CultureShift Events Guide: Winter attractions, wine paired with Lil Wayne and more

Discover unique arts and culture events in Detroit happening Nov. 15 through Nov. 22, 2023.

A crowded ice rink in Detroit illuminated by lit-up trees and purple lights

The Rink at Campus Martius Park

This week, we’ve got plenty of ways to fulfill your wintery wishes, from the Detroit Tree Lighting to pictures with Santa.

Plus, ways to get involved with nonprofits working to better our city. Read on to learn more.

Wintery wishes

Celebrate 20 years of holiday lights in Detroit at the Detroit Tree Lighting on Friday, Nov. 17. This free event will feature stellar performances by Olympic figure skaters, local musicians and athletes, food trucks, unique lighting attractions, and an appearance by our own Tia Graham! Guests will get to see the 64-foot Michigan-grown Norway spruce be lit up in Campus Martius Park for the first time this season by thousands of LED lights. Livestreams and broadcasts of the tree lighting will be available as well. For more information, visit Downtown Detroit Partnership’s website.

The Rink at Campus Martius Park presented by Visit Detroit will open the 2023-2024 season with a weekend celebration this Saturday, Nov. 18 through Sunday, Nov. 19. Festivities include themed skating parties, live DJs, guest appearances and more. After opening weekend, The Rink will be open daily, including holidays, through March 3, 2024. Admission is $12 for adults, $9 for children and seniors, or $8 for active military and first responders. For more information, visit Downtown Detroit Partnership’s website. 

1001 Winter Wonders is also back on Woodward for this holiday season. Santa will be available for free photos on Thursdays and Fridays from 4-8 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. starting this week and going through Christmas Eve. Plus, a sensory-friendly and wheelchair-accessible Santa experience will be available on Dec. 2 from 4:30-6 p.m. and Dec. 8 from 1-3 p.m. For more information, visit Decked Out Detroit’s website.

For a woodsier winter wonderland, check out Glenlore Trails: Aurora, a 1-mile outdoor walking path in Commerce Township that has been transformed into an interactive light show. This family-friendly experience runs Thursday through Sunday evenings from Nov. 17 through Dec. 30, and takes around 45 minutes to an hour to complete, depending on your speed. Tickets range from $15 to $25, and kids under 3 get in free. For more information, visit their website.

Helping hands

Empowerment Plan is a Detroit nonprofit that employs and trains individuals experiencing homelessness to manufacture sleeping bag coats for those in need. On Thursday, Nov. 16, they’re celebrating 10 years of breaking the cycle of homelessness with a night filled with great people, delicious drinks and dishes from Detroit restaurants, and opportunities to engage with their team and donate to their mission. The celebration will take place on the 16th floor of One Campus Martius at 6 p.m., and general admission tickets start at $100. To learn more, visit their website.

Detroit Musix is a local nonprofit that works to highlight, educate and support musicians in the city. On Thursday, Nov. 16, they’re kicking off a new event series called “Higher Ground: Music x Mental Health,” starting with coffee and conversations at The Congregation in Detroit from 6-8 p.m. To learn more about this free event, take a listen to organizer Samuel J. Donald’s conversation with CultureShift’s Tia Graham.

Michigan music

Head to Spot Lite Detroit on Friday, Nov. 17 for a party featuring some of the city’s best DJs. Detroit Electronic Quarterly Presents: Waajeed, Jon Dixon and Vince Patricola kicks off at 9 p.m., and advance tickets are available online for $22. This event is open to ages 21+. For more information, visit their Facebook Event.

Related: Hear Jon Dixon on Sam’s Jams Live

Strange Witch is playing a single release party at Ghost Light in Hamtramck on Friday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. They’ll be celebrating their new 7” vinyl with a lineup of other local singer-songwriters and electronic musicians, including E.M. Allen, Russell Woods and KATALPA. Tickets are $10 at the door. For more information, visit them on Instagram.

Rob Zinck & The Collaborators also have a release party this weekend, celebrating their new LP Swim or Sink at the Lager House in Corktown. The show will feature special guests Danny VanZandt and The Hourlies, and everyone who attends will receive a complimentary copy of the new vinyl. Doors open at 7 p.m. and Jon-Mikal Bertee of the Idiot Kids will be performing a solo set during the cocktail hour at 8 p.m. Admission is $15 and this event is 18+. For more information, visit them on Instagram.

Related: Watch the Idiot Kids perform live on WDET

Wine and Lil Wayne

Vinyl Tasting is back with a fresh menu, this time inspired by the iconic sounds of Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III. This carefully-curated 6-course dinner and wine pairing will reflect the essence of the album’s tracks as Chef Amber and Chef Jermond dive into the southern hits that left a mark on the hip-hop world. Seatings take place at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 19, and tickets are $75 to $95. To reserve your seat and learn more, visit their Eventbrite page.

Holiday shopping

Village Potters Guild is hosting their annual Holiday Market in Plymouth on Friday, Nov. 17 through Sunday, Nov. 19. The market will feature dozens of local potters with both functional and decorative ceramics. The market will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit their website.

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