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    Our Guide To The Holidays in Detroit

    Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or simply view this time as an excuse to gather with the ones you love, it’s hard to deny the magic December holds. In our opinion, there are few things prettier than to see our city covered in snow (not too much, though), so, in order to celebrate “the most wonderful time of the year,” we’ve created a guide to the holidays in Detroit!

    If you’re a local looking for something exciting, then check out all these wonderful things to do over the next few weeks!

    Menorah in the D

    Near the Christmas Tree in Campus Martius is what’s being referred to as the “Menorah in the D.” This 26-foot-tall menorah was first lit on Sunday to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah, which will last eight nights until the evening of December 10th.

    For the first night of “Menorah in the D”, the festivities kicked off with a food truck, music, and plenty of family-friendly activities. The event had added significance because of the shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue at the end of October. The Free Press interviewed Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov about his thoughts on Detroit’s celebration. He said:

    “When we light these candles, it creates a message of hope, of religious freedom.”

    The Christmas Tree

    The 15th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony took place in Campus Martius on November 16th and included appearances by gospel singer CeCe Winans, figure skaters Alex and Maia Shibutani, as well as many other popular local names.

    The tree itself is a 60-foot-tall Norway spruce that was grown in Plymouth. The tree is also adorned with what the Detroit News estimates are 19,000+ lights.

    Even though the celebrations for both “Menorah in the D” and the lighting of the Christmas tree are over, these wonderful holiday-related sights can still be seen downtown and make a great destination for a family outing or a romantic walk on the town.

    The Ice Rink Downtown

    Also at Campus Martius is the ice rink complete with holiday music, hot chocolate, and plenty of skating for people of all ages. There are a few things that make skating downtown so great. For one, the rink is right by the Christmas tree, which provides an amazing backdrop for an evening on the ice. Also, outdoor skating in the heart of a major city is a rare experience. Instead of the cattails and glowing houses that typically surround our neighborhood ponds, skaters in Campus Martius are surrounded by towering high rises.

    Ice Rink Holidays in Detroit

    Visit the ice rink during the holidays in Detroit // Image by Benson Kua via Flickr

    Weekend Carriage Rides

    Those eager to see more of downtown might even opt to take a carriage ride. Every Saturday and Sunday from November 15–December 22, rides are offered for a fee with no reservation required. Each lasts about 20 minutes and begins just south of Campus Martius.

    Carriage rides offer couples and families the chance to relax as they take in the sights of the city at night. They’re even offered until midnight, which makes them a great way to end an evening of fun and food downtown.

    Pop-Up Christmas Bars

    Speaking of our city’s restaurant scene, Fox 2 Detroit recently introduced us to two Christmas-themed bars that have popped up. One of them is Miracle at Park Bar’s location on 2040 Park Ave. Miracle is part of an organization that opens holiday pop-up bars in cities across the country, like Austin, Asheville, and Cincinnati, to name a few.

    Meanwhile, on the Belt (between Gratiot and Grand River on Broadway), the Skip has similarly converted into Sippin’ Santa, a tiki-themed version of Miracle. Both Miracle and Sippin’ Santa are run by the same organization, so if you like one, it’s likely you’ll enjoy both. They’re great opportunities to gather friends and have a few specialty drinks that are sure to keep your cheeks rosy.

    Image by Deb Nystrom via Flickr

    How To Give Back During The Holidays In Detroit

    Lastly, we’d like to add that there are a lot of ways to give back to our community. One organization, Free Bikes 4 Kidz-Detroit, collected over 1,000 donated bikes and refurbished them as presents to give out during the holidays!

    If you or your family are in the giving spirit and feel like supporting the people of this amazing city, consider finding an organization to donate to, whether it’s with your money or your time.

    Featured image by Menorah in the D via Facebook
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