Art Coast Holiday Bucket List

As the holiday season approaches, there’s no better place to embrace the festive spirit than the Art Coast of Michigan. Offering a unique blend of natural winter beauty, artful experiences, and holiday cheer, this charming destination is the perfect backdrop for creating cherished holiday memories. If you’re planning a visit, you’ll want to make the most of your time here by experiencing a holiday bucket list like no other. From classic performances to outdoor adventures, here’s your guide to the ultimate Saugatuck/Douglas holiday experience.

1. See A Nostalgic Christmas Parade

Gather your family together and celebrate with the community on December 2 during our Saugatuck Christmas Parade filled with festive cheer. Get caught up in the joyous atmosphere of this annual event that captures the essence of the small-town holiday spirit. After the parade, bring the kids to Santa’s Workshop in the Puddingstone classroom and decorate cookies with Santa’s elves. 

2. Go To A Holiday Artist Market

For a truly unique holiday shopping experience, visit one of our festive holiday markets. Local artisans and crafters gather to showcase their handmade treasures, from one-of-a-kind home décor, exquisite jewelry, and artwork to Michigan-made edible delights. Support local talent and find the perfect holiday gifts for your loved ones while immersing yourself in the vibrant arts scene the Art Coast is known for.  Events for 2023 include the Saugatuck Center for the Arts Outdoor Holiday Market on December 2, the Holiday Artist Market at J. Petter Galleries in Douglas on December 2, and the Holiday Artisan Market at Modales Winery on December 16.

3. Take A Horse Drawn Sleigh Ride in the Allegan Woods

Embrace the enchantment of a winter wonderland by embarking on a private 40-minute horse-drawn sleigh ride through the scenic Allegan Woods with Wild West Ranch. Cozy up under blankets, listen to the gentle jingle of sleigh bells, and take in the pristine beauty of the snow-covered landscape. You can also arrange for a winter carriage ride through Rise and Ride Ranch. Both offer a magical experience full of nostalgic holiday charm. 

Wild West Ranch

4. See the Holiday Lights And Christmas Trees At The Felt Mansion

The historic Felt Mansion comes alive during the holiday season with a dazzling display of lights and decorations. Stroll through the mansion’s picturesque grounds during the month of December, admire the festive trimmings, and savor the nostalgic ambiance of a lavish, bygone era. This annual tradition is perfect for families and couples alike and features self-guided tours, including special themed Candlelight Tours, Tea & Tours, and Coffee & Cocoa Tours. With more than 20 decorated Christmas trees and over 5,000 twinkling lights to gaze upon, a visit to the estate is sure to brighten your holiday season. If you have little ones, be sure to join us on December 2, when the Felt Estate holds its annual Winterfest, a free children’s event featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus, face painting, and horse-drawn wagon rides. 

Felt Mansion

5. Go Snowshoeing at Saugatuck Dunes State Park

Experience the serene beauty of winter and our own version of peace on earth by strapping on a pair of snowshoes and exploring the Saugatuck Dunes State Park. The pristine snow-covered dunes and Lake Michigan’s frozen shores provide an ideal backdrop for a winter adventure. Whether you’re a novice or experienced snowshoer, the park offers trails for all skill levels. Snowshoes can be rented from Landsharks for your tranquil, wintry walk.

Saugatuck Dunes State Park

6. Attend A Holiday Concert

A cozy venue and the warmth of music make for an enchanting escape from the chilly winter nights. Celebrate the 2023 holiday season with “Our Holiday Wonderland,” a festive concert presented by the Lakeshore Community Chorus at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts on December 2 and 3. Featuring fifty-five talented members, the Lakeshore Community Chorus will be accompanied by the Lakeshore Brass, dancers, and soloists, creating a harmonious blend of old and new holiday songs. This enchanting musical event captures the wonder and magic of the season, making it a must-do activity in your Art Coast holiday experience.

7. Participate In An Annual Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl

Start or cap off your Saugatuck/Douglas holiday adventure on a spirited note by joining us for our annual Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl on December 2. This festive event is not only fun but also deeply meaningful, with 100% of profits dedicated to supporting local families during the holiday season through the work of Operation Hope for Allegan Youth. Don your tackiest holiday sweater and hop from one local watering hole to another, enjoying holiday-themed drinks, camaraderie, and good-natured competition for the title of “ugliest sweater.” The Pub Crawl kicks off at Wicks Park Bar & Grille, where you’ll receive a player card and a mission – to visit five different bars, each featuring a festive elf ready to challenge you with fun tasks. The crawl concludes once you’ve found the five elves, successfully completed all five tasks, and turned in your card. Cash prizes for the “ugliest” holiday outfit, raffle items, and additional prizes will be awarded. This event combines merriment with giving back, making it a heartwarming way to celebrate the season.

8. See a Live Performance of A Christmas Carol

No holiday experience is complete without the heartwarming tradition of attending a live performance of Charles Dickens’ timeless classic, “A Christmas Carol.” Brought to life each year by community performers at the Saugatuck Woman’s Club, there are eight performances in 2023 from December 8-17, where you can see our captivating local rendition of this beloved tale. Immerse yourself in the holiday spirit and let Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation inspire you. For specific dates and times, see the event listing here