Best Ski Hills in the Mitten

It looks like we have snow heading our way this weekend so that means it’s time to strap on your skis and boards and head to some of the best hills that the mitten has to offer. No matter where you are in the mitten, you’re always within two hours of a ski resort which is pretty cool so why not take advantage of that?

Big Snow Resort:

They didn’t exaggerate on the name, with their mountains Indianhead and blackjack getting more than 17 feet of snow per year at Big Snow Resort you never have to worry about not having enough powder! Both mountains can handle any level of skier or boarder with their wide range of beginner and intermediate runs. Big mountain also likes to pride itself on the fact that it isn’t just about skiing and boarding. They feature live music every weekend, feature numerous events like yoga, have a tubing slide, and yeti fort!

Boyne Resorts:

Consisting of two mountains, and two of the largest resorts in lower Michigan spanning over 400 acres, there is no question why Boyne is Michigan’s best-known resort! Whether you enjoy skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing there is something there for you. Not into winter sports? That’s ok too because they have at 88,000 square foot waterpark an award-winning spa and are close to downtown Boyne which is filled with shopping and breweries. They really have fun for the whole family!

Crystal Mountain

This is Michigan’s heavy hitting resort making lists of the best ski resorts in the United States and Canada. There is no question why Crystal can compete with the heavy hitter resorts out West with their 102 acres of terrain, luxury cottages, fat tire biking, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and their LEED certified spa.

Pine Mountain Resort:

We can’t forget the Upper Peninsula and their hidden gem of a ski resort. Pine Mountain claims to have the best-groomed slopes in the Midwest. They have over 30 trails, a terrain park, and night skiing, but what really sets them apart for the diehard downhill lovers is their ski jump which is revered as one of the best in the world. Big changes are also coming to the resort, due to new management they have been in the process since 2018 of doing a multimillion-dollar upgrade to the resort which will include renovated rooms, décor, and easy skiing access.

Best New Year’s Eve Parties in the Mitten

Santa has come, presents are unwrapped, and most of us are stuffed to the brim with holiday food but the celebration is not over yet! The New Year is approaching, and we have the best places in Michigan for you to ring in 2020!

New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in Marquette

If you’re up in the snowy upper peninsula for new year’s then you have to hit downtown Marquette for their ball drop! Locals and visitors alike pack the downtown area to watch the ball as it’s lowered from the historic Savings Bank Building.

CherryT Ball Drop in Traverse City

Traverse can be just as fun filled and exciting in the winter especially for New Year’s Eve. Not only is a massive illuminated cherry lowered at the stroke of midnight, but the celebration includes live music, entertainment, and fireworks!

New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in Downtown Ludington

If you’re looking to pair some beer with your New Year’s celebration than look no further than downtown Ludington. Their celebration is complete with an outdoor beer garden, music, and a ball drop with 6,000 LED lights, plus a spectacular firework display.

New Year’s Eve Ballroom Bashes Around the World in Grand Rapids

Maybe being outside in the middle of the winter to watch a ball drop is not your thing…Well don’t fret because The Ballroom Bashes in downtown GR has you covered. Not only will you be able to party in 4 glamorous ballrooms, but each has a unique theme and the party spans from the Amway Grand Plaza to the JW Marriott to the Downtown Courtyard by Marriott! Bonus all are connected via skyway, so you never have to step foot outside!

The Resolution Ball in Downtown Detroit

This party… or excuse us “ball” is claimed to be Detroit’s largest and most exclusive annual New Year’s Eve celebration. The event is filled with DJ’s, acrobats and performers, strolling dinner and premium bar, and last but not least a balloon drop at midnight! Be sure to get your tickets fast because the event has sold out the past 15 years.

Didn’t see something in your area? Check out this full guide of New Year’s Eve celebrations available from Pure Michigan!

Best Ice Skating Rinks in the Mitten

Winter in Michigan is just as special as the summer, even though many Michiganders would never admit it. Yes, we lose the sun and the warmth, but bonus, we gain a winter wonderland filled with lots of outdoor activities. One of the most popular winter activities that is fun for the whole family is ice skating!

