Uptown Holiday Shop Hop [Free!]
Throughout Uptown Grand Rapids
Find that one-of-a-kind gift and enjoy special discounts during this festive holiday shopping event. Food and hot beverages, live entertainment and free shuttles will be available.
Friday 12/2–Saturday 12/3
28th Annual UICA Holiday Artists’ Market [Free!]
Steelcase Town Hall, 901 44th St. SE, Grand Rapids
Dec. 2, 5-9 p.m., Dec. 3, 10-5 p.m.
uica.org, (616) 454-7000
If you’re struggling to find a matchless gift for a loved one, you might want to check out UICA’s Annual Holiday Artists’ Market. The event has everything from hand-crafted jewelry and home goods to fine art and toys. There will also be live music and local food and beverages on hand.
Taking the Long Road Cocktail Competition
Long Road Distillery, 537 Leonard St. NW, Grand Rapids
5:30–8 p.m., longroaddistillers.com
In partnership with the Grand Rapids chapter of the United States Cocktail Guild, Long Road Distillers is hosting this first-ever competition, which is meant to bring awareness to the guild and inspire people who are passionate about being a professional bartender. The competition provides a forum for bartenders in Grand Rapids to show off their skills in the art of creating craft cocktails using Long Road’s spirits.
Repeal Day Party
642 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids
Tickets: $10 in advance via eventbrite.com, $12 at the door (if available), 21+ only
Celebrate the repeal of the 18th Amendment that ended Prohibition with hosts Long Road Distillers, Local First, Sidecar Studios and the The Grand Rapids Bartending Guild - USBG. Look for live music from Jesse Ray and the Carolina Catfish and The Bootstrap Boys. Libations include beer, cider and cocktails (cash bar), and the Two Scotts Barbecue food truck will be on-site. See more details and buy tickets at longroaddistillers.com.
Super Happy Funtime Burlesque: X-Mas Special
The Pyramid Scheme, 68 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids
Doors at 9 p.m., $10 general admission, $25 VIP, 18 and up
pyramidschemebar.com, (616) 272-3758
Bringing a signature mix of old-school burlesque and John Waters-style camp as always, the Grand Rapids-based Super Happy Funtime Burlesque performs its fun, festive and kitschy X-Mas Special at The Pyramid Scheme this month.
Ugly Sweater Party
Bell’s Eccentric Cafe, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo
9 p.m., $5
bellsbeer.com, (269) 382-2332
Bell’s Eccentric Café hosts its Ugly Sweater Party Dec. 17. Wear your ugliest sweater and you’ll have a chance to win gift cards and other prizes. The event also features appearances by Earl Jordan, Matt Dorbin and Evan Luoma.
Marcus King Band
760 Butterworth St. SW, Grand Rapids
9 p.m., $10, 21 and up, (616) 272-3910
The Marcus King Band stops by Tip Top in support of a new self-titled album, a mixture of blues, rock, country and soul. Although this is only King’s second LP, he is being called “a formidable talent” by NPR.
If you love Christmas, drinking booze and playing dress up, now’s your chance to roll them all into one full day of festivities. At SantaCon, people dress up as Santa Claus or other holiday-related things to “spread joy and fun.” Attendees parade through the streets and stop at bars while singing naughty Christmas carols and exchanging gifts with strangers.
Miracle on 34th Street: A Musical Adaptation
Van Singel Fine Arts Center, 8500 Burlingame Ave. SW, Byron Center
2 p.m. & 7 p.m.
$45.50 for adults, $25.50 for children
vsfac.com, (616) 878-6800
This holiday classic centers on Kris Kringle, a man who claims to be Santa Claus and is thus on trial for his own insanity. The nationally-touring play adapts the eponymous 1947 film into a musical, with songs like Just Imagine and I Believe in Miracles. It’s a festive play for families, friends and everyone in between.
Howmet Playhouse, 304 S. Mears Ave., Whitehall
7:30 p.m., $25
howmetplayhouse.org, (231) 894-4048
Joshua Davis has been rising the ranks of the American roots scene for the last 15 years. Hailing from Traverse City, the guitarist, singer and songwriter was a finalist on NBC’s The Voice in 2015, which expanded his reach. Davis is also the frontman of the Lansing-based roots ensemble, Steppin’ In It. If you’re a big enough fan, pick up the VIP meet-and-greet tickets for an extra $40 and you’ll get some Q&A time and a photo op.
