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12 Things To Do During January in Michigan

by Lisa Diggs

It may be chilly, but our state is also a winter wonderland come this time of year. Get out and explore, or at least eat and drink, depending on your style. Here are some cool, or downright cold ways to enjoy Michigan in January.

Jan 13-21 Beer Week – Kalamazoo

KBW is back! When the hometown of Bell’s Brewery hosts a beer week, you know it will be good. The weeklong series of events supports the burgeoning craft beer experience through special tastings, dinners, and interactive events. Guests get a chance to meet the brewers themselves, learn about what it takes to develop these intricate, unique, flavorful products, and hopefully achieve a greater appreciation of this important West Michigan industry.  

Jan 14-19 Restaurant Week – Ann Arbor

Michigan’s culinary scene continues to get wide acclaim, and one city consistently amidst the top of the pack is Ann Arbor. Way more than just pizza and study food, this college town has earned a reputation as one of the greatest foodie destinations in the state, if not the nation. That’s what makes Restaurant Week such an excellent time to visit, with more than fifty participating eateries to explore. Squeeze in as many visits as your schedule will allow with special $15 lunch options and $28 pricing for 3-course dinners. Many restaurants are also offering 2 for 1 deals. 

Jan 16-20 River Raisin Commemorative Speaker Series – Monroe

River Raisin National Battlefield Park preserves a bloody piece of American history that took place during the War of 1812. To honor the 205th Anniversary of the Battles of the River Raisin, and help new generations learn more about what took place, the park will host a speaker series for the week leading up to the Commemoration Ceremonies taking place on Saturday January 20th.  

Jan 20,27 Snowshoes, Vines & Wines – Suttons Bay 

With its signature red lodge and expansive property, Black Star Farms is an ideal place to enjoy winter in all its splendor. Guests can explore easy to moderate trails then warm up with a glass of mulled wine on the heated Terrace Patio. The Hearth and Vine Cafe will be providing comfort sustenance like beef and bean chili, white chicken chili and a featured grilled sandwich. Best of all is the opportunity to taste their award winning wines, ciders and spirits. It's an amazing experience to take in the woods, orchards, and vineyards on the iconic estate, while beautifully blanketed in snow.

Jan 29 Orchid Show – Grand Rapids

Hope springs eternal, so if you need a little spring hope to fight the winter doldrums, surround yourself with beautiful tropical orchids in the Grand Room at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. See orchid blooms as small as a mosquito and blooms with petals extending 10 inches or more. Use your imagination to discover how the moth orchid, slipper orchid, and dancing lady orchid got their names. Attend a free talk by experienced orchid growers and discover the best orchids for growing in the home. 

Jan 18-21 Winterfest & Snowmobile Races – Caro

The roar of snowmobile racing means it’s time for the Caro Winter Fest. This frigid celebration of snow season features professional snowmobile racing, a meet-n-greet with the drivers, local pub crawl, sledding, food vendors, live entertainment, a beer and wine ice bar, silent auction, chainsaw carving competition, and an array of vendor booths. 

Jan 20-28 North American International Auto Show – Detroit

The eyes of the world focus upon Detroit this month for the greatest auto show on the planet. Whether you’re looking for a new vehicle, or just love getting up close and personal with all the latest models, this event is for you. Expect big reveals, huge announcements, and a chance to see the cars and trucks of the future at Cobo Center. There are plenty of interactive exhibits to entertain the whole family. 

Jan 24-28 Thunder Bay International Film Festival – Alpena

Water is such an important resource for our planet, but also for our state’s economy. Each year the Friends of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary brings the world of cinema to Alpena, with a watery twist. For five days in January, northeast Michigan will host some of the most impressive ocean and Great Lakes films from around the world. Film screenings are complemented by social events, educational activities, and opportunities to meet filmmakers. 

Jan 24-29 Zehnder’s Snowfest – Frankenmuth

What Michigander hasn’t tried to create something beautiful from snow? Some of us have mad skills while others just go mad trying. See how the pros do it at Zehnder’s Snowfest, one of top snow-sculpting events in North America for the nearly three decades. Enjoy larger-than-life snow sculptures and beautifully detailed ice carvings along with entertainment, a warming tent, fireworks display, petting zoo and plenty of children’s activities. 

Jan 26-27 SnoDrift Rally – Atlanta           

Cars may be the stars indoors in Detroit this month, but up north, they they rule outdoors. The SnoDrift Rally is a performance event that features 2-wheel and 4-wheel drive cars racing on real roads in a time-based competition. The rally features two days of racing on Montmorency County roads over snow and ice, and is expected to draw approximately 50 teams from around the nation. This year’s event will feature 15 stages that run a total distance of 130 miles. 

Jan 26-28 Ice Wine Harvest Festival – Old Mission Peninsula

Ice wine is a delectable sweet treat that can only be made from grapes that are frozen on the vine. Building on 24 years of ice wine making expertise, this year Chateau Chantal will host a first of its kind celebration of this remarkable wine. Events will range from family friendly snowman building, ice bowling, and ice sculpting to outdoor fire pits with roasted treats. The winery's walking trail will be open for snowshoeing or skiing with a scavenger hunt and prizes. Samples of multiple Ice Wines will be on hand all weekend along with a specially paired dessert item. The festival will culminate with a multi-course ice wine educational dinner on Saturday that includes a tour of the cellar and winemaking process.

Jan 26-28 Meridian Winter Blast – Detroit

Centered in Campus Martius Park, home to Detroit’s giant outdoor ice rink, this event fully embraces the glory of winter with a city style. Events and attractions include a winter slide, ski and snowboard lessons, free ice skating, a zip line, a polar plunge, ice sculptures, and marshmallow roasting, along with live entertainment and professional skating demonstrations. Admission is $3 per person, but free admission can be earned with donations of three canned goods in advance at participating Chemical Bank locations. 


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