It’s the Ho Ho holiday season! We are so lucky to live in a city that is so festive. We have rounded up some of the best winter activities in the Charlotte area. Our 2023 Winter Guide is packed with Santa sightings, tree lightings, and other holiday fun. Keep checking back because as more events are planned we will be adding them here. This is your one-stop for all things holiday fun in the QC. A special thank you to our friends at Atrium Health Levine Children’s for making this guide possible.
If all the holiday festivities leave you or your family feeling less than jolly, Atrium Health Levine Children’s is here to get you back to feeling merry & bright. Check out their blog to help your family prepare for sick season.
From our Macaroni Kid family to yours, we wish you a happy, fun, and healthy holiday season!
Season’s Top Pick
December 14, 2023
Everyone is invited to shine a light on the kids at Atrium Health Levine Children’s Hospital and share love with our community. We’ll shine flashlights and the patients will shine back, this is an evening of light, love, and a lot of fun! Parking is available free of charge in the new parking deck located in front of Levine Children's Hospital.
The 69th Annual Singing Christmas Tree, Halton Theater
December 11, 2023; Doors open at 3:30 PM
Tickets start at $13
Carolina Voices presents a celebration of holiday entertainment at The 69th Annual Singing Christmas Tree! The warm sounds of the season will fill the CPCC Dale F. Halton Theater with soaring voices (on a specially designed tree!) performing all your favorite Christmas music! Bring the whole family for one of Charlotte’s longest-running Christmas productions!
Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte
November 17-December 22, 2023
Tickets start at $16
The Herdmans are ready to wreak havoc! What happens when the “worst kids in the history of the world” find out about free food at Sunday school? What if they decide to audition for the annual Christmas pageant? This hilarious and heartfelt musical comedy, adapted from Barbara Robinson’s classic story, will have your family laughing and crying as we celebrate the holidays.
The Nutcracker, Halton Theater
Tickets start at $15
Enjoy a family-friendly performance of The Nutcracker presented by the Harris YMCA Dance Company this holiday season. There are many show options to choose from at the perfect value for a family tradition!
Charlotte Ballet: Nutcracker, Belk Theater
Tickets start at $30
Celebrate the sights and sounds of the holidays at Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux’s Nutcracker! This unwavering holiday spectacular is complete with extravagant sets and costumes, the treasured Tchaikovsky score and, of course, a magnificent snowfall on the Belk Theater stage.
Tickets start at $20
A holiday mash-up for the whole family, The Hip Hop Nutcracker is celebrating its 10th anniversary this season as it returns for another spectacular tour.
Tickets start at $25
A contemporary twist on a holiday classic; this aerial and dance performance is great for the whole family.
Tickets start at $10
The circus meets the symphony! Back with a fresh show filled with awe-inspiring acrobatics and musical holiday favorites, this event will fill your family with the wonder of the season.
Southern Christmas Show at Park Expo
Tickets start at $40
It’s a Charlotte classic and a holiday must.
November 22-January 6
Tickets start at $10
Lights, snow, Christmas trees, holiday treats, ice skating, and the expanded Snow Tubing Hill, presented by Atrium Health Levine Children's, with more lanes than ever before! Shop in the Christmas Village for unique handmade gifts and more. Tickets are required.
OMB’s Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market) is a truly unique experience unlike any other in the Charlotte area. We transform our Biergarten into a German-style Christmas Village with traditional huts for shopping, holiday music, and tons of lights. Santa photos will be available as well, check the website for days and times.
Select weekends November 24 - December 17th
All holiday season long you can experience the best of South End and local, small business. Check the website for details on which business is hosting Santa or running holiday specials.
Shop our Winter Holiday Market to enjoy cool weather, delicious items from the Gateway Canteen, a scenic area of the Greenway and local shopping. 50 vendors will feature locally made goods, including but not limited to home décor, candles, soaps, holiday gifts and family items. A gift wrapping station will be on-site. Also, get ready to meet the new members of the Crandall Bowles Children’s Farm at the farm animal photo station! Stick around for live music from 3-8pm!
The Gateway Canteen will be selling s’mores kits at the s’mores station. Meals and snacks, in addition to hot drinks, including loose-leaf tea and lattes. Fuel your shopping with one of the Canteen’s signature drinks of peppermint hot chocolate or a Yule Mule for adults 21+.
