Last-minute gift guide: Where to go to support Muskegon shops, artists, venues & more
If you’re anything like us, you still haven’t finished finding all your presents—but, don’t worry, there’s plenty of ways to nab something special while supporting our community businesses, artists, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and more. From donating to community organizations doing amazing work in our city to music, art, winter adventures, food, and so much more, the list of possible gifts seems nearly endless.
All of this is, of course, a drop in the bucket when it comes to possible presents—this list could truly go on forever, and we’re fortunate to live in a community where that’s the case. We’d love to hear who else you’re supporting this year; feel free to add it to the comments section, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to add it to this article.
Gifts for Muskegon
We’re incredibly grateful to live in a city where so many people give countless hours to helping their neighbors, from ensuring people have food to eat and a place to sleep to improving literacy, making our city more accessible for individuals with disabilities, and so much more. Whether you want to make a donation in a loved one’s name as a present, offer presents to families in need, or give the gift of volunteerism to an organization making profound change in our world, there are plenty of opportunities to do so here in Muskegon.
The Community Foundation for Muskegon County has an immensely helpful list of funds (click here) to which you can donate. Whether you want to support African-American heritage and culture in our community, music and the arts, college access programs, health initiatives, and so much more, there are hundreds of ways for you to give.
If you’re looking to donate a larger amount, the Community Foundation regularly publishes community wish lists for items local nonprofits are looking to fund, from coolers for Meals on Wheels to appliances for homes constructed by Muskegon County Habitat for Humanity. Check out the community wish lists by clicking here.
Community enCompass is implementing profound change in our city through creating affordable housing, rehabbing homes, operating an urban farm, connecting individuals who are homeless with stable housing, offering laundry facilities and warm meals to anyone in need, and much more. Check out this list to find out ways to partner with them, from donating specific items like laundry soap to volunteering.
Now celebrating its 100th year, the United Way of the Lakeshore is focused on building healthy and safe lives for everyone in our community; the organization emphasizes quality education that leads to stable jobs, enough income to support a family through retirement, and health. To donate, click here, and to volunteer, please go here.
One in five children in Michigan experiences hunger, but Kids Food Basket is changing that with its Sack Supper program, an initiative that ensures about 1,100 children at four Muskegon schools receive nutritious evening meals that families often could not otherwise afford. You can support Kids Food Basket by purchasing their holiday cards, donating, or volunteering.
A 45-year-old nonprofit organization that supports Muskegon’s Hackley Public Library by annually providing funding for hundreds of free programs for children and adults, the Friends of Hackley Public Library has numerous ways community members can donate and volunteer.
The Boys and Girls Club of the Muskegon Lakeshore provides everything from after-school and sports programs to meals, music and arts opportunities, nutritional classes, and more. To volunteer, please click here, and to donate, go here.
Goodwill Industries of West Michigan is West Michigan’s largest nonprofit provider of education, training and career services for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment. From clothing donations to financial support, here are all the ways you can partner with Goodwill.
Muskegon’s YMCA offers a wide range of programs, including diabetes prevention, healthy out-of-school activities for youth, nutrition education, summer recreation programs, post-cancer fitness, and more. To find out about donating to the YMCA, please click here.
More than 21,000 adults are functionally illiterate in Muskegon County—meaning they’re reading at or below a fourth grade level. Read Muskegon is breaking the generational cycle of illiteracy by providing customized programs to meet the needs of learners. To volunteer, go here, and to donate, click here.
Pioneer Resources provides a diverse range of supports for seniors and individuals with disabilities, including supported housing, transportation services, employment opportunities, recreational programs and camps, and autism services. To volunteer, you can go here, and for more information about donating, click here.
Help Muskegon’s animals have a happy holiday this year: Noah Project, a no-kill animal shelter in Muskegon, is always looking for volunteers. To donate to Noah Project, go here. At Muskegon’s largest animal shelter, Pound Buddies, you can volunteer, foster, and donate.
Through the end of the year, Third Coast Vinyl and Black Circle Radio are teaming up for a food and coat drive. The food drive will benefit the Loaves and Fishes food pantry, located inside Catholic Charities West Michigan on Third Street, and the coats collected in conjunction with the YMCA will be distributed to the Muskegon Rescue Mission and Every Woman’s Place. For all the details, please click here.
Speaking of Muskegon Rescue Mission—which provides food, shelter and clothing to people in need—and Every Woman’s Place—which offers support for victims of domestic violence—they too are looking for volunteers and financial support. For more information regarding Muskegon Rescue Mission, please click here, and you can go here to find out about donating to, and volunteering with, Every Woman’s Place.
