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When you think of winter fun in Michigan, you probably think of outdoor activities like skiing, ice skating, or snowshoeing. These are all great activities to have fun in during the winter months, but there are a lot of things to do indoors in winter in michigan too.

If you’re looking to have fun this winter while staying sheltered from the cold, the possibilities are endless. Whether you’re driving to a local museum or doing an activity in your own corner of the country, there’s plenty of indoor fun in Michigan during the winter.

Go see a movie in a historic theater

No matter the time of year, it’s always fun to go to the movies on a date. If you’re looking for something fun to do this winter, skip the movie chains and catch a movie at one of Michigan’s historic theaters. If you’re a senior, these theaters are almost like time machines, transporting you to simpler times.

Historic Detroit Metro Theaters

If you are in the Detroit metro area, you can check out the Birmingham 8 Theater on Old Woodward Ave. It still looks a lot like it did when it opened in 1927.

The Redford Theater in Detroit features an interior meant to resemble a medieval Japanese motif. It continues to operate as a single-screen theater as when it opened in 1928.

The Farmington Civic Theater in downtown Farmington is a classic example of an old movie theater. It invites customers inside with neon signs and bright lights. The building is historic, but the movie-watching experience has been updated so you can catch a current movie you’ve been looking forward to seeing.

Redford Theater | photo via Jennifer Bowman

A historic theater in the Upper Peninsula

If you are in the Upper Peninsula, consider visiting the historic site The Braumart at Iron Mountain. It opened in 1925 and offers a bit of everything from classic film screenings to live theater and music.

Visit local museums for things to do indoors in winter in Michigan

If you’re trying to stay out of the cold, there’s no better way to spend a winter’s day than at a museum in Michigan. It’s the perfect place for fun family activities, offering knowledge, interactivity and family bonding.

Local Museums in the Upper Peninsula

Start with Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where you can experience the Michigan Iron Industry Museum. It teaches you all about Michigan’s mining history through exhibits, including interactive exhibits.

If the conditions are not suitable for hitting the slopes outside, you can go to Ishpeming. The United States Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame has ski artifacts and collections.

Local Museums in Northern Michigan

Under the Mackinac Bridge, take the road along the Sunrise Side to Alpena, where you can visit the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan. You’ll find dozens of artifacts as well as animal exhibits and spaces dedicated to local art.

You can also drive from the Lake Michigan side to Traverse City’s Dennos Museum Center. It hosts music and film events throughout the year.

A local museum in Grand Rapids

In West Michigan, you can’t go wrong visiting Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. It has been permanently named one of Michigan’s “must see” museums and features more than 150 sculptures.

Lighthouse Museums Throughout Michigan

Although not all lighthouse museums are open in the winter, you can see much of Michigan’s maritime history as you pass them. If nothing else, they make great photo backgrounds, especially when covered in snow and ice.

Dinner in an igloo

Believe it or not, igloo dining has become an increasingly popular dining option over the past few years. It has promoted social distancing during the pandemic and has become the perfect intimate dining experience.

If you want to have this experience, plan to make a reservation in advance. Also be aware that some places have minimum expenses for dining in an igloo.

Restaurants with meals in igloos

In Dearborn, you can visit Mint 29 for a festive igloo dining scene. You could go to Camp Ticonderoga to Troy for Black Angus steaks and pulled pork sandwiches.

If you are looking for different menu items, check out Moose sanctuary. It serves dishes such as bison burgers, whiskey-glazed barbecue ribs and fresh fish.

Enjoy a hot cup of coffee at a local cafe

Nothing warms the body more on a cold winter day than a cup of fresh coffee. Even if you’re beholden to chains like Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts, there are plenty of local Michigan cafes worth checking out.

Central Michigan Cafes

To Foster Coffee Company in Owosso, you will find specialties like mochas and pumpkin drinks. All coffee is roasted on site and every drink is made with fresh ingredients.

To Blue Owl Cafe in Lansing’s REO Town neighborhood, you’ll feast on non-alcoholic coffee craft cocktails that taste just like their boozy counterparts. If you’re feeling really daring, you can order one of Nitro’s signature brew flights.

