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 that you can get right here in Muskegon 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.
Gifts for 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 volunteering opportunities with them here.
Now more than a century old, 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.
For a little more than two decades, Pathfinders has been giving students from Muskegon and Muskegon Heights a safe, fun and educational place to go after school and during the summer. The nonprofit supports and empowers its students in a wide variety of ways, from providing clothing and food to camping excursions and other field trips. To learn about donating to Pathfinders, click here, and to learn about volunteering, please go here.
Since launching in 1991, Latinos Working for the Future has done everything from raise scholarship money for area children to hold dances for community members. This year, the nonprofit organized the inaugural Muskegon County Latino Festival, in addition to a variety of other community programming. To donate, please click here.
The Muskegon YMCA offers a wide range of programs throughout our community, including swimming and water safety classes, 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.
From a food and clothing pantry to providing emergency and dental funds to residents in need, the Mission for Area People offers numerous free community services to neighbors who are struggling. The faith-based nonprofit hosts services and programs centered on meeting emergency needs and facilitating education to empower residents to be self-sufficient. To learn more about donating, please go here. If you’re interested in volunteering, please give them a call at 231-733-9672.
Working one-on-one with a couple hundred children in Muskegon, Ottawa, Oceana, and Mason Counties, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lakeshore connects youth with adult volunteers who do everything from help them with homework to take them shopping and much more. To become a mentor, you can click here, and to donate, please go here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Disability Network West Michigan provides independent living resources for people with disabilities in Muskegon, Oceana, Newaygo, Lake, and Mason counties. The nonprofit works to connect individuals with employment and mentoring, provide local businesses with accessibility consultations, offer independent living skills training, and more. Want to help? Learn about volunteering and donating 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. The Muskegon Humane Society has opportunities for volunteering and donating.
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—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.
Muskegon Civic Theatre’s Penguin Project gives children with special needs the opportunity to participate in the performing arts. It is open to any individual who’s between the ages of 12 and 24 and has a developmental disability. Utilizing a peer mentor system, the program links the young artists with peers without developmental disabilities. They work side-by-side with their partners and together navigate rehearsals and shows. To learn about supporting their work, please click here.
Throughout Muskegon, neighbors and organizations work hard to connect individuals and families with food pantries, which are almost always accepting donations. Sara Wolovlek and her husband, Damian, recently opened a “Little Free Pantry” by their home at 7th Street and Monroe Avenue in Muskegon. If you’d like to help keep the pantry stocked, you can both drop off goods at the site, or you can donate through their Go Fund Me page. Other food pantries to which you can donate are: the Muskegon Community College student food pantry, Catholic Charities West Michigan’s Loaves and Fishes food pantry, Love Inc., Fifth Reformed Church, the Muskegon Rescue Mission, and the Freddie Townsend Action Center. If there are any we missed, please let us know (email us at email@example.com) and we’ll add them to the list.
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. 10 (tickets are $10 per person), ESME at The Block on Jan. 24 (tickets range between $25 and $35 and are $10 for students), and Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo at the West Michigan Symphony on Jan. 31 (tickets range from $10.50 to $64.50). If your gift recipient still loves their plaid flannel and Doc Martens, snag some tickets to a 90s dance party at Unruly Brewing (tickets are $10) on Dec. 27.
If you want to treat someone to drinks and live music, swing over to 18th Amendment for cocktails and jazz on a number of upcoming occasions, Pigeon Hill for beer (and, as of this week, wine) and singer-songwriters Eric Engblade & Justin Avdek on Jan. 11, and Unruly Brewing for a number of upcoming shows. Rake Beer Project too often has live music; click here to see upcoming events there, and The Hideout in Muskegon Heights has been doing a weekly jazz series (as well as a Saturday brunch with music) on Friday evenings.
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. Prices start at $36 (for students) 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 stickers and candles to everything you need to keep your record player working smoothly.
Gifts for artists and art aficionados
With an eclectic and powerful permanent collection to fascinating current exhibitions, 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 $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.
Nestled along Lakeshore Drive in Muskegon’s Lakeside neighborhood, Art Cats Gallery has been a haven of beauty and creativity in Muskegon for 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 home state pride.
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. To see information about the next one, follow their events on Facebook.
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. To connect with Tacitus, message the Abeshi account on Facebook.
Take a short road trip to Whitehall, where you can find a ton of goods from local artists at the Arts Council of White Lake. Think: jewelry, photography, paintings, clothing, and much more.
Gifts for photographers & photo enthusiasts
If you’re buying a gift for a photographer looking for high quality printing, head to Radium Photo. For 110 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 2020 calendar featuring historical photos of Muskegon.
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 upcoming events out here.
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, stickers, tee-shirts, 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 are two more shout-outs: Jeremy Church’s dramatic and powerful work and Tim Bonnette’s images exploring the beauty all around us are 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 Unruly Brewing, and Rake Beer Project are a delicious present for the brew lover in your life. You can also nab gift cards and merchandise from our three local breweries, and ask about each of the venues’ beer clubs, which offer discounts on your favorite drinks and more. Want to take a short road trip for some great beer? Head to Fetch Brewing in Whitehall, where you can sip on hibiscus-infused beer and a whole lot more, often while listening to live music.
