From outdoor Christmas markets to a singing tree, The Queen City offers endless ways to get in the holiday spirit. Make the most of it with our bucket list of fun events for friends, family and out-of-town guests around Charlotte this holiday season. Scroll down through this week’s to-dos for the ongoing activities that will run through Christmas day and beyond.

We’ll be updating this article weekly so please bookmark it and check back. If you’re looking for some non-holiday, non-elfin fun, check out our weekly What To Do articles here or our just for Families Fun here.




J.Sam’s 6th Annual Holiday Party
December 20 | JSam’s | 7:30 p.m.

Enjoy live music by Mike Crowley and friends as well as drink specials at J.Sam’s sixth annual holiday party.


Hops & Shops South End Holiday Market
December 21 | The Barrel Room at Triple C | 4 – 8 p.m.

Check off everyone on your holiday shopping list and give back to great local causes at the Hops and Shops market. Browse goods from local vendors, enjoy craft beer and a donation-based gift wrapping and more benefitting Families Forward Charlotte and Go Jen Go.


Holiday Pop-up Market
December 21 | The DreamChaser’s Brewery, Waxhaw | 4 – 8 p.m.

10 local vendors will offer all of the handmade goods you need to complete your Christmas shopping. Plus, Strudelteig and Cousins Maine Lobster food trucks will be on-site.


Up On The Rooftop at City Lights
December 21 | City Lights Rooftop | 7 p.m.

City Lights will be all decked out for the holidays, and is offering specialty cocktails, appetizers and more at their holiday soirée. Don your best ugly Christmas sweater, onesie or Santa’s little helper costume to win cash prizes. $15 per person.


Holiday Cookies Class 
December 22 | Bar Cocoa | 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

This extended class focusing on seasonal cookies includes hands-on instruction from the Ritz Carlton’s pastry team. Participants will enjoy a box lunch, instruction and three dozen cookies of each flavor to take home. $200 per person.




South End Tree at Atherton Tree

Carolina Panthers Tree at Bank of America Stadium

Piedmont Town Center Tree

Blakeney 2018 Tree

Ballantyne Tree

Birkdale Village Tree

Christmas Tree Langtree Mooresville

Uptown Tree 

Nascar Hall of Fame Tree



Charlotte Ballet’s Nutcracker
December 7 – 23 | Belk Theater

The classic tales and music come to life in Charlotte Ballet’s The Nutcracker. Don’t miss their Night at the Nutcracker on December 9, when the theater transforms into The Land of Sweets with children’s activities in Snowflake Village, seasonal cocktails, desserts and hors-d’oeuvres. Tickets start at $25.


Holiday on Ice
November 16 – January 6 | NASCAR Hall of Fame

Uptown’s outdoor ice rink returns to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza on November 16. Ice skating is $10, ice skating plus skate rental is $14. Don’t miss the lighting of the Hall’s 39-foot tree on November 24, complete with rides, games and the big reveal around 7:15 p.m.


Winter Wonderland SouthPark
Opening November 17, open thru January 22, 2019 | Symphony Park

SouthPark’s Winter Wonderland offers fun for the whole family, from a 142-foot ice rink, music, festive fare, a pub for the adults and even a daily snowfall. Expect special events to follow after the November 17 grand opening.


Charlotte Christmas Village
Through December 24 | New Location: Corner of 7th and Tryon

This uptown holiday event is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured programming such as local musical performances. Closed Mondays.


Speedway Christmas
November 18 – December 31 | Charlotte Motor Speedway

Start your engines for the ninth annual Speedway Christmas, where attendees can drive around the oval through displays consisting of more than 3.5 million lights set to music. Off the track, enjoy activities, rides, a visit to Bethlehem village, photos with Santa, fire pits and drive-in holiday movies on select nights.


Christmas Wonderland of Lights
Through January 1 | Zootastic Park

Visit with Santa, take a pony ride, pet animals, and roast marshmallows over a fire and more.


Select nights November 18 – December 31 | Carowinds

Experience Carowinds in a whole new way as the park transforms into a magical winter wonderland for select nights through December 31. Expect live shows, strolling carolers, festive holiday fare, a towering 70-foot tree and up to 24 rides open for the special event.


Holidays at the Garden
November 23 – January 6 | Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden comes alive with musically-orchestrated light displays, illuminated gardens a 15-foot orchid tree, holiday shopping, bonfires, live performances and more. Open 5 – 9 p.m. each evening, closed Christmas Day.


Holiday Light Spectacular
Through December 28 | Downtown Mooresville | 5:30 – 10 p.m.

Now through December 28, drive by or visit Downtown Mooresville’s Holiday Light Spectacular. The 150,000-light show includes twinkling snowmen, trees and more set to festive music.


Holiday Afternoon Tea
December 1 – 30 | The Ballantyne

Mark the holiday season with a special tea at The Ballantyne complete with seasonal blends by rare Tea Company, savory sandwiches, traditional treats, live entertainment and the option to add Champagne for $10. Served Tuesday – Sunday December 1 – 30 from 1 – 4 p.m. $58 for adults, $25 for ages 5 – 12 and $15 for children under five. Bring a new and unwrapped toy to donate to Levine Children’s Hospital.


Santa’s Workshop at Blakeney
Through December 23 | Blakeney Shopping Center

Visit Santa’s brand new workshop on the Village Green at Blakeney Shopping Center this holiday season for portraits with Santa Claus from November 17 through December 23! Blakeney will host two pet-friendly Paws & Claus Saturdays on December 8 and 15 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Don’t worry, humans are still welcome during these two dates!


Winter Wednesdays at Waverly
Dec 5 – Dec 19 | Waverly | 5 – 7:30 p.m.

Fill up on mid-week cheer with music, shopping, treats and visits from Santa every Wednesday through December 19. Visitors can also expect special appearances from favorite characters and the chance to win a $100 Waverly restaurant gift card each week.


Gingerbread Lane at the Ballantyne Hotel
December 6 – 26 | The Ballantyne

Stroll through Gingerbread Lane to view an array of gingerbread creations and vote for your favorite with $1 donation per vote. All proceeds will benefit Levine Children’s Hospital, A Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, dedicated to caring for the physical and emotional needs of children and their families.


Christmas at the Library
November 29 – December 22

The Billy Graham Library will celebrate the season with a live nativity, horse-drawn carriage rides, story time in Ruth’s attic Bookstore and more. They will also offer a Christmas Dinner on select nights for $22.95 and $9.95 for children 4 – 10. Open Monday – Thursday 9:30 a.m. – 9 p.m., Friday – Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. Admission and parking are free.


McGill’s Twelve Days of Christmas
November 29 – December 21| McGill Rose Garden 5 – 9 p.m.

On weekends in December, take a stroll through McGrill Rose Garden as it’s transformed into a winter wonderland complete with s’mores and hot chocolate. Admission is $3 with snacks and beverages available for purchase.



Christmas Town USA
November 30 – December 26 | McAdenville, NC

Back for its 63rd year, the town of McAdenville will turn into Christmas Town USA beginning on November 30. Drive or walk along the 1.3-mile route to see homes and businesses aglow with thousands of holiday lights and decorations. The town’s annual tree lighting ceremony will be on November 30. Monday – Friday 5:30 – 9:30 p.m., Saturday – Sunday 5:30 – 11 p.m.