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44 Things to do in Metro Detroit in December

Posted on Wednesday, November 30 2016 in Events

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It's the most wonderful time of the year! Make the most of this month with 44 things to do in metro Detroit in December


  1. Fun Home
    Through Dec. 11
    Fisher Theatre
    The New York Times calls it "a rare beauty that pumps fresh air into Broadway." Based on Alison Bechdel's bestselling graphic memoir, it follows Alison at three points in her life as the world, and her parents, look different through different eyes.

  2. Amherstburg River Lights Winter Festival
    Through Dec. 18
    270 Dalhousie St., Amherstburg, ON, N9V 1W7
    Carriage rides, a gingerbread warm-up house, the super Santa run, house tours and more. It's the festive season, Canada-style.

  3. Holiday Walks at Meadow Brook Hall
    Through Dec. 23
    Meadow Brook Hall
    Stroll through a gorgeous 110-room mansion, where all the nooks and crannies will be lit up, revealing holiday-themed treasures.

  4. The Realization of Emily Linder
    Through Dec. 23
    Detroit Repertory Theatre
    A comedy about life and death and all the wonder in between. Emily Linder says she knows the exact day and hour she will die.

  5. Holocaust by Bullets
    Through Dec. 30
    Holocaust Memorial Center
    This exhibit chronicles a lesser-known side of the Holocaust in which more than 2 million Jews were gunned down and left in unmarked mass graves across Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. Somber, yes, but educational and relevant.

  6. Fashion D.Fined: The Past, Present & Future of Detroit Fashion
    Through Dec. 31
    Detroit Historical Museum
    A new exhibition showcasing Detroit's role in the fashion industry. Fashion D.Fined explores 20th-century design and retail alongside the designers and grassroots fashion retailers of today. Includes costumes from 1940-70 from well-known retailers such as Hudson's, Himelhoch's and Winkelman's.

  7. Holiday Tours at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House
    Through Dec 31
    Edsel & Eleanor Ford House
    Festive holiday decor makes this iconic house tour sparkle.

  8. Wayne County Lightfest
    Through Dec. 31
    Hines Drive and Merriman roads, Westland
    Hines Drive in Westland is transformed into one of the most fantastical, magical cruises in the Midwest. Imagine an infinite tunnel of colored lights, candy canes, snowflakes and rainbows.

  9. Big, Bright Light Show
    Through Jan. 1
    Downtown Rochester
    The buildings of downtown Rochester try to outshine one another, blanketing their facades with lights, resulting in an eye-popping childish wonderland that speaks more of Christmas spirit than gifts do.

  10. Creatures of Light
    Through Jan. 15
    Michigan Science Center
    In this exhibit, you'll discover the extraordinary diversity of organisms that produce light and explore how and why they glow. A bioluminescent experience.

  11. Bitter|Sweet: Coffee, Tea & Chocolate
    Through March 5
    Detroit Institute of Arts
    All manner of European ceramics that were used to serve tea and coffee. Neither plant was native to Europe, and these hot drinks were a revelation (and something of a revolution) in their day.

  12. John Glick: A Legacy in Clay
    Through March 12
    Cranbrook Art Museum
    With a career spanning more than five decades, the ceramist has remained committed to the art and craft of functional vessels and their incorporation into the rituals of daily life. The first major exhibition of his work.

  13. American Style & Spirit: 130 Years of Fashions & Lives of an Entrepreneurial Family
    Through April 2
    The Henry Ford
    Some 130 years of the Midwestern Roddis family are brought to vivid life through the clothing they wore.

  14. Twas a Girls Night Before Christmas: The Musical
    Dec. 1-4
    City Theatre
    You know them from Girls Night: The Musical, and you'll love seeing the five ladies juggle the holidays with the same wit, thirst for gossip and hunger for fun.

  15. Wild Lights at the Zoo
    Dec. 1-4, 8-11, 15-23, 26-31
    Detroit Zoo
    More than 5 million LED lights turn the zoo into an awesome realm of iridescence. Tunnels, paths, arches and abstractions render it all.

  16. Marathon MAC Football Championship
    Dec. 2
    Ford Field
    The regular season of the Mid-American Conference will conclude with a championship football game in Detroit.

  17. Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village
    Dec. 2-4, 9-11, 16-18, 20-23, 26-30
    Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford
    Soft snow falling upon the historic streets of Greenfield Village, a lantern-lit guide through fireworks and live music. It's a veritable living snow globe.

  18. The Nutcracker
    Dec. 2-3
    Macomb Center for the Performing Arts 
    Sugar plum fairies, hare drummers, the Mouse King, snowflakes, dolls, etc. The kids are going to love it. Just like the parents already do.

  19. The Nutcracker
    Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23, 30
    Edsel & Eleanor Ford House
    Stroll the house grounds under a canopy of twinkling lights, sip hot chocolate around a fire and share your carefully created wish list with Santa in his South Cottage Workshop.

  20. Noel Night
    Dec. 3
    Midtown Detroit
    Most major city institutions partake, helping create a truly spirited event that includes horse-drawn carriages, music, dancing and family craft activities. The whole spectacle culminates on Woodward Avenue for a thunderous sing-along.

  21. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical
    Dec. 3-4
    Fox Theatre
    The most famous reindeer of all from the classic television special returns live onstage. He is joined by a holly jolly cast of iconic characters, including Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snow Monster.

  22. Christmas at the Movies with Kevin Walsh
    Dec. 4
    Macomb Center for the Performing
    Performed by the Macomb Symphony Orchestra, this one is a magical experience for the whole family and the perfect way to celebrate the spirit of the season.

