Spend the Holidays in Downtown Kalamazoo with Santa Visits, the Holly Jolly Trolley & More Festive Events

Downtown Kalamazoo Santa

Experience Holiday Magic in Downtown Kalamazoo

After packing away 60+ skeletons from SkeleTour, downtown Kalamazoo is ready to wow local families with its holiday décor and beloved, annual events.

Take a stroll downtown this holiday season and you’ll find beautifully decorated storefront windows, twinkly lights, a very jolly Santa and free rides on the Holly Jolly Trolley.

And when you don’t know what to buy, Downtown Dollars are the perfect gift: they are accepted at more than 50 locations and recipients have five years to spend them.

Downtown Kalamazoo Shopping

Who Organizes the Holiday Events Downtown?

In addition to Santa Claus and some Christmas magic, local nonprofit Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership is responsible for organizing many of the holiday festivities that support local businesses.

The Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership works to establish downtown Kalamazoo as an accessible, diverse, green, progressive and vibrant urban center.

They are also behind the scenes of many of our favorite events: SkeleTour, Santa’s Workshop, and Small Business Saturday to name a few.

Pack up the car and head downtown: we’ve got the scoop on everything jolly, twinkly and merry this holiday season.

Shop Local with Downtown Dollars

Have someone who is hard to shop for? Downtown Dollars can be used in over 50 locations downtown and are good for five years.

Downtown Dollars is a local currency program that keeps spending within Downtown Kalamazoo: think of them like a gift certificate that you can use for all of the super cool places downtown.

Downtown Dollars can be used at 50+ downtown shops, salons, and restaurants, and can even be emailed to gift recipients.

Downtown Dollars Small Business Saturday BOGO Deal

Extra $10 in Downtown Dollars for a Limited Time

Supporting local just got easier this holiday season, thanks to Consumers Energy.

Receive free $10 downtown dollars by visiting Consumers Energy on Small Business Saturday (November 27), 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, across from Lana’s Boutique.

Offer valid while supplies last.

Downtown Dollars
Downtown Dollars can be printed or used directly from your phone

More Local Shopping Resources

Holiday Gift Guide

Try our local gift guide for suggestions on where to snag some fantastic gifts.

Small Business Saturdays

Starting November 27, 2021, every Saturday is Small Business Saturday in Downtown Kalamazoo throughout December. Look for special promotions and in-store specials at your favorite, locally-owned shops.

Santa’s Workshop

Santa has moved back inside this year for visits at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo!

Santa’s Workshop is a magical place filled with holiday spirit and a jolly old soul. Families are invited to visit Thursdays- Sundays, starting November 27, 2021. No appointments necessary.

Kids who visit Santa’s Workshop will receive the following during their FREE visit:
• Photo with Santa
• Santa letter kit
• Holiday craft kit
• Wrapped treats

Santa will have several mailboxes throughout downtown for children to mail their letters. Again this year, families can also visit with Black Santa who will be at the workshop on Thursdays and Sundays.

Policy note: Masks are recommended for fully-vaccinated individuals and required for unvaccinated guests.

When You Can Visit Santa

Blush Salon at the Radisson Plaza Hotel
100 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

November 27, 2021 – December 24, 2021
Thursday + Friday: 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Saturday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
*Visits with Black Santa offered on Thursdays + Sundays

Downtown Kalamazoo Santa
No appointments are needed to visit Santa downtown
Downtown Kalamazoo Christmas
Santa’s Workshop welcomes families with festive decor

Window Decorating Contest

Downtown Kalamazoo’s storefronts get all dressed up for the holidays too- and they need your votes to win.

The 4th Annual Winter Window Decorating Contest kicks of voting on November 27; will Ballet Kalamazoo take first place again this year?

You’re invited to walk downtown to see 20+ business storefronts decked out for the holidays and vote for your favorite by scanning the QR code on the window. Voting launches on November 27 and runs through December 31.

The winners will be announced on January 4, 2022.