East Side

The Rink at Campus Martius Park in downtown Detroit has the perfect setup to enjoy a wintery day in the “D”. This rink will give you all the holiday feels as it is located beneath their gorgeous Christmas tree (that rivals the tree in NYC if we do say so ourselves) and surrounded by other small local shops and boutiques. The Cadillac Square Lounge is also very near to the rink, making it easy to stop in to warm up, and maybe enjoy a warm beverage.


Grand Rapids joins in on the fun each year and makes sure skaters of all walks of life have the opportunity to lace ’em up in the winter. Rosa Parks Circle hosts the ice rink each year and surrounds it with Christmas lights and holiday cheer.

For something different than your run of the mill ice rink Muskegon has you cover with their Winter Sports Complex. It’s a huge property dedicated to all things winter and highlighted by an ice-skating trail in the wood, yes you read that right! The complex also holds an ice luge, cross-country skiing opportunities, a sledding hill, and snowshoeing paths. Any winter activity lover will be occupied for hours and will leave there planning their next trip to come back.

Northern Michigan

If a trip up north is on your list for winter getaway, Saint Ignace should be at the top. Bordering the downtown area, the bay is made into several ice rinks, open for any and all to use. The rinks are also host one of the biggest pond hockey tournaments in the United States!

Traveling is not always necessary to find an outdoor ice rink, and if you live near a park or public gathering center, some of these areas will make ice rinks during the winter. Research your local area to see who might be putting up a sheet of ice this winter, because you might have a spot of your own right in your backyard! If not, and you are feeling adventurous, building an ice rink in your back yard is always an option! The internet is your go to for a step-by-step process of turning your back yard into an ice rink. It could even become tradition for your family!

Holiday Festivities in the Mitten

It’s the most wonderful time of the year especially in the mitten! All across our state there are fun and festive events going on to help you make the most of this holiday season. Whether you’re looking for parades, fireworks, light displays, holiday markets or a mixture of them all we have you covered!

Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village: December 5th-28th

If you want the ultimate Charles Dickens Christmas experience than Holiday Nights is a must do! It’s like stepping through a Christmas Card from the past. Greenfield Village doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to giving you the most immersive experience. The air is filled with the scent of roasting chestnuts, songs of carolers and chime of sleigh bells, candles adorn each window, and horse drawn wagons pass you by. Sound too good to be true? We promise it’s not; this event has quickly become the most popular holiday event in the region. They even end each evening with a fantastic firework display!

Holland’s Parade of Lights: December 3rd at 6:30pm

Santa and his reindeer arrive in downtown Holland for their annual parade of lights! Over 80 entries consisting of bands, floats, and vehicles will be decked out in thousands of holidays lights illuminating the streets of Holland. Not to mention you can get a jump start on your holiday shopping at all of the great shops downtown has to offer.

Christmas Holiday Traditions Around the World December 1st- January 5th

There is no better way to ring in the holiday season than to attend the Holiday Traditions Around the World in Grand Rapids at Fredrick Meijer Gardens. This exhibit honors 46 different cultures with their international trees and displays along with 300,000 holiday lights, strolling carolers, and visits from Santa!

Victorian Sleigh Bell Parade December 5th-8th

Take part in one of Michigan’s most unique holiday celebrations. The Victorian Sleigh Bell parade brings you a whole weekend of holiday fun! The weekend is kicked off with their parade that consists of draft horses pulling a 30-foot tree down the route followed by a display of luminaries, bagpipers, carolers dressed in Victorian style attire, and ending with the lighting of the Christmas tree. It’s a unique trip to the past!

Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo December 4th-31st

What is more magical than 5 million LED lights illuminating trees, and buildings as you walk through the Detroit Zoo? We would say not a whole lot! This event is a favorite and always sells out fast, with good reason. Not only will you have the amazing light displays to enjoy but you will also have live entertainment, arts and crafts, ice carvings, and photos with Santa. It’s a great event for the whole family!

Walk of Trees December 1st-January 2nd

Want a more local connection when celebrating the holidays? Well look no further than Plymouths Kellogg park and their Walk of Trees. See 75 trees that are each decorated by a local family, club or business and each are lit 24 hours through Christmas.