  23. FINA World Swimming Championship (25m)
    Dec. 6-11
    WFCU Centre
    This intense competition is expected to draw 1,000 of the world's best swimmers from more than 175 countries.

  24. Band of Merrymakers
    Dec. 8
    Sound Board, MotorCity Casino Hotel
    The band has performed on all sorts of talk shows and radio stations, and its primary goal is raise money for nonprofits during the holiday season.

  25. Christmas in Plymouth
    Dec. 8
    Downtown Plymouth
    Shopping specials, horse-and-carriage tours and lots of cool music, including a barbershop quartet, a brass ensemble and a community sing-along.

  26. Kip Moore
    Dec. 8
    The Fillmore
    The country singer and songwriter returns to Detroit after his Arts, Beats & Eats performance in 2015. He'll rock it downtown rather than in Royal Oak this time around.

  27. Too Hot to Handel
    Dec. 10
    Detroit Opera House
    A jazz-gospel version of Handel's Messiah with all the flavor and stylings of that world-famous Detroit vibe. More than 80 musicians make for a soul-sparkling night of electrifying, spirited sound.

  28. Corktown-a-Glow
    Dec. 10
    A day-long holiday celebration featuring holiday shopping and dining specials, caroling, hot cocoa and a festive tree lighting on Trumbull and Bagley in the evening. The event itself is free and includes a complimentary shuttle to travel to a variety of businesses.

  29. The Hip Hop Nutcracker
    Dec. 11
    Fox Theatre
    A contemporary reimagination of Tchaikovsky's timeless classic. Through the spells cast by the mysterious Drosselmeyer, Maria-Clara and her prince, Myron, travel back in time to the moment when her parents first meet in a nightclub. Digital scenery transforms E.T.A. Hoffmann's story of a palace of sugarplums into a romance set in 1980s Brooklyn.

  30. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
    Dec. 13-Jan. 8
    Fisher Theatre
    Carole King's rise to stardom was lyrical in and of itself. After beginning as a songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, she went on to become one of the most beloved solo acts/performers of an era.

  31. Mannheim Steamroller
    Dec. 16
    Fox Theatre
    Experience an intimate setting, watch dazzling effects and listen to beloved music at Grammy Award winner Chip Davis' Christmas creation.

  32. Home for the Holidays
    Dec. 16-18
    Detroit Symphony Orchestra
    Orchestra Hall is opulent, the sort of Christmas destination you see in the movies. Brush the snow off your scarf and enter a world of seasonal song, masterfully performed by the lauded DSO.

  33. Christmas with the Detroit Concert Choir
    Dec. 18
    Macomb Center for the Performing
    All the holiday classics will be performed to make this a seasonal night to cherish.

  34. Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker
    Dec. 18
    Fox Theatre
    A holiday favorite, this performance is a chance to see the time-tested fable performed by the Moscow Ballet.

  35. WWE SmackDown Live
    Dec. 20
    Joe Louis Arena
    The stars of WWE are coming to Detroit for the first time since moving to a live format. The stars will be out body slamming one another while entertaining the heck out of thousands of theatrical wrestling fans.

  36. A Christmas Story: The Musical
    Dec. 20-24
    Fox Theatre
    This musical chronicles young and bespectacled Ralphie Parker as he schemes his way toward the holiday gift of his dreams, an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle. Full of delightful songs and splashy production numbers.

  37. Cirque du Soleil OVO
    Dec. 22-25
    Joe Louis Arena
    OVO is crawling with life. Insects work, play, fight and look for love in a nonstop riot of energy in motion. A show that only the Cirque du Soleil franchise could dream up.

  38. Quick Lane Bowl
    Dec. 26
    Ford Field
    Typically featuring teams from the Big Ten and ACC, this is Detroit's contribution to the college football bowl season. The game will be televised on ESPN.

  39. Kwanzaa
    Dec. 26-Jan. 1
    Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
    The Wright is a must-experience for visitors. Expect dancing, music, drumming and storytelling, all adding up to a comprehensive, celebratory view of Kwanzaa.

  40. Windsor Comedy Festival
    Dec. 27
    201 Riverside Drive, Windsor
    As the website declares: "You will see the best on the roads to greatness!" Nothing beats live comedy, and tomorrow's stars are making names for themselves today.

  41. The O'Jays
    Dec. 29-30
    Andiamo Celebrity Showroom
    It's as if the O'Jays never quit. Like they wrote Now That We Found Love and Love Train and just never stopped grooving in the 40-plus years that followed.

  42. John Oliver
    Dec. 30-31
    Fox Theatre
    Comedian, satirist and host of HBO's Last Week Tonight will ring in the New Year with two shows.

  43. Fifth Third Family Fun Run on Belle Isle
    Dec. 31
    Belle Isle Park
    Belle Isle is a nearly 1,000-acre island park situated between the United States and Canada on the Detroit River. The last day of the year may be the last time to squeeze in a 5K before the mean winter hits. An annual event for a long time now.

  44. Macomb County New Year's Eve Gala
    Dec. 31
    Downtown Mt. Clemens
    Fired from the top of the county garage, downtown Mount Clemens bursts into festive light every New Year's Eve, making it one of the most reliable and family-friendly parties around.

    Bonus: The Drop, Motor City NYE 2017
    Dec. 31
    Campus Martius
    Inspired by New Year's Eve celebrations around the world, The Drop is a free urban celebration, which will convene Detroiters and visitors far and wide for the chance to ring in 2017 together. A grand 7-foot glittering "D" mounted on an 8-foot glowing sphere will descend, not once, but twice during the event. The 'D' will drop once for children and families -- the Kids' Drop -- at 6:30 p.m., and again for the main event, just seconds before midnight.



Photo credit: Jacob Lewkow