Ways to feel festive and stay safe this break


Amelia Osadchuk

Downtown Rochester’s Big, Bright Lights Show decorates the buildings on Main Street in roughly 1.5 million lights.

As Oakland University enters its second COVID-19 winter, students are once again looking for ways to enjoy their break while remaining safe.

Luckily, even though winters in Michigan can be rough, there is no shortage of ways to enjoy the holiday season. Just be sure to bring your coats and mittens while checking out these festive activities.

The Holidays at Meadow Brook

In our backyard, The Holidays at Meadow Brook has been a staple at OU for the past 50 years. Now featuring two different events, it’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit without heading too far.

The first event, the Holiday Walk, is roughly an hour-long, self-guided walk through Meadow Brook Hall which is fully decked-out in lights and displays. All three stories of the mansion are decorated with lights, trees and more.

“It’s essentially what we’re known for,” says Shannon O’Berski, Meadow Brook Hall’s director of external relations. “It’s just opulent and over-the-top and it’s absolutely beautiful.”

Making its debut this year is a outdoor tour called Winter Wonder Lights where you can explore the grounds of Meadow Brook Hall completely revamped for the holiday season. The tour takes place in the evening and features spectacles such as a pegasus flying across a light display.

“You can definitely see the heart and soul of this experience when you come through here, and you see all the work that’s put into this and the uniqueness that is this light show,” O’Berski says.

Both shows have an OU night where tickets for students are $5 and they can bring friends and family for the day at only $12 opposed to the regular $22 for the Winter Lights and $20 for the Holiday Walk. OU night is Dec. 16 for Winter Lights and Dec. 19 for Holiday Walk.

The Big, Bright Lights Show

A staple of Rochester, the Big, Bright Lights Show decorates the buildings on Main Street in roughly 1.5 million lights. The show is completely free, and the lights are lit every evening from 5 p.m. until midnight. 

The executive director of the Rochester Development Authority (DDA), Kristi Trevarrow, says the idea came in 2005 when the “economy wasn’t super great” and it was created to draw attention to downtown Rochester. It was inspired by a Disney World display called “The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.” 

It isn’t just about the lights — a big part is to support small businesses and local shopping. While walking or driving down Main be sure to stop by and get involved — whether that be grabbing some cocoa or checking out some of the local businesses.

“These are memory making moments that the light show creates,” Trevarrow says. “People make these special memories in front of the show and you just can’t get that anywhere else.”

Campus Martius Park

Campus Martius is an essential part of Downtown Detroit and has been since its inception in 2004. It is located on Woodward Avenue and was named a “Top Public Square” by USA Today in 2021.

The park features a flashy tree with half a million lights, as well as The Rink, an outdoor ice skating rink that anyone can use no matter their skill level. Tickets range from $8 to $11 and you can even rent skates for only $5.

After you are done skating, feel free to visit one of the two restaurants located just next door. The Fountain Detroit and Parc are open during the holiday season and offer a wide variety of food and drinks.

Whether you decide to see some lights, go skating or just stay at home, be sure to stay safe and enjoy yourself over break.