39+ Best Events to Attend and Things to Do in November in Michigan

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39+ Best Events to Attend and Things to Do in November in Michigan

November in Michigan is magical.  The state transforms into a canvas of warm, earthy tones and frost-covered leaves clinging to their branches before taking their death dive to earth.  But don’t let the chilly air and almost bare tree branches fool you – there are a ton of healthy and fun things to do in November in Michigan.

Whether you’re an outdoor adventurer or an indoor explorer, we’ve got you covered with 11 fabulous and healthy activities that’ll make you fall in love with the mitten state all over again.  So, grab your coziest sweater and your adventurous spirit because Michigan is calling your name!

Dia de los Muertos Michigan: Celebrate the Day of the Dead in Style this November

Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a vibrant and heartfelt Mexican holiday that’s all about celebrating the lives of those who have passed away.  It’s a beautiful blend of indigenous Aztec traditions and Catholicism, taking place on November 1st and 2nd.

Families create colorful ofrendas (altars) adorned with marigold flowers, sugar skulls, and the favorite foods and drinks of their loved ones.  These ofrendas welcome the spirits back to the world of the living for a short visit.  It’s a time of remembrance, where people share stories, sing, dance, and honor the memories of those who’ve departed.

If you’re not familiar with Dia de los Muertos, gather around the T.V. and have a watch of the Disney favorite, Coco, on DVD.  This movie does a beautiful job of explaining the traditions around the Day of the Dead.

But you don’t have to be in Mexico to embrace the spirit of Dia de los Muertos.  Many cities across the state join in the annual celebration.  On Oct 28 (I know it’s not November, but it’s close), you can head to Detroit’s Riverfront Dia de los Muertos celebration.  This family-friendly event features live music, food, children’s activities, and more.  You can even visit the community ofrenda when you visit.

A Young Woman dressed in Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) costume.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott

Also, Oct 28 is the Day of the Dead celebration in Holland, Michigan, at the Holland Museum.  This event is free and sponsored by the Latin Americans United for Progress.  It takes place from 12:30-3:30 and includes performances of traditional dance by Ballet Folklorico de Mi Terra from Kalamazoo and Ballet Folklorico Sol Azteca from Holland.

Another great spot to experience the holiday is the Dia de los Muertos at the Saginaw Art Museum from Nov. 4-11.  If you’re in Grand Rapids, check out the Día De Los Muertos Dinner Experience, a prehispanic chef-inspired dinner experience on Friday, Nov 3, at MeXo Restaurant and Tequila Mezcal Bar on Fulton Street.

Michigan’s vibrant Dia de los Muertos events will give you a taste of this memorable holiday’s rich traditions and lively festivities.

trees in fall colors with a bright blue sky
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Gobble & Gallop: Join a November Turkey Trot Race in Michigan!

If you’re up for pre-feast fitness fun, Michigan’s covered with Turkey Trot Races this November.  It’s like a race to the gravy boat, but way healthier!  You can lace up those running shoes and trot your way to a guilt-free Thanksgiving dinner.

Check out events like the Detroit Turkey Trot on Nov 23, where you can jog through the Motor City’s iconic streets in downtown Detroit.  For a more northern adventure, the Up North Media Traverse City Turkey Trot on Nov 23 offers a scenic route through downtown Traverse City and views of Grand Traverse Bay.  And if you’re near Kalamazoo, mark your calendar for Western Michigan University’s WMU Turkey Trot with events that take place from Sat, Nov 18 – Sat, Dec 2, 2023.  So, pick your run, invite your pals, and let the turkey trotting commence!

Get Out and Explore Nature: Michigan’s November Delights!

As November ushers in its cool embrace, Michigan’s Nature Centers come alive with engaging events offering fresh air and a wealth of knowledge.  Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or just looking to immerse yourself in the great outdoors, these events are perfect for a healthy and educational escape.

If you’re in West Michigan, check out the list of fun November events at the Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids.  Choose from programs like storytime or a guided Shinrin-Yoku session where you can relax and reconnect in nature.  Check Blanford Nature Center’s November schedule for all of your options!

If you find yourself in Southeast Michigan or the Detroit area, take a stroll in the open air and enjoy some fall birding at Kensington Metro Park.  On Saturday, Nov 11, take a guided tour of the Park, where you’ll be able to hand-feed several wild bird species.  Be sure to bring the camera to get some up-close shots of these beauties!

A Baltimore Oriole sits on the edge of a wooden box feeder with his head tipped upwards.

For an adults-only evening out, check out the Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum for Trivia Night!  Friday, Nov 17, is 21+ Sweater Weather Trivia Night, so don your favorite sweater and cozy up with a buddy for a fun evening out.  The event also features craft time and seasonal snacks.  

These events blend outdoor exploration with education, offering a healthy dose of nature therapy that’s good for the body and soul.  So, get ready to embrace the wonders of Michigan’s natural world this November!

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Roar with the Lions: A VIP Day at Ford Field in November!

Cheering for your favorite football team in Michigan in November isn’t just about showing team spirit; it’s also a great way to stay active and engaged in the community, promoting physical and mental well-being as you bond with fellow fans in the crisp autumn air.