Gifts for musicians & music lovers
You can never go wrong with concert tickets for music lovers: upcoming musical shows include the Vincent Hayes Band at the Frauenthal Center on Jan. 11 ($10 per ticket), Matt Beck at The Block on Jan. 19 ($25 and up for a ticket, $10 student tickets), Big Daddy Fox & Friends at the Frauenthal Center on Jan. 25 ($10 per ticket), the West Michigan Symphony’s “Choral Fantasy” at the Frauenthal Center on Feb. 1 (tickets range from $24-$60), and Alessio Bax at The Block on Feb. 2 ($25 and up for a ticket, $10 student tickets).
Or, if your gift recipient still loves their plaid flannel and Doc Martens, snag some tickets to Unruly Brewing’s 90s dance party on Dec. 28 ($10 per ticket). Want to hear great music, dance and only have to pay for the beer you’re going to want? Unruly Brewing has a fantastic lineup of upcoming free shows, including Chestnut Grove on Dec. 29 (think: a rock ‘n roll band whose members are like the “Stranger Things” cast in their 20s) and the Chris Michels Band on Jan. 5. For those in a cocktails-and-live-music kind of mood, swing over to 18th Amendment on Jan. 19, when In The Blue Jazz Ensemble will be playing their musical repertoire that includes everything from jazz standards to Motown, rock and funk.
If you want to buy the music lover in your life a gift that will continue throughout the year, think about a season pass to the West Michigan Symphony. It starts at $76, and you’ll get to hear some of the region’s (and country’s) most talented musicians in person.
Know a vinyl lover? Third Coast Vinyl in Muskegon’s Midtown business corridor has a seriously incredible record collection. Plus, the owner, Paul Pretzer, and his staff are some of the friendliest (and most musically knowledgeable) people you’ll meet, so be sure to introduce yourself if you don’t already know them. Besides records (we’ve recently snagged Liz Phair, Tom Waits, Nina Simone, and Django Reinhardt albums there), there’s a ton of music paraphernalia that would make for fun stocking stuffers, from music pins created by local students to candles and everything you need to keep your record player working smoothly.
For those who want to fine tune their musical skills, you can find instruments, music lessons, amps, guitar strings, speakers, and more at Bird’s Music and Meyer Music.
Gifts for artists and art aficionados
With an eclectic and powerful permanent collection to current exhibitions that include explorations of race and gender, photo essays capturing the stories of military members, and more, the Muskegon Museum of Art is a haven for artists and art lovers alike, as well as a true cultural gem, in the West Michigan community. For the art lover in your life, you can go the route of giving an annual membership to the museum, which starts at $30 for students, $50 for artists and educators, and $60 for the general public. Basic benefits for all members include free general admission; discounts for events, workshops, classes, and the gift store; members-only event access; and more.
If you’re looking for something a little different, check out the museum’s gift shop for presents. With items that feature masterpieces from the permanent collection—including magnets, mugs, posters, and postcards—to original works by regional artists that include jewelry, paintings, prints, studio glass, pottery, and more, it won’t be hard to find something you’ll love to give.
Right in the heart of downtown, the Red Lotus Center for the Arts is a big supporter of Muskegon’s creative scene—and their gallery is chock full of everything from handmade jewelry to art, holiday decor, ornaments, and more. And, best of all, every single thing is made by local artists. P.S. For musicians, poets, and story-tellers, give yourself a gift and go to the Red Lotus open mic night, a free event that happens every month in their gallery space and is a downright inspiring showcase of the local talent that’s here in Muskegon. (The next one will be Jan. 25 from 7-9pm.)
Nestled along Lakeshore Drive in Muskegon’s Lakeside neighborhood, Art Cats Gallery has been a haven of beauty and creativity in Muskegon for close to two decades. Owned by artist Louise Hopson, the shop offers everything from handmade jewelry and pottery to Michigan-inspired artwork. For those who want to give some hometown pride, there’s even Muskegon charms.
Run by Tacitus Bailey-Yabani, Abeshi offers stunning artwork, jewelry, clothing, and more from Bailey-Yabani’s home country of Ghana. Don’t leave without asking Bailey-Yabani about Ghana; his stories of his home country include becoming a well-known photographer who traveled with musicians throughout Ghana, forging powerful connections with children living on the street, and much more.
