City of Birmingham holiday events calendar full
Downtown Birmingham is the place to be for the 2023 holiday season if you are looking for local shopping and dining, along with a full line-up of free holiday events and activities sure to please visitors of all ages.
The festivities kick-off on Small Business Saturday, November 25, and continue throughout the season. First created by American Express to focus on the nation's small businesses in the wake of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday is now a time discover and support local businesses. "Seventy-five percent of downtown Birmingham’s businesses are locally owned," said Cristina Sheppard-Decius, Business Shopping Director (BSD) Executive Director. "Local small businesses are the backbone of our downtowns and communities, and by shopping local during the holidays and beyond, you are supporting not only those local businesses owners, but also the entire community. We’ve always selected this important day to be the official start to all of our holiday events and activities, in celebration of our local businesses.”
Shoppers can find unique local gifts for everyone on their list – and earn a $25 Birmingham Bucks e-Gift card for every $10 spent at eligible BSD businesses on Saturday, November 25 – Sunday, November 26. Birmingham Bucks e-gift cards can be redeemed at over 75 downtown Birmingham retailers and restaurants. Visit ALLINBirmingham.com/sbs for promotional details.
Parking will be free in all parking structure Friday, November 24-Sunday, November 26. Looking for something fun and unique to do? How about a free carriage ride around downtown? They are available, courtesy of Lincoln of Troy.
And it's not Thanksgiving weekend without a visit with Santa. Families may register to participate in welcoming Santa to town, during Santa Walk, a short walk through downtown with stops at local shops. Register at ALLINBirmingham.com/events.
Santa House and carriage rides will continue each weekend throughout the holiday season. Visit Shain Park for both. Santa visits are by appointment only, except during the Winter Markt event, December 1 – 3, when visits are first-come, first- served. As always, Santa House and carriage rides are free. Each Saturday during the holiday season, stop by a tent at the corner of Old Woodward and Maple and enjoy free homemade hot chocolate, courtesy of Hazel’s, Daxton Hotel and Planthropie, and free roasted chestnuts courtesy of the BSD.
A new event for shoppers and diners this year is Late Night Thursdays, beginning on November 30 and continuing on Thursdays through December 21. Visit downtown Birmingham between 5-8 p.m. to shop during extended retail hours, enjoy delicious sweet treats, and listen to professional carolers singing holiday favorites. As an added treat, hop on a free trolley to get around the city. Want more? There will be festive holiday helpers spreading more holiday cheer in the form of thousands of dollars in free gift cards to random shoppers.
Mark your calendars for the popular Winter Markt and Holiday Tree Lighting. Winter Markt, presented by Mercedes Benz of Bloomfield Hills, returns to Shain Park on Friday, December 1, through Sunday, December 3. On opening night, Friday, December 1, at 6 p.m., Birmingham will officially kick off the holiday season with the traditional Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony, presented by Wells Fargo Advisors, featuring live entertainment, giveaways sponsored by KW Domain, and the lighting of Birmingham’s holiday tree adorned with over 45,000 LED lights. Mojo and Shannon from Channel 955’s Mojo in the Morning Show will emcee the event.
The German-themed Winter Markt features over 70 local artists and vendors offering fresh holiday greens and décor, children’s toys and books, apparel and accessories, apothecary, jewelry and more. European-inspired cuisine, live performances and free holiday-themed activities, including marshmallow roasting, horse-drawn carriage rides sponsored by Lincoln of Troy, visits with Santa and the Kinderhaus activity area.