Window Decorating Voting

Downtown Kalamazoo
20+ participating stores

November 27, 2021 – December 31, 2021
Scan window QR codes to cast your vote; winners announced January 4, 2022

Be sure to vote for your favorite window!

Holly Jolly Trolley

Holiday shopping downtown is more fun with a ride on the Holly Jolly Trolley.

The trolley will run its traditional route through downtown Kalamazoo November 26 through December 23, 2021 and and on Tuesday, December 31 for New Year’s Eve.

The route includes nine stops: at City Hall, along the Kalamazoo Mall, Portage Street, and Michigan Avenue (see map below).

All trolley rides are FREE.

Policy note: Masks are recommended for fully-vaccinated individuals and required for unvaccinated guests.

When You Can Ride the Trolley

Downtown Kalamazoo
City Hall, Kalamazoo Mall, Portage Street, Michigan Avenue

November 26, 2021 – December 23, 2021 + December 31, 2021
Thursday + Friday: 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Saturday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Holly Jolly Trolley’s route downtown
Holly Jolly Trolley Downtown Kalamazoo
Catch a free ride on the Holly Jolly Trolley this holiday season
Downtown Kalamazoo Holly Jolly Trolley
The trolley gets dressed up for the holidays, both inside and out

More Festive Things to Do in Downtown Kalamazoo

Add these activities to your list while visiting Downtown Kalamazoo during the holidays:

1) See the Twinkling Lights Downtown

Take advantage of early sunsets in the winter and schedule some of your holiday shopping after the skies darken and streets illuminate in sparkling lights.

2) Visit Candy Cane Lane in Bronson Park

Bronson Park
200 S Rose St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

While you can’t eat these candy canes, they are a fantastic photo op for families each year.

Candy Cane Lane

3) Take a Photo With the Giant Santa

North Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

The big guy in statue form is definitely worthy of an annual photo; find him on the North Kalamazoo Mall.

4) Indulge your Merry Taste Buds with a Holly Jolly Monster Shake

Cherri’s Chocol’art
101 S Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

Known for their decadent chocolate, this seasonal Monster Shake from Cherri’s Chocol’art lives up to its name with vanilla ice cream, buttercream, frosting, sprinkles, whipped cream, peppermint bark, Christmas tree cake and cotton candy.

Prefer a warm beverage? Try their from scratch hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows.

photo: Cherri’s Chocol’art

5) Watch the Holiday Parade

Maple Hill Holiday Parade
Downtown Kalamazoo
November 20, 2021 | 11:00 AM

Bundle up and grab a seat for the 59th annual Holiday Parade in Kalamazoo. The parade is scheduled for Saturday, November 20 at 11:00 AM.

Downtown Kalamazoo Christmas Parade

6) Bring Fido for a Picture with Santa

Gazelle Sports
214 S Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, MI 49007
November 26, 2021| 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Gazelle Sports invites furry family members to Paws with Claus for a photo with the merry guy in the red suit on November 26. Guests are encouraged to bring pet food donations for local animal shelters.

7) Light up Bronson Park at the Tree Lighting Ceremony

Bronson Park Tree Lighting Ceremony
200 S Rose St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007
November 26, 2021 | 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Come see the City of Kalamazoo’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, November 26 in Bronson Park. Festivities start at 5:00 PM, with the lighting of the park at approximately 6:00 PM.

Tree Lighting Bronson Park Kalamazoo

Where to Park in Downtown Kalamazoo

Don’t let parking downtown dissuade you from enjoying the festivities! With more than 400 free 90-minute on-street parking spaces, paid parking garages and lots, Downtown Kalamazoo has ample space for your car.

On-street metered spots are also available, ranging from $1.75/hour to $3/day, and are FREE after 5:00 PM on weekdays, all day Satuday, Sunday, and holidays.

Downtown Kalamazoo

Does your family have any downtown Kalamazoo traditions? Leave us a comment below and let us know!

Partner Info

Downtown Kalamazoo

162 E Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49007