15 Must-Visit Small Towns in North Carolina

From the mountains to the coast, explore these quaint destinations in the Tar Heel State.


Published:

Photo by Bennian/Shutterstock

North Carolina is home to many quaint towns rich in history and natural beauty that provide an opportunity for relaxation and family togetherness, without the noise and traffic of larger cities. If you love the small-town vibe, pack a suitcase to discover the irresistible charm of these road-trip worthy destinations.

Mountains
 

Banner Elk

Photo courtesy of Bill Russ — VisitNC.com

A young boy enjoys a sledding run in Banner Elk.
 

Avery County’s Banner Elk, about 15 miles from Boone, offers an ideal destination for families. “Banner Elk sits between two of the major ski resorts in North Carolina,” says Nancy Owen of the Banner Elk Tourism Development Authority. “On one side of us is Sugar Mountain Resort and on the other side is Beech Mountain Resort, so we’re within a 5-mile radius of two of the biggest winter attractions in North Carolina.”

The town offers plenty of year-round family fun, too. In summer, visit Wildcat Lake, which offers a beach area, swimming, fishing and canoe rentals. It’s also a great spot for a family picnic.

“Our Fourth of July Celebration is really like no other. It’s true classic America,” Owen says. “Thousands of people come to our one stoplight town for this parade. It’s a family tradition.” The parade concludes with a Party in the Park at Tate-Evans Park with food, vendors, a rubber duck race, an egg toss and sack races.

In the fall, Banner Elk is known for its Woolly Worm Festival, held the third weekend in October. The festival celebrates the coming of snow season with worm races, with the winner helping to predict the coming weather.

Insider Tip: You’ll find spectacular mountain views at Apple Hill Farm, an alpaca farm 5 miles from Banner Elk. The private farm frequently hosts tours to see the alpacas, llamas, goats, guardian donkeys, dogs and Mr. Pickles, the pig.


Blowing Rock

Photo courtesy of Todd Bush Photography

"Main Street is the heart of the village, a walkable and friendly place with a mix of unique shops, galleries, independent restaurants," says Amanda Lugenbell of Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority.
 

Blowing Rock, a 15-minute drive from Boone, is known as the Crown of the Blue Ridge and is located in Watauga and Caldwell counties along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The town is named for The Blowing Rock — an enormous cliff high above the Johns River Gorge, which is 3,000 feet below. Fish or hike at Moses Cone Memorial Park, ride the rails at Tweetsie Railroad, launch an aerial excursion at High Gravity Adventures, or explore a natural gravitational anomaly at Mystery Hill.

“The mix of outdoor activity and energetic entertainment is something families love about our town,” says Amanda Lugenbell of Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority. “The atmosphere of downtown is another quality that makes Blowing Rock special. Main Street is the heart of the village, a walkable and friendly place with a mix of unique shops, galleries, independent restaurants, and the lovingly maintained Memorial Park — right in the center of it all.”

Nearby attractions include Grandfather Mountain, Julian Price Memorial Park, Linville Caverns and Linville Falls.

Don’t-miss annual events include the July Fourth Celebration and Parade with sack races, a watermelon-eating contest and inflatables. The annual Blowing Rock Halloween Festival features a costume contest, a scavenger hunt and pumpkin-bowling competitions.

Insider tip: Animal-loving families can attend The Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show, which hosts three outdoor shows each summer.


Brevard

Photo courtesy of Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority

Rainbow Falls is a 150-foot tall waterfall in Pisgah National Forest.
 

Brevard is a best known for its scenic beauty. Located about 30 miles from Asheville, Brevard is the county seat of Transylvania County and part of the state’s “Land of the Waterfalls,” a region comprised of more than 200 waterfalls. The city’s proximity to Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Recreational Forest, where portions of “The Hunger Games” and “Last of the Mohicans” were filmed, makes Brevard popular among outdoor enthusiasts for hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and fishing.

Kids can search for precious gems at Crystal Mountain Gem Mine or head downtown to browse the aisles of the “coolest toy store on the planet,” O.P. Taylor’s.

Nearby attractions include Sliding Rock, a 60-foot natural waterfall/rock slide perfect for a refreshing splash into the natural pool at the end; and Forest Discovery Center, which offers hands-on exhibits and interactive displays.

Every Memorial Day weekend, enjoy the White Squirrel Festival, a celebration of the town and its famous mascot. Attendees enjoy live music, arts and crafts vendors, kids’ activities, a box derby and a parade.

Insider tip: On the second Friday of every month, Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute, a 200-acre former NASA facility about 17 miles from Brevard, offers “An Evening at PARI,” which includes a tour and outdoor observation session.


Bryson City

Photo courtesy of Bill Russ — VisitNC.com

The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad takes you through a beautiful corner of state into river gorges, across fertile valleys and through tunnels cut out of mountains.
 

Surrounded by mountains, historic Bryson City serves as a depot for the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad that delights families with its scenic rail excursions, such as the Polar Express.

