The holiday season is in full swing, and if you’re anything like us, you’re on the hunt for ways to celebrate safely. From wine dinners to craft markets, read on for 30+ ways to fill your weekend in Charlotte.
We try to screen each entry below to make sure safety protocols are in place. If the venue or situation doesn’t look like safe to you, please avoid it and let us know as we will discontinue promotion. Please use safe or even overly safe practices if you do go to a gathering…masks on, hands washed or sanitized frequently, glasses or sunglasses when possible, and maintain plenty of distance.
Letters to Santa Kicks Off Uptown
Thursdays – Sundays, December 3 – December 19
Trade and Tryon at Bank of America Plaza
Starting December 3rd, children of all ages will have the opportunity to drop off letters to Santa in a designated mailbox (provided by Lowe’s) at the heart of Uptown Charlotte at Trade and Tryon at Bank of America Plaza. Once a child places their letter into the interactive mailbox, they will hear music and a special message from one of the Santa’s elves. Each child’s letter will be read and each child will receive a response from the North Pole.
A holiday attendant will host the mailbox during operational hours. Stationery, envelopes and pens will be available for letters to be written on site but please feel free to bring your own letter from home. Just make sure that the return address is listed so each child can receive a response! Masks and social distancing are required when visiting the mailbox.
Skyline Drive-In: Frozen
Dec. 3 | Camp North End | 7 pm
Don’t miss the next edition of Skyline Drive-in, where Camp North End transforms into a 60-car drive-in movie theater. This time, they’ll be showing Frozen. Tickets are $30 per car with a portion of proceeds benefiting organizations including Crisis Assistance Ministries, Salvation Army Center of Hope, Second Harvest Food Bank and Roof Above.
Nutrient Rich: a small works show
Opens Dec. 4 | Goodyear Arts | 5-9 pm
The new small works show from Goodyear Arts features more than 100 individual artworks by more than 30 artists. A selection of work from the exhibition will be available for purchase in person and through an online shop soon. Masks and social distancing are required.
Polar Express 3 Hour Drop ‘n Shop
Dec. 4 | Flour Power Kids Cooking Studios: Charlotte Quail Corners | 5:30 pm
Kids can board the Flour Power Polar Express for three hours of fun watching the movie Polar Express while making Snowman Pizzas, Hot Chocolate, Snowflakes and Gingerbread Men. The kid’s night out also includes games and a take-home craft. $49. Ages 5-12.
Gingerbread Lane at the Ballantyne
Dec. 4 – Dec. 27 | The Ballantyne Hotel
Visit The Ballantyne to experience the annual display of gingerbread creations from Friday, December 4 through Sunday, December 27. Gingerbread Lane is free to visit and open daily from 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. All proceeds benefit Atrium Health Levine Children’s Hospital. Masks are required for all participants and social distancing will be observed.
Show UP for UPtown | StreetEATS CLT
Dec. 4-6 | Uptown Charlotte
Celebrate Uptown all weekend long with on-street entertainment, pop-up vendors, green spaces and plenty of outdoor dining options with the additional of Uptown’s StreetEats program. Stroll down Tryon St. (which will be closed from 5th – 6th) to enjoy safe dining, live music and more. This week, don’t miss live music, food trucks and art exhibits on display all weekend long. Plus, Fun at Victoria Yards continues with MarlieQs, Bill Kittle (Italian Sausages an Itailian Ice) and Taco GreenGo food trucks along with cold brews from Resident Culture.
WILDFLOWERS – Two Nights of Tom Petty w/ Josh Daniel
Dec. 4-5 | The Music Yard at SouthBound
Enjoy a two-night, drive-in celebration of the legacy and music of Tom Petty with Josh Daniel’s Band, a full five piece band. The night out includes car side food/beverage service provided by SouthBound.
Huntersville Holiday Market
Dec. 4-12 | Veterans Park at Main & Maxwell
The Huntersville Holiday Market kicks off with local vendors, food and drink options, visits with Santa and more.
