Festival of Lights Michigan (Michigan Lights)

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Festival of Lights Michigan is an excellent Christmas light show that lets you take a break from your hectic work schedule to experience fairy lights, blinking Christmas lights, and curtain lights. This light exhibition also lets you witness the magical beauty of twinkle lights, twinkle light trees, icicle lights, and rope lights. What’s more, you have a chance to see tons of net lights and meteor shower lights.

When you enter the Festival of Lights Michigan, you are welcomed by the festive illumination alongside the smelling roasting chestnuts, all-time favorite Christmas carols, and festive meals. It is a perfect holiday event for the entire family.

Festival of Lights Michigan
Festival highlights

Festival of Lights Michigan is the largest holiday attraction in the city, where thousands of lights and animated displays are featured to give fun and happiness to everyone. This annual festival of lights adds more color and excitement to the Christmas celebration. 

While you can join this light festival alone, it is best experienced with people you love to feel the warmth and joy of the holiday season even more. It is always a nice feeling surrounded by glowing candy canes, reindeer, snowflakes, LED curtain lights, and all the Christmas lights you can imagine because you feel like entering a magical world.

As the holiday season gets closer, ensure to be part of this exciting and memorable light festival!

Festival of Lights Michigan Dates (2023-2024)

Festival of Lights Michigan completes everyone’s Christmas celebration with thousands of lights to witness and enjoy. You can invite your family and friends to experience this one-of-a-kind light exhibition.

The light festival starts with a parade of lights, and next is the city’s official Christmas Tree lighting. The celebration continues with beautiful light displays. For the 2023-2024 Festival of Lights Michigan, the event starts from December 2, 2023 through January 6, 2024.

As you can see, you have plenty of time to visit the light exhibition. There is no way for you not to find a perfect date to experience a magical night with thousands of twinkling Christmas lights.

Festival of Lights Michigan

Where is the Michigan Lights Located and How to Get There 

Both the locals and tourists are excited to be part of the Michigan Lights each year. This light festival takes place in Washington Park, 6 On the Lake, Michigan City, Indiana. This 99-acre park is situated along the Lake Michigan shores. 

Getting to the festival venue is simple. If you are from downtown Chicago (around 66 miles), you have to take the I-90 East or I-80/94 East and exit on US 421 North. Next is to take the US 421 onto the Franklin Street North and go straight until you reach the public library’s front in Michigan City. When you reach the 4th Street, turn right and drive one block before turning left on Pine Street, and follow past City Hall to Washington Park.

If you are from Southwest Michigan (around 125 miles), you must take I-96 West and exit, and follow I-94 West. Then, you have to take the Exit 40B onto US-20 West. Next is to take the US 35 North and turn left on Highway 12. Follow Route 12 southwest to reach Michigan City and once you see the traffic signal, go straight. When you reach the overpass, you have to turn right onto Pine Street to see the park.

If you are from the New Buffalo area, ensure to take the Route 12 southwest. When you reach the two traffic lights, pass through them and you see the overpass as you enter Michigan City. Next is to turn right onto Pine Street, and you will find Washington Park.

Meanwhile, if you are from the Indianapolis area (around 177 miles), your journey starts with taking I-65 North. Then, exit and follow I-94 East and take the exit on US 421 North. Take US 421 onto Franklin Street. As you reach Michigan City, you will find a public library. On the 4th Street, turn right on 4th and continue driving one block. Finally, you have to turn left when you see the Pine Street and follow past City Hall to Washington Park.

Other lights festivals in Indiana are:

Festival of Lights Indianapolis

Indianapolis Zoo Lights

Festival Hours 

Not every day you will see beautiful twinkling Christmas lights, so ensure not to miss the Festival of Lights Michigan. It is a fun and exciting way to spend your holiday season with your loved ones. 

The light exhibition starts at exactly 6 PM and lasts until 10 PM. So, you have plenty of hours to enjoy the entire event, whether you love to take pictures or try festive foods. Before you end your day, make sure to make the light festival part of your new memories.

How Much It Costs to Visit Festival of Lights Michigan

Do you know one of the best things about the Festival of Lights Michigan? It’s FREE

Whether you want to bring your family, friends, or officemates, this light festival will give you unforgettable moments without paying any fee. You should not miss this event, from dazzling decorations to a nostalgic atmosphere.

Weather and What to Wear 

Are you excited to experience the best of Festival of Lights Michigan? Well, you are not alone. However, before you get too excited and forget everything else, ensure to know what to pack and what to wear.

The festival of lights is from December to January, which involves cold temperatures. Michigan City is frigid in January, with average temperatures of 20s F to low 30s F. You need to pack pajamas, insulated ice boots, heated socks, an inner fleece layer, and heavy sweaters. Do not forget to pack your snow pants, neck warmer, and wind-resistant umbrella. 

