Winter in Metro Detroit can be one of the toughest in the country with bad weather, horrible commutes, miserable clean-up of snow and slush day after day, and these are just a few of the things that try our patience each and every cold season in Motown. But alas! Relief from the grief is not far from home. Here are a few perfect and affordable mini-vacations that you and your families can partake in around the Motor City to escape those winter blues that have you ready to bury yourself in a snow embankment some days.
The Bavarian Inn
1 Covered Bridge Lane
Frankenmuth, MI 48734
Just north of Detroit lies an incredible winter wonderland of German historical spectacles that only come alive one true time each year during the cold seasons. Detroiters have known it for decades and each holiday season, they flock to The Bavarian Inn, nestled within the heart of Frankenmuth, Michigan. With 13 acres of beautiful riverfront, The Bavarian Inn is the perfect backdrop to a winter day and has hundreds of top-of-the-line rooms available for the duration of your stay. The Inn Lodge has many family-fun activities and mini-vacation specials are always popping up throughout the season.
730 S Main St.
Frankenmuth, MI 48734
Also located in Frankenmuth, Zehnder’s has to be noted as a retreat all its own due to its immense popularity and its, quite literally, world famous chicken dinners. On the dining end of the spectrum, Zehnder’s Restaurant is home to some of the Midwest’s best cold weather comfort food and Bavarian-themed foods. The massive chicken dinners are made to feed an army and won’t empty your wallet in the meantime. For a reprieve from the winter weather, stay at Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark, which offers 146 deluxe rooms and plenty of fun for the family.
Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland
25 Christmas Lane
Frankenmuth, MI 48734
Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland is a vacation in and of itself. As the world’s largest Christmas store, Bronner’s is a 7.35-acre building housed entirely with Christmas-themed items and supplies and is open 361 days of the year, whether or not it happens to be the holiday season. Signs along the highway from as far south as Florida and as far west as Missouri tempt folks to come and spend a day or two walking throughout the massive complex that is chocked to the brim with just about anything you could think of that involves Santa, Christmas or yuletide, including a host of delicious treats to snack on as your peruse the amazing interior.
Related: The Perfect Long Weekend In Detroit
Downtown Ann Arbor
Main Street Area Association
605 S. Main St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Ann Arbor is a crown jewel. No matter what time of the year, the many trees surrounding the arts and culture of the area are always a beautiful sight within the quaint downtown neighborhood lining Main Street. With incredible, top-ranked hotels such as the Ann Arbor Regent Hotel & Suites, residents from the entire Motown area can escape to a place that never takes an intellectual break. With an abundance of high-end dining locales and book shops to choose from, you may want to end up planning for more than just a weekend to take in all of the beauty and charm Ann Arbor has to offer. Wait until mid-December through early January to plan your trip, as many of the students from the University of Michigan will be back home visiting their parents and families, thus many money-saving deals can be found for savvy travelers.
Detroit Marriott At The Renaissance Center
400 Renaissance Drive W.
Detroit, MI 48243
Why bother to leave the greatest city in the world at all this holiday season? Nestled cozily in the middle of Detroit’s Renaissance Center, 73 floors high above the beautiful Detroit River, is the tallest hotel in the country. The “Ren Cen,” as it is affectionately known, lies dead center at the heart of downtown Detroit and serves as a wonderful “home base” for all types of holiday season activities. From ice skating in Campus Martius Park and viewing the massive Christmas tree, to catching an exciting Detroit Red Wings game just down the street at the Joe Louis Arena, a short weekend spent in downtown Motown never seems long enough, regardless of the time of year. And with the famed Coach Insignia Restaurant at the top of the Detroit Marriott Tower, there will be no shortage of great food and family fun.
Michael Ferro is freelance writer and a graduate of Michigan State University where he majored in Creative Writing and received the Jim Cash Creative Writing Award. Born and bred in Detroit, he currently resides in Ypsilanti Township. Additional writing can be found at Examiner.com.