By Stephanie Tkaczyk and Ean Montague
If you find yourself in Lansing over the holidays, there’s no need to fret. This town might as well be the North Pole when it comes to winter celebrations, and not just in terms of temperature. There is so much to do to get you in the holiday spirit in the Lansing area.
Whether you’re a Michigan State University student, local resident or anyone else who happens to be in the Capital City, there’s somewhere you can go to get in the spirit of the season. Below are some of the best holiday events in Lansing, with enough variety that everyone can find something to enjoy.
Michigan Made 2018 Holiday Exhibition
Want to get a one-of-a-kind gift made in the Great Lakes State? Then you might want to check out this event in the heart of downtown. Since early November, the Lansing Art Gallery and Education Center has been showcasing the work of the best artists Michigan has to offer. Each Tuesday through Saturday until Dec. 22, you can browse through works of art ranging from paintings to jewelry. Your purchase will support local artists in the state, so these are gifts you can feel good about giving.
Wonderland of Lights at Potter Park Zoo
A tradition for many Lansing-area families, Potter Park’s Wonderland of Lights is back for its 24th year. The event features thousands of Christmas lights that highlight the animal exhibits at the zoo. There will be many family activities including cookies, crafts and the chance to see some of the animals up close. Wonderland of Lights started in November but continues through Dec. 30 every Thursday through Sunday from 5-8 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for kids ages 3 to 12 and free for children under 3.
Festival of Trees at the Turner-Dodge House and Heritage Center
One of the most historic homes in Lansing is getting into the holiday spirit once again this year. The Turner-Dodge House will feature three floors of as many as 60 Christmas trees decorated in the most extravagant fashion by local businesses and individuals. If you have not been there before, it is also a great time to explore the mid-19th century mansion that has been home to several prominent figures in our state’s history. The event started at the beginning of this month and goes all the way to the first of the new year. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children under 12, with all proceeds going toward the preservation of the historic home.
Social Justice Art Festival
If you’re looking for an event this winter season to provoke a little more thought while also supporting local artists, then the daylong second annual Social Justice Art Festival is the right event for you. Head over to Snyder-Phillips Hall at MSU on Friday, Jan. 25, starting at noon to admire the poetry, visual art, theatrical/musical performances and more. These exhibits are all put together by students and other members of the East Lansing community. All works of art are centered around social justice topics and aim to provide attendees with a new perspective on the state of our society’s treatment of one another. Take the time this season to understand the injustices afflicting so many underrepresented members of our community and be a part of supporting their voices.
Snow tubing at Hawk Island Park
For those in the Lansing area who are a little bored of your typical winter sports, try something new this year with snow tubing at Hawk Island Park. Tickets are $10 per person or $8 per person if you can wrangle together a group of four or more people. Hawk Island Park is a 100-acre park on Cavanaugh Road in south Lansing. You can ride the conveyor lift up to one of the many 16-foot-wide and over 500-foot-long snow lanes and speed down to the bottom as many times as you want no matter your age, weight or height. Enjoy!
Art and Craft Beer Fest
For those looking to explore the arts and dining culture of Lansing, look no further than the seventh annual Art and Craft Beer Fest of REO Town. This year’s event will take place from noon to 10 p.m. Feb. 9. Taking place in various indoor venues on South Washington Avenue, attractions will include beer and cider tasting, food trucks, an arts and crafts show, live music, stand-up comedy, and short films. New this year will be art demonstrations for attendees to participate in for a chance to learn more about some crafty trades. Taking place one week before Valentine’s Day, the Art and Craft Beer Fest will offer plenty of shopping and craft-making opportunities to give that special someone a gift that’s unique and heartfelt. The event is sponsored in part by Dark Horse Brewing Co. and Blake’s Hard Cider. Proceeds from the event go to the REO Town Commercial Association, so buy your tickets and support the revitalization of a special part of our community. This year there will be a special Groupon deal available to attendees that will include admission to the event, a 16-ounce Art and Craft Beer Fest 2019 drinking glass and 20 beer-tasting tickets all for $39. Kids can enter free of charge and general admission tickets will go on sale soon. Keep an eye on artandcraftbeerfest.com for more information about the event.