Gifts for photographers & photo enthusiasts
In business since 1939, the Camera Shop of Muskegon has cameras for all levels of photographers, whether you’re buying a gift for someone just honing their craft or someone who’s been a pro for years. Plus, there’s a ton of other possible presents, including lenses, work from local photographers, and more. If the person you’re buying for is looking to learn more about photography or their specific camera, the shop also has regular classes, from tutorials on night photography to working with landscapes. Check the events out here.
If you’re buying a gift for a photographer looking for high quality printing, head to Radium Photo. For 109 years, the family-owned business has been serving the Muskegon community. Providing printing services for many of the city’s professional photographers, Radium Photo works with anyone needing printing services for business cards, holiday cards, posters, calendars, and more. Plus, they offer school photography, sports photography, metal prints, and more. While you’re in the shop, pick up Radium’s 2019 calendar featuring historical photos of Muskegon.
Want to bring the lakeshore’s scenery indoors? You’re living in the right place—this area is a treasure trove of incredible photographers. If you’ve spent any time around Muskegon, you’ve probably met husband-and-wife photography dream team Joe Gee and Jenna Gee. Inspired by Muskegon’s landscape, from its beaches to sunsets, the duo always manage to find the beauty in our everyday world.
An ArtPrize finalist, Tom Gifford’s stunning photography is enthralled with Michigan’s beauty—which you can get in the form of prints, car stickers, calendars, and more. And from waterfalls to snowy owls, Muskegon photographer Todd Maertz’s work is breathtaking. Honestly, we could endlessly list amazing nature photographers in this area, but here’s one more shout out: Jeremy Church’s dramatic and powerful work is more than worth a look.
If you’re looking to give someone a portrait photo shoot—whether it’s for recently engaged couples, new babies, senior portraits, or more—you’ll find great work from local photographers Jenna Gee, Joe Lane, Kendra Stanley-Mills, Chantal Elise, Sara Sabo, Wildflower Studios, Riversedge Photography, City in the Sea, and Crystal V Photography. We know there are so many others, so please feel free to comment below and let us know who you’ve loved for photography.
Gifts for lovers of libations
There are plenty of ways to raise your glass here in Muskegon, whether you’re looking for a laid-back brew or a fancy cocktail. Six packs and growlers may not fit easily into a stocking, but the innovative beers coming out of Pigeon Hill Brewing Company and Unruly Brewing are a fun present for the brew lover in your life. You can also nab gift cards and merchandise from our two local breweries, and ask about Pigeon Hill’s beer club—for $85, you’ll get a growler, discounts on drafts, early access to special releases and events, and more.
At 18th Amendment, treat someone special to some of the best cocktails in town: think rye and hot cocoa with brûléed marshmallows, Kombucha mules, and a whole host of signature and classic cocktails made with the award-winning spirits 18th Amendment itself creates. If you want more than just a night on the town, our hometown distillery offers “Scofflaw Society” memberships. For $75 a year, you get two etched 18 rocks glasses, daily drink discounts, merchandise discounts, discounted entry to special events and classes, early access to special releases, and more.
If the person you’re buying for is a tequila fan, head to Rad Dads’ Tacos & Tequila Bar—there, they’ll be able to try something from their nearly endless list of tequilas while grabbing a couple tacos (honestly, every one we’ve had there is delicious, and we’re pretty excited to try the new one, “Deez Peas,” which includes falafel, tomatoes, cucumber, tahini, and cilantro on a grilled corn shell).
Want to treat your family member or friend to a view of the water while sipping on a drink? Purchase a gift certificate to Se4sons Gastropub (if you spend $100 on a gift card now, you’ll get a $20 bonus card), get to the Lake House, or make your way to Lakeshore Tavern.
Gifts for foodies
Have a chef in your life who’s dreaming of starting their own business? Or wants to grow their business? Kitchen 242, an incubator kitchen located at the Farmers’ Market in downtown Muskegon, offers food entrepreneurs rent-able space in a commercial kitchen. For those who just love whipping up their own innovative dishes, Kitchen 242 offers a range of cooking classes—upcoming ones include a Harry Potter cooking party for children, a gnocchi tutorial, pot pie classes, and more.
Looking for some good food stocking stuffers? You can get some stocking-sized morsels at The Cheese Lady, Lakeside Emporium, Morat’s Bakery, Ryke’s Bakery, and The Only Cannoli. Speaking of stocking stuffers, check out Wasserman’s Flowers & Gifts: in addition to some tasty treats, the oldest business in Muskegon has a beautiful selection of ornaments, wreaths, jewelry and more.
