Every year, Detroiters look forward to the biggest celebration of the holiday season. This Saturday, December 2, is host of one of the most popular events of the year: the 45th Annual Noel Night! The event takes place from 5:00 p.m.— 10:00 p.m. This Detroit tradition boasts a night full of art, music, food, and festivities. A relic of the past that gets better with age, Noel Night warms souls and fills a chilly city with true holiday spirit.
But where did it come from? In 1973, a now disbanded art group, Detroit Adventure, created the inaugural Noel Night. Its purpose was to inspire audience interaction with cultural venues in the area. It was a night of performances from local school choirs, theatre troupes, and the City of Detroit Recreation Department. Participating institutions in the area collaborated to increase a cohesive feeling in the center of the city. The events took place in what is now known as Midtown.
Today, Noel Night celebrates the spirit of creativity and teamwork in Detroit. With over 100 participating venues, it’s easily one of the largest events the city pulls off (if not the largest)! Crowds of people pour in from the city, college campuses, and the suburbs to party in the city’s cultural center.
This year, featured venues include the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Michigan Science Center, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Historical Museum, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the Detroit Public Library. These venues open their doors to the public free of charge to celebrate the culture of Detroit. For a full list of participating venues, click here!
Activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday shopping, family craft activities, and performances by over 200 area music, theatre, and dance groups! Check out the full schedule, including times and descriptions of the performances and activities.
Visitors to Noel Night will get to enjoy a hot cup of cocoa while browsing different shops for holiday shopping. They’ll get to see productions and hear various genres of music. The organizers of the event, Midtown Detroit, Inc., have created a convenient map. You can access it by visiting the website NoelNight.org.
Parking can be a bit tricky at Noel Night. Because of its historic connection to the city of Detroit, as well as the pure fun the event brings, it seems as though everyone and their grandchild wants in on the joy. This results in waits as long as an hour just to get parking near the festivities. Considering the event is only a few hours long, this is far from ideal!
As with all events in a big city, the best way to avoid traffic is to arrive early, before the event even begins! Grab a late lunch or early dinner at one of Midtown’s eateries and enjoy watching participants put the following touches on preparations! You can park in a garage on the outskirts of Midtown, but be prepared to walk. If you live within city limits or can find a spot to park away from the festivities, you can also download the Lyft app to get a ride. The QLINE is an option for anyone coming from downtown! Get more parking tips here.
The holiday season just wouldn’t seem complete without Detroit’s Annual Noel Night. The whole city comes together in the very heart to cherish all the holiday spirit Detroit has to offer. We can’t wait to see you there! Don’t forget to share the fun you’re having using #noelnight!