No matter where you go or what time of year you visit Michigan, there’s sure to be a special event to add more fun to your stay.
The Midwestern state of Michigan attracts travelers seeking adventure, recreation and natural beauty, from outdoor sports in the winter and summer to stunning natural foliage in spring and fall. Throughout the year, Michigan’s festivals and special events add even more excitement to your travel plans. Check out these diverse options, which include celebrations of art, music, food, nature and more.
ArtPrize is an international art competition that spans 19 days in the fall and includes hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money. Artwork is displayed in a freeform manner; all mediums from all countries are welcome, and nearly 1,500 works of art are shown in every venue throughout the city – from laundromats to art galleries. With more than 500,000 annual attendees, this Grand Rapids art event is one of the largest in the world.
Kids view a sculpture on display for ArtPrize, one of the biggest art festivals in the world
Detroit Jazz Festival
The Detroit Jazz Festival, the largest free jazz festival in the world, takes place on Labor Day weekend at the beginning of September. The event features multiple stages and more than 60 performances. You can also attend educational programs for adults and children, enjoy a nightly fireworks show and go to late-night “jam” sessions, which are improvisational music concerts in various local venues. Best of all, no admission fee is charged.
Aerial view of Hart Plaza, one of the venues hosting the Detroit Jazz Festival
Soo Locks Engineer’s Weekend
The Soo Locks are a critical system for transport and commerce, allowing ships to travel between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. On the last Friday of June, the public is allowed to walk across the locks during Engineer’s Weekend. Visitors can also check out the hydroelectric plant and tour a U.S. Coast Guard Station. There are arts and crafts, a car show and drive, food and children’s activities for a full day of unique fun.
Passing through the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie
Movement Detroit Electronic Music Festival
As the birthplace of techno, Detroit has a deep connection to electronic music. For fans of these musical genres, the Movement Detroit Festival is a can’t-miss event. Held over Memorial Day weekend at the end of May, the festival features more than 100 electronic music artists on multiple stages in downtown Detroit’s Hart Plaza.
National Cherry Festival
In Traverse City, Michigan – called the Cherry Capital of the World – the National Cherry Festival attracts more than 500,000 people every year. The event began in 1926 and has been recognized as a favorite in both Michigan and the USA. Bring the whole family to enjoy music, parades, entertainment and countless ways to eat cherries.
Kids making their own cherry pies at the National Cherry Festival
North American International Auto Show
The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is one of the largest automotive exhibitions in North America. The January event begins with a 10-day road rally from Florida to Detroit. At the show, you will marvel at an array of innovative vehicles, from full-sized trucks to electric cars. The family-friendly show takes place over nine days.
The entrance to the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Hall in Detroit
Tulip Time Festival
Dutch immigrants founded the city of Holland, Michigan, in 1847. It’s now the site of the annual Tulip Time Festival in May during peak tulip-blooming season. The city is blanketed in tulips of every color, making for a picture-perfect backdrop to the festivities. In addition to the photo opportunities, there are authentic Dutch dances, live music, a child-friendly carnival and a traditional Dutch marketplace with food and crafts.