Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership livens up the holidays with community events, attractions

Keep reading to stay informed about all the family-friendly holiday attractions and events in Kalamazoo this year! 

Kalamazoo downtown partnership has planned a number of events for Kalamazoo residents and visiting patrons to enjoy during the holiday season. Take a look below to learn more about the family-friendly line up of holiday opportunities. The downtown holiday season is sponsored by Consumers Energy.


Visit with Santa at the Tree Lighting Ceremony

A time honored holiday tradition, families will have the opportunity to visit with Santa during the Tree Lighting Ceremony in Bronson Park on Friday, November 26 from 5-7. The tree lighting event is free. Other festivities at the tree lighting event include live music, crafts, and hot chocolate. 


Paws with Claus

Do you have a furry friend that you would like to include in your holiday celebrations? Then consider taking your pet to the Paws with Claus event held at Gazelle Sports, located on the Kalamazoo Mall. At this event you will be invited to star in a photo shoot with Santa, along with your furry companion. This event will take place on Friday, November 26 from 3-4:30, prior to the tree lighting ceremony. Pet food donations will be collected at this event to provide to local animal shelters.


During this fun-packed day, a host of costumed characters will also be roaming the mall from Noon-2 p.m.


Santa’s Workshop in the Raddison Plaza Hotel

Santa’s Workshop opens November 27. This attraction is presented by the Radisson Plaza Hotel Downtown Kalamazoo and supported by the Black Arts and Cultural Center. Located on the first floor of the Radisson Plaza Hotel in the Blush Salon Beauty Lounge Space at 100 W. Michigan Ave, this exhibit features Santa along with a team of elves in a Christmas-decorated wonderland. 


Each child who visits will receive a Santa Letter Writing Kit to take home. Mailboxes will be placed around downtown for families to mail their letters to Santa.


The workshop will be open for visits with Santa on Thursdays and Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from 12 to 4 p.m. Visits with Black Santa will take place every Thursday and Sunday afternoon.


Window Decorating Contest

Kalamazoo’s Downtown Window Decorating competition continues this year during the holiday season. This is a friendly competition between downtown businesses to create the best holiday-themed window display. However, there is more than one winner, as everyone who walks through downtown this holiday season will get to bask in these spirited window displays. 


Getting around Downtown

The Holly Jolly Trolley will run through Downtown Kalamazoo Nov. 26 through Dec. 29, and on Tuesday, Dec. 31 for New Year’s Eve. The trolley has nine Downtown stops, including City Hall, the Kalamazoo Mall, Portage Street, and Michigan Avenue. The trolley will run Thursdays and Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sundays from 12 to 4 p.m. Special hours include Friday, Dec. 24 from 12 to 4 p.m. and Friday, Dec. 31

from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. 


All trolley rides are free. The Holly Jolly Trolley is sponsored by Kalamazoo Valley Community College.


For those driving downtown to attend holiday events or shop, there are also free parking options along the Kalamazoo Mall. Parking is free on Thursdays in December in the Epic Parking ramp. There is free 90-minute on-street parking throughout downtown and free parking all day Sundays.


Support local businesses this holiday season

Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership invites residents and visitors to join the nationwide movement to shop local on Small Business Saturday, November 27. However, Small Business Saturday doesn’t stop there for Kalamazoo; every Saturday in December is “Small Business Saturday." 


Shopping locally gets even easier with Downtown Partnership’s Downtown Dollars BOGO deal. Between November 5 – November 19, when you purchase $20 in Downtown Dollars, you get an added $10 free. This deal is limited to $100 per person until funds run out.


When shopping downtown this Small Business Saturday, customers will receive a limited-edition reusable holiday retail shopping bag, while supplies last.

Additional information on Small Business Saturday is available here.