Holiday Guide: The Quintessential Thanksgiving in Michigan

Thanksgiving in Michigan can be a complete experience. From Wednesday drinking to Black Friday shopping, the whole experience can be had right here. For the very best turkey options, some of the most legendary pie shops in the country, and a turkey trot to top things off, here’s a guide to the quintessential Thanksgiving in Michigan. 

1. Delux Lounge, Detroit, MI

Whether you call it Black Wednesday or Blackout Wednesday, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving one of the busiest bar nights of the year. The Delux Lounge in Detroit prepares itself for that nicely, serving as one of the best bars for Black Wednesday according to CBS Local Detroit. Wednesday night karaoke certainly doesn't hurt matters, so whether you're coming to visit old friends, or just loosen up ahead of a family holiday party, you'll have all the opportunity you need at the Delux Lounge.

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2. Sweetie-licious Bakery Café, DeWitt and Grand Rapids, MI

Head to Dewitt or Grand Rapids for what MLive calls the best pie in Michigan, found at the Sweetie-licious Bakery Cafe. USA Today even called it one of the 20 “most legendary” pie shops in the United States. When you're there, and you can get past the weight of the honorifics this place carries, you'll be able to get your hands on pies ranging from Tom's Cheery Cherry Berry Berry to peanut butter chocolate cream. Since the pies change with the seasons, you can stop in most any time and get your hands on some kind of spectacular pie.

3. Tom Otto Turkey Farm, Middleville, MI

Thanksgiving without turkey just isn't the same, sadly, so head on out to Middleville and Tom Otto Turkey Farm to make sure you get yours the best way possible. Raised in open-air, free-range barns without hormones or antibiotics, a Tom Otto turkey is turkey as it was meant to be. Six generations of Ottos have worked the Tom Otto turkey farm, and that pride of ownership shines forth in every Tom Otto turkey that graces a holiday table.

4. America's Thanksgiving Parade, Detroit, MI

It's back to Detroit for one of the leading Thanksgiving Day parades in the whole country: America's Thanksgiving Parade. Started the same year as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, it's every bit as storied and venerable, even if it doesn't have the same level of media coverage. A two-hour festival of floats, marching bands, massive balloons and sheer Americana, America's Thanksgiving Parade will be a match for Macy's, and right in Michigan.

5. University of Michigan vs. Ohio State football game

After all the frenzy of Black Friday and the culinary joy of Thanksgiving, you may want something a little more mundane in your Thanksgiving weekend. Thankfully, University of Michigan's own Big House will be ready for you, as U of M takes on old rival Ohio State in a Thanksgiving weekend blockbuster. As one of the biggest rivalries in sports, you won’t want to miss it. 

6. Ziibiwing Center

Michigan has a staggering Native American connection. So on Thanksgiving, a look at some of the culture of the Native Americans of Michigan via Mount Pleasant's Ziibiwing Center is an edifying experience for all. With a permanent exhibit that takes about an hour or so to fully experience and a changing exhibit that adds 15 to 30 minutes, you’ll receive a better connection to Michigan's first residents.

7. Grand Rapids Turkey Trot, Grand Rapids, MI

The “turkey trot” is a familiar installation in Michigan, and several cities will have these on hand for those who find it worthwhile to work up an appetite before the big Thanksgiving feast. The Grand Rapids Turkey Trot is one such event, offering both a 5K run and a “mini trot” for those who don't want to go quite that far. This historic trot has been around since the early 1990s. 

8. Holland Rescue's Great Thanksgiving Banquet, Holland, MI

Those looking to do some good with their Thanksgiving won't have far to look. One major example is the Holland Rescue's Great Thanksgiving Banquet. Holland Rescue hosts a banquet each year, serving thousands of meals and care boxes with various cleaning goods to those in need. Helping out here is helping another individual or family have a brighter holiday. 

9. Twelve Oaks Mall, Novi, MI

A lot of Michigan malls have special events to lure in shoppers for Black Friday, and with good reason. But Novi's Twelve Oaks Mall may have the best such event with its Magical Night of Shopping event. It actually starts on Thanksgiving night—which may or may not be your cup of tea—going from 6 p.m. to midnight and offering not only exclusive sales, but several other special points as well. That Sunday, there will even be a special visit with Santa in a “sensory-friendly environment” to add to the roster, making Twelve Oaks a real destination for Black Friday shopping.

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10. Fire Rock Grille, Caledonia, MI

If the idea of cooking for Thanksgiving, or even ordering out, sounds like too much, you can pack up and head to a Thanksgiving buffet dinner. There are a large quantity of these scattered around Michigan, but one of the clear winners is the Fire Rock Grille in Caledonia. With turkey and all the trimmings on hand—assuming by “trimmings” you mean prime rib, ham, and pumpkin soup—along with some unexpected fare, you'll have plenty of exciting options on hand here. Throw in plenty of desserts to round it out and it's a Thanksgiving feast for the ages. There's even a separate kids' buffet for the little ones. 

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