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This List of Metro Detroit Holiday Activities Will Keep Keep You (And Your Kids) Busy

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Image credit: Detroit Institute of Arts

Holiday season is here, and we’ve got some recommendations for fun, family activities that everyone can enjoy.

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School may be closed, but lots of places are opening their doors — even extending their hours — to offer kids and families something to do over the holiday break.

Metro Parent Editor Julia Elliott has a comprehensive list of events, displays, camps and more for families to do. 

Who would think that you’d go to a waterpark to see holiday lights? Well, you can.” ⁠— Julia Elliott, Metro Parent Magazine 

Most of the city’s cultural institutions have special plans for the holiday break. 

Most events are free, but recent changes to the admission policy at the Detroit Historical Museum mean many visitors may pay. The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, or MOCAD, does not charge for admission but asks for a donation of $5. 

Click the player above for Metro Parent Julia Elliott’s holiday recommendations, see their full calendar here and select events below.


Detroit Institute of Arts
Detroit Institute of Arts

December 26th 

What: RoboLights Detroit

When: 11am — 8pm

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

This outdoor exhibit features sculptures of dinosuars and robots and other fantastic creatures in a interactive ”carnival.” 


What: Tea Time Theatre: Howl’s Moving Castle

When: noon — 2pm

Where: Detroit Institute of Arts,

In its third year, the DIA’s Tea Time Theatre has become a staple on the holiday calendar. This year, children will be served afternoon “tea” in the Great Hall. Tea starts at noon, followed by an animated film.


What: Hannukkah, Holiday Weekend

When: noon — 3pm

Where: Detroit Historical Museum

This year, the Detroit Historical Museum is using the days of Christmas to celebrate other traditions. An explanation of holiday origins and traditions will be followed by activities and crafts.

*The Detroit Historical Museum has recently changed its admission policy. Residents of Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park can access the museum for free using The Detroiter Membership. General admission is $10. View membership information here.


What: Kwanzaa, Umoja

When: 6pm — 9pm

Where: Charles H. Wright Museum o African American History

Community partners host the 7 day celebration of the Nguzo Saba, the 7 principles of Kwanzaa. Visitors experience a variety of African American and African art, music, dance and presentations. Kwanzaa is a cultural celebration, not a religious one, celebrated from December 26th through January 1st.


December 27th 

What: RoboLights Detroit

When: 11am — 8pm

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

This outdoor exhibit features sculptures of dinosuars and robots and other fantastic creatures in a interactive ”carnival.” 


What: Tea Time Theatre: The Boxtrolls

When: noon — 2pm

Where: Detroit Institute of Arts

In its third year, the DIA’s Tea Time Theatre has become a staple on the holiday calendar. This year, children will be served afternoon “tea” in the Great Hall. Tea starts at noon, followed by an animated film.


What: Kwanzaa, Holiday Weekend

When: noon — 3pm

Where: Detroit Historical Museum

This year, the Detroit Historical Museum is using the days of Christmas to celebrate other traditions. An explanation of holiday origins and traditions will be followed by activities and crafts.

*The Detroit Historical Museum has recently changed its admission policy. Residents of Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park can access the museum for free using The Detroiter Membership. General admission is $10. View membership information here.


What: Kwanzaa, Kujichagulia

When: 6pm — 9pm

Where: Charles H. Wright Museum o African American History

Community partners host the 7 day celebration of the Nguzo Saba, the 7 principles of Kwanzaa. Visitors experience a variety of African American and African art, music, dance and presentations. Kwanzaa is a cultural celebration, not a religious one, celebrated from December 26th through January 1st.


Museum of Contemporary Arts Detroit
Museum of Contemporary Arts Detroit

December 28th 

What: RoboLights Detroit

When: 11am — 5pm

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

This outdoor exhibit features sculptures of dinosuars and robots and other fantastic creatures in a interactive ”carnival.” 


What: Tea Time Theatre: Eleanor’s Secret

When: noon — 2pm

Where: Detroit Institute of Arts

In its third year, the DIA’s Tea Time Theatre has become a staple on the holiday calendar. This year, children will be served afternoon “tea” in the Great Hall. Tea starts at noon, followed by an animated film.


