The winter season isn’t officially here yet, but we all know the weather begs to differ. Winter can be miserable and beautiful at the same time. It can freezing cold and heartwarming in the same instant. Winter may be hard to look at at times and produce awe-inspiring scenes at other times. You get it. That is the benefit of living in a state that truly has all four seasons—gorgeous scenery. I am the last person to advocate winter, but a few times a year when the snow is glistening from the ground and holiday lights are shining bright on a dark night, then I can truly appreciate what Michigan winter can offer.
Speaking of lights, Metro Detroit is surrounded by light displays and “lightfests.” A lot of which are truly stunning sites to see. These events are staples for the Michigan holiday season, and should be enjoyed by everybody who has a chance to see said displays. Take your family, go with a group of friends or co-workers and take in the beauty. Here are a few areas to consider:
Wayne County Lightfest, 7651 Merriman Rd., Westland, runs through Dec. 31 (closed Dec. 25). It is the “Midwest’s largest and longest holiday light show” and offers 47 giant holiday-themed animated displays. Basically, it is the king of all drive-through light displays and a true tradition for many Metro Detroit families. You’ll be hard pressed to find a person who grew up anywhere near Westland and hasn’t been through this display. Make sure to visit Santa’s Workshop at Warrendale Park at the end of the lightfest. There is an admission fee of $5 per vehicle, but on Dec. 9 and Dec. 16, you can bring a new, unwrapped toy in lieu of the fee.
Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo, 8450 W. 10 Mile, Royal Oak, allows patrons to experience the zoo in a winter atmosphere. The event next takes place on Friday, Dec. 5 and runs until Saturday, Dec. 7. After that, it happens on the following dates: Dec. 11 through Dec. 14, Dec. 18 through Dec. 23 and Dec. 26 through Dec. 31. Prepare for your breath to be taken away when you witness more than 5 million lights illuminate the Detroit Zoo structures. In addition to the lights, there is live entertainment, ice carving, arts and crafts and more. You can also get photos with “Santa Paws” until Dec. 23. Sounds like a “wild” party. Tickets cost $8 and parking costs $6.
The Big, Bright Light Show in Downtown Rochester is sure to “brighten” up your night. The buildings are covered with strands of holiday lights that are absolutely mesmerizing. More than 1 million lights shine, making your commute or night drive through Downtown Rochester spectacular. The display is lit every evening at 5 p.m. and stays lit until midnight. The every night affair lasts until Jan. 4, 2015, but the good news is that it will be aglow each Friday, Saturday and Sunday in January!
Campus Martius Park, 800 Woodward Ave., Detroit, is a Christmas gem, and a Detroit holiday classic. The towering and breathtaking Christmas tree, the ice rink, carriage rides, and the bright and vibrant lights, leave the city aglow and convey the holiday spirit. More than that, it is almost symbolic. As cliché as this may sound, Campus Martius Illuminates a city that is on an uprise, the lights kind of represent the bright future of Detroit.
Livonia Lights Christmas Display, 34836 Bridge St., Livonia, is a rather elaborate light display. It is synchronized to music and uses 50,000 lights. I wonder what the electricity bill for something like that costs? Anyways, it attracts thousands of visitors of each year and the 2014 display should be soon to begin. The coolest thing about this is the fact that you can tune your radio to 88.5 FM and watch the lights flawlessly flicker to the beat of the music, in the comfort (and warmth) of your vehicle. As a brand new Livonia resident, this is something I shall check out.
Another option to consider is Lake Shore Drive in Grosse Pointe. From what I’ve heard, it is truly a magnificent sight to see. This is a little bit different because it is in a neighborhood with (some very nice) houses. That means this doesn’t cost you anything, but a few miles in gas. Houses in the area are lit up beautifully each year. Some of the houses follow a certain theme, while some houses have lights that correspond with music. It is definitely a place worth putting on your Metro Detroit light display bucket list.
Go on, look at stunning lights, listen to synchronized music, view towering Christmas trees and all of that jazz. Remember that winter doesn’t always have to be such a nuisance. Take in the beauty and spend time with your loved ones.