Didn’t see something in your area? Check out this full guide of Michigan Holiday Festivals, available from Pure Michigan!

Best Christmas Tree Farms in the Mitten

It’s officially the acceptable time to put up a tree and to be honest it’s one of our favorite things to do to kick off the holiday season! What’s better than bundling up with the family and traveling to your local Christmas Tree Farm to find this year’s perfect tree? If you ask us not much!

We are pretty spoiled here in Michigan with the amount of tree farms we have to pick from, but it also can get overwhelming, and some don’t offer as many amenities as others. So, we searched around Michigan to locate the best tree farms to make your holiday tree shopping easy and enjoyable!

North Star Gardens

If you feel like a drive or live in northern Michigan than North Star Gardens is a must stop for your fresh cut Christmas tree. Not only do they have a great selection of trees, but their other amenities include a holiday gift shop, hot coco and cookies, as well as showings of Christmas movies and a chance for you to visit with Santa! All this and more is why they were recently named the single best Christmas tree farm in the state by Good Housekeeping!

Broadview Christmas Tree Farm

It is not uncommon to see deer, turkeys, rabbits, and an occasional coyote when you visit Broadview Christmas Tree Farm in Highland Michigan. Their 118-acre farm offers a wide range of tree varieties like Scotch Pine, Blue Spruce, Douglas Fir, and Fraser Fir. They also offer Wagon rides, food and drink, and best part is you can bring your furry friend along with you as long as they are kept on a leash.

Tannenbaum Farms

When the slogan for a tree farm is “where memories are made” you know it’s going to be good. Tannenbaum Farms in Mason Michigan prides themselves on giving your family a memory to cherish every time you visit. Not only can you pick the perfect tree there, they offer an extensive amount of Christmas greenery in a variety of sizes and types, hayrides and multiple bonfires around the property to warm yourself up. Their adorable Christmas shop is also a must stop especially if you’re looking to visit with Santa!

Vormittag Tree Farm

Created in 1954 Vormittag Tree Farm located in Grand Rapids is rooted in family values. They have been in service for 65 years and pride themselves in their work at the farm. If you’re looking for a good family photo op this farm is your ideal location, and a go to for many local photographers in the area. They have cut your own or precut Spruces, Pines, and Firs as well as carry a beautiful selection of wreaths and greenery for your home.

Janke Tree Farm

Known as the biggest little tree farm in Southwest Michigan, Janke Tree Farm is compact with thousands of trees for sale within a very short walk! It is a small family run business that strives to provide an excellent product and great service. Tractor rides are available every weekend as well as drinks and snacks and the bonfire pit is always lit.

Thanksgiving Festivities in the Mitten

Thanksgiving is the time of year to gather with family and of course eat till your hearts content or till your pants no longer fit, but it is also a great time to get out and create memories with your family and friends!

If you’re looking to burn some calories before eating all that delicious Thanksgiving food, here are some Turkey Trot 5k run/walks going on throughout the mitten for you and your family to participate in!

Lansing Turkey Trot: November 28th, 2019 9am

Traverse City Turkey Trot: November 28th, 2019 9am

Grand Rapids Turkey Trot: November 28th, 2019 8am

Detroit Turkey Trot: November 28th, 2019 9am

Exercising Thanksgiving weekend not your thing? Don’t fret! Here are some other fun activities to help you ring in the holidays.

America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: Detroit November 28th, 2019 10am-12pm

If you’ve never been to America’s Thanksgiving Parade, it is a must! It’s one of the largest in the US and is a holiday tradition that dates back to 1924. Woodward Avenue will be adorned with floats, helium-balloons, marching bands, and of course big man himself, Santa!

Wonderland of Lights: Lansing November 25th – 29th

Potter Park Zoo transforms into a winter wonderland with thousands of lights, activities, and entertainment for the young and old!

Holiday Celebration and Candle Walk: Frankenmuth November 29th, 2019 6pm-9pm

This event is a perfect way to start the Christmas Season. Activities start at 6pm with hot chocolate and cookies…um YUM! The main ceremony starts at 6:30pm with the reading of the Christmas story, music and a candle walk.