Foster Coffee Co, Owosso - Grab a cup at these ten Michigan cafes, things to do in the winter indoors
Foster Coffee Co Latte in Owosso | photo by Aaron Cruz

Coffeehouses in Western Michigan

At Muskegon’s Drip Coffee Bar, you can sip artisan coffee offerings. You will be able to taste the care that the employees put into your drink.

If you’re on the go, check out Water Street Cafe Joint in Kalamazoo and Portage, which offers cafes and drive-thru options. You can have your favorite latte or espresso and continue your day of exploration.

Take the kids to an indoor water park

If you’re looking for the perfect indoor winter activities for the whole family in Michigan, head to an indoor water park. It’s a great way to have fun. Plus, while it might be in the single digits outside, the weather is nice and mild in the water park!

Northern Michigan Water Parks

Avalanche Bay at Boyne Falls is a popular spot during the winter season. It has 88,000 square feet of indoor water fun, including water slides, a lazy river, hot tubs, and a rock climbing wall. The water park is also close to the many ski resorts around Petoskey.

Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City is also another must-see destination in the north. It has plenty of bells and whistles, including five unique pools, a 1,000 gallon tipping bucket, and eight water slides.

Water Parks in Mid-Michigan Michigan

Consider stopping in Frankenmuth, a town known for its Bavarian-style architecture. Here you will find the Bavarian Inn Lodge and Zehnder’s Splash Village.

The Lodge has five indoor pools and three hot tubs. It has plenty of dining options, an arcade, and a mini-golf course.

Splash Village features huge dump buckets, a lazy river, waterslides, toddler area and geysers. All of these features ensure that your family has a fun day of splashing around.

Bavarian Inn Lodge Pool, Frankenmuth - Indoor Winter Activities
Bavarian Inn Lodge

Stroll through a botanical garden

If you love nature, there is no better place to go than a botanical garden. The work of master gardeners enlivens the state and offers visitors a chance to see a wide array of beautiful foliage.

Grand Rapids Gardens

Again, the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park is one of the best indoor winter activities to do in Michigan. The gardens are considered some of the best in Michigan and are among the most famous.

With three indoor conservatories – which house tropical, arid and carnivorous gardens – there is something to behold that will delight everyone. You will also find a Japanese garden and many impressive works of art.

Frederik Meijer Gardens, Grand Rapids - Ways to Warm Up While Staying in Michigan, Things to Do Indoors in Winter
Frederik Meijer Gardens | photo via Frederik Meijer Gardens

University of Michigan Botanical Gardens

The Matthaei Botanical Gardens at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor are among the most diverse in the state. You can easily spend a day visiting tidy perennial gardens or exploring mature hardwood forests. It has a Gardens Trail that also connects to a network of nature trails in Washtenaw County.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens And Nichols Arboretum, Ann Arbor - Indoor Winter Activities
Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum | photo via @barbsartpad

Michigan State University Botanical Gardens

The WJ Beal Botanical Garden at Michigan State University are equally impressive. It is home to the oldest active botanical garden in the country. Visitors can take note of fruits and vegetables as well as medicinal plants, flowering plants, and rare and endangered plants.

Gardens in Mid Michigan

If you’re talking about botanical gardens, no winter trip through Mid-Michigan is complete without a stop at the Dow Gardens in Midland. This 110-acre location is breathtaking, whether you’re strolling the 1,400-foot Canopy Walk, exploring the Whiting Forest, or marveling at the estate’s gardens.

Garden and park of the city of Traverse

In northern Michigan, see the Historic Barns Park Botanical Garden in Traverse City. This 25-acre garden showcases the plant life of northwest Michigan. You’ll see leafy trees and many kinds of flowers as you explore on your own or on a guided tour.

Find out more things to do in winter in Michigan

Winters in Michigan can be bitterly cold at times, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fun. You can learn in a fun way at the Flint Cultural Center, find ways to beat the winter blues at Alpena, or hit the ice at an indoor skating rink.

Either way, there are a plethora of things to do in winter in Michigan. You can even plan a getaway to one of Michigan’s amazing winter cities!