The Christmas light displays featured in this video are our recommended Traverse City spots. View them below.
Boss Family Christmas Display, Charlevoix
If this seems more Hallmark Christmas than tourist attraction, know this home on Pearl Avenue is a bit of both come December. The angels in the story are both the mother who started the tradition (some years writing the names of every neighborhood child within the holiday light display) and the family members who have kept her legacy going for 40+ years and counting. The Boss family lights up their neighborhood near Mt. McSauba (a fun stop for sledding and snowshoeing) with indoor and outdoor displays of Christmas trees and characters that kids (and adults) love. Find the address, parking tips and updates on the Boss Family Christmas Display Facebook page.
Herman Holidays, Suttons Bay
Head to the end of Murray Court to wave at Santa and Mrs. Claus, sign a guestbook of Santa’s friends and wander past puppies, penguins and dancing bears. Warm up afterward in downtown Suttons Bay by the indoor fires at VI Grill or outdoor fire pits at Hop Lot Brewing Co. Follow the Herman Holiday’s Facebook page for updates.
The Carters’ Christmas Lights, Marquette
The friendly owners greet you with a candy cane and will often guide you across their lawn decked with climbing polar bears, the Grinch in jail, even Santas on a teeter-totter. The Carters spend an entire month, with the help of family and friends, putting together a yard so visit-worthy that many people have made it an annual tradition. Find the address and visitor information on The Carters’ Christmas Lights Facebook page.
Sparkle in the Park, Bear Lake
At first, you might think it’s a mirage when you round the bend on US-31 into the village of Bear Lake; it’s thousands of lights reflecting onto the lake. Drive through Sparkle in the Park at Hopkins Park, with windows down to hear the music (the lights flash with the beat!). Free opening-night festivities include chili, hot chocolate, a Santa visit and carolers.
Holly Road in Cadillac
Head to Holly Road for beautiful Christmas lights to get you into the holiday spirit. After stopping by Holly, head around Lake Cadillac for even more gorgeous displays.
Around Bellaire + Dinner at Short’s
Downtown Bellaire and the nearby streets are dripping in lights all December long. Start downtown and make your way down the surrounding streets where you can find elaborate residential displays. Once you’ve experienced all the lights you can handle, head to Short’s Brewing Co. for a seasonal brew to warm you up.
Photo by Bellaire Chamber of Commerce
Make your way through downtown Petoskey, with is historic Gaslights decorated with wreaths, lights and a bright red bow. End at Pennsylvania Park to see the Christmas tree and decorated gazebo. Warm up at Lost Village Pierogi (or grab some to take and bake) with comforting combos like loaded baked potato and lobster rangoon. For more nearby light displays, check out the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau.
Photo by Dave Weidner
Sky Bridge in Boyne Falls
SkyBridge Michigan’s new immersive light experience, Lights In The Sky, has 150,000 twinkle lights (150,000!!). It’s the world’s longest timber-towered suspension bridge, stretching 1,200 feet, and at it’s highest point, it rises 120 feet off the ground. Lights in the Sky is open November through March.
Photo by SkyBridge Michigan
Central Neighborhood & Downtown Traverse City
Victorian beauties drip with icicle lights, nutcrackers guard elegant entryways and sleighs parked in front yards look right at home. Wander between Sixth and Eleventh streets, from Union to Division, and find the city’s finest glowing gingerbread houses.
Here are some of our favorite Traverse City stops:
- 6th Street: This is where you can see stunning Victorian beauties done up for the season.
- Spruce Street: After you’ve explored 6th Street, head to Spruce St. (between Front St. and 6th St.) for even more gorgeous Christmas lights.
- Front Street: Head downtown to see Front Street aglow and the Christmas Tree at the corner of Cass and Front.
Photo by Dave Weidner
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