A Whole Different Kind of Fun – Southwest Michigan for the Winter

written by Valerie Gangas | Nov 27, 2023 | Indiana

Not everyone realizes the enchantment of winter in Southwest Michigan. Our region of Michigan along with Northwest & Central Indiana may be chilly at times, but it is wondrous too! In winter, our towns take on a lively culture, decorating in festive cheer and celebrating the season with winter and holiday events of all kinds. To add to the allure, Southwest Michigan has a slew of indoor and outdoor activities to keep guests warm and smiling. While the thought of winter might sound chilly, we assure you, it’s one of the most mesmerizing and rewarding times to visit our beautiful region! For your winter 2023 getaway to Southwest Michigan or Indiana, here’s a curated list of events and festivals to explore:

Lake Michigan and Indiana Lighthouse in Snow

Autumn Artisan Market

Autumn Artisan Market Flyer

On November 18 and 19, 2023, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM the Autumn Artisan Market at Journeyman Distillery is an annual event that showcases artists and makers of all kinds. Hosted at the historic Featherbone Factory in Three Oaks, Michigan, this market invites visitors to explore and support local creative talents. Attendees can enjoy a variety of offerings, including locally sourced gourmet and personal care items, handcrafted decor, and jewelry. Additionally, food and beverages are available for purchase, making it an ideal event for a full day of exploration and enjoyment. The Journeyman shop will also feature cocktail kits, hats, shirts, flags, flasks, and other unique items.


LIGHTS at Fernwood

The LIGHTS at Fernwood is set to take place this year from November 24, 2023, to January 6, 2024. This professionally designed light show promises to magically illuminate evenings at Fernwood Botanical Garden. Featuring two extraordinary light tunnels, three warm fire pits, a fun winter craft station, nature-inspired light sculptures, festive music, and sounds, this display of lights offers a truly enchanting experience for visitors of all ages. Located in Niles, MI about 30 minutes inland from New Buffalo and Sawyer. More information here.


Christmas In The Village

Stevensville Christmas Flyer

Scheduled this year for December 2, 2023, from 3:00 to 6:00 PM. Experience a plethora of festive activities suitable for the entire family. This year’s event includes a free photo opportunity with Santa, face painting, and a chance for children to write letters to Santa. Additional attractions include a S’More’s Station hosted by the Lakeshore Rotary, cookie decorating, sleigh rides, a popcorn cart, various crafts, donut decorating, games, and a goodie bag scavenger hunt, among other enjoyable activities. Located in Stevensville, MI.


Saugatuck Christmas Parade

Ginger Bread Cookie Inflatable Floating Thru City Streets

The Saugatuck Christmas Parade, a much-anticipated annual event, will take place this year on December 2, 2023. The parade lineup begins at 10:15 AM in front of Wicks Park, with the parade officially starting at 11:00 AM. Organized by Operation Hope For Allegan Youth, this festive annual event always brings the holiday spirit to Downtown Saugatuck. The parade route kicks off in front of Wicks Park, proceeds down Water Street, turns left onto Mason Street, and then left again onto Butler Street, concluding at the corner of Butler and Mary Streets​ in Saugatuck, MI.


Holiday Artisan Fair

Toys at Holiday Fair

The 2023 Holiday Artisan Fair, hosted by St. Joe Today, is set to take place on Sunday, December 3, 2023, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Located at 216 Court St. in St. Joseph, MI, this indoor market is an ideal destination for holiday shopping. Visitors can explore a diverse range of artisanal products from various vendors, whose details are yet to be announced. The event offers free admission, making it a perfect opportunity for community members and visitors to engage in the festive spirit and find unique gifts for the holiday season


A New Year’s Eve Celebration With Shemekia Copeland

Mess After New Year Party

The “Shemekia Copeland with Nathan Graham: A New Year’s Eve Celebration” event at The Acorn in Three Oaks, MI is scheduled for Sunday, December 31, at 9:00 PM ET (8:00 PM CT). This special holiday jazz celebration features the award-winning blues, soul, and Americana singer Shemekia Copeland, renowned for her powerful and soulful performances. The event will also feature Nathan Graham, known for his soulful music, who will open the show with his full band, setting the stage for a memorable New Year’s Eve filled with exceptional music and celebration.


More Southwest Michigan New Year’s Events

  • River St. Joe Dinner: New Year’s Eve Dinner. 4-course meal at $75/person, seatings at 5:30 & 7:30 pm.
  • Journeyman Party & Dinner: 3-course meal. $75/person, 4:30 – 10:00 pm; Dance Party $40/person, 9:00 pm – 12:30 am.
  • Hummingbird Lounge: 4-course menu for $66/person, optional cocktail/wine for $23. Reservations online.
  • Susan’s in Sawyer: 6-course dinner, $125/person.
  • Tabor Hill Dinner: 3-course meal, bottle of sparkling cherry $150/couple or $80/single, 3-9 pm. Reservations online.
  • Skip’s: Limited menu, reservation required. Call for details.
  • Beer Church: All-you-can-eat pizza, wings, salads, $95.
  • Terrace Room: 4-course dinner, $135/person, 5 – 9:30 pm. Reservations online.
  • Granor Farm: 7-course gold-themed dinner. Waiting list online.
  • Vicker’s Theater: Kieran Conway performance, $35, 6:30 – 8:30 pm. Tickets online.
  • Dablon Vineyards: Night of Bubbles, $50, December 30, 7-9 pm. Tickets online.
  • Local Pour: Bloody Mary Bar, $15, 1-6 pm.
  • Round Barn Public House: Drink specials, football games, Dec 30-31.
  • Round Barn Estate: Live music, Dec 30.
  • Lydick Bog Hike on New Years Day: Guided hike, starts 10 am.

St. Joe Winter Beer Fest

A Flight Of Different Beers

The 2024 This years St. Joe Winter Beer Fest is scheduled for Saturday, January 27, 2024, from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM in downtown St. Joseph, MI. This annual outdoor event invites both craft beer novices and enthusiasts to sample a wide range of beers from local and regional Michigan breweries. It’s a perfect occasion for those looking to experience the rich and diverse craft beer culture of Michigan while enjoying the winter atmosphere of St. Joseph​


St. Joseph Ice Fest

Train Ice Sculpture

An exciting winter event set for February 2-4, 2024. Located at 301 State St., this festival brings a weekend of frosty fun to downtown St. Joe. Highlights include professional Ice Carving Competitions, a Scavenger Hunt, and a variety of Ice Interactives. The event begins with a Professional Individual Carving Competition on Friday evening, followed by a Fire & Ice Tower. Saturday features a Professional Team Competition and interactive ice activities like Tic-Tac-Toe, Frozen Fish Toss, Ice Bowling, Ice Skee Ball, and Ice Putt Putt Golf. The event concludes on Sunday with a chance to view the completed ice sculptures. Admission to this magical winter celebration is free.


Winter Vacation Rentals in Southwest Michigan


As you consider a trip to Southwest Michigan (and Northwest Indiana) for the winter season, remember that these experiences are made even more special with a comfortable stay. Juniper Holiday + Home offers the perfect accommodations to complement your winter adventures. Whether you’re seeking a cozy retreat after a day of holiday festivities or a convenient base to explore the myriad of events, our properties provide warmth, comfort, and convenience. Book your stay with Juniper Holiday + Home to immerse yourself in the winter wonders of these vibrant communities.

Aerial View Of A Charlevoix Vacation Rental

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