Downtown Detroit’s Winter Wonderland Transformation: Lights, Laughter, and Lively Traditions

As the temperatures drop, Downtown Detroit transforms into a winter wonderland, and the annual Detroit Tree Lighting in Campus Martius officially kicked off the holiday season with a bang! Thousands gathered in the heart of the city, bundled up against the cold, as holiday cheer spread like wildfire.

Picture this: thousands gathered in the crisp winter air, the scent of hot cocoa and the sound of carolers filling Campus Martius. Despite the cold, the atmosphere radiated warmth as families, friends, and even lone adventurers came together to partake in this joyous celebration. One enthusiastic attendee captured the essence of the moment, “Its cold but it’s really fun.”

The Detroit Tree Lighting event is a spectacle that goes beyond the illumination of a towering 64-foot Michigan-grown tree. It’s a grand affair featuring the Downtown Detroit Markets in Cadillac Square, the inviting Cadillac Lodge, enchanting carriage rides, and performances by nationally renowned figure skaters and musicians. The crowd’s energy is evident as cheers erupt when the magnificent tree finally lights up, casting a warm glow over the sea of smiling faces.

But the festivities don’t conclude with the tree lighting; they’re just getting started. Each year Downtown Detroit becomes a playground of winter delights thanks to Bedrock’s “Decked Out Detroit” programming. The spotlight falls on the Monroe Street Midway, where the night comes alive with winter bumper car sessions, an 80-foot slide that promises thrills and spills, free puck-putt, an arcade filled with family-friendly and classic games, and more.

Make sure you bundle up, because the fun extends to a buffet breakfast with Santa at Monroe Street Midway, happening on weekends throughout December. Tickets for this charming event, priced at $10 for adults and $5 for children, are available in advance via It’s the perfect way to kick off your weekends with a dose of holiday cheer and a hearty breakfast with the man in the red suit.

Bedrock’s Decked Out Detroit initiative brings back the beloved Downtown Detroit Markets and the welcoming Cadillac Lodge to Cadillac Square. Over 20 vendors participate, offering a diverse range of products and treats. Noteworthy among them are Black-owned pop-ups like Two Stix 5 Stones, Verbatim, Konjo Me, Kids Like Mine, and Janna Kay Charcuterie Boards and Boxes.

Janna Kay, a unique lifestyle brand, enthused, “We tend to gather around food, and what better way to gather than around a grazing table with different options to fit everyone’s dietary restrictions.” Janna Kay will be offering beautiful grazing tables, luxe charcuterie boards and even charcuterie shooters. These gifts are perfect for holiday parties, or even surprise gifts.

Meanwhile, the nearby Cadillac Lodge serves up a feast for the senses with family-friendly entertainment, live music, crafts, and delectable treats such as walking tacos, Detroit-style chili, warm soft pretzels, cider, hot cocoa, and more.

Ivy Greaner, Bedrock Detroit’s Chief Operating Officer, expressed her enthusiasm, stating, “The Downtown Detroit Markets and Cadillac Lodge have become beloved traditions for many local residents and families to visit during the holiday season. Throughout the years, we have been fortunate to help foster the growth of a mix of local businesses at the Markets, and this makes the program truly special. There will be something for everyone to enjoy this season, and we are ready for this next round of entrepreneurs to flourish.”

Decked Out Detroit, launched five years ago, has become a quintessential part of the city’s winter experience. It not only brings joy to residents but also provides a platform for local businesses to thrive during the festive season. The Monroe Street Midway is not just a carnival of rides; it’s a canvas for creativity with interactive art experiences that add an extra layer of magic to the winter season.

So, as winter settles in and the lights of Downtown Detroit shimmer in the night, brace yourselves for a season filled with lights, laughter, and lively traditions. It’s a time when the city becomes a symbol of warmth, and the holiday spirit is as contagious as the smiles on the faces of its residents. Downtown Detroit is the heart of the festivities, where the magic of the season comes alive, and the cityscape becomes a canvas for winter enchantment.

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