And, of course, there are gift certificates to a favorite eatery, whether you’re looking for burgers at Hamburger Mikey or The Station Grill; Indian food at Curry Kitchen; Ghanaian cuisine from Abeshi; or everything from Creole and Cajun fare to Jamaican dishes (and more) at Kuntry Cookin’. There are recipes developed by award-winning chefs and prepared by Culinary Institute of Michigan students at downtown’s Courses Restaurant; French, Italian and American fare at Hearthstone; and waffles, homemade soups and more at Drip Drop Drink Cafe.
Does your family member or friend love tacos? Rosita’s Tacos has long been a favorite around here–and for good (and delicious) reason. Rad Dads’ offers some truly unique tacos (that you can eat inside an igloo!), and there’s the award-winning Mexican food at El Tapatio. For our barbecue fans, head to U.S. 31 BBQ. Try the drool-worthy pizza and cocktails at 18th Amendment and Top Shelf Liquor Bar & Pizza; and, of course, we can’t leave out the Italian fare at Teddy Spaghetti’s.
Want something a bit smaller? Check out the assortment of teas at BananaDog in Lakeside, as well as the coffee and tea at the Coffee Factory. [And, foodies, get ready: in the not-too-distant future, there will be a growing number of culinary spots to frequent, including Nipote’s Italian Kitchen, Redmon’s Kitchen and Bar, and Capone’s.]
Gifts for cinephiles
Both Harbor Cinema (which will soon be moving from Lakeside to Norton Shores) and Celebration! Cinema Carousel offer gift certificates for the movie lovers in your life. If you’re looking for something to do with the kids (or the young at heart) on Christmas Eve, Harbor Cinema is holding their last special event at their Lakeside location: a “Polar Express” pajama party. The event will be held Dec. 24 at 4:30pm; tickets are $5. Call 231-730-9599 for reservations.
Gifts for sports fans and adventurers
While summer tends to land in the limelight, winter in Muskegon definitely gives its warmer colleague a run for its money. From winter luge and skiing to sledding and ice skating at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex (which is also a great place for individuals with disabilities) to Muskegon Lumberjacks games at the recently renovated L.C. Walker Arena, there’s a ton to do in the colder months.
If you’re looking to give a bicycle (including to ride in the winter), head to City Hub Cyclery—where you can also nab some great stocking stuffers for your favorite bicyclist.
In addition to the Lumberjacks, sports fans can get tickets to our hometown basketball team, the West Michigan Lake Hawks. While you’ll have to wait until the summer, you can secure tickets now for our local baseball team, the Muskegon Clippers. And be sure to check out our city’s newest sports addition, the Muskegon Risers—a men’s soccer team that’s doing inspiring, community-building work both on and off the field.
Know someone who wants to learn how to ice skate? The Muskegon Lakeshore Figure Skating Club offers ice skating lessons to the public, and private coaching is also available.
For bowling aficionados, Sherman Bowling Center is chock full of fun, whether someone’s on the lookout for a night out with the family or wants to be a bit more competitive with league bowling. Want to make someone laugh? Give them tickets to the center’s Back Alley Comedy Club.
Want to give someone the gift of exploring Muskegon? Check out Seaway Tours; with them, you can see the city from a whole different vantage point while riding on a scooter, segway and more.
Gifts for history buffs
Whether you want to give a historical museum membership, event tickets, or something smaller from a gift shop, there’s plenty of options when it comes to presents for history buffs.
Explore Muskegon’s fascinating industrial history, from our logging industry to being known as the “arsenal of democracy” during World War II, at the Muskegon Heritage Museum. Local residents Anne and Allan Dake and their all-volunteer team have done an outstanding job with this museum, from offering first-person accounts of working at Muskegon’s industrial powerhouses to giving in-depth looks at what it was like to be a worker in this area more than 100 years ago.
Learn about millions of years of local history at the Lakeshore Museum Center: there’s everything from a life-sized mastodon to stories of Muskegon’s lumbering past. The Lakeshore Museum Center has several sites and buildings, including the Hackley & Hume Historic Site (which will be holding its last holiday tours for this season on Dec. 27 and 28), the Fire Barn Museum, and the Scolnik House of the Depression Era. Check out the museum’s store for other gift ideas.
The James Jackson Museum of African American History is an incredible space that provides historical information about the local African American community, including stories about African American leaders who forever shaped Muskegon Heights and Muskegon. The venue too offers state and national information, events that aim to empower the local community, and more.
At the U.S.S. Silversides Submarine Museum, tour a World War II submarine that was commissioned a few days after the attack on Pearl Harbor and visit the military museum. Dive into military history through lectures and other events, and you can even spend a night aboard one of the U.S.S. Silversides Submarine Museum’s historic vessels.
