This story is proudly presented by Presidents Cup. In celebration of Charlotte hosting the 2021 Presidents Cup, catch this year’s tournament action at brewery watch parties around the city. It kicks off at Heist Barrel Arts this Wednesday night. Expect limited edition brews, games, a photo op with the Presidents Cup trophy, and live TV coverage of the Cup in Australia. RSVP.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 9
Velvet Taco Opening
Optimist Hall | 11 a.m. | Free to attend | Details
Why you should go: The funky, fast-casual taco joint has nine signature tacos on the menu and one rotating WTF (weekly taco feature). Tacos are around $4-$6 each.
Dogwood Southern Table + The Gin Mill Holiday Fundraiser Cocktail
The Gin Mill | 6-9 p.m. | $20 at the door, $5 drinks | Details
Why you should go: Some of the cities best mixologists (Stefan from dotdotdot, Colleen from Haberdish, Kel from soul and KIKI, Amanda from Bardo, and Bob Peters) are coming together to create one featured cocktail each, and you can buy them all night long for $5 each. The annual event helps support kids in Charlotte through the Angel Tree program. Last year the event raised $5,000 for the cause.
Charlotte Motor Speedway | 6-10 p.m. | $20-$30 | Details
Why you should go: Nothing says Christmas in the Carolinas like 4 million lights arranged around a race track. Expect a Ferris wheel, Bethlehem village, photos with Santa, fun foods, games, fire pits for s’mores roasting, and drive-in style Christmas movies, too. Note: The village is only open Thursday-Sunday.
Whitewater Center Ice Skating
U.S. National Whitewater Center | Agenda Preview
Why you should go: This new ice skating rink includes 17,000 square feet of ice on the Upper Pond of the whitewater river, and it’ll have three areas (free skate, winter sports and a 600-foot ice trail). The skating area will also have a skate-up bar where you can buy craft beer, hot chocolate, and coffee.
Winter Wonderland at SouthPark
SouthPark Mall | 3-11 p.m. | $12-$17 | Details
Why you should go: The open-air ice rink returns for another season. If you have your own skates, it’s $12 for two hours and it’s $17 for two hours of skating and skate rental.
Holiday on Ice
NASCAR Hall of Fame | 5 p.m. | $12+ | Details
Why you should go: Skate your way past Christmas trees and sparkling lights while drinking hot cocoa in Uptown.
Gingerbread Lane at the Ballantyne Hotel
The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge | All day | Free | Details
Why you should go: 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. But you can pay $1 to vote for your favorite house, with all proceeds benefitting Levine Children’s Hospital.
Holidays at the Garden
Daniel Stowe, 6500 S New Hope Road, Belmont| 5-9 p.m. | $14.95+ | Details
Why you should go: Stroll through the gardens and see a mile of lights. Roast a marshmallow by a crackling fire, shop, visit Santa and Mrs. Claus, and listen to holiday music, too. Santa Claus will be available for professional photos with families from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Or you can opt for personal photos (as in using your own phone/camera) with Santa from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays December 3-19 for free.
[Agenda related guide: 23 must-do festive holiday events in Charlotte]
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10
CAVA South End Opening
Atherton | All day | Free | Details
Why you should go: The new CAVA, Charlotte’s fourth, is near the Barry’s Bootcamp and West Elm in Atherton. It’s a DC-based Mediterranean fast-casual spot, and the new location has 52 seats inside, a patio area for outdoor dining, and a designated pickup zone for orders placed online and through their app.
Charlotte Christmas Village – Christkindlmarkt
Corner of Seventh & North Tryon streets | All day | Free | Details
Why you should go: The annual European-inspired Christmas Market is back. Expect the usual speciality foods, Glühwein in a souvenir village mug, cider, hot chocolate, vendors, photos with Santa, and holiday performances. The market is open now through December 24, and is closed on Mondays.
McGill’s Winter Wonderland
Rosie’s Wine Garden | 4-10 p.m. | Free | Details
Why you should go: They have lights, hot chocolate, and s’mores now through December, plus you can still purchase the usual wine and beer. Bring a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots if you’re feeling generous.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11
#THECOAT Charity Happy Hour
1210 Townes Road | 4-9 p.m. | Free | Details
Why you should go: Last year Katrina Hutchins hosted a charity coat drive after her favorite Amazon coat took over Instagram (#thecoat). The coat drive is back again, this time at a new-build from Grandfather homes with a pop-up market from local vendors and drinks, of course.
Live at the Mint | Chócala Performance
Mint Museum Uptown – 500 S. Tryon St. | 6-9 p.m. | Free | Details
Why you should go: It’s the final week of Live at the Mint for the year, so don’t miss Latin fusion band Chócala perform live. Pro tip: Get there a little early, the cash bar opens at 5:30 p.m.
THURSDAY DECEMBER 12
Slate Charlotte/Oak Room – 200 E. Bland St. | 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. | $30-$95 with unwrapped toy | Details
Why you should go: Expect holiday cheer, great food, entertainment, live music, and other surprises — all supporting the American Cancer Society and Toys For Tots. The dress code is holiday cocktail attire.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13
OMB’s Weihnachtsmarkt Weekend
OMB | 4 p.m. | Free | Details
Why you should go: OMB’s annual Weihnachtsmarkt Weekend is back with 40-plus vendors for you to shop from. Expect tons of lights, Gluhwein (spiced wine pronounced “Gloo-vine”), holiday music, hot cocoa, festive food, fire pits, and tons of beer. It’s open every Friday-Sunday from December 6-22.
Charlotte Ballet’s Nutcracker
Belk Theater | 7:30 p.m. | $25+ | Details
Why you should go: One of the beloved holiday traditions in the city, the “Nutcracker” is a Christmas classic that never gets old. The show runs Friday-Sunday, with the last show on December 23.
WinterFest at Carowinds
Carowinds, 300 Carowinds Blvd. | $20+ | 5-10 p.m. | Details
Why you should go: They’ve got a 70-foot tree, 5 million twinkly lights, live shows, performers all around, and festive hands-on activities — plus some the usual rides. I’m a sucker for reusable cups, so I’m eying the $12 WinterFest mug which gets you free hot cocoa the first time + $1 refills after.
The Polar Express Train Ride
N.C. Transportation Museum| 4 p.m. | $37 kids, $43 adults | Details
Why you should go: I remember the first time I saw “The Polar Express” in theaters and I’m not sure I’ve experienced greater magic. So treat your inner child (or actual child) to a holiday train ride. Rides are every weekend, Friday-Sunday, from mid-November through December.