If you, like me, live in one of the farther reaches of Michigan rather than the center, communities at the opposite end tend to feel too far for a short visit. But if you’re like me, you’re struck each time you take one of those trips by how easy it is to travel from north to south and east to west.

I point this out because Traverse City is one of those communities that can feel far but really isn’t. And that’s good, because TC in the holiday season offers a truly enticing range of activities that make it very worth the trip. Here are a few suggestions to motivate you to get there.

Christmas in the Village at the Grand Traverse Commons Dec. 9–11

The shops and galleries of the Village at Grand Traverse Commons (on the site of Traverse City’s former mental asylum) hold a weekend-long event that culminates in an annual Santa Lucia Day celebration: serenaded by an ensemble of flutes, a young girl in a long white robe and a crown of lighted candles wanders the grounds delivering warm sweet rolls to holiday shoppers. Check out the special sales, horse-drawn carriage rides and other activities.

“Sounds of the Season” at Interlochen Dec. 15

The renowned Interlochen Center for the Arts will present its “Sounds of the Season” concert on Dec. 15 with classical holiday music, actors, dancers, jazz and a sing-along of popular carols.)

Shopping Downtown

Downtown Traverse City hosts a variety of holiday shopping events, including the upcoming men’s-only night on Dec. 15. The villages of Glen Arbor and Leland host pajama-party sales in the wee hours, where shoppers in PJs get special discounts.

Ski by Moonlight

Take skis or snowshoes or just your boots and take in the stars at Sleeping Bear Dunes or the Mission Point Lighthouse Park. Keep your eyes out for the Northern Light.

NYE Cherry Fall

Ring in the New Year at the Cherry-T Ball Drop, a street party featuring a massive illuminated cherry that is lowered to usher in the new year. The downtown event includes live music and entertainment; the price of admission is in the canned goods to donate to local food banks and shelters.

The time is right; the stage is set. Groups are ready to meet face to face again, and the four-star luxury hotel MGM Grand Detroit is ready to welcome you back.

According to MPI’s report “Spring 2021 Meetings Outlook,” three-quarters of meeting professionals predict a face-to-face event this calendar year. And that definitely rings true for Lisa Williams, executive director of sales for the hotel.


Located in the heart of Michigan’s Thumbcoast, Port Huron boasts a charming small-town feel with big city amenities. Meeting planners and attendees alike will appreciate the safety of the suburbs while enjoying picturesque views, a vibrant culture and outdoor adventure opportunities, both during and after the workday.


What's the first word that comes to mind when you think of Traverse City? Beautiful. Fun. Adventure. Perfect? That last one might seem hard to attain, but when it comes to a destination for meetings, Traverse City is second to none. It really has it all—world-class conference facilities, outdoor activities to connect your attendees, farm-to-table cuisine and breweries and wineries to tempt every palate.