South End Small Business Saturday(s)
Dec. 5 | The Design Center | 10 am – 3 pm
This season, Small Business Saturday isn’t limited to just one day. Pop-up vendors will join the South End retail scene every Saturday from November 28 to December 19 to make your holiday shopping a breeze. Where to find them:
- 12/5: The Design Center
- 12/12: Atherton Mill & Market
- 12/19: The Design Center
Sweet Spot’s Holiday Block Party
Dec. 5 | Sweet Spot Studio CLT | 10 am – 1 pm
Join Sweet Spot for the Sweet Spot Holiday Block Party on Saturday, December 5, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Stop by to enjoy:
- The Annual Sweet Spot Kitchen Holiday Bake Sale (including Gluten Free & Vegan options) featuring Bake Mohr Sweets, City Farm Foods, Cerae Goodies, Charlotte Cookie Co., Simply Sarah Salt, Blossom & Bee, Ashworth Cookies, Beyond Decadence, Bode-Bee & The Mighty Oats, Kema’s Kakes, Cacheable Charlotte, Festin Bakery, and Forget Me Not Bake Shop
- Sweet Spot Studio’s “Letters to Santa” (by registration only)
- Find last minute Christmas gifts at The Supply Co.
- Community Matters Cafe on site
- Sock & Toiletry drive for Tent City (Items needed: NEW socks, diapers, baby wipes, feminine hygiene products & toiletries)
Holiday Market at The Hunter Farm
Dec. 5 | 9 am – 9 pm | The Hunter Farm
Head to The Hunter Farm for their first Holiday Market highlighting local artisans and creators. Plus, pick out your tree or a wreath while you’re there. No admission fee.
University City Night Market Week 2
Dec. 5 | Shoppes at University Place | 6-9 pm
University’s family-friendly, open-air marketplace continues this week with local vendors, small businesses and live entertainment. All events are open to the public and free to attend for all ages.
Merry and Bright- Holiday Event
Dec. 5 | Promenade On Providence | 12-4 pm
Celebrate the holiday season with Santa visits and carriage rides at Promenade on Providence. While sign-ups are currently full, you can add yourself to the standby list on event day.
Drive-In Movie in Old Town Cornelius: Holiday Series
Dec. 5 | Lake Norman YMCA | 6 pm
Get in the holiday spirit with Lake Norman’s festive drive-in movie series. This week, enjoy a screening of Elf from the comfort of your own car. Concessions will be available as well as car-side food truck service.
Tabor Charlotte Holidays at the Bungalow
Starts Dec. 5 | Tabor CLT
Celebrate the holidays at Tabor with trunk shows, seasonal sips, holiday tunes and potters on the porch.
Winter Wonderland Holiday Market
Dec. 5 | Anne Springs Close Greenway | 8 am – 5 pm
The Anne Springs Close Greenway’s Winter Wonderland Holiday Market will feature local vendors in a socially-distanced format for 2020. Tickets are currently sold out, but the organizers will release a new batch of tickets on Dec. 1 at 9 am. Masks required.
Holiday Cookie Workshop
Dec. 8 | Flour Power Kids Cooking Studios: Charlotte Quail Corners | 6 pm
Get in the holiday spirit with this adults-only class where you’ll learn sugar cookie baking basics, royal icing tips and tricks and more from expert Cookie Maker and owner of Crumbz Bakery Mrs. Lynsey.
STAYING IN (scroll past for ongoing & recurring events too!)
Huntersville Tree Lighting
Dec. 3 | 6:30 pm | Facebook Live
Join the Town of Huntersville & Pridemore Properties for the annual Huntersville Tree Lighting – and this time it’s virtual. Tune in to Facebook Live for holiday music and hot chocolate by the tree beginning at 6:30pm and the tree lighting at 7 pm.
Lunch & Learn: Signs and Charlotte History
Dec. 3 | 12 pm
The next installment of the Charlotte Museum of History’s Lunch & Learn series features local sign enthusiast and expert Christopher Lawing as he shares what Charlotte’s signs tell us about her history and why these important parts of our built environment should be preserved.
Pie Dough from Scratch
Dec. 3 | 5 pm
Just in time for holiday baking, Keia from Milk Glass Pie will teach participants how to make a tender, flaky pie crust from scratch. $20.
Virtual Jazz at the Bechtler
Dec. 4 | 7 pm
Kick off the holiday season with the Ziad Jazz Quartet as they present Holiday Jazz, one of the most popular Jazz at the Bechtler shows of the year. You’ll hear holiday classics including Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and a multi-cultural melody commemorating Hanukkah, Eid-al-Fitr, and Kwanzaa.
