Whether you’re ready or not, it’s only a matter of time before holiday songs are playing on the radio, stores become a shopping frenzy and of course, trees are being trimmed and lit in preparation for Santa to arrive! The biggest tree of them all is front and center in downtown Detroit with a 60-foot Michigan-grown Norway Spruce just waiting for thousands to help flick the switch on Friday, November 18th for the annual Detroit Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Since this event is truly for all – families, friends, foodies and fun-havers – we put together a guide for all the festivities, freebies and fun to be had before, during and after the tree lighting.



  • 5 P.M. – Family fun festivities kick off Downtown in Campus Martius Park and the lineup includes horse-drawn carriage rides, free cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate, photos with Santa and more inside of the Warming Tent and The Salvation Army Family Fun Tent.
  • 6 P.M. – The Salvation Army lights the famous giant Red Kettle.
  • 6:15 P.M. – Entertainment portion of the evening begins, including live music, skating performances and more!
  • 7:45 P.M. – Detroit’s Christmas Tree — wrapped in more than 19,000 energy-efficient, multi-colored LED lights provided by DTE Energy, and decorated with sparkling red and silver ornaments, will be lit just before 8 p.m.
  • 9 P.M. – Rink opens to public


    • Aaron Neville of the funk famous Neville Brothers is set to take the stage and bring New Orleans to the heart of Downtown Detroit.
    • Kisma Jordan, Detroit’s own 2014 Kresge Artist Fellowship recipient and operatic soprano
    • Nuclassica, electro-pop violin band
    • The Gospel Truth vocal ensemble
    • Michigan Opera Theatre Children’s Chorus
    • Wyatt, the 14-year-old trombone player and a Make-A-Wish Michigan Wish Kid


Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the Detroit hometown skating duo who were the first American ice dancers to win the World Title, will take center ice to showcase their talent.

Also performing will be local skating clubs, including: Fraser Figure Skating Club, Detroit Skating Club, Arctic Figure Skating Club, Dearborn Figure Skating Club’s nationally recognized synchronized skating team – The Crystallettes, and the award-winning U-M Synchronized Skating Team.

Following the excitement, Channel 955 will host The Rink Opening Party, and the public will be able to dust off their skates or rent a pair from 9 p.m. to midnight.

Admission for the rink is as follows:

  • Adults, $8
  • Children (12 & under), $7
  • Seniors (50 & older), $7
  • *skate rentals $3

BAR CRAWLS: FOOD, DRINKS, DANCING, MUSIC – Whether you’re looking to warm up with a hot meal before the ceremony or a hot toddy afterwards, we’ve crafted a few different bar crawl options to keep you busy all night long!

1 block from the action

  • Central Kitchen + Bar food and drink (660 Woodward Ave., centraldetroit.com)
  • Townhouse – food and drink (500 Woodward Ave., eatattownhouse.com)
  • Grand Trunk – food and drink (612 Woodward Ave., grandtrunkpub.com)
  • The Keep – drink (140 Cadillac Sq., facebook.com/thekeepdetroit)
  • Calexico Detroit – food and drink (1040 Woodward Ave., calexico.net)

2 blocks from the action

  • Standby – food and drink (220 Gratiot Ave., standbydetroit.com)
  • Punch Bowl Social – food and drink (1331 Broadway St., punchbowlsocial.com)
  • Vincente’s Cuban Cuisine – food and drink (1250 Library St., vincentesdetroit.com)
  • Detroit Beer Co. – food and drink (1529 Broadway St., detroitbeerco.com)

3 blocks from the action

  • Firebird Tavern – food, drink, dancing *late night* (419 Monroe St., firebirdtavern.com)
  • Exodos – food, drink, dancing *late night* (529 Monroe St., exodosrooftop.com)
  • Old Shillelagh – food, drink, dancing *late night* (349 Monroe St., oldshillelagh.com)

Check out campusmartiuspark.org for more information.

Photo credit: Campus Martius Park

Erica N. Rakowicz/After 5

Due to COVID-19, After 5 Detroit has paused operations indefinitely. 
We hope everyone stays safe and healthy.
Thank you for joining us on this journey for all of these years!