November is the ultimate month to show some serious love for your favorite football team in Michigan!  Whether you’re rooting for the Detroit Lions, the Michigan State Spartans, or the University of Michigan Wolverines, there’s no shortage of gridiron action to catch.

For the Detroit Lions, make your way to Ford Field in Detroit, where the roar of the crowd and the thrill of the game is an experience you won’t forget.  You can snag tickets and check their schedule here.

If you bleed green for the Spartans, head over to Spartan Stadium in East Lansing to witness some top-notch college football.  You can secure your tickets and find the schedule here.  And for die-hard Wolverines, Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor is one of the places to be.  You can purchase tickets and view their schedule here.  So, grab your foam fingers and face paint, and get ready for some exciting football action in November!

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Leaf It to Fun: Michigan’s November Yard Adventures!

November in Michigan is like nature’s grand finale, painting the landscape with the warm hues of autumn.  It’s the perfect time of year to grab that trusty rake and get to work, not just for tidying up your yard but also for the health of your heart and your lawn.

Raking helps remove leaves and other debris that can suffocate your grass, making sure it gets enough air and sunlight even in the colder months.  Raking is also great exercise!  But it is important to rake smart.  Take it easy on your back – bend your knees and keep your back straight.  Switch up your stance to avoid strain, and use ergonomic rakes if you’ve got them.

And let’s not forget the fun part – leaf piles!  After you’ve had your fall fun and your fill of jumping and playing, consider composting those leaves to create rich, nutrient-packed soil for your garden.  Or you can bag them up and check with your local waste disposal service for the proper disposal method.  November’s leafy chore is a win-win for your lawn, heart health, and inner child.

The Hip Grandma with her son throwing leaves in the air

Parades & Turkey Day Cheers: November Fun in Michigan!

Fresh air in the autumn is refreshing and healthy for a few reasons.  As the weather cools, the air tends to be crisp and clean, making outdoor activities more enjoyable.  Breathing in fresh autumn air can boost your mood and energy levels, enhance mental clarity, and promote overall well-being.  Plus, it’s a great way to stay active and soak in the natural beauty of the season.

Participating in a Thanksgiving parade can be a wholesome and active way to spend the day, offering the opportunity for a lively walk or march that gets your blood pumping.  At the same time, you celebrate the holiday with your community.  And everyone loves ushering the Christmas season in with a peek at Santa Claus, who almost always makes an appearance in Thanksgiving parades around the state.

Michigan takes Thanksgiving parades to a whole new level, making them the best in the country for a few good reasons.  First, it’s the rich tradition and genuine Midwestern charm – our parades feel like a warm hug from the entire state.  Second, Michigan knows how to throw a spectacular celebration with fantastic floats, high-energy bands, and dazzling performances that rival any big city parade.  And let’s not forget the stunning backdrop – whether it’s Detroit’s iconic Woodward Avenue or other cities like Plymouth, where you can catch a hometown parade full of heartwarming moments.

Be sure to check out the America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit, an annual event that takes place this yearon Thursday, Nov 23, and is one of the oldest and most iconic Thanksgiving parades in the U.S.  For a cozier experience and those in Northern Michigan, explore the charming Holiday Parade & Tree Lighting in Charlevoix on Nov 24.  If you’re in the Silver Lake area, look at the Home for the Holidays Parade and Tree Lighting event in Hart on Friday, Nov 24.  Get ready to be mesmerized – these parades are where the magic of Michigan truly shines!

Get Your Steps in And Get a Jump on Your Christmas Shopping:  Michigan’s Holiday Markets

November in Michigan isn’t just about falling leaves; it’s also the season of vibrant art and artisan markets.  As the holiday spirit starts to shimmer, you’ll find a wealth of unique, handcrafted treasures and locally sourced goods at these fantastic events.  And you’ll get some good exercise while you make your way through the markets on foot!

From the Downtown Marquette Farmers Market, where you can discover a diverse range of artisanal products, to the Escanaba Winter Farm Market in the Upper Peninsula, offering a cozy, indoor haven for shoppers, Michigan’s markets have something for everyone.  And let’s not forget the Merchants and Makers Holland Holiday Shoppe, a bustling hub for holiday gifts and decor, and the Vintage & Handmade Holiday Market in Warren, perfect for uncovering vintage finds and handmade delights.  So, as November unfolds, why not pick a Christmas market and make your holiday shopping as unique as Michigan itself?

Pumpkins painted with Michigan teams on them.

Glide & Slide: Michigan’s Icy Adventures this November!

In November, the weather in Michigan starts giving us a nudge towards the wintery months ahead.  The chilly air hints at the snowy adventures just around the corner.  And if you’re looking for a way to embrace the frosty fun, consider ice skating or taking in a friendly game of ice hockey!

