What would the most wonderful time of the year be without Charlotte’s classic traditions? Or might you like to try something different this year too? Let our list of festive fun (with helpful links) serve as the ultimate source on what to do this holiday season –– both good ol’ standbys and fresh happenings –– in and around Charlotte!
Smarty tip? Just don’t try to do every single activity. A positive, pleasant holiday focuses on peace and joy. Choosing just a few is sure to add just that to your memories. Ho Ho Ho! Now, let’s go go go…
Make a new memory or two with these Smarty picks for holiday fun:
Get Merry at the Metropolitan
– Stop by now through Thursday Dec. 23 (8 a.m. – 8 p.m.) for your littles to write and send letters to Santa. Situated next to Dressler’s and the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, all supplies will be ready and waiting: stationery, envelopes, and writing utensils.
– Get your Grinchiness out by getting your Grinch on at Grinchmas Saturday Dec. 18 (2 – 5 p.m.) This Whoville will feature plenty of fun: meet & greet the green man himself, enjoy hot cocoa and cookies or a beverage from Sycamore Brewing, and get the wiggles out on the Bounce House.
Remember the Reason for the Season
– Gingerbread Lane at The Ballantyne – Let’s show our children how it can be better to give than receive by casting $1 donation votes for the best gingerbread houses. All proceeds benefit Atrium Health Levine Children’s Hospital. Free to visit Friday Dec. 3 – Sunday Dec. 26 (11 a.m. – 7 p.m.)
– Live Nativity for Charlotte Rescue Mission – Sat December 18th (5:30 pm to 10 pm) – Free to visit, but bring your donations! The Queen Family invites you to their annual fundraiser at 3943 Black Sycamore Dr. Charlotte, NC 28226. All donated funds go to support Charlotte Rescue Mission’s recovery programs in the fight against addiction.
Get Outdoors & Get Moving
– Christmas at The Boathouse – The Catawba Riverkeepers invite your family to join them for these family-friendly events. Saturday Dec. 11 (12 – 5 p.m.) Christmas Market featuring 30 vendors + food trucks. Saturday, Dec. 18 (2 – 5 p.m.) Family Fun Day – Santa, bounce house, face painting, crafts and more.
– MCRC Little Elves Workshop – Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation invites toddler/preschool-aged children and their parents to the Mallard Creek Rec Center Friday Dec. 17 (10 – 10:45 a.m.) Your little elves can hear a Christmas Story, make Christmas crafts and ornaments, enjoy a holiday snack, and even say hello to Santa.
– Reedy Creek Park and Nature Preserve – Celebrate Nature Holiday Fest on Saturday Dec. 11 (10 a.m. – 1 p.m.) and Winter Solstice Fire and Celebration on Tuesday Dec. 21 (6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.)
– Take in the classic Christmas comedy National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation from your car at the Ballantyne Drive-In this Friday Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. Catch Elf under the stars (and plenty of blankets) with the Brewers Box Office outdoor movie series on Tuesday Dec. 21 at 6:30 p.m. (Brewers at 4001 Yancey).
Don’t forget Fido
– Schedule your appointment for a free emailed photo of your pet with Santa at a nearby PetSmart Dec. 4-5, 11-12, or 18-19 (12 – 3 p.m.) You can also reserve a sitting with Santa and Grinch by appointment for your pooch with Lucky Dog Bark & Brew Charlotte Saturday Dec. 4 (1 – 5 p.m.)
Try out some Traditional Favorites
– The Polar Express Train Ride – Check out our Instagram video detailing Smarty Carroll’s family adventure aboard the Polar Express. For train schedules and details click here. The Polar Express is running through December 23rd.
– Holiday Light Displays – Stay tuned for Smarty Shannon’s list of the top 10 ways to see dazzling light shows in or around Charlotte. Coming Saturday, Dec. 4.
– The Nutcracker – There’s more than one way to the Land of Sweets with Clara this season. Choose from the below, and don’t miss the Smarty Days of Christmas Giveaway # 1: Charlotte Ballet’s Nutcracker. Register now!
– Charlotte Ballet (12/3-12/23)
– Charlotte Youth Ballet (12/3-12/5)
– The Nutcracker on Ice (12/9-12/12)
– Harris YMCA Dance Company (12/11-12/12)
– The Hip Hop Nutcracker (12/27-12/28)
– Charlotte Christmas Village – Now through December 23rd (hours vary), you can stroll through Truist Field’s stream of lights, trees, delicious eats and treats, all the way to Charlotte’s Christmas Village.
– – Christmas at the Library – All Christmas activities at The Billy Graham Library start at 5 pm and beckon back to a special place and time. This holiday experience runs through December 23rd and includes a live nativity, horse drawn carriage, and storytime.
– Zootastic Park Christmas Wonderland – This Lake Norman area zoo transforms into a lit up holiday zone by night with plenty of opportunities to interact with the animals and enjoy seasonal sweets. Santa will be there too. Open through January 1st.
– Holidays at the Garden – Wander through a winter wonderland of lights at Daniel Stowe’s Botanical Garden now through January 2nd (5 – 9 pm).
– Speedway Christmas – No rush since it will be open through January 16th, but don’t miss your family’s chance to speed along Charlotte’s actual NASCAR race track while catching a dazzling light show synched to holiday tunes.
Thank you, Next.
– Skip the crowds and throw your own “Noon Year’s Eve” party with little ones.
– Start 2022 off right with a 1.5 to 2 mile First Day Family Hike at Reedy Creek Nature Preserve on January 1, 2022 (2 – 3:30 pm).
Great list – love it and getting the Plym crew started on all of these ideas!