10 things you need to do in and around Charlotte before the holiday season is over

10 things you need to do in and around Charlotte before the holiday season is over
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Here are the events and holiday-themed activities you can’t miss this season – sorted chronologically, so you can hit them all. See you out there, and don’t forget to show us what you’re doing via #cltagenda.

The Polar Express Train Ride

Until December 22 | NC Transportation Museum | $30-36 | Tickets

Why you should go: The classic holiday story comes to life on an actual 1-hour+ long train ride filled with kids in pajamas, sweet treats and more. Each child will leave with the silver bell central to the story.

Charlotte Ballet’s Nutcracker

Until December 23 | Belk Theater | $25+ | Tickets

Why you should go: Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux’s take on the holiday classic includes fresh sets, stunning costumes and performances that will blow you away.

Charlotte Ballet’s Nutcracker 2016 by Christopher Record Photography

Charlotte Christmas Village

Until December 24 | Romare Bearden Park | Free 

Why you should go: The village is back for the second year in a row with glüwhein, fresh-fried mini doughnuts, German strudels and visits with Santa. See the Agenda’s take on how to experience the festival here.

Christmas Town USA

Until December 26 | McAdenville, North Carolina | Free

Why you should go: Take in 1.3 miles worth of beautifully decorated homes and yards from the comfort of your own car in this Charlotte-area tradition that’s going on 60+ years. Go on a weeknight if possible, as traffic increases tremendously Friday through Sunday.

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Gingerbread Lane

Until December 27 | The Ballantyne Hotel | Free

Why you should go: The display of handcrafted gingerbread houses isn’t restricted just to hotel guests. The public is welcome to visit any time until December 27 and vote on favorites for a minimum $1 donation. Proceeds benefit the Levine Children’s Hospital. While you’re there, enjoy hot chocolate, cider and toddies at the gingerbread hut.


December 15-23, 26-30 | Carowinds | $22-28 | Tickets

Why you should go: Carowinds’ all-new holiday attraction includes sees the park transformed into a winter wonderland with over 5 million lights, ice skating, a cookie decorating station, live performances and tree lightings. Most rollercoasters are closed, but 16 kid-friendly rides are still open. See the Agenda guide here.

Holidays at the Garden

Until December 31 | Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden | $0-14.95 | Tickets

Why you should go: Take in the sight of the more than 600,000 lights spread across the grounds while you shop, enjoy live music, roast marshmallows and let the kids loose on the Holiday Discovery Trail. 5-9 p.m. daily.

Speedway Christmas

Until December 31 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | $20-175 | Tickets

Why you should go: Drive under 3.5 miles of 3,000,000+ lights that have been programmed to a full lights-to-music experience before you visit the Christmas Village’s for the petting zoo, Bethlehem village and visits with Santa. Every Thursday through Sunday, park under the Speedway TV at 6:30 p.m. to enjoy holiday classics.

Holiday on Ice

Until January 7 | NASCAR Hall of Fame | $10+

Why you should go: The Uptown tradition is going on its 14th year, complete with hot chocolate, special events and more. See the Agenda guide here.

Winter Wonderland

Until January 8 | SouthPark Mall | $12-17 | Tickets

Why you should go: You’ll find plenty of holiday magic at the open-air ice skating rink, including holiday lights, Santa’s Pub, King of Pops’ Tree Elves, a carousel and more.

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