Some of the state has seen warm weather and rain, while other parts are blanketed in snow. Whichever you prefer, we’ve got something for you to enjoy in our 12 things to do in Michigan in January 2023.
January 6-8 Fire and Ice Festival – Detroit
It’s both wintery and medieval, so it’s sure to provide some uniquely entertaining moments. Head to Valade Park on Atwater Street along the riverfront. There you can enjoy oversized fires, turkey legs and an ice carving competition. Perhaps you’ll want to try your hand at archery or ax throwing. Cool photo ops include an icy Iron Throne, and finding Elsa from Frozen wandering about. Renaissance Fair performers will also be on hand. The weekend’s biggest moment will be at 6pm on Saturday when a towering 7-ft ice structure is lit ablaze and becomes a roaring bonfire. Hence the name, fire and ice.
January 7-8 Tahquamenon Country Dog Sled Race – Newberry
Founded in 1999, the Tahquamenon Country Sled Dog Race is an annual event held at Muskallonge Lake State Park, making it one of the first races in the Midwest each year. This year’s event will take place over two days, for even more action. With both pro and sport classes, this event draws participants from all over the US and Canada. This year also marks the introduction of what will essentially be a Triple Crown for dog sled racing, as this race partners with the CopperDog and UP 200, to create the Superior Crown Self Dog Series. All of those races will take place in the Upper Peninsula.
January 7, 14 – Snowshoe Michigan Legacy Art Park – Thompsonville
Anytime of year is a nice time to visit Michigan Legacy Art Park. The vision of renowned artist, David Barr, the park is a place where creators aim to tell the state’s history through art. Experience the park in its wintery quiet with this snowshoeing experience. A $20 ticket includes admission and a guided tour of this special art park, along with rental snowshoes from neighboring Crystal Mountain. Beginners are welcome. In addition to January 7 and 14, available dates also include February 11, and February 18. Choose one, or enjoy them all.
January 14 Michigan Adventure Race – Rockford
If you’d rather be a competitor than a spectator, head to Camp Roger in Rockford, and take part in the largest winter adventure race in the country. Compete with more than 350 others in the largest winter adventure race in the U.S. You will run on and off trail, navigate with a map, snowshoe (short loop, snowshoes provided) and conquer Amazing Race-like challenges. Collect as many checkpoints as possible in up to three hours. Participants many fly solo, compete with a partner, or form a team of 3-4. Registration includes the race, a ¼ zip pullover, chili lunch and access to a cozy lodge for warming up afterwards.
January 16 Martin Luther King Day at The Henry Ford – Dearborn
Museum admission is free at The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation on this day, making it an ideal time to celebrate and learn from the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and other courageous civil rights leaders, by spending MLK. Bring the family to experience the Rosa Parks Bus and listen to the story of her brave act. Take in the interactive program Minds on Freedom, highlighting the contributions of civil rights champions like the Freedom Riders. Actor Tony Lucas will be reciting some of Dr. King’s most famous speeches from 10:30am-11:30am. The afternoon features a performance from the Detroit Windsor Dance Academy from 2:00pm-3:00pm.
January 20-21 Ski Jumping Tournament – Ishpeming
This sport is fun to watch on television during the Olympics, but even more thrilling to witness in person. Held at the UP Nordic Ski Complex, this event is a stop on both the regional premier Five Hills Tournament, and the U.S. Cup, so the talent is sure to be impressive. Ski jumpers from all over the U.S.A. will test their abilities to fly as far as possible with the best style. The fun doesn’t stop at the hill. The tournament will be complete with tailgating, huge bonfires, fireworks and great views of the action. There will also be an exciting Nordic combined cross country ski race on the Ishpeming Ski Club Norman Juhola Trail System during Saturday’s competition. While in town, be sure to visit the US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame.
January 21-22 Annual Ice Sculpture Festival – Tecumseh
Tecumseh is one of those towns that has a certain charm all year round. Prepare for a winter walk-about for this fest and you’ll have over 35 ice sculptures to discover. Marvel as professionals create this temporary works of art with chainsaws and talent. For added fun, life-size balloon sculptures will also adorn the sidewalks during the event. You can even take part in a scavenger hunt involving participating merchants. While in town, pop into Pentamere’s tasting room to sample some local wine, or try a flight and a bite at Tecumseh Brewing Company. Alternatively, warm up with a spot of tea at the unique and aptly-named British Tea Garden.
January 21-22 & 28 Tip-Up Town USA – Houghton Lake
Houghton Lake is always a lovely place to be. Naturally, in January, it takes on a different look and feel. On the surface, what is known to many as the state’s longest running winter festival, is all about ice fishing, but that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The fun kicks off in the beverage tent on Friday. Then Saturday, you can participate in a 5k run and enjoy the Grand Parade. The ice fishing competition continues throughout the weekend alongside carnival rides, games, wood carving, pony rides, a petting zoo, an ice slide and more. There will even be a Guinness Book of World Records attempt in the East Bay slated for noon on Saturday.
January 25-29 Zehnder’s Snowfest – Frankenmuth
If you only have one opportunity to make a trip to Michigan’s Little Bavaria in the winter, the last weekend of January is the time to pick. The streets are bedecked with giant snow sculptures and icy creations. You can watch as these artists compete to sculp amazing images before your very eyes. Highlights also include a Pirates of the Caribbean-themed 100-block ice carving exhibition, entertainment in the warming tent, a children’s play area, baking competition, and fireworks on Saturday night. When you’ve seen enough, or seen them all, grab some of that famous fried chicken or get a local-centric meal from the fine folks at Michigan on Main. Be sure to also stop into Amazin’ Mitten and buy yourself a little something special that was made in the Great Lakes State.
January 26-29 Winterfest – Grand Haven
This hibernating coastal town really comes to life during Winterfest. Activities include Glowbowl, the Sleepwalker Run, Cardboard Sled Races, the Family Dog Pull, Freeze 4 All Snow Volleyball, and a Bonfire Bash. There are also ski and snowboard competitions. If you prefer indoor fun, settle in for Michigan’s favorite card game at the Euchre tournament. While in town, pop by Marushka for a hand-printed souvenir.
January 27-28 Ann Arbor Folk Festival – Ann Arbor
Live music is back, and that includes the46th Ann Arbor Folk Festival, which is returning live after a two-year pandemic hiatus. This year’s event will take place in two different venues. The first night is a Banjofest at The Ark, starring Valerie June with Thao, Rachael Davis, and Yasmin Williams. Day two’s festivities move to Hill Auditorium on the University of Michigan campus. The lineup features Ani Difranco, Patty Griffin, Kyshona, Oshima Brothers, Jared Deck Band, and Parker Milsap, among others.
January 28 Pure Ludington BRRRewfest – Ludington
It doesn’t have to be summer to be a fine time to sample some Michigan brews, nor to visit Ludington. This brewfest in Downtown Ludington is a lively day of tasting, music, food and frivolity. It’s sure to chase away the winter blues. Plus, if you really want to shake off some snow, drop by House of Flavors for one of the best ice cream selections in the state.
Join us on social media for ongoing discussions about Michigan travel destinations. Tweet @BuyMichiganNow and let us know when you make it to one of our things to do in Michigan in January 2023, or make a suggestion for next month. To get more ideas for your Michigan bucket list, be sure to visit our Michigan Tourism page.
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