16 festive holiday events in Charlotte

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Of course it’s too early but now you can plan ahead.

Southern Christmas Show

The city’s largest holiday shopping event celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Location: The Park Expo & Conference Center, 800 Briar Creek Road, Charlotte NC 28205
Date: Daily November 9 – 19
Time: Sunday – Tuesday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Wednesday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Price: $3 kids 6-12, $9.50-$12 adults

Holidays at the Garden

Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens will transform into a winter wonderland with more than 600,000 lights and illuminated displays aglow throughout the grounds. They’ve also got live music performances, a holiday gift shop and activities for kids.

Location: Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, 6500 South New Hope Road, Belmont NC 28012
Date: Daily November 17 – December 31 (closed Christmas Day)
Time: 5-9 p.m.
Price: $8.95 kids 2-12, $13.95 seniors 60+, $14.95 adults (buy online to save $2)

Holiday on Ice

10,000 gallons of water turn NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza into an ice rink throughout the holiday season.

Location: NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza, 400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Charlotte NC 28202
Date: Opens for the season November 17 at 5 p.m.
Price: $10 admission, $14 admission + skate rental

The Polar Express Train Ride

The classic children’s book comes to life with a magical train ride to the North Pole. The interactive show last about 70 minutes and passengers receive hot chocolate, a sweet treat and a silver bell souvenir.

Location: NC Transportation Museum, 411 S. Salisbury Avenue, Spencer NC 28159
November 17-18, 24-26; December 1-3, 8-10, 14-22
Trains run 4-8:30 p.m. Check the schedule here
$30-$40 kids, $36-46 adults

VTGCLT Winter Market

Knock out your holiday gift buying with 60+ of the region’s best vintage and handmade retailers setting up shop at The Fillmore. They’ll also have coffee and food vendors on site to keep you charged.

Location: The Fillmore, 820 Hamilton Street, Charlotte NC 28206
Date: November 18
Time: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Price: $7 early bird entry at 10 a.m., $2 general admission

Panthers Tree Lighting

Location: Bank of America Stadium, corner of Mint and Graham Streets
Date: November 22
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.
Price: Free

Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade

The annual tradition celebrates its 70th anniversary this year.

Location: Uptown on N. Tryon Street from Stonewall to 9th
Date: November 23
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Price: Free; VIP and reserved seating is available for purchase here

Charlotte Christmas Village

Romare Bearden Park becomes a European-inspired Christmas market with food and gift vendors, live performances and plenty of Glühwein, a warm spiced wine.

Location: Romare Bearden Park, 300 S. Mint Street, Charlotte NC 28202
Date: November 23 – December 24
Time: Open daily at 11 a.m.
Price: Free

South End Small Business Saturday

Small Busines Saturday is the local response to big box retailers’ Black Friday mayhem. South End will be celebrating 200+ local businesses with self-guided maps, pop-up markets and free trolley rides throughout the district.

Location: South End
Date: November 25
Time: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Price: Free


Winter Wonderland Craft Fair

Shop handmade pottery, jewelry, quilts, clothing, candles and more from 150+ artisan vendors at the gorgeous Dairy Barn at Anne Springs Close Greenway.

Location: Anne Springs Close Greenway, 288 Dairy Barn Lane, Fort Mill SC 29715
Date: November 25
Time: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Price: $5 parking per vehicle

Fourth Ward Holiday Home Tour

Take a self-guided walking tour through the most beautifully decorated private homes in Charlotte’s quaintest neighborhood. You’ll find carolers, bell ensembles and horse-drawn carriage rides along with tasting stations and free samples at select stops. Hands down one of my favorite Charlotte traditions.

Location: Fourth Ward
Date: December 1-3
Time: 5-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday
Price: $35

Soul Food Sessions Holiday Funk Fest

Soul Food Sessions, a pop-up dinner series spotlighting black chefs, is back with a holiday blow out featuring food stations from 12 chefs, four craft cocktails and live music from Groove 8. Proceeds benefit Soul Food Sessions’ scholarship program.

Location: Project 658, 3646 Central Avenue, Charlotte NC 28205
Date: December 8
Time: 7-11 p.m.
Price: $100

Gingerbread Lane at the Ballantyne Hotel

The Ballantyne hosts an annual gingerbread house competition for amateurs, pros and kids. The houses will be on display most of December and are free to view. Bonus: Stop by between 2-5:30 p.m. 12/8-27 for a spiked hot chocolate, cider or or spiced wine at Veranda for the grownups. Or schedule a Holiday Afternoon Tea in the lobby (available Tuesday-Sunday in December from 1-4 p.m.; $49 for adults, $29 for kids).

Location: The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge, 10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway, Charlotte NC 28227
Date: December 7-27
Time: Any time
Price: Free; visitors can make $1 votes for their favorite houses with all proceeds benefitting Levine Children’s Hospital

Weihnachtsmarkt at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery

A traditional German-inspired Christmas market with dozens of local vendors and plenty of beer.

Location: The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, 4150 Yancey Road, Charlotte NC 28217
Date: December 1-2, 8-9, 15-16
Time: 4-9 p.m. Fridays and 2-9 p.m. Saturdays
Price: Free

Girl Tribe Holiday Pop-Up

Put a dent in your gift list at dozens of women-owned businesses set up at Sugar Creek Brewing. Don’t want to deal with crowds? Buy a preview ticket for $25 and shop the night before with a maximum of 100 other shoppers.

Location: Sugar Creek Brewing, 215 Southside Drive, Charlotte NC 28217
Date: December 9
Time: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Price: VIP early entry $10 9 a.m. – noon; free general admission 12-5

Charlotte Ballet’s Nutcracker

The classic holiday performance features fresh sets and costumes debuted in 2016.

Location: Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon Street, Charlotte NC 28202
Date: December 9-23
Price: $25-$125

Photo by Peter-Zay

Header photo of Holidays at the Garden via Facebook

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