North American International Auto Show in Detroit
January 14th – 27th, 2019
Did you know I really love cars? I LOVE attending the NAIAS, because I get to see the latest in sustainable automotive advancements, plus incredible luxury concept cars by Maybach, Bentley, Rolls Royce, and many others.
Snowfest in Frankenmuth
January 23rd – 28th, 2019
My husband and I visit Frankenmuth for this icy festival when we are in the state, because there’s just something so magical about walking amongst world renowned ice and snow sculptors as they work on larger than life (okay, some are larger than buildings) displays of their craft. There’s a great fireworks display and plenty of live music, plus lots of places to get a warm (or cold) drink throughout the city. Admission and parking are always free.
Tulip Time Festival in Holland
May 4th – 12th, 2019
This is by far my favorite Michigan festival (which is saying a lot, because we have so many great festivals!), and to me, it’s a sign that spring is finally here! The Tulip Time Staff and Volunteers lovingly plants more than 5 million gorgeous tulips all around the city (read about all of the different types here), plus there’s an authentic Dutch windmill, beautiful fireworks display, authentic Dutch dancers and food, a carnival, 5K & 10K races, and so much more. One of my most popular posts was my Guide to Tulip Time Festival, which you can read here. If you like the outdoors, beautiful flowers, wonderful people, and one of the most well organized festivals in the country, you can’t miss Tulip Time!
I hope to see you there next year!
Hot Air Balloon Festival in Frankemuth
May 24th – May 27th, 2019
I love hot air balloons, so whenever I can I head up for the day to check out the dozens of balloons dotting the sky over Michigan’s Lille Bavaria. Unfortunately, they don’t yet offer hot balloon rides during this festival, but the hot air balloon race at sunrise is absolutely something to behold!
Alma Highlands Scottish Festival
May 25th & 26th, 2019
As a proud Scot, I have gone to this festival just about every year since I was a kid. There’s the Highland games, which is the place to be if you’re a fan of rugged Scotsmen in kilts throwing heavy things. Additionally, there’s a number of Scottish musical and dance performances, a faire, and tents for each Scottish clan, where all are welcome to come and learn about each family’s distinct and storied history.
Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival
June 6th – 9th, 2019
This recently scaled down festival is still lots of fun if you, like me, enjoy wearing dirndil (German dresses) or lederhosen (traditional German “leather pants”). Festival goers enjoy German brews and food, German dances, a parade, and a great firework display! Festival is free but admission to dances and drinking tents are extra.
Lilac Festival on Mackinac Island
June 7th – 16th, 2019
One of the most beautiful festivals in the state, Mackinac Island’s Lilac Festival is home to millions of lilac blooms, lilac themed gifts, foods, and activities, plus races, parades, sailing, and so much more. Lilac Festival is tied with Tulip Time in Holland as my favorite festivals, because I love seeing all of the beautiful flowers and enjoying the warmer weather!
Ludington Bonfire Series
4th Thursday of the Month, June – August 2019
Enjoy massive roaring bonfires while watching the sunset over beautiful Lake Michigan, and roast marshmallows or just kick back and enjoy live music under the setting summer sun.
Ann Arbor Summer Festival
June – July 2019
While attending the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, I loved spending time at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival. There are dozens of live performances, a local artisan market, massive bubbles floating through the air, free movies playing, incredible street and food vendors, plus lots of new activities are added every year. Even if you’re a State fan, you’ll love this one!
Michigan Lavender Festival in Imlay City
July 11th – 13th, 2019
Beautiful fields of Lavender and a market full of lavender themed goodies plus a cider mill make this one of the most incredible flower festivals in the state! There’s always a large fleet of local food trucks, lavender workshops, and just about everything you can think of pertaining to this calming bloom.
Tall Ships Celebration in Bay City
July 18th – 21st, 2019
I have been dying to go see these impressive clipper ships, but we were out of the state last time they came to Bay City several years ago. Expect lots of photos of these gorgeous ships. I’ve heard from a number of friends, classmates, and neighbors that they drive down for this festival whenever it’s in town, because it’s their favorite!
Charlevoix Venetian Festival
July 20th – 27th, 2019
I come for the croquet tournaments, and stay for the beautiful boats, incredible sunsets, gorgeous firework displays, and beach sports. There’s nothing quite like this amalgam of beach and Venetian activities, and it’s worth checking out!
Traverse City Film Festival
July 30th – August 4th, 2019
This film festival features local, domestic, and even international films, and has showcased some major hits before they were “major”. If you’ve never been to Traverse City in the summer time, you need to get there ASAP – it’s stunning!
Michigan Renaissance Festival in Holly
August 18th – September 8th, 2019
The place to be for jousting, live period performances, “traditional renaissance” food like soup in a bread bowl and turkey legs, plus performances by mermaids, and a large, sprawling artisan market.
Art Prize International Art Competition & Festival in Grand Rapids
September 16th – October 4, 2020
Though recent changes means there won’t be an Art Prize festival until 2020, I couldn’t leave my favorite art festival off of this list. The world’s largest international art festival and competition transforms the city of Grand Rapids into an incredible work of art, comprised of thousands of small scale and large scale works of art ranging from performance art and museum installations to street art and public displays that make viewers stop and wonder what’s going on. The festival is free and open to the public.