Michigan City becomes extremely cold in December. The average overnight temperatures are in the low 20s F, and it tends to rain sometimes. You need to pack heavy socks, gloves, warm jeans or pants, a heavy jacket, sweaters, and cold weather footwear. You can also bring rain pants and a raincoat that you can layer with another jacket.

Festival of Lights Michigan

Where to Sleep

When visiting Michigan City for the much-awaited Christmas light show and other activities, you have nothing to worry about with the place to sleep. Here are the top accommodation options:

Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Michigan City

This accommodation is 10 minutes away from downtown Michigan City and offers flat-screen TVs, an indoor pool, and an on-site gym. The rooms and beds are nice and comfortable, while the staff is very friendly.

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson 

This accommodation gives access to Lake Michigan, just five miles away. It features a hot tub and an indoor pool, and each room is equipped with free Wi-Fi. The rooms are clean, and the staff is courteous.

Super 8 by Wyndham Michigan City 

This hotel features an on-site fitness center and free Wi-Fi access. It is approximately a 10-minute drive to Lake Michigan. The staff is very polite, friendly, and informative.

Where to Eat 

Never leave Michigan City without visiting the following food destinations:

Maxine’s 

This restaurant offers a perfect mix of a cozy atmosphere and a great menu of the best craft beers, and intriguing food choices. One of the tasty food options here is the crab cake dinner with champagne sauce and Cajun lobster sauce.

Lakeshore Coffee & Specialties 

This food destination is one of the local favorites. They offer quality coffee and new flavor combinations, like the smoothie made with pomegranate and green tea and cherry blossom latte with almond and cherry flavors.

Holly’s Restaurant & Pub 

This restaurant and pub in one offer Mexican dishes, traditional American food, and barbecue. Do not forget to try the Diablo burger with Sriracha mayo, pico Gallo salsa, and pepper jack cheese. 

More Things to Do in the Area

Michigan City is not limited to the Festival of Lights Michigan; you can also try other attractions and fun things to do, such as:

Barker Mansion

The Barker Mansion was originally an English Manor-style house and then turned into a museum later on. John H. Barker built it in 1857. It features 38 rooms with paintings, art objects, and period furnishings.

Trail Creek 

This 7.3-mile-long tributary flows into Lake Michigan. It is a perfect spot for salmon finishing and features different natural habitats, like wetlands and bogs attracting Indiana bats, an array of bird species, and Mitchell’s satyr butterfly.

Lubeznik Center for the Arts 

This destination showcases the talents of international, national, and regional artists. This center features a permanent collection of outdoor works and a rotating schedule of exhibitions. It also has a gallery shop where you can buy pottery, jewelry, handblown glass, and other handcrafted works by different artists.

Friendship Botanic Garden 

This 106-acre botanical garden features an array of flora from different parts of the world. Some of the attractions include a Symphony Garden that hosts musical events, displays of lilies, rose gardens, a children’s garden, and hand-carved sculptures. 

Michigan City Public Library 

This 35,000-square-foot public library has an extensive collection of research materials, references, newspapers, magazines, and books. Members can access a range of downloadable audiobooks, videos, music, eBooks, CDs, and DVDs. It also offers services such as a public computer with internet access and children’s storytimes.

FAQ

  1. Where can I park when visiting the Festival of Holiday Lights in Washington Park?
    • Washington Park has designated parking areas. Some sections of the park might offer free parking, while others might have a fee. Always look for event-specific signage and follow directions from parking attendants.
  2. Is smoking allowed at the Festival of Holiday Lights in Washington Park?
    • Smoking is generally prohibited within Washington Park during the festival to ensure the enjoyment and safety of all visitors. If designated smoking areas are provided, they will be clearly marked.
  3. May I bring my pet to the Festival of Holiday Lights in Washington Park?
    • It’s best to leave pets at home to ensure their safety and the comfort of all guests. However, service animals are always permitted.
  4. Are there interactive displays at the Festival of Holiday Lights in Washington Park?
    • The festival often features interactive displays and activities suitable for all age groups. It’s advisable to check the event’s program or website for specific details.
  5. Can I bring outside food and beverages to the festival in Washington Park?
    • Generally, outside food and drinks aren’t allowed. However, there are typically food vendors within the park providing seasonal goodies and drinks.
  6. Is the Festival of Holiday Lights in Washington Park wheelchair accessible?
    • Yes, the festival and the park are designed to be accessible for everyone, with pathways suitable for wheelchairs and accommodations made for guests with disabilities.
  7. How long does the Festival of Holiday Lights in Washington Park run?
    • The festival duration can vary each year, but it typically spans several weeks during the holiday season. Depending on personal pace and interests, individual visits can range from 1 to 3 hours.
  8. Are there any photography restrictions during the festival in Washington Park?
    • Personal photography is usually welcome, and visitors love capturing memories of the dazzling displays. If there are any specific performances or areas with restrictions, there might be limitations on photography. Always check for signs or ask festival staff.

Sources:

https://panoramanow.com/festival-of-lights-michigan-city/

https://indianascoolnorth.com/events/michigan-city-festival-of-lights/

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