams as they compete in the NBA G League. The Grand Rapids Gold (affiliate of the Denver Nuggets) have 16 home games in January, February, and March while the Motor City Cruise (affiliate of the Detroit Pistons) have 15 home games over that same period. The two teams will face each other in Grand Rapids on Jan. 20 and in Detroit on Jan. 24. You can find out more at https://grandrapids.gleague.nba.com/ or https://detroit.gleague.nba.com/.
Owl Moon (January 21) and Owl Prowl (January 29) at the Blandford Nature Center – Grand Rapids’ Blandford Nature Center has been in the news lately thanks to an escape artist bobcat, but we hope that also draws some attention to the events they offer. Two January events will focus on owls, starting with Owl Moon on January 21: “Listen to a classic winter tale about the owling adventures of a boy and his grandfather. After the story, we’ll meet some of the owls that reside at Blandford and take a guided hike to talk with the wild owls that call Blandford home. ” On January 29th the Owl Prowl offers a chance to “join Blandford’s Naturalists as we head out on the trails, equipped with recorded owl calls, in the hopes that a wild owl will return our message. This program includes a live owl presentation with an up-close look at Blandford’s resident owls.” There are fees for both events, find out more at https://blandfordnaturecenter.org/.
Pure Ludington Brrrewfest (January 29) – Craft beer lovers will do some crazy things to try new and rare brews, including braving cold temperatures to attend winter festivals. The Pure Ludington Brrrewfest marks a return for this festival after taking 2021 off due to COVID-19 concerns. “The 2022 event will be held on Saturday, January 29th from 1-6pm at Legacy Plaza. Tickets are $35/person in advance or $40 at the gate, and include six drink tokens and a commemorative tasting glass. Each token is good for 5 oz. of beer or cider. Five additional tokens can be purchased for $5. The 2022 event will be limited to 1,000 tickets. Advance tickets may be purchased at mynorthtickets.com. There will also be live entertainment and food by The Q Smokehouse and the Lakeside Wiener Wagon.” This year’s proceeds will benefit the Friends of Ludington State Park!
Que the Creek (February 5) – “Que the Creek is BACK! BBQ Festival with BBQ from local restaurants and start up pit masters, all providing samples to be judged on who has the best BBQ in Battle Creek! This family friendly event will feature BBQ vendors, LIVE music, yard games, craft drinks and more!” We love great food, and this event at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek sounds like a deliciously good time! Find out more at https://kelloggarena.com/event/que-the-creek-bbq-festival-2/.
Rosa Parks’ Birthday Black History Walking Tour (February 4) – Celebrate the birthday of civil rights legend and former Michigan resident Rosa Parks by taking a walking tour of Grand Rapids: “This free walking tour specifically examines the African American population from 1826 until the present: The remarkable people, places, events, issues… The legends and facts about being Black in Grand Rapids. Caroline Cook of Grand Rapids Running Tours will guide you through a maze of touchstones in Downtown that prompt intriguing narrative. First come first serve, 25 person cap. No registration is necessary. Tour meets at Rosa Parks Circle.”
Sleigh Rides at Treetops Resort in Gaylord (January 1 – March 5 on Saturdays) – Several resorts in Northern Michigan offer winter sleigh rides. Treetops Resort in Gaylord offers a “magical winter excursion” that also includes dinner. “This culinary adventure takes you on a horse-drawn sleigh ride in and around a secluded piece of Treetops property. Then enjoy a gourmet four course meal at Hunter’s Grille.” Find out more at https://www.treetops.com/activities/sleigh-rides/.
Traverse City Restaurant Week (February 20- February 26) – It should be little surprise that since Traverse City frequently lands a finalist spot on 10best.com’s Best Small Town Food Scene lists its Restaurant Week is a can’t-miss event. Last year saw 30 participating restaurants offer three-course meals from $25 to $35 per person, and this year’s menus should soon be uploaded to https://www.downtowntc.com/event/traverse-city-restaurant-week/.
U.P. 200 (February 17-21) – “The UP200 is one of America’s premier 12-dog, mid-distance sled dog races and draws mushers from around the United States and Canada. The first UP200 was run in February, 1990, after two years of planning by sled dog racing enthusiasts. The current race covers approximately 230 miles from Marquette to Grand Marais, with a return to Marquette along the same trail. The terrain includes stretches of near-wilderness, creek crossings, hills and valleys, and heavily forested land. Mushers say this is one of their favorite races, not only because of the challenging race, but because of the beautiful trail, the cheering crowds and warm welcome they receive at every checkpoint along the trail here in the Upper Peninsula.” Find out everything you need to know about this classic Upper Peninsula event at https://www.up200.org/.
Valentine’s Dinner at Henderson Castle in Kalamazoo (February 14 – 16) Kalamazoo’s Henderson castle offers up one of Michigan’s most romantic Valentine’s Day options: “What a better way to celebrate the most romantic day of the year! Join us at Southwest Michigan’s most Romantic Location, the Henderson Castle! We are the perfect getaway spot for you and the love of your life to enjoy the evening together. Dine by candle-light in the atmosphere of the historic beauty of the Castle!” Find out more at https://www.hendersoncastle.com/.
World of Winter in Grand Rapids (January 7 – March 6) – One of our favorite winter events from 2021 returns in 2022 with an even more packed lineup of art hitting downtown Grand Rapids. We’re excited to check out the Light Maze at 555 Monroe, Bunnies of Intrude at Ah-Nab-Awen Park, Submergence on the Gillett Bridge, the Crank Zappa Jellyfish at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, and more! Find out everything you need to know about this wonderful winter celebration at https://worldofwintergr.com/.
Xtreme Winter Sports (various locations) – Michigan’s winters give its residents and visitors the chance to try out unique sporting opportunities. From ice climbing in Munising (http://www.michiganicefest.com/) or Fenton (https://www.peabodyiceclimbing.com/) to luge at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex (https://msports.org/) or even winter surfing on the Great Lakes, there are options for those that want to test their limits in the coldest months. The Great Lakes State also offers roughly 6,500 miles of snowmobile trails!
Yankee Air Museum – Winter is a great time to get inside and check out some of Michigan’s unique museums. The Yankee Air Museum will host a special program on the B-52 on February 2nd: “You can’t miss the B-52 Stratofortress by the Roush Aeronautics Center. Please join us for the story of this combat veteran aircraft “#677.” Museum docent Barry Levine will provide an overview of the B-52 and its role in aviation history, and background on how the Museum obtained #677. ” Current museum exhibits focus on the Vietnam War, World War I, World War II, a Michigan native who went on to fly for the Thunderbirds, and more. Head over to https://yankeeairmuseum.org/ for hours, admission prices, and more information.
Zehnder’s Snowfest (January 26-30) – One of Michigan’s most-loved winter festivals is the Zehnder’s Snowfest in Frankenmuth. “Zehnder’s Snowfest has been host to one of the top snow and ice sculpting events in North America for the past 30 years. Visitors have enjoyed larger-than-life snow sculptures and beautifully detailed ice carvings each year. In addition, Zehnder’s Snowfest will have entertainment for the entire family in the warming tent, a fireworks display, petting zoo and children’s activities.” Head over to https://www.zehnders.com/snowfest/ for more information and start thinking about visiting Michigan’s “Little Bavaria” this winter!