Holiday Bucket List for the Carolinas

December 5, 2019 - By

‘Tis the season for getting out and having some fun! Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holidays and start some new traditions when you try one or all of these festivities.

Holiday things to do in Charlotte

Charlotte Christmas Village

Dates: Nov 22nd – Dec 24th

Location: Corner of 7th Street & N. Tryon Street

Admission: Free

Indulge in Austrian strudels, Bratwurst with Sauerkraut, glazed nuts, hand twisted pretzels, and gingerbread and wash it all down with hot mulled wine, cider, hot chocolate and alcoholic-free Glühwein in a souvenir village mug! Pay a visit to Santa on select days throughout the Village season and witness the Annual Uptown Christmas Tree Lighting on Dec 3rd!

Speedway Christmas

Dates: Nov 22nd – Jan 5th

Location: Charlotte Motor Speedway

Admission: $20-$50 per car depending on day

The 10th edition of Charlotte’s spectacular drive-through light show features more than 4 million lights over a remarkable,3.75-mile course

Whitewater Center Ice Skating

Location: U.S. National Whitewater Center

Admission: Single Activity Pass ($20), All Access Pass ($59 Day Pass; $219 Annual Pass)

Skate on 17,000 sq. ft of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center. Skate up to the bar and sip on craft beer, hot chocolate, or coffee. Also at the Whitewater center, walk the half-mile trail that will lead you through a series of immersive light installations featuring  honeycombs, vines, crystals, and other natural features integrated into the forest. 

Charlotte Ballet’s Nutcracker

Dates: Dec 6th – 23rd

Location: Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center

Admission: $25-$150

Head to the Charlotte’s Belk Theater for a magical evening of sugar plums and snowflakes set to Tchaikovsky’s enchanting score.

The Polar Express Train Ride

Dates: Now – Dec 22nd

Location: N.C. Transportation Museum

Admission: $37 kids, $43 adults

Inspired by the holiday favorite, the movie comes to life as you and your family take a magical trip on The Polar Express™ Train Ride! Wear your pajamas, sip on hot chocolate and munch on cookies served on board and join in on the magic of Christmas!


Holiday happenings in Greensboro/Winston Salem

Mebane Christmas Parade

Date: Dec 6th, 7:00pm

Location: Downtown Mebane

Admission: Free

Witness the parade of 100 floats created by businesses, churches, car clubs, school groups and other fantastic participants and groups!

Holiday Tour of Homes

Dates: Dec 7th-8th, 12pm-4pm

Location: 293 East Front Street, Burlington, NC 27215

Admission: $15+

Walk through five homes on West Davis Street in the Historic District of Burlington, circa 1905 to 1935. This self-guided tour has volunteers stationed along the way to answer questions and point out interesting architectural and historical details. Check out the optional Brunch Package provided in partnership with Burlington Beer Works.

Downtown in December

Dates: Dec 6th- Jan 26th

Location: Downtown Greensboro, 536 South Elm Street

Downtown in December features 5 different events: Festival of Lights, Holiday Parade, Santa at the Biltmore Hotel, Piedmont Winterfest, SantaCon Bar Crawl. With over 40 years of tradition, these events are sure to satisfy ever member of the family and get you in the holiday spirit all season long.

Salem Saturdays at Christmas

Dates: Now through December 28th

Location: Old Salem Museums & Gardens

Admission: Kids (free), Students ($16), Adults ($35)

Slow down during the Holiday season and stroll through downtown during this daytime, town-wide event that is great fun for the kids and the perfect place to buy handcrafted gifts for everyone on your list.

Holidays in Asheville

Christmas at Biltmore

Dates: Now- Jan 5th

Location: The Biltmore Estate

Daytime Admission Pricing: $69 – $99

All tickets include self-guided tours of The Biltmore Estate, the gardens, Antler Hill Village with more lights, and the Winery for a complimentary wine tasting.

National Gingerbread House Competition

Dates: Now – Jan 4th

Location: The Omni Grove Park Inn

Admission: Free ($25/car parking fee)

Come see the amazing creations at the annual National Gingerbread House Competition at The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville.

Hendersonville Christmas Parade

Dates: December 7th, 10am

Location: Downtown Hendersonville

Admission: Free

Kick off the Holiday season with this traditional hometown Christmas parade as it travels along Main Street from Five Points to Caswell Street. Sponsored by the Hendersonville Merchants & Business Association. This year’s theme is the “The Magic of Christmas”

Main Street Holiday Hayrides

Date: Dec 20th, 5pm- 8pm

Location: Historic Downtown Hendersonville

Admission: Free

Take a festive hayride through Historic Downtown Hendersonville below the twinkling lights and holiday decorations. 

