Holiday Events at Dow Gardens

Whether you’re a fan of Michigan winters, or you dread the cold, one thing is certain, with Thanksgiving next week, the holiday season is officially here. At Dow Gardens, there's something for everyone to get you into the spirit, including a nice weekday nature stroll, or a self-guided tour of The Pines, the former home of Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow.

Dow Gardens Marketing Manager Kristen Inman says The Gardens is a perfect place to get out from under the covers and stretch your legs this winter. Open year-round, Tuesday through Sunday, except for Christmas, and New Year’s Day, Dow Gardens’ 40-foot-high forest Canopy walk, iconic red bridges, famous sculptures and historic Pines Home truly stand out against a glittery white fresh snow. 

Dow Gardens is a perfect place to get out from under the covers and stretch your legs this winter.
“Unlike the plants that go dormant, the Dow Gardens staff does not slow down when colder temperatures set in,” Inman says. “There is usually at least one staff member (if not more), out and about, ensuring the paths are as free as possible from snow and ice.”

A tropical environment doubles as a warm-up center in the newly-remodeled Conservatory. Visitors can browse for gift-giving items in the Gift Shop, or grab a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and enjoy it by the fire at Whiting Forest Cafe. 

Inman says December is the perfect time to visit The Pines of Dow Gardens. The former home of Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow and their seven children, was built in 1899, and is now a National Historic Landmark. 
The Pines is a National Historic Landmark.
“Set in rolling winter landscape, The Pines is decorated in a colonial-revival holiday style,” Inman says. “Visitors will notice exotic fruits like citrus, pineapples, and pomegranate incorporated into garlands and trees. During the tour, guests will hear letters and journal entries from the Dow family that offer a window into what the holiday season meant to them.”

Regular Holiday Tours take place Wednesday through Friday from Dec. 1-23. All ages are welcome. Reservations are recommended. Adult tickets are $5 plus the cost of admission, and $3 plus admission for students with ID and children. 

The Pines is also hosting a Holiday Open House on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitors can enjoy refreshments, music, and self-guided tours through the decorated home. Reservations can be made online, admission fees apply. 

Inman says holiday events at Dow Gardens are always popular fan-favorites. As a gift to the community, the Christmas Walk is a free family event on Dec. 8-10, and Dec. 15-17 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. The event invites guests to stroll the luminary-lit path, listen to live music, meet Santa’s reindeer, and enjoy hot beverages for sale. “It is truly one of our most highly-anticipated events of the year,” Inman says. 
Guests can stroll on the luminary lit paths during the Christmas Walk at Dow Gardens.
“Team members work hard stringing twinkle lights, cleaning over 500 candle-lit luminaries, and conveying hundreds of poinsettias from the production greenhouse to form a magnificent 15-foot display in the conservatory.”
 Dow Gardens is also hosting a free Christmas Cart Tour Night on Dec. 7 and 14 for visitors who might need extra accommodations. “We strive to find opportunities to welcome guests of all ages and abilities,” Inman says. This event has capacity restrictions, and requires a reservation made by phone (989-631-2677).

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Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.

Sarah Spohn is a Lansing native, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan, leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at