Thanksgiving activities in Southwest Michigan | Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council

Thanksgiving activities in Southwest Michigan

Ice skating at John and Dede Howard Ice Arena

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and Southwest Michigan is stuffed full of activity! While you’re waiting around for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, preparing your feast or watching the Detroit Lions with hope in your heart, here are some Thanksgiving activities in Southwest Michigan to keep your visit exciting. 

Turkey Trot

If you prefer to be up and moving before your Thanksgiving feast, lace and layer up for these Turkey Day races: Twin Cities Turkey Trot  and Niles YMCA Thanksgiving Day Run.

Ice Skating 

Glide around on ice just like in the movies — and get a view of the falling snow, too! Our outdoor ice rink, John and Dede Howard Ice Arena, opens a few days before Thanksgiving as long as it’s cold enough to freeze the ice. This covered rink allows you to race around the ice with a good view of the winter weather outside. Don’t worry though, when you get cold, you can always go inside the warming hut to thaw yourself by the fireplace!

The Garden Ice Arena is open year round for indoor skating each Friday evening. Sometimes, there are even bumper cars on ice, too! Skate rentals are available at both locations. 

Get crafty 

Do you take a hands-on approach to Thanksgiving? Is your heart with art but not baking? No problem. Try these two art classes while you’re in town. One guarantees a pumpkin Thanksgiving centerpiece for your table while the other encourages your abstract creativity!

Display case at Bit of Swiss

Pickup dessert for your feast

If you prefer not to bake, or maybe your family prefers you don’t, take credit for bringing a delicious treat to the table. Bit of Swiss Pastry Shoppe has rows of display cases full of sweet breads, breakfast pastries, tortes, cannolis, casablanca, cookies and much, much more. The best part is, it’s all made from scratch!

A couple shopping at Perennial Accents.


After Thanksgiving, stick around for a long weekend and shop til’ you drop. Take home something unique to remember your trip to Southwest Michigan. Small Business Saturday falls on the weekend after Thanksgiving, which is the perfect chance to peruse the small chic boutiques and support local. You can also shop around the Makers Market to find some handmade decor, jewelry or art. Keep it for yourself, or gift it this holiday! 

Start celebrating Christmas early

We know, we know. Let’s ease into the holidays. And if that is how you celebrate, that’s fine. But for you tinsel lovers who have already pulled out your stockings to hang by the chimney with care — consider getting in the Christmas spirit here!

A person carrying a fresh cut Christmas tree.

Get your Christmas tree

We have several local farms where you can grab your Christmas tree. Whether you want to cut it down yourself or have someone do it for you, wander through our tree farms and find the perfect pine to adorn with your ornaments and lights. 

Christmas Events 

Attend these events to get your Christmas spirit going! South Haven’s Holiday in the Park brings Santa to Southwest Michigan, and The Acorn is screening Prancer. 

Plan your Thanksgiving trip!

Whatever your traditions are — football in the park, a family brunch, baking for hours on end — we hope you enjoy your holiday in Southwest Michigan. Start planning your trip now.

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