Aglow on the Avenue Holiday Parade: Ludington November 30th, 2019 6pm-7pm

There is no better way to usher in the holiday season than in downtown Ludington with an evening parade! The event is then followed by their Christmas tree lighting and open holiday shopping.

Didn’t see something in your area? Check out this full guide of Thanksgiving weekend events, available from Pure Michigan!

Top 5 Breweries …In The Mitten

Michigan has become somewhat famous over the last 5-10 years as being a destination for great breweries. Grand Rapids was even named Beer City USA by several organizations! But did you know that Michigan is fifth in the entire nation for number of breweries? While we could go on for days about all 350+ of the amazing local spots, here’s our picks for the top 5 breweries in the state, with special emphasis on those that have multiple locations, or that attract national attention and fame!

Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
Located in Comstock, MI and Kalamazoo, MI this brewery has a little something for everyone. Offering over 30 beers throughout the year, you can find light session ales, or dark and robust stouts just about any time. Combine that with a great food menu, and you have a perfect evening. Of course, we have to mention that Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, a year-round IPA, has won Best Beer in American 3 years in a row!

Founder’s Brewing Co
Started in downtown Grand Rapids in 1997, Founder’s is one of America’s fastest growing breweries, and now distributes to the entire continental US and Alaska. Whether you enjoy a classic like All Day IPA, or one of their oldest beers, the barrel aged KBS, Founder’s has something for every beer lover. We also especially love their focus on the environment, sustainability, and philanthropic efforts through their Big Pitcher initiative.

Short’s Brewing
When in Northern MI, a visit to Bellaire is a must to see this unique brewpub and “brewtique”. Offering over 20 beers on rotation, you can find some of the most popular, like Soft Parade or Bellaire Brown, or try one of the newer ciders offered by Shorts, the Starcut brand! You can find fun events just about every weekend at Short’s, which makes for a great evening or daytime visit.

New Holland Brewing Co
New Holland is a great brewery to visit for variety, especially for those who may prefer liquor over beer. Offering 7 year-round brews, 12 liquors and 4 ready to drink cocktail blends, there is something for everyone! With three locations, a brewpub in Holland, MI and a brewpub on the west side of downtown Grand Rapids, MI and a tasting room in Saugatuck, MI, you can enjoy an eclectic environment and remarkable service.

Atwater Brewing Co
Founded in Detroit in 1997, Atwater has stayed close to its roots of brewing traditional German style lagers, but also offers a variety of boutique ales, and we like the Vanilla Java Porter as well. You can check out one of the company’s three locations – the original Tap House in Detroit, MI, a park location in Grosse Point, and a tap house in Grand Rapids.

Shark Free …In the Mitten

We’re right in the middle of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, and while we love a good (fictional) thriller story about deadly shark attacks, we also have a healthy level of fear for our ocean dwelling friends! Which is why we love this week’s In the Mitten topic – Michigan beaches! Take a look at some of our favorite fresh water beaches – and get ready to enjoy your day salt and shark free 😉



  • Silver Lake Sand Dunes – if you have a taste for adventure, this beach is for you! Visitors can cruise along the area’s dunes and enjoy the slower paced beaches, all within walking distance.
  • Pere Marquette Park – just south of the Muskegon Channel, Pere Marquette Park offers beautifully maintained beaches, playground, volleyball, and a number of restaurants and attractions nearby.
  • Saugatuck Dunes State Park – this State Park has a little something for everyone. Walk along the well-kept paths to the dunes and lakeshore or trek off-path to create your own adventure.
  • Warren Dunes State Park – home to 3 miles of shoreline and 6 miles of hiking, Warren Dunes is open year-round and can provide tons of beach and nature fun.
  • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – we love this area for all of the hiking opportunities! We’ll admit, the beach isn’t the best Michigan has to offer, but the views are spectacular


  • Tawas Point State Park – Situated on the end of a sand spit that forms Tawas Bay, and is often called the Cape Cod of the Midwest. Enjoy the shallow sandy beach, or walk along the beach toward the Tawas Point Lighthouse
  • Hoeft State Park Beach – Located in a wooded stretch of Lake Huron, you’ll find moderate temperatures year round – which makes this beach great for those hot summer months, and wonderful for winter beach fun.
  • Bay City State Park – this area features amazing coastal wetlands and over 1,000 feet of sandy beach right along Lake Huron, making this park a great place for beach goers and wildlife enthusiasts


  • 12 Mile Beach – in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore near Munising
  • Black Rocks in Presque Isle Park – not exactly a beach, but we had to include this stunning area! Jump off of the unique rock formation or wade in from the small rocky beach.


