5 Must-Do Holiday Events in Charlotte This Year

It's pretty obvious: The Queen City is the place to be during the holidays.
Series of images from WBTV First Night Charlotte, an annual New Year's celebration in center city Charlotte, NC. Artists, dancers, comedians, musicians and magicians performed throughout the day-long family friendly event on December 31, 2011 to January 1, 2012.


Glimmering lights and holiday cheer are two gifts we’ve come to expect from Charlotte during the holidays. Each year, it seems there is something new to do in uptown to celebrate the season, and 2018 is no exception.

There’s nothing like a magical holiday night in the Queen City—especially when she’s dressed in her yuletide best. Whether you’re looking for festive activities for your visiting kin or you’re hoping to start fresh traditions with your new little family, Charlotte is brimming with holly-jolly options. To narrow it down, we’ve listed the top things to do in Charlotte for the holidays this year. You won’t want to miss these fabulous, festive events.


1. Show off your ice skating skills (or teach the kids)

Who says you can’t go ice skating in North Carolina? Holiday on Ice, which lasts through January 6, is a holiday-spirited activity sure to get the blood flowing. The best part—it’s fun for the whole family! Set up outside the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the ice skating rink is right on the edge of uptown, making it easy to curate a day of uptown holiday activities (don’t forget to stop by the tree!). If you have your own skates, admission is just $12 per person for a full day of skating. Don’t have your own ice skates? No problem—skate rentals are $4. Purchase tickets and learn more here.



2. Get in the spirit at Carowinds Winterfest

You can ease into the holiday spirit, or you can jump into it full-force at Carowinds Winterfest. This theme park straddling the state line between North and South Carolina is a family favorite for various reasons, and the seasonal happenings are certainly one of them. For the holidays this year, take a stroll down Candy Cane Lane, send a letter at the North Pole Post Office, skate on Snowflake Lake, and visit the new Jack Frost Igloo Village at Carowinds Winterfest. There will also be special themed food around the park (smoked turkey, anyone?). From now until Christmas Day, experience Carowinds Winterfest for as low as $26 per ticket—more details here.


3. Stroll and shop the Charlotte Christmas Village (and 7th Street Public Market)

See the corner of 7th Street and North Tryon Street transformed into a darling market full of holiday cheer and giftable items. The Charlotte Christmas Village, also known as the Christkindlmarkt, is a European-inspired market complete with classic Austrian strudels, hot mulled wine, and other cold-weather treats. The village will be open at various times (depending on the day) until Christmas Eve this year. It’s free to attend, and you can pop into the 7th Street Public Market while you’re there. The 7th Street Public Market is hosting a Sip and Shop event on December 6. Get all the details on the Charlotte Christmas Village here.


4. See the Nutcracker ballet

If there were a bucket list for the holiday season, surely seeing “Nutcracker” would be on it! For fans of the classic ballet and for those looking for something traditional to do during the yuletide season, The Nutcracker is a must. Running from December 7 to the 23 at the Belk Theater in the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, the Charlotte Ballet’s rendition of the charming holiday tale is sure to enchant you. Complete with music from the Charlotte Symphony and choreography by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Nutcracker premiered with all new sets and costumes in 2016. Ticket pricing starts at just $25. Get more information and buy tickets here.


5. Ring in the New Year with CLT NYE presented by Ally

Ring in 2019 in the heart of Charlotte! CLT NYE presented by Ally returns to Tryon Street with all of the family-friendly fun you’ve come to expect. On December 31, festivities start at 8 p.m. at the intersection of South Tryon Street and Levine Avenue of the Arts. Hear live music from Mo Money, join your neighbors for the lighting of the official Queen City crown, and catch an amazing fireworks display at midnight. This event is free to attend; alcohol is not allowed.


Want to see all the holiday happenings in Charlotte this year? Check out HolidaysInTheCityCLT.com, or view the full calendar of events here.