Snoop Dogg: Puff Puff Pass Tour
Van Andel Arena, 130 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids
7 p.m., $29.50-$75
vanandelarena.com, (616) 742-6600
West Coast rap legend (and BFF of Martha Stewart) Snoop Dogg stops by Van Andel on his Puff Puff Pass Tour, Dec. 20. The show features performances from Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Warren G, DJ Quik, and of course, Tha Dogg Pound.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Ghosts of Christmas Eve
Van Andel Arena, 130 W. Fulton St, Grand Rapids
Dec. 22, 3 p.m. & 8 p.m.
vanandelarena.com, (616) 742-6600
Trans-Siberian Orchestra is performing its rock opera, The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, at Van Andel in celebration of its 20th anniversary. The production features songs like “O’ Come All Ye Faithful,” “Good King Joy,” “Promises To Keep,” and “This Christmas Day.”
THURSDAY 12/22-Friday 12/23
Cirque de Noël with Grand Rapids Symphony at DeVos Performance Hall
Dec. 22 at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 23 at 8 p.m.
$32+, grsymphony.org, (616) 454-9451
The combination of live music and the wonder of a Cirque performance is not to be missed! Family and friends of all ages will be delighted by the sights and sounds of the annual Cirque de Noël performance at DeVos Hall. Conductor John Varineau leads the Grand Rapids Pops musicians with holiday favorites such as Carol of the Bells, selections from The Nutcracker, and Skater's Waltz, all while Cirque de la Symphonie artists share the stage. Performances by aerialists, acrobats, contortionists, and jugglers will amaze with gravity defying feats of power and elegance. Whether a well-established tradition in your family or a brand new one, Cirque de Noël brings together all the best holiday pleasures in this intimate sensory experience. Surely a Best Bet for relatives who arrive in town early, friends you want to impress, or just some “me time” in the hustle and bustle of the season.
Saturday 12/31 - new Year's Eve
Acoustic NYE w/ Lee DeWyze
Seven Steps Up, 116 S. Jackson St., Spring Lake
7:30 p.m., $150
sevenstepsup.com, (616) 678-3618
If you’re looking for New Year’s Eve plans on the lakeshore, this is for you. Seven Steps Up has crafted a truly unique night with singer-songwriter (and 2010 winner of American Idol) Lee DeWyze. While you may notice that tickets aren’t quite as cheap as popping a bottle of Barefoot Bubbly at home, the event price includes appetizers, salad, dinner, dessert, a bottle of quality champagne and the uber-intimate acoustic show with DeWyze. Plus, there’s only 80 tickets available — enough people to throw a memorable party without being packed in like sardines.
Multiple dates & Ongoing Events
Alamo Drafthouse Holiday Films
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: Dec. 2 and 5, 7:30 p.m.
Elf: Dec. 3, 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. & Dec. 8, 7:15 p.m.
Love Actually: Dec. 6, 7 p.m.
Die Hard: Dec. 12, 7 p.m.
Alamo Drafthouse, 180 Portage St., Kalamazoo
drafthouse.com/kalamazoo, (269) 532-7990
The Alamo Drafthouse is stacked with holiday-themed movies this month. Featured flicks include: one romantic comedy, two family comedies and one surprisingly festive action flick. What do they have in common above all else? Every one is a timeless classic.
Movies NOT in the Park: Gremlins & Nightmare Before Christmas [Free!]
UICA, 2 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids
Gremlins: Dec. 3, 8 p.m.
The Nightmare Before Christmas: Dec. 17, 8 p.m.
uica.org, (616) 454-7000
Two holiday favorites are making an appearance at UICA this month: 1984’s Gremlins and the Tim Burton favorite, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Both movies are one night only and admission is free. Seating is first-come, first-served, so get there early.
Downtown Market Classes
Holly Jolly Cookie Bash: Multiple dates
Winter Wonderland: Dec. 7, 4 p.m.-8 p.m.
Grand Rapids Downtown Market, 435 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids
downtownmarketgr.com, (616) 805-5308
The Grand Rapids Downtown Market has several events for adults and children alike this month. The first is Holly Jolly Cookie Bash, a four-hour class that teaches you how to bake assorted cookies for the holidays. Next is Winter Wonderland, which includes food and beverage demos, a Holiday Artisan Market and an appearance by Santa Claus.