Whether it’s the natural ice forming on local lakes or the welcoming indoor facilities, Michigan has plenty of options for fun events centered around ice skating.  Keep an eye out in Holland for the upcoming Holland Ice Rink, where gliding under the open sky on skates will be the newest outdoor activity.  For those eager to hit the ice sooner, don’t forget Griff’s IceHouse West right here in Holland.  And if you’re in other parts of the state, check out these excellent ice skating facilities: Suburban Ice in East Lansing, Troy Sports Center in Troy, Mount Clemens Ice Arena in Mt. Clemens, and McMorran Place in Port Huron.  Get those skates ready.  It’s time to slide into winter!

Spending time ice skating is a fantastic way to stay healthy, both physically and mentally.  It’s an excellent cardiovascular workout that helps improve your balance and coordination while engaging various muscle groups.  This activity releases endorphins, which boost your mood and reduce stress, making it a great way to enhance your mental well-being.

For beginners, it’s essential to stay safe on the ice.  Wear appropriate gear, including a helmet, wrist guards, and knee pads.  Start by learning the basics, like how to balance and glide, and practice near the rink’s edge.  Take it slow, be mindful of your surroundings, and consider taking lessons to build confidence on the ice.  So, lace up your skates and have a great time enjoying the many physical and mental health benefits of ice skating!

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Lighthouse Lovers, November in Michigan is Your Photo Paradise!

As the weather takes a cooler turn, Michigan’s picturesque lighthouses come alive as perfect subjects for your photo adventures.  These iconic structures, perched along beautiful Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes, are often surrounded by fall colors and offer breathtaking backdrops and unique character that make them ideal for photography.  And what makes the fall season come alive better than the sunsets you’ll find on the West side of the state, which come earlier in the day this time of year, making sunset photography especially fun.

Here are five standout lighthouses across the state that are renowned for their photogenic qualities:  Big Sable Point Lighthouse in Ludington State Park, Holland Harbor Lighthouse (aka “Big Red”) in Holland, Point Betsie Lighthouse in Crystal Lake, Tawas Point Lighthouse on Lake Huron, and the classic Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse in Mackinaw City.  So grab your camera and your cozy sweater, and let these enchanting Michigan lighthouses frame your shots as you embrace the charm of the colder season.

Hiking to a lighthouse for photos is a healthy and refreshing way to spend your autumn days in Michigan.  Not only does it get you moving, but it also gives you fantastic photo opportunities, all while being immersed in the great outdoors.  The crisp autumn air provides the perfect backdrop for your outdoor adventure.  What could be better for promoting mental well-being and stress relief?  Plus, exploring Michigan’s lighthouses can be a fun and fulfilling way to connect with the state’s rich history and scenic landscapes.

Big Red Lighthouse in Holland Michigan set against the lake with bare trees

Michigan’s Thanksgiving Delights: Surfing for Healthy Feasts!

If the thought of cooking a massive Thanksgiving feast makes you want to burn your apron in protest, fear not, my friends!  Michigan has your back with an array of restaurants offering delectable Thanksgiving spreads in 2023.

You can head to Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth in Frankenmuth for a genuinely iconic holiday feast or make your way to The Whitney in Detroit to dine in a historic mansion with all the traditional trimmings.  If you’re in the Troy area, consider the mouthwatering options at Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant.  Heading toward Marshall?  Check out Cornwell’s Turkeyville, USA.  And for a bit of gourmet flair, don’t miss Gandy Dancer in Ann Arbor.  These restaurants ensure you savor the flavors of the season without the kitchen chaos.

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Light Up Michigan: Christmas Tree Magic in November!

Finally, as November draws to a close, the time is right for ushering in the Christmas season.  Celebrating Christmas tree lightings around the state is a delightful way to boost your mental health as you transition into the hustle and bustle of Christmas.  The festive atmosphere and the sight of a beautifully lit tree is the best kind of nostalgia, creating a sense of holiday magic.

’Tis the season to start spreading holiday, and Michigan knows how to kick it off with some early tree lightings and festive ceremonies with light displays right in November.  Head over to the charming town of Frankenmuth, where the entire community comes alive with the glow of thousands of lights.  This popular event is a perfect opportunity to enjoy the magic of lights, Christmas trees, and the fall season all at once!

The historic city of Harbor Springs welcomes the season with the magic of lights for its Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Nov 25, a lovely Main Street tradition perfect for visitors of all ages.  And for a big city feel, don’t miss Detroit’s Tree Lighting Ceremony on Nov 17 in Campus Martius Park with a sparkling 60-foot Christmas tree.  Get ready to embrace the sparkling magic of the holiday season early in November with these welcoming Michigan communities.

Wrapping it all Up

As we wrap up our journey through the many healthy and vibrant ways to enjoy November in the great state of Michigan, it’s clear that this month holds a treasure trove of exciting experiences for every interest.  Whether embracing the crisp air, embarking on outdoor adventures, enjoying fall festivals, kicking off the holiday by indulging in delicious Thanksgiving feasts, or capturing the state’s picturesque beauty on a scenic drive, Michigan offers something for everyone.

So, let’s make this November a time of exploration and self-discovery.  Try something new, take a moment to savor the beauty of your home state, and create unforgettable memories.  Michigan, with its diverse landscapes and engaging activities, is your canvas this November – paint it with joy, health, and lasting experiences.

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