December 9 - 10, 2023
Shop small and support Charlotte's local businesses at the Shop Local QC x QC Socialite Holly Jolly Holiday pop-up market!
First three Saturdays in December: 2, 9, 16 from 3-8pm
Join us for some of the most magical nights of the year. All are welcome to eat, drink, shop, and be merry at Camp with friends, fam, and lovers in tow.
November 25 and 26th
The perfect way to skip out on big box stores this Black Friday and choose to support SMALL on Small Business Saturday at this two-day show at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center!!
Christmas Tree Lightings and Celebrations
Town of Weddington Christmas Tree Lighting
November 17 at 5 PM
Food trucks, singing, and loads of family fun, culminating in tree lighting.
December 2, 3-8 PM
The Monroe Parks and Recreation Department's Annual Christmas On Main event! Be sure to bring the entire family as we light the Christmas Tree and welcome the holiday season.
November 19 at 2:00 PM
The Union County Christmas Parade in downtown Monroe. This long-held tradition is an exciting opportunity for families, friends, businesses, and local governments to gather in the spirit of community and holiday celebration. The Alliance for Children hosts the parade each year as its fundraiser to support programs that have a lasting impact on our youngest children.
December 1 at 6:00 PM
This magical evening will be filled with FREE family fun, including photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus, balloon artistry, face painting, crafts, delicious hot cocoa, and even a chance to explore a real-life fire truck!
November 30 - December 3
Get ready for a weekend filled with festive activities, enchanting decorations, delicious treats, and heartwarming memories that will last a lifetime.
December 1 at 6:30 PM
The parade begins at Oakland Ave and ends at Fountain Park.
Make memories in downtown Rock Hill for the 2023 Rock Hill Christmas Parade!
December 2 at 11:00 AM
The parade features local schools, officials, churches, businesses, scouts, queens, and of course, Santa & more! Filming of the parade for Comporium Channel 115 takes place in front of the Fort Mill Fire Station at 121 Tom Hall Street. Emcees for the event, David Ward, local Historian, and Rachel Richardson, CN2 News, will introduce each entry as they pass this location.
December 10 at 3:00 PM
This locals favorite parade feature local school marching bands, entries and floats by 70 businesses and members of the community and an appearance from a special guest from the North Pole! Announcers cover the entire parade route to make sure that you hear all of the details surrounding the fun entries passing by. The theme for 2023 is "Merry & Bright!"
December 2 at 5:00 PM
Join the town of Mint Hill, downtown, for a special nighttime parade featuring local businesses, organizations, bands, and of course, Santa. The parade will travel down Matthews-Mint Hill Road from Bain School to the Mint Hill Library. Santa will leave after the parade and return to Town Hall for the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting.
December 1 at 6:00 PM
Love Winter season? We will have free hot chocolate, sledding, photos with Santa, and our annual tree lighting!
December 2 at 6:00 PM
Annual Christmas Tree lighting will take place at 6:00 pm. New this year- Christmas Village Vendor Market presented by Sunny Day Markets! Kick off your Christmas shopping by supporting small businesses!
December 9 at 4:00 PM
Come and enjoy the festivities as we prepare our community for the holiday season. Don't forget to bring your family and friends to meet Santa Claus, who is eagerly waiting to see you at the parade.
December 3 from 5:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Family fun featuring: music, carriage rides, a Christmas carousel, a bounce house and special appearances by: Santa Clause, Mrs. Clause, The Grinch, Buddy the Elf and free doughnuts & hot chocolate.
DATE and INFO TBD
December to Remember at Promenade on Providence
DATE and INFO TBD
5:00-10:00 PM daily
Bring your friends and family and immerse yourself in the wonder of the season with over a million Christmas lights along a half-mile walking trail. $28 for trail and $12 for the Alpine Slide.
November 17 at 6:00 PM
The free family event will feature face painting, cookie making, train rides, pictures with Santa, and much more! Be sure to join us for all the festivities!