What: Three Kings Day, Holiday Weekend

When: noon — 3pm

Where: Detroit Historical Museum

This year, the Detroit Historical Museum is using the days of Christmas to celebrate other traditions. An explanation of holiday origins and traditions will be followed by activities and crafts.

*The Detroit Historical Museum has recently changed its admission policy. Residents of Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park can access the museum for free using The Detroiter Membership. General admission is $10. View membership information here.


What: Kwanzaa, Ujima

When: 6pm — 9pm

Where: Charles H. Wright Museum o African American History

Community partners host the 7 day celebration of the Nguzo Saba, the 7 principles of Kwanzaa. Visitors experience a variety of African American and African art, music, dance and presentations. Kwanzaa is a cultural celebration, not a religious one, celebrated from December 26th through January 1st.


December 29th 

What: RoboLights Detroit

When: 11am — 5pm

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

This outdoor exhibit features sculptures of dinosuars and robots and other fantastic creatures in a interactive ”carnival.” 


What: A Christmas Carol, Oy! Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa presented by the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre

When: 2pm

Where: Detroit Institute of Arts


What: Kwanzaa, Ujamaa

When: 2pm — 5pm

Where: Charles H. Wright Museum o African American History

Community partners host the 7 day celebration of the Nguzo Saba, the 7 principles of Kwanzaa. Visitors experience a variety of African American and African art, music, dance and presentations. Kwanzaa is a cultural celebration, not a religious one, celebrated from December 26th through January 1st.


December 30th 

What: A Christmas Carol, Oy! Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa presented by the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre

When: 2pm

Where: Detroit Institute of Arts


What: Kwanzaa, Nia

When: 3pm — 6pm

Where: Charles H. Wright Museum o African American History

Community partners host the 7 day celebration of the Nguzo Saba, the 7 principles of Kwanzaa. Visitors experience a variety of African American and African art, music, dance and presentations. Kwanzaa is a cultural celebration, not a religious one, celebrated from December 26th through January 1st.


DTE Energy
DTE Energy

December 31st 

What: RoboLights Detroit

When: 11am — 5pm

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

This outdoor exhibit features sculptures of dinosuars and robots and other fantastic creatures in a interactive ”carnival.” 


What: Looney Tune Classics, New Year’s Matinee

When: 2pm

Where: Detroit Institute of Arts

A part of the DIA’s DFT Family series, this New Year’s Eve matinee offers a selection of Warner Bros. Looney Tunes shorts for audiences of all ages.


What: Noon Year’s Eve

When: 10am— 1pm

Where: Detroit Historical Museum

Young Museum visitors ring in the new year in the Streets of Old Detroit long before bedtime at this annual event. Crafts and dancing start at 10am. Balloons drop at noon.

*The Detroit Historical Museum has recently changed its admission policy. Residents of Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park can access the museum for free using The Detroiter Membership. General admission is $10. View membership information here.


DTE Energy
DTE Energy

What: New Year’s Eve Kids Countdown

When: 1pm — 6pm

Where: Beacon Park, Detroit

Promising all of the excitement of a traditional New Year’s Eve party, families can enjoy crafts, activities and a ball drop as they count down to the New Year.


What: Kwanzaa, Kuumba

When: 3pm — 6pm

Where: Charles H. Wright Museum o African American History

Community partners host the 7 day celebration of the Nguzo Saba, the 7 principles of Kwanzaa. Visitors experience a variety of African American and African art, music, dance and presentations. Kwanzaa is a cultural celebration, not a religious one, celebrated from December 26th through January 1st.


January 1st

What: RoboLights Detroit

When: 11am — 5pm

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

This outdoor exhibit features sculptures of dinosuars and robots and other fantastic creatures in a interactive ”carnival.” 


What: Kwanzaa, Imani

When: 3pm — 6pm

Where: Charles H. Wright Museum o African American History

Community partners host the 7 day celebration of the Nguzo Saba, the 7 principles of Kwanzaa. Visitors experience a variety of African American and African art, music, dance and presentations. Kwanzaa is a cultural celebration, not a religious one, celebrated from December 26th through January 1st.


 


Sascha Raiyn, Education Reporter

Sascha Raiyn is Education Reporter at 101.9 WDET. She is a native Detroiter who grew up listening to news and music programming on Detroit Public Radio.

sraiyn@wdet.org Follow @raiyn

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