At 18th Amendment and Burl & Sprig, treat someone special to some of Muskegon’s best cocktails that will warm you up during these cold winter months. 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 you’d like to treat someone to some drinks and jazz, a boozy brunch, or just a night out on the town, The Hideout in Muskegon Heights always has a lot going on. Oceana Winery & Vineyard, a tasting room and shop inside downtown’s Century Club, has a relaxing space where you can kick back and try some new wines.
While Wonderland Distilling in Muskegon’s Lakeside neighborhood won’t debut until early next year, the city’s newest cocktail bar is selling gift cards, glasses, spirits club memberships, and more for the holidays. On Saturday, Dec. 21, they’re holding a last-minute pop-up shop at the incoming bar, located at 1989 Lakeshore Dr.
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. Or, if brunch is more their style, check out their decadent bloody marys.
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, 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 tutorials on wine and chocolate, pierogis, pizza, and more.
Looking for some good food stocking stuffers? You can get some stocking-sized morsels at The Cheese Lady, Lakeside Emporium, BoomTown Market, 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. At Aldea Coffee, there’s plenty of coffee swag that can go into a stocking or under the tree, from, well, coffee to mugs, clothing, gift cards and more.
And, of course, there are gift certificates to a favorite eatery, whether you’re looking for Italian cuisine at Nipote’s Italian Kitchen, soul food at Corine’s, burgers at Hamburger Mikey or The Station Grill; Indian food at Curry Kitchen; Ghanaian goodness from Abeshi; Salvadoran and Mexican dishes at Isabella’s food truck; baked goods and coffee at Aldea; or everything from Creole and Cajun fare to Jamaican dishes (and more) at Kuntry Cookin’ (which is now run out of Racquets in downtown Muskegon). 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; waffles, homemade soups and more at Drip Drop Drink Cafe.
Does your family member or friend love tacos? Rosita’s Tacos and Los Amigos have long been favorites around here–and for good (and delicious) reasons. 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 the historic U.S. 31 BBQ and the newer Dr. Rolf’s. Try the drool-worthy pizza, cocktails and other dishes at 18th Amendment and Top Shelf Liquor Bar & Pizza; and, of course, we can’t leave out the Italian fare at Teddy Spaghetti’s.
Gifts for cinephiles
Both Harbor Cinema 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 5pm; tickets are $5 and there’s complementary hot chocolate and candy canes.
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 L.C. Walker Arena (soon to be the Mercy Health Arena), there’s a ton to do in the colder months.
In addition to the Lumberjacks, sports fans can get tickets to our hometown basketball team, the West Michigan Lake Hawks, and Muskegon’s own football team that plays at L.C. Walker, the West Michigan Ironmen. 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 environmentalists
We live in a seriously beautiful place, and there are a number of locally-owned companies working hard to keep it that way. Third Coast Brand sells jewelry, clothing and more to help protect the Great Lakes region. Clean Ocean Clothing offers clothing, hats, stickers, zero-waste kits, and more, all of which aims to bring awareness to the plastic pollution epidemic facing the Great Lakes and our world’s oceans. And the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is offering monthly “Sustainable Muskegon” programs; admission to the events range from $10 to $20. Forums will tackle a wide variety of topics, including access to recycling and composting in our communities, sustainable tourism, energy efforts in the face of climate change, the preservation of clean water, and much 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 you want to hang out and play games, there’s pretty much always the chance for you to do so.
You can’t go wrong at the House of Hobbies. There are model trains, radio controlled planes, cars and trucks, 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. Plus, their newest exhibit is a celebration of the history of brewing in Muskegon. The Lakeshore Museum Center has several sites and buildings, including the Hackley & Hume Historic Site (which is holding holiday tours through Dec. 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, Vintage Redefined, and Pine Street Mercantile, all in downtown Muskegon, offers a ton of amazing goods from times long gone. There’s way too much to list here, but think everything from quirky Santas and tree decorations from the 1950s to vintage furniture, clothing, jewelry, and a whole lot more.
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 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, authors from our home state, Michigan-inspired cookbooks, and plenty more to give to those enamored with the Mitten. Gems Near the Lakshore has books penned by local artists, Great Lakes wallets and purses, and more.
Or perhaps you’d like to help someone relax with some help from the Mitten? Under the Pines has soap made from Lake Michigan beach sand (and a whole lot more).
Unique Boutique has Michigan-inspired ornaments—plus a huge variety of other goods from more than 40 Michigan vendors. There’s clothing, jewelry, home decor, and more.
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.
Gifts for those who didn’t get to the Western Market in time
While the Western Market chalets are now closed for the year, you can still shop at a number of the store from there. Muskegon Inspired, Soap Dude Cosmetics, Book Nook Too, Gems Near The Lakeshore, and Skee’s Tees have opened a holiday pop-up shop at the Lakes Mall together; you can find them next to Auntie Anne’s Pretzels. While you’re at the mall, you can also check out other locally-owned shops there, including DC Closet, FreshWater Boba Tea Cafe, Corine’s, Lange’s Comics and Collectibles, and Spin City,among others.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.