November 21 at 5:00 PM
While this is a free event, tickets are required. Marking the 10th year of the Tree Lighting Festival, and the 3rd with Charlotte FC since the franchise's inception, this year's festival returns to the corner of Mint Street and Graham Street outside of Bank of America Stadium
December 16 at 5:30 - 7:00 PM
The parade route has GROWN! Starting at Blythe Landing, then head to Ramsey Creek, from there we head to a new cove at the Peninsula and then have the finale at the Duke Energy Explorium with food trucks and Santa!
Menorah Lightings & Hanukkah Celebrations
December 10 at 9:30 - 11:00 AM
Tickets start at $10; registration is required.
Join us for a Hanukkah celebration featuring a morning filled with a delightful breakfast, activities, and lots of fun with Clifford the Big Red Dog.
Unite with Light at SouthPark Mall
Join in song on this official first night of Hanukkah with Chabad of Charlotte. The 8th Day will be performed, and there will be food and beverage. Tickets are required.
Stonecrest Menorah Lighting
Free fun for the family, join Ballantyne Jewish Center as they light the Hanukkah Menorah along the Rea Road side in the fountain area. There will be donuts, latkes, and crafts for the kiddos.
Join the town of Matthews as they welcome Hanukkah and light the menorah.
Free fun for the family in Waxhaw - come light the lights and celebrate Hanukkah!
December 10 at 6:00 PM at Le Meridien
Tickets are $36
Enjoy this performance and then celebrate with the lighting of the menorah.
Miscellaneous Holiday Lights & Fun for the Family
Speedway Christmas presented by Atrium Health
November 17, 2023 - January 7, 2024
6:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Tickets start at $40
We love the speedway lights! It gets crowded so plan to be in the car for a while. We like to go on New Year's Eve, after the holiday, when it's less crowded and still as much fun.
November 17, 2023 - January 1, 2024
Tickets start at $32.99
Check out the lights, stay late for the parade, and rent an "igloo" for hot cocoa and treats! Carowinds is converted into a winter wonderland and holiday light spectacular.
Mid-November through mid-February
Tickets start at $25
Every fall, the Upper Pond of the whitewater system converts into a one-of-a-kind ice skating experience open to all ages and experience levels.
Come for the houses, stay for the cocoa! Dress up or down, this is one of our family favorites during the holidays. This wonderful event benefits Atrium Health Levine Children's. Read more about it here.
November 29 - December 29
Go, see, and vote! Check out the local talent when it comes to Gingerbread houses.
Select evenings November 17, 2023 - January 14, 2024
Tickets start at $15
This is a not-to-miss experience for the kiddos. I love it!
5:30 PM to 10:00 PM
Some of the best light displays in the Carolinas, you won't want to miss it. Park nearby and walk or drive through. If you walk, however, you'll be able to hit the side streets. It's a family favorite.
November 10-11, 17-19, 24-26, and December 1-3, 7-10, 12-23
Tickets start at $40
Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, families are sure to enjoy their trip to the North Pole, complete with hot chocolate and cookies served on board the train. Passengers are entertained by a reading of Chris Van Allsburg’s classic, The Polar Express. Upon arrival at the North Pole, passengers deboard to watch Santa present the first gift of Christmas. Before exiting the train at Candy Cane Lane, all passengers who BELIEVE will receive their own sleigh bell.
December 15 at 6 PM
Join us for a night of family fun at the first-ever Mint Hill Mingle & Jingle. Featuring The Polar Express on the big screen, train rides around the park, snacking on popcorn and hot chocolate as well as holiday crafts. Santa Claus will make an appearance after picking up his letters at Town Hall.
Tuesdays - Sundays, November 24 - December 23 from 5:00 - 10:00 PM
Winter will glisten with dazzling lights, sparkling fountains, and holiday décor throughout the Garden this season. Gather with family around the warmth of an outdoor fire while kids, young and old, delight in making s’mores. Grab a snack at our food trucks and a warm beverage. Shop at The Garden Store for gifts for everyone on your list. Take your picture in front of the Orchid Tree located outside the Great Hall.
December 1 - 23; Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. / Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Experience Christmas at the Billy Graham Library with a live Nativity, petting zoo, carriage rides, story time and more. Entry is free but activity pricing varies. Visit the website for more information.
And for some outdoor fun of your making, make sure to check out our Snow Tubing Guide.
Many thanks to our friends at Atrium Health Levine Children's for sponsoring this guide.