By Maura Keller | Photo Courtesy Main Street Monroe, Inc.
Take a stroll along the streets of downtown Monroe and you are bound to feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. Historic architectural gems complement the charming retail shops accenting the area.
Main Street has invested in lots of decorations and lighting, so there is a classic, magical feel to the entire district. Quintessential holiday music plays from the courthouse at the center of the square. Window displays are outfitted for the season. It simply feels like Christmas — not the frantic, commercialized holiday that seems to dominate, but the classic reasons why it’s such a lovely time of year. We love the Santa’s Workshop display that children are drawn to, and it acts as a fun family photo op.
And each holiday season, Monroe rolls out the proverbial red carpet for visitors. This year visitors can enjoy the First Thursday Shopping Night on Thursday, Dec. 2, where stores are open late for shoppers’ convenience. The following night, Friday, Dec. 3, enjoy a whimsical lighted Christmas parade. Monroe’s Christmas parade is full of holiday cheer and creative floats that encompass what the holidays mean for so many people.
To keep visitors warm and the holiday spirit flowing, outdoor fire pits will also be stationed on closed street areas, and there’s a dedicated meet-and-greet with Santa immediately following the parade.
To complete the town’s holiday festivities, Monroe will be hosting an indoor farmers’ market on Saturday, Dec. 4 and 18. Here, shoppers will relish in the unique craft vendors showcasing their wares, including handmade aprons and wood- working from Amish vendors, plus soaps and pottery. Think of it as Monroe’s own Christkindlmarkt.
Prior to the indoor market, visitors can enjoy shopping on Small Business Saturday (Nov. 27) at the town’s concentration of locally-owned retail shops. You won’t find empty shelves or delayed shipping here.
Be sure to find Main Street’s Lookbook for the Holidays, which drops in early November for personalized suggestions and what’s trending this season at shops in the district. Kitchen and home goods stores make it easy to find items and decorations before you entertain, as hostess gifts, or to just indulge yourself. All in all, there are over 30 specialty retail shops in downtown Monroe.
And there are new businesses, too. Sunrise Donut Café is the perfect spot to recharge and warm up from shopping in a relaxed, modern environment that still fits in the historic building. It features a full espresso bar and all the donuts are completely customizable.
Minhas Kitchen, which is connected to the brewery and distillery, is another great place to take a tour and taste a flight of wine or beer. Bullquarian Brewhouse will satisfy beer lovers and non-beer lovers alike; especially with gourmet pizzas and appetizers.
Visitors to Monroe also love exploring Orange Kitten Yarns to find DIY projects as we settle into the winter months and set our sights on activities we can do in the comfort of our homes. They’ve also got a walk-up bakery within the shop, Bäckerei Kline, which features a rotating menu and treats ranging from Berliner (Swiss jam- filled pastries) to cookies and biscuits — an ideal spot for the whole family to enjoy.
FIRST THURSDAY SHOPPING NIGHT
Shop the charming boutiques in Monroe. Local stores extend their hours to provide a relaxed holiday shopping experience.
LIGHTED CHRISTMAS PARADE
Who doesn’t love a parade? And this lighted parade brings the holiday spirit to Monroe. Don your favorite winter weather gear and get in the holiday mood!
“MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET,” PRESENTED BY MONROE THEATRE GUILD
“Miracle on 34th Street” is a cherished tale that celebrates the true meaning of Christmas. Monroe Theatre Guild shares the story of when a department store Santa insists he’s the real Kris Kringle, and a little girl’s eventual belief makes all the difference in the world.