Jackson County is Your Home for the Holidays

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The holidays in Jackson County are a magical place, full of tradition and magic.

Parades and Performances

The kickoff to the season happens each first Friday before Thanksgiving, as thousands line Michigan Avenue in Downtown Jackson for the annual Christmas Parade, in its 32nd year (podcast below). With the parade is the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus, followed by a special opportunity to meet the big man in red, and a holiday movie at the historic Michigan Theatre.

There are a handful of light parades, including the Brooklyn Community Holiday Parade and tree lighting ceremony and the Grass Lake Festival of Lights, along with the Pleasant Lake Christmas Parade.

Performances include a professional theatre performance of A Christmas Carol, and 3 nights of the Jackson Symphony Orchestra’s partnership with  Ballet Chelsea company artists for the Nutcracker. You can also immerse yourself in choral music with the Jackson Michigan Chorale.

Learn more about these or many other holiday events on our calendar here.


Gift certificates through the Jackson Downtown Development Authority, available for use at nearly 60 businesses and restaurants around downtown Jackson – any time of the year. Don’t forget to write your wishes on paper, and mail it directly to Santa from his official mailbox, on the corner of W. Michigan Avenue and S. Jackson Streets in downtown Jackson.

Shopping for the outdoor enthusiast in your life? Find what you’re looking for at Knutson’s Sporting Goods or Schupbach’s Sporting Goods.

If it’s a botique you seek, visit The Blessed Nest or Rustic Market Co. Other cute shops in downtown Jackson include Jackson Candle Company and Farm Sudz. For a unique blend of décor and whimsy, try IDK Décor in Brooklyn or Nevermore Décor Store in Jackson. For a pre-used, vintage gift, shop at Jackson Antique Mall, Parma Antique Mall or Windy Hill Creations. Finally, to make an impact globally, invest in products from the Marketplace Manna’s Around the World Shop


County-wide, Jackson museums offer their own unique spin on the Christmas season. From a holiday market to candlelight tours, to open houses, musical celebrations, and a cookie tour, you’ll find a variety of ways to celebrate. History also comes to life during a holiday banquet hosted by the Jackson County Michigan Historical Society.

The drive-thru Nite Lites show (video below) at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn is so big it’s hard to miss! Nearly six miles and over a million lights bring the season to life, whether you’re viewing the display via car or their new open air trolley train, you’ll find the unique experience one worth making a tradition for years to come.

Want to enjoy a winter activity, but avoid the outdoors? Try on some skates and enjoy a few laps around Optimist Ice Area.

Holiday Dining

If you’ve got a large group coming to town for holiday festivities, enjoy a meal at some of our larger restaurants around Jackson County. One North Kitchen and Bar has a lively atmosphere and plenty of space for a large group. You’ll also find great space and atmosphere at Grand River Brewery, Veritas, Klavon’s Pizzeria and Pub, and Knight’s Steakhouse and Grill.

Warm up with coffee or a cinnamon roll at Trail Head Coffee in Concord, or enjoy a French treat at City Crepes. Or, warm up with their famous tomato soup at the Beach Bar in Clarklake.

For a special treat, the Southside Festival Series is hosting their annual free Kwanzaa Dinner on December 26. 

There are plenty of other places for foodies and drink connoisseurs alike in Jackson County.

Settle in for the Night

When it’s time to get a good winter’s rest, let us do the work. Skip the cleanup and preparation for coming into town and stay in one of our Jackson County hotels. From right off the highway to more cozy and quaint, you’ll find a perfect spot to sleep. Maybe an indoor pool to take a dip, or a place that’ll accomodate your pets? We’ve got all of those options. 

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