  • Luna Pier Public Beach – one of Michigan’s southernmost beaches, Luna Pier Beach offers a quaint beach and pier area, as well as some great cafés nearby.


These inland lakes have a lot of fun swimming and recreation to offer as well! Be sure to check these out as you tour the beautiful coastline.

  • Torch Lake – The famous sandbar at the lake’s southern end draws impressive crowds each year.
  • Lake Michigamme – located in the U.P., this lake has three beaches and 16 islands so you can explore to your heart’s content!
  • Gull Lake – Ross Township Park has an adorable wooded picnic and beach area, perfect for those days at the lake when you want some shade with your sun.
  • Lake Charlevoix – Ferry Beach is our favorite for this inland lake – offering sandy swimming areas, picnic areas, paddle board rentals and pavilions.
  • Higgins Lake – South Higgins Lake State Park is often voted one of Michigan’s best places for beach and lake goers.
  • Kent Lake – Located in Kensington Metropark in Milford Kent Lake features Martindale Beach, a great family-friendly beach with a splash pad and water slides!

Drive-Ins …In The Mitten

Every once in a while, we love having a good old-fashioned throwback night! One awesome way to do that in Michigan is at a drive-in movie theater! There are 9 functional drive-in movie theaters in Michigan (that we could find!), so chances are, there’s one close to you. Most usually feature family friendly films, but we noticed a few have some scary films and R-rated – so be sure to check the line-up before popping your popcorn and piling into the car!



Summer Drive-In
USA Hockey Arena, 14900 Beck Rd, Plymouth, MI 48170

Open only from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Summer Drive-In is a great pop up location for family fun. There are 3 screens with movies ranging from G to R, so check the line up before heading out. Chances are you will find a family friendly double feature no matter which date you visit! The Summer Drive-In also has an onsite concession stand for snacks and drinks.
Gates open at 7:30pm. Movies start at dusk.


The US-23 Drive-In
5200 Fenton Rd, Flint MI 48507

After a short time down, the US 23 Drive-In is back up and running after being revived by new owners. Originally built in 1952, US 23 has two screens and shows double features each night and most are family friendly with the exception of some late feature rated R movies. Their concession stand was recently expanded, so don’t forget to try the new burgers or grab a root beer float!
Gates open at 7:30pm. Movies start around 9:40pm.


Hi-Way Drive-In
2778 Sanilac Rd, Carsonville, MI 48419

The Hi-Way Drive-In first opened in 1947 and is open daily for a double feature. New movies start on Fridays and run for the entire week, so be sure to check out the most popular family movies playing when they are released!  Campers are welcome here and movie goers are sometimes treated to a fireworks show, and there is a small concessions stand as well.
Movies start at dusk.


Ford-Wyoming Drive-In Theatre
10400 Ford Rd, Dearborn, MI 48126

The Ford-Wyoming was built in the 1950s and is an Art Deco masterpiece. It’s worth getting there early just to marvel at the architecture!  Open 7 days a week, they often have an early and a late double feature – so this is perfect for the night owls!
Gates open at 8pm. Movie times are around dusk.



Capri Drive-In
119W Chicago Rd, Coldwater, MI 49036

The Capri came to Coldwater in 1964 and is now one of the community staples in the summer! Featuring multiple screens, the Capri is open daily. Most features are family friendly, so definitely bring everyone along!
Movies start at sundown.