Christmas Wonderland Light Show

Dates: Now- Jan 5th

Location: Tryon International Equestrian Center

Admission: $25/car

Drive through an ultimate Christmas light show synchronized to holiday music. There are two miles of animated lights to the beautiful Tryon Resort. On weekend nights, you can visit the Winterfest Village and Santa’s House.

Holiday happenings in High Country

Choose & Cut your Christmas Tree

Dates: Thanksgiving Day – Christmas Eve.

Location: Christmas Tree farms in North Carolina

Start or continue your family tradition of finding the perfect Christmas tree this holiday season.

Tweetsie Christmas

Dates: December 6th-7th, 13th-14th, 20th-21st, & 27th-28th

Location: Tweetsie Railroad

Admission: Adults ($44), Children age 3-12 ($38), Children 2 and under (Free)

Take a magical ride on the nighttime train ride with light displays, visit Santa in his Gingerbread House, witness a live A Christmas Variety Show, and play in the Giant Snow Globes!

Chetola Resort’s Festival of Lights

Dates: Now- Jan 31st

Location: Chetola Resort

Admission: Free

A holiday tradition in Blowing Rock, the public is invited each year to enjoy thousands of dazzling lights throughout the resort.

Skiing with Santa

Date: Dec 24th, 1-4pm

Location: Appalachian Ski Mountain

Admission: $38-$66

Come try to spot Santa on the slopes on Christmas Eve! Celebrate the holiday season on the snow at App Ski Mountain.

Holiday activities in Raleigh

The Carolina Inn Holiday Market

Dates: Dec 8th, 15th, and 22nd from 12pm- 4pm

Location: The Carolina Inn

Admission: Free

Explore the 60+ artisan displays throughout the festive market, sip on mulled wine and munch on hot pretzels at the first ever Holiday Market Bier Garten!

Tree Lighting and Christmas Village

Dates: Dec 5th, 5:30pm

Location: Downtown Clayton

Parking Shuttle Price: One non-perishable food item for Clayton Area Ministries

Enjoy an evening of music, holiday cheer, a business open house, a live Nativity, train rides and a chance to see Santa!

Carolina Inn’s Twelve Days of Christmas

Dates: Now- Jan 1st

Location: The Carolina Inn

Admission: Varies 

Enjoy events throughout the Holiday season including Holiday Afternoon Tea, Hand Lettering Classes, meals with Santa, Make Your Own Gingerbread House, Holiday Cookie Decorating, live shows and more!

North Carolina Symphony Holiday Pops

Dates: Dec 10th, 7:30pm

Location: Memorial Hall

Admission: $20-$60

Enjoy seasonal music from The Polar Express and The Nutcracker, plus a sing along!

Holidays in Greenville

Holiday Fair at the Greenville Convention Center

Date: Dec 5th-7th

Location: Greenville Convention Center

Admission: Adults ($6)  Senior Citizens 60+ ($5) Children under 12 (free) Parking ($5/vehicle)

With over 350 vendors on-site during this 3 day fair, witness the Greenville Convention Center transform in a winter wonderland shopping experience! 

Greenville Poinsettia Christmas Parade

Dates: Dec 7th, 6pm-7:30pm

Location: Downtown Greenville

Admission: Free

For over 75 years, the Greenville Poinsettia Christmas Parade has attracted thousands of locals and visitors alike to view the holiday floats and activities! Come be apart of this classic Holiday tradition!

Skating on the Big Ice

Dates: Dec 21st- Jan 26th

Location: Bon Secours Wellness Arena

Admission: Adults ($8), Children, age 6 and under ($6), Skate Rental ($3)

Lace up your skates and enjoy a friendly atmosphere where you can enjoy ice skating while listening to music and socializing with family and friends. Get a free skate rental when you donate 5 canned goods or a case of water to assist STAGE partners, Loaves and Fishes and Habitat for Humanity.

Santa on the Chimney in Chimney Rock, NC

Dates: Dec 7th & 14th

Location: Chimney Rock

Admission: Adult ($17), Youth ($8)

Come witness Santa Claus practice for his big night as he rappels down the Chimney at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. each day. Santa and Mrs. Claus will then be available for visits and photos along with local poet, Eddie Cabbage, who will help kids put together their Christmas wish lists using his vintage typewriter and pieces of parchment paper.

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