Take a tour of the oldest passenger ship on the Great Lakes: the SS Milwaukee Clipper. The 112-year-old National Historic Landmark that was launched in December 1904 as the steam ship Juniata, the SS Milwaukee Clipper once served Mackinac Island for years and went on to provide ferry service between Muskegon, Chicago and Milwaukee until 1970.
The USS LST 393 Veterans Museum is one of only two landing ship tanks remaining in the United States (from more than 1,000 that were built and put into service during World War II). History truly comes alive here as visitors tour the space and learn about the technology of the ship, living conditions World War II soldiers endured, and stories of local WWII veterans.
Want some history for a home? The Front Porch in downtown Muskegon offers handpicked antique, vintage, and revived furniture and home decor goods. There’s also plenty of holiday items, from wreaths to festive kitchen towels.
Gifts for health and fitness
With yoga, healthy food, nutritional classes, and more, it won’t be hard to keep that New Year’s resolution to be healthier this coming year.
A heated vinyasa yoga studio, Rootdown offers heated and non-heated yoga classes for beginners to those who are advanced. To focus even further on health, the downtown venue offers a fresh juice, smoothie and salad bar.
Want to give healthy goodies? Find stocking stuffers (and gift certificates) at downtown Muskegon’s newest grocer, the Health Hutt.
Waters Edge Fitness offers zumba, barre, personal training, nutrition counseling, community wellness programs, and more.
At Muskegon Community College’s Lakeshore Fitness Center (you don’t need to be an MCC student to go here), there are services and equipment for individuals of all fitness levels. Here, you can access personalized exercise plans, exercise classes, personal training programs, nationally certified fitness specialists, and more.
And after all the chaos of a hectic holiday season, be sure to take some time for yourself (though, of course, it would make for a good present as well): at East of Eden Wellness Spa Center, there are massages, flotation therapy, salt room therapy, and detoxes.
Gifts to show off your Muskegon & Michigan pride
Want to spread the Muskegon and Mitten love? The shops inside downtown’s Century Club is brimming with hometown (and home state) pride.
At Maggie’s Gourmet Food & Gifts, check out the Muskegon calendars, Michigan cookbooks and kitchen towels, and plenty more to give to those enamored with the Mitten. Looking for something that has been a Michigan tradition for more than a century? Head to the Stormy Kromer shop in the Century Club and pick up a hat that will keep anyone warm through these cold winter months. Also, while this isn’t Muskegon/Michigan specific, take a look at the Century Club’s Gems Near the Lakshore, where, in addition to some stunning jewelry, there are wine gnomes!
Want to wear your love for Muskegon on your sleeve—literally? The Watch Us Go store has t-shirts, sweatshirts, stretch pullovers, and hats emblazoned with the “Watch Muskegon” slogan.
And at Unique Boutique, there are Michigan-inspired ornaments and soaps—plus a huge variety of other goods from more than 40 Michigan vendors. There’s clothing, jewelry, home decor, and more.
Gifts for those who love a little bling
Those searching for jewelry can find earrings, necklaces and more (including clothing) at Skye Blu Boutique and Jewelry. (They also have some pretty darn adorable holiday leggings.) As we mentioned above, Gems Near the Lakshore, just around the corner from Skye Blu, has a beautiful selection of jewelry, as does Red Lotus Center for the Arts. At Sparrow Boutique, nab everything from these delicate Michigan bracelets to boots, ponchos, sweaters, and more.
Gifts for kids (and those young at heart)
Whether you need gifts for your littlest loves or something to entertain teenagers, you can find it all in Muskegon. At Baby Bears Children’s Boutique, located inside the Century Club, there are toys, books, games, and clothing (for newborns to seven-year-olds). A Vintage Childhood, an online retailer run by Muskegon’s Kerry Halloran—who also launched Movies on the Beach at Pere Marquette—offers hand-crafted clothing, toys and more.
Griffin’s Rest in Midtown has a wide variety of games and gaming gear for children (and adults) of all ages. Plus, if the person you’re buying for is into miniatures, Griffin’s Rest offers miniature painting classes every Saturday for $10.
You can’t go wrong at the House of Hobbies. There are model trains, radio controlled planes, cars and trucks, and more.
We know we couldn’t get everyone on this list, and we’d love to hear where else you’re going for holiday gifts in Muskegon. Comment below or email us at email@example.com.
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The Humidor cigar lounge has just recently opened. They have a great selection of premium cigars, pipe tobacco, and accessories. Their smoking lounge will be open after the first of the year. In the Noble building behind Pigeon Hill.