Detroit Tree Lighting - Opportunity Detroit Blog

The 11th Annual Detroit Tree Lighting and Festivities Kicks Off November 21

Detroit Tree Lighting - Opportunity Detroit BlogIt’s time for twinkling lights, the sounds of the season and fun with loved ones in the heart of the city. On Friday, November 21, the 11th annual Detroit tree lighting will take place in Campus Martius Park and Cadillac Square, with festivities from 4 p.m. – midnight.

More than 25,000 attendees are expected, so there’s something for everyone!  We’ve got the lowdown on all you need to know for a great Friday night in the D!


The 60-foot tree, which is bedazzled with ornaments and 19,000 LED lights, will glow at approximately 7:45 p.m. Special rink-side viewing is available for a $10 donation from 4 – 8 p.m., with proceeds benefitting Campus Martius Park. Smile for the camera – WXYZ Channel 7 will be broadcasting live from 7:30 – 8 p.m.! The Salvation Army’s World’s Largest Kettle will be lit at 6 p.m.

Ice Skating

Detroit Tree Lighting - Opportunity Detroit Blog

Olympic Gold Medalist Ekaterina Gordeeva will kick off the official rink season in a grand fashion at 6:30 p.m. The Detroit Skating Club, Arctic Figure Skating Club and Creative Edge Ice Theatre will also perform. Open skating for the public begins at 9 p.m.


American Idol runner-up Jena Irene will perform, as well as the Second Ebenezer Mass Choir, Rhythm Society Orchestra with Paul King, the Detroit Academy of Arts & Sciences Choir, MOT soloist Corey Roberts, Corktown Popes, the Salvation Army Band and more! DJ Greg Gnyp will host the 93.9 The River’s Rink Party  from 9 p.m. – midnight, and street performers will be juggling and carolers will be singing throughout the evening.


Detroit Tree Lighting - Opportunity Detroit BlogUnder the Showcase D’Holidays big tent, you’ll find food, drinks, live music and more starting at 4 p.m. for a suggested donation of $2, which goes to the Salvation Army.

New this year is the Somerset Collection’s custom-built 30-foot igloo display, which features 25 snowmen decorated by popular high-end retailers and this season’s top fashions and brands. The Michigan Regional Council of Steelworkers donated their time to erect the dome in Cadillac Square, and it’s sure to delight all who walk through its magical display. This attraction will be open November 21 – December 23, from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m daily.

Photos can be taken with Santa in the Compuware atrium, and free tree-lighting photos are available thanks to the First Merit Bank. All you have to do is take a photo and use #DetroitTreeLighting when posting it online, and it will be printed on-site for you to take home as a souvenir.

Horse and carriage rides are a unique way to explore downtown, and will depart from Cadillac Square, across from Roasting Plant, all evening.

Food & Drinks

Detroit Tree Lighting - Opportunity Detroit Blog

A beer garden located in Cadillac Square will feature small plates from popular Detroit restaurants like Coach Insignia, Ottava Via, Mercury Bar and Rattlesnake Club. Free hot chocolate is available at the DTE Energy Foundation tent, and free cinnamon rolls will be offered in the Ikea warming tent. After all those laps around the rink, don’t forget to bring your little ones by the Arctic Zone concession stand and grab a beverage for yourself at the Fountain Bistro rink-side lounge!


Santa’s workshop will take over the lobby of the First National building. This workshop is a special kids-only holiday store, where children can shop for their loved ones for a $5 donation. Each child will be given five gold coins that can be used to purchase gifts and have them wrapped in the store. While kids are shopping, adults can get a complimentary coffee at the Roasting Plant. All merchandise in Santa’s Workshop is donated by the Somerset Collection retailers, and all proceeds benefit the Children’s Tumor Foundation.

Don’t forget to visit The Detroit Shoppe (1261 Woodward Ave.). This downtown store is a celebrated retail destination that sells and supports some of Detroit’s favorite brands and institutions, ranging from Better Made and Faygo to the DIA and Motown. All proceeds from The Detroit Shoppe benefit Detroit charities. The Detroit Shoppe will be open on Friday from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.


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