Getty Drive-In
920 E Summit Ave, Muskegon, MI 49444

The Getty Drive-In is a twist on West Michigan’s largest cinema company, Celebration Cinemas.  Opening in 1948, the Getty has 4 screens and double features on most nights! There are concessions stands available and playground as well for the kiddos. Movies aren’t always family friendly though, so check the line up before heading out.
Gates open at 8pm. Movies start at dusk.


Sunset Drive-In
69071 Red Arrow Hwy, Hartford, MI 49057

The Sunset Drive-In was started in 1948 and has one of our favorite features – carload pricing! You can watch two movies each night and get the whole family in for just one low price. The Sunset has movies every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and you can get snacks or concessions right on site.
Gates open at 7pm. Movies start at dusk.


Five Mile Drive-In Movie Theater
28190 M-152, Dowagiac, MI 49047

Five Mile Drive-In was built in 1961 and like the Sunset, they have car load pricing – we cannot get over how great that feature is for families.  Open Friday – Sunday, Five Mile has a concession stand on site with full dinner items available.
Gates open at 7pm. Movies start at dusk.



Cherry Bowl Drive-In Theater
9812 Honor Hwy, Honor, MI 49640

The Cherry Bowl Drive-In, which opened in 1953, is a northern Michigan favorite! With all sorts of additional things on site, like a diner, putt-putt golf, playground, pony rides, and tons of fun picture opportunities, you could easily spend a day here. The Cherry Bowl is always family friendly and has double features – so you get two movies for the price of one!
Movies start at Dusk.



Summer Festivals …In The Mitten

Festivals are one of our favorite summer features in Michigan! Whether you’re looking for entertainment, delicious food, fun local goods, or just a great activity for friends and family, you can find it all at one of our picks for Summer 2019 Festivals in Michigan!

National Cherry Festival
Traverse City, MI
June 29 – July 6

There’s still time to hit this classic festival this week! Running through Saturday, Cherry Festival offers amazing cherry-based recipes and food, fun carnival activities and rides, concerts, movies, and more. Our favorite? The pie eating contest of course!


Tall Ship Celebration
Bay City, Mi
July 18 – July 21

Each year, the Saginaw River in Bay City transforms in to something you would expect to see in 1819, not 2019. Tall ships from all over the world dock for a weekend, and tourists can board the ships, enjoy sailing education, do some tall ship themed crafts, and even eat Pancakes with Pirates!


Coast Guard Festival
Grand Haven, MI
July 26 – August 4

While Grand Haven is a popular beach destination all summer long, you can’t beat the fun and energy of Coast Guard Fest. The 10 day festival, which started in 1937, features concerts from popular artists, cover bands and local favorites, a 5K and 10K, food, games, and of course the US Coast Guard is on site as well.


Ingham County Fair
Mason, MI
July 29 – August 3

Ingham Fair Website

This year marks the 165th Ingham County Fair. There will be fun events all week, including exciting grand stand events, tractor pulls, the family fun zone, and of course amazing food! The fair pays tribute to the agricultural heritage of Michigan, so be sure to check out the 4H exhibits as well.


National Blueberry Festival
South Haven, MI
August 8 – August 11

Michigan is one of the top 5 blueberry producing states in the nation, so we had to include Blueberry Fest! Check out the Kiwanis Blueberry 5K/10K, the Blueberry Craft Fair, the blueberry pie eating contests, and nightly entertainment.


Michigan Renaissance Festival
Holly, MI
August 17 – September 29

The Ren Fest is one of the longest running festivals we found – it lasts for 6 weeks every summer! Jump in to a new world in Holly – where you’ll find knights, squires, Kings and Queens. We love the jousting competitions – and be sure to grab yourself an old-fashioned turkey leg to enjoy while watching.


Allegan County Fair
Allegan, MI
September 6 – September 14

One of the biggest fairs in Michigan each year, Allegan County Fair is an amazing wrap up for the summer! Often featuring huge names in entertainment, this year you can see both Little Big Town and Dan + Shay on the mainstage! The fair also features 4H exhibits, antique and farmers markets, carnival rides and the ever-important selection of pop up food vendors.


Didn’t see something in your area? Check out this full guide of Michigan Summer Festivals, available from Pure Michigan!