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‘Tis the Season of Winter Magic!

The Quicken Loans Season of Winter Magic is in full swing in downtown Detroit – with skating, shopping, street performers, horse and carriage rides, Santa’s Wonderland, great food, live music, and more! We grabbed a camera and got a first-hand look at the one-of-a-kind experience only the city has to offer!

Watch the VIDEO to see the sights and sounds around Campus Martius Park and hear from people enjoying the winter fun!

Share the MAGIC on social media! #WinterMagicDET

 

I spent a recent wind-whipped Saturday afternoon exploring downtown with Quicken Loans videographer Ray Rushing and video content creator Jon Mitchell. We started on the skating rink which was packed with families and children.

“I’ve never skated before,” one boy told us as he clung to the side of the rink.

“What’s it like?” I asked. “Fun!” he replied, flashing a big, wide grin.

All around us there were street performers, people roasting marshmallows or warming their hands by a fire pit, and plenty of photo ops near Detroit’s twinkling Christmas tree. An impeccably dressed bride posed with her large wedding party in front of the skating rink, where her husband proposed the year before. On the count of three they shouted, “Happy holidays… from downtown Detroit!”

Then, we met John David, a street performer who plays the vibraphone (a musical instrument in the percussion family which looks similar to a xylophone). He played a jazzy version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” with the help of a toddler who grabbed his own mallets and started banging on the keys. David told us meeting children and families who get joy from his music is the best part of his job.

“I have kids from a year and a half up to about 18 who want to play,” he said. “This is bringing out an instrument people don’t really get to see – so, I think I have something unique to show people.”

It was getting chilly, so we ducked into the 30-foot “igloo” at Cadillac Square – a funny place to warm up (but it is heated!) That’s where we ran into Rebecca Honeycutt of Allen Park admiring 25 designer snowmen, decked out by Somerset Collection retailers, along with her husband and two sons. Each snowman (and snow-woman) and a few penguins are creatively dressed in different outfits with accessories from scarves to furs to sparkly eyelashes.

“I think it’s a cool idea,” Honeycutt said. “It’s very unique!”

Across the street in the First National Building at 660 Woodward, Somerset Collection CityLoft was hopping! The pop-up shop is stocked with fabulous gifts from 40 retailers including Gucci, Gap, 7 for All Mankind, Cache, Ralph Lauren, Pottery Barn and more. They serve complimentary hot dogs every Saturday from 11 a.m to 7 p.m. and that helped us warm up fast! Another perk? Spend $25 and get a $5 CityLoft gift card. Plus, you’ll find bagels from Detroit Institute of Bagels every Friday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. for a $1 donation. All of the proceeds go to the Empowerment Plan, a Detroit-based non-profit that educates and employs homeless women to create coats that transform into sleeping bags. The coats are then distributed to the homeless. CityLoft is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through December 23.

In the First National lobby, Ursuline Francis, a life-long Detroiter, was sipping Roasting Plant coffee and lounging on the couch, waiting for her granddaughter to finish her holiday shopping at Santa’s Wonderland. For a $5 donation, children get tokens and can select five gifts for family and friends from merchandise donated by Somerset retailers. All proceeds benefit the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Parents, grandparents or guardians get a free small coffee from Roasting Plant while they wait.

“I love the city,” Francis said. “It’s a wonderland and it’s nice.”

As her granddaughter emerged with five carefully selected gifts, we headed back outside. The sun had gone down and the city was aglow from the historic buildings to the holiday lights. Under the tent at Cadillac Square, we stopped by Showcase D’Holidays for a little heavy metal and hot chocolate. Over at the rink side bar, Brad Peterson was taking it all in. He shared these thoughts about the city.

“People recognize Detroit for the economic opportunities that are here and I think it’s fantastic,” he said. “I think Detroit is going to be the next American success story. Clearly, it’s already begun.”

We had checked skating, snowmen, street performers, shopping, food, and live music off of our “to-do” list. Four hours had elapsed. Our fingers were frosty and our feet were tired, so we hitched a ride back on a horse-drawn carriage. (There wasn’t enough room for Jon… so he ran alongside us!) A hardworking horse, wearing jingle bells and glitter, carried us back to “the ranch.”

“It’s a really good way to support the city,” said Jenny and Aaron of Farmington Hills, the cute couple who let us crash their carriage ride. “It’s something really fun to do, tons of families are down here, it’s super cute – just something to get you into the holiday spirit!”

 

This weekend, enjoy festive entertainment from local bands and delicious cuisine from top Detroit restaurants!

Join us in the heated tent in Cadillac Square Friday and Saturday 4 PM- Midnight. This week’s small plate selections range from $4- $8 from Andiamo Italia, Joe Muer’s Seafood, The Whitney, Atwater in the Park. Performances include:

Friday, December 19:

5:00 PM:  ALYSSA SIMMONS

7:00 PM:  CALL MARVIN

8:45 PM:  HALF LIGHT MUSIC

10:30 PM:  AMP FIDDLER

Saturday, December 20

5:00 PM:  SEVEN BIRDS ONE STONE

7:00 PM:  DAVE HAMILTON BAND

8:45 PM:  LARRY LEE AND THE BACK IN THE DAY BAND

10:30 PM:  CORKTOWN POPES

BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THESE GREAT HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS!

  • Moosejaw: Cozy up this season with the Moosejaw Mt. Elliot waterproof insulated jacket, $279.95
  • Roasting Plant: Wooden Gift Box with assorted coffee at $44/$55 per box
  • Cranes on Broadway: Ground or whole bean gourmet illy coffee tins, $14 – $18
  • Nojo Kicks: Daniel Won clothing, Melin hats and weekender backpack/duffle 
  • 7 Greens Detroit Salad Co: Pre-order Holiday Cookies! 5 for $7.99, 12 oz bottle of salad dressing made from scratch for $8.99, Jar of homemade Granola for $7.99

…AND FAMILY FUN UNDERWAY ALL SEASON LONG!

Campus Martius Ice Rink

  • Open daily now through Sunday, March 1
  • Skate rental is $3 and admission is $8 for adults and $7 for children
  • For hours of operation, click here!

Rinkside Bar – Atwater Brewery

  • Open now through Saturday, January 3 with cozy, heated seating, a panoramic view of the rink, and some of Atwater Breweries finest beers!

 Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides

  • Rides are available weekends through Sunday, December 28
  • $10 for adults and $5 for children

 Street Performers

  • Around Campus Martius Park, weekends through Sunday, December 28 

 Somerset Collection CityLoft (660 Woodward Avenue)

  • Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. through December 23

Santa’s Wonderland (660 Woodward Avenue)

  • Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. through December 23

Snowman Collection (Cadillac Square “igloo”)

  • Daily, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. through December 23

This Week’s Santa Hours

  • For a complete list of Santa hours click here!

Share the MAGIC on social media! #WinterMagicDET

For a complete listing of Campus Martius events, visit HERE.

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