CSO On Demand: Mendelssohn + Shaw
Dec. 4 | 7:30 pm
Tune in as Conductor Christopher James Lees lead the Charlotte Symphony in performances of classics by composers Mendelssohn and Shaw. Concerts will be available on demand for one week following the premiere. $20 individual tickets. Free for seasonal subscribers.
Holiday Wreath Design
Dec. 5 | 10 am
Get ready to deck the halls with this SkillPop class where you’ll learn all about making your own festive wreath for the holiday season. $24.
Virtual Symposium Part 2: Making an Edible South
Dec. 8-11 | Hosted by UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
Join James Beard Award-winning author Adrian Miller for the ongoing launch of the Carolina Garden Trail in the Botanical Gardens at UNC Charlotte. Miller will take you on a virtual tour of the garden and highlight some plants that people of African heritage utilized in the Carolinas through different historical time periods, from Pre-European Colonization to present day. $5 general admission, free for UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens Members.
RECURRING & DRIVE-THRU EVENTS
Thru Dec. 13 | Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
Put your walking shoes on and get ready to help solve the real life mystery of the “Greatest Art Thief of All Time” in this walking show where you’ll gather clues at five spots around Uptown. Prices begin at $39.50.
Enjoy the fall weather and support your local spots safely with StreetEats, which features temporary outdoor seating in parking lots and streets where guests can enjoy takeout from local restaurants. Find them in Plaza Midwood at Thomas Avenue, Shops at University (The Lake and The Armored Cow locations), Tryon Street, Beatties Ford Rd. and more.
Christmas in Davidson
Through Dec. 12 | Downtown Davidson
Christmas in Davidson returns this year with 12 full days to enjoy this community event. Expect a tree lighting on Dec. 1, a “Festive Doggie Fashion Show” on Dec. 4, a chance to wave at Santa from his golf cart daily, an ugly sweater contest on Facebook Live on Dec. 11, glowing luminaries, drive-in movies on Dec. 5 and 12 and more.
Ongoing event | METROPOLITAN
Celebrate the season with over a month of festive activities including the VTGCLT pop-up shop, Letters to Santa and the Metropolitan Merry Midtown Market this weekend. Other events include holiday movie screenings and photos with Santa.
Communities in Concert
Nov. 25 – Dec. 2 | Various locations
Communities in Concert, step two of Music Everywhere CLT’s ongoing effort to support local artists, is hosting a number of live concerts through the end of the month. See the full schedule:
Wednesday (Dec. 2)
- Camp North End: 12 – 2:00 p.m. Lisa De Novo
Charlotte Christmas Village
Nov. 27 – Dec. 23 | Truist Field
The Charlotte Christmas Village returns this year with a partnership with the Charlotte Knights and a new home at Truist Field. Enjoy unique shopping and a traditional European menu including bratwurst, schnitzel, strudel, gluhwein, hot cider, beers, and hot chocolate. There is ticketed admission to the stadium to create the safest environment possible for guests. Starting Thursday, December 10, the event will expand with Light the Knights, a new walkthrough holiday experience at Truist Field featuring tens of thousands of lights.
3rd Annual Festival of Trees
Nov. 30 – Jan. 3 | Downtown Belmont
In Downtown Belmont and Stowe Park, see community decorated trees as part of the Third Annual Festival of Trees. The festival kickoff will immediately follow the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on November 30 when participants can stroll from City Hall to Stowe Park and enjoy caroling and other special treats.
Charlotte Motor Speedway | Through Jan. 17
The 11th edition of Charlotte’s spectacular drive-through light show features more than 4 million lights over a 3.75-mile course that includes most of the oval as well as the infield. New this year, bring the family for ice skating at The Rink at Speedway Christmas and cozy up to FOX 46 WJZY Movie Nights on the giant Speedway TV every Thursday-Sunday.
N.C. Transportation Museum In Lights: A Drive Thru Experience
N.C. Transportation Museum | Various dates through Dec. 30
Head to the N.C. Transportation Museum for a holiday light show guests can enjoy from the safety of their own cars. Along the 1.25-mile route, see the museum’s historic structures and antique railroading equipment, and enjoy socially-distanced photos with Santa, s’mores and a visit to the gift station.