TOP TEN HOLIDAY THINGS TO DO IN CHARLOTTE, NC
by Danielle Edwards, Charlotte REALTOR with REMAX EXECUTIVE
(1) Go ice skating at the Whitewater Center.
Details: For the 2021 season, the Whitewater Center will debut a new ice skating trail in the Upper Pond — increasing the total size of the rink to more than 24,000 square feet. The rink is made up of four separate areas that include two ice trails and two free skate zones.
- The on-ice Airstream trailer will return this year and serve up craft beer, hot chocolate and coffee for skaters who need a break.
- Skates are included in the ticket price but you will need to bring your own socks.
Dates: Now through mid-Feb. 2022.
Cost: Ice skating can be accessed through an annual pass ($219 for adults, $189 for kids 9 and under), day pass ($64 for adults, $54 for kids 9 and under) or single activity pass ($25).
Location/hours: 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy. Hours are from noon to 10pm.
(2) See the singing Christmas Tree
December 3-5th in Uptown Charlotte
The 67th Annual Singing Christmas Tree brings its spectacular production to Gateway Village, a grander setting you couldn’t imagine. Featured guests include the Chris Thompson Cultural Ensemble dancers, Grey Seal Puppets and the fabulous Tree Band, this year’s 70-minute production (without intermission) will delight as we all reclaim the holiday season live and in-person. Seven performances provide entertainment for the whole family.
(3) Experience Carowinds’ Winterfest.
Details: Catch dazzling light displays and live shows or do a hands-on activity like cookie decorating. Winterfest is jam-packed with fun and immersive holiday festivities that the entire family can enjoy.
Dates: Open select nights now through Jan. 9, 2022. (Nov. 20-24, 26-28; Dec. 3-5, 10-12, 15-23, 26-31; Jan. 1,2 8, 9)
Location/hours: 300 Carowinds Blvd. Winterfest hours vary by day.
(4) Board The Polar Express at the N.C. Transportation Museum.
Details: Experience the magic of the hit holiday movie during this Polar Express-inspired train ride. The trip is set to the sounds of the movie and includes hot chocolate and cookies, plus a story reading of “The Polar Express.”
- Once passengers arrive at the North Pole, the train will deboard to watch Santa himself present the first gift of Christmas.
- Kiddos are encouraged to wear their pajamas to enjoy the experience.
Dates: Nov. 12-13, 19-21, & 26-28 and Dec. 3-5, 9-12, & 14-23
Location/hours: 1 Samuel Spencer Dr.
(5) Enjoy holiday lights from your car at Speedway Christmas.
Details: The Charlotte Motor Speedway will once again transform into a Winter Wonderland for the holiday season. This four-mile drive-thru display features four million lights synched with holiday music that you can listen to on your car radio.
Dates: The light show happens daily from Nov. 19 to Jan. 16, 2022, except on the three days it’s closed: Dec. 7, 8 and 24.
Cost: Tickets start at $30 per car on Monday-Wednesday. On Thursday-Sunday, it costs $40 per car.
Location/hours: 5555 Concord Pkwy. S. Hours are from 6-10 pm.
(6) Go for a stroll through the Daniel Stowe Gardens.
Details: The Daniel Stowe Gardens transform into a winter wonderland for its annual ‘Holidays at the Garden’ event. Walk along the trail and take in the dazzling light displays, then stop by one of the food trucks for a quick bite or a warm beverage.
Dates: Nov. 26 through Jan. 2, 2022.
Cost: $14.95 for adults, $12.95 for seniors 60+, $7.95 for children 2-12, free for children under 2.
Location/hours: 6500 S. New Hope Rd., Belmont. Open Wednesday through Sunday from 5-9 pm.
(7) Shop at the Charlotte Christmas Village then stay ’til nightfall for Light the Knights.
Details: Swing by the ballpark to enjoy the Charlotte Christmas Village — a European-inspired Christmas market where you can find handcrafted gifts and specialty foods like Austrian strudels, Bratwurst and Sauerkraut.
- Then by nightfall, the ballpark will illuminate with tens of thousands of lights, festive holiday displays and maybe even a bit of snow.
Dates: Nov. 24 through Dec. 23.
Location/hours: Truist Field (324 South Mint St.).
(8) Watch the Thanksgiving Parade in-person on Thanksgiving eve.
Details: This year, the 75th Novant Health Thanksgiving Parade will be a nighttime event with lights and music along Tryon Street.
- You can watch it on WBTV Wednesday night at 6, Thanksgiving Day at 2pm and early Christmas morning.
Dates: Nov. 24, 2021.
Cost: General admission is free. VIP tickets, which guarantee seating between 3rd St. and Levine Ave., are $25.
Location/hours: Tryon St. 6pm.
(9) See beautiful holiday home displays at the Fourth Ward Sip and Stroll
Details: This self-guided, porch-crawl-style tour lets guests stroll through the Historic Fourth Ward and check out all the stunning holiday displays. There will be holiday music, carriage rides and food & cocktail tastings along the way.
Dates: Dec. 2-4.
Location/hours: Historic Fourth Ward. Daily from 5-9pm.
(10) Go to a performance of the Charlotte Ballet’s Nutcracker.
Details: One of the best holiday traditions in the city is back on stage at the Belk Theater. The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra accompanies the Charlotte Ballet with musical selections composed by Tchaikovsky like the well-known ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.’
Dates: December 3-23
Location/hours: Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Showtimes vary.