After riding the rails, explore the Smoky Mountain Trains Museum.

Spend a day hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or rafting/kayaking the Nantahala River. Be sure to visit the Nantahala Outdoor Center for information on guided rafting tours and packages with zip lining and/or train excursion options. Mine for gems at the Deep Creek Tube Center Mining Company or fishing in nearby Fontana Lake.

Enjoy free concerts every Saturday evening from June through October at Riverfront Park, and search for souvenirs in one of many unique arts and crafts shops.

While visiting Bryson City, consider a day trip to nearby Cherokee or Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Tennessee. 

Insider tip: The Great Smoky Mountains is in the 70-mile wide path of the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse happening Monday, Aug. 21. The area offers numerous viewing options, including Swain County Event Park.


Hot Springs

Photo courtesy of Hot Springs Tourism Association

Hot Springs is town rich in history with plenty of charm.
 

This charming mountain town 40 miles north of Asheville is named for natural hot spring waters that have transformed the area a resort destination. First discovered by Native Americans, the natural springs were thought to have healing powers. Today, you can relax in modern Jacuzzi tubs outside on the banks of Spring Creek and the French Broad River at the Hot Springs Resort and Spa.

“There is a truly relaxed vibe in town, and when people slow down and live in the moment, they tend to be happier,” says Stacey Geyer of the Hot Springs Tourism Association.

Hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail, which runs through the town. You can also tube, swim, raft, kayak or fish in Spring Creek and the French Broad or Laurel rivers.

Shop local artisan crafts and dine at one of many locally owned restaurants. Soar through the forest at nearby French Broad Rafting & Ziplines, or take a day trip to Biltmore Estate in Asheville or Chimney Rock State Park in Chimney Rock.

The French Broad River Festival is one the town’s most popular annual events. Held the first weekend in May, the festival features raft races, live music and arts-and-crafts vendors. 

Insider tip: Pack a picnic lunch and climb Max Patch, the 5000-foot bald mountain. It’s an easy walk with picturesque, 360-degree views.


Saluda

Photo courtesy of Saluda Business Association

Saluda's outdoor recreation includes hiking, mountain biking, fishing and plenty of family-friendly tubing options along the Green River.
 

Saluda is “where the Foothills end and the Blue Ridge begins.” This cozy small town, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, offers plenty of outdoor recreation and maintains a strong arts community.

“You’ve got an incredibly quaint, picturesque downtown surrounded by the Greenville Watershed, a protected area, and the Green River Game Lands — 18,000 acres protected by the state,” says Sara Bell of the Saluda Business Association. “Saluda is an oasis.”

Outdoor recreation includes hiking, mountain biking, fishing and plenty of family-friendly tubing options along the Green River. “Saluda has also attracted a really vibrant artistic community,” Bell says. In May, the town celebrates its arts heritage with the Saluda Arts Festival, which attracts tourists and renowned local and regional artists. The event also features live music and kid-friendly activities.

Saluda is well-known for its annual Coon Dog Day Festival, offering food, live music, parade, crafts, street dancing and more. The event is held the Saturday after July Fourth. 

Insider tip: “The leaf change here is just phenomenal,” Bell says. But, she adds, the town is about 30 minutes south of Asheville, so the colors peak in the second or third week in October rather than the first.


Piedmont
 

Hillsborough
 

Photo courtesy of Chip Henderson — VISITNC.COM

Downtown Hillsborough offers a variety of unique shops.
 

Hillsborough is known as “the small town with a big history” with more than 100 schools, churches and buildings from the late 18th and 19th centuries. Its central location in the state, along with a healthy serving of Southern charm, makes the town an interesting  tourist destination for families.

Take a guided tour of the historic downtown or explore the Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, a North Carolina State Park offering hiking, picnicking and fishing on the Eno River. The Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail, NASCAR’s last remaining dirt track, hosted races between 1948 and 1969 and now offers 3 miles of hiking trails near the Eno River that include the 1-mile oval and rusty remnants of the track’s glory days. History buffs will also enjoy the Occaneechi Indian Village and exhibits at Orange County Historical Museum.

Every September, barbecue lovers celebrate Hog Day with plenty of pulled pork, live music, unique gifts, home decor, face painting and bounce houses.

Nearby attractions for kids include Kidzu Children’s Museum in Chapel Hill, Eno River State Park and the Carolina Basketball Museum on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Insider tip: The best spot for walking, jogging and cycling is Riverwalk, a paved urban greenway along the Eno River and part of North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail.


Salisbury
 

Photo courtesy of Rowan County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Salisbury is filled with “history museums, agritourism locations, arts and cultural sites, and a charming downtown."
 

Salisbury is 45 miles from Charlotte and the home of Cheerwine, the popular cherry-flavored soda established in 1917. Salisbury and Rowan County’s “countryside and urban vibe speaks to its unique character,” says Tara Furr, director of public relations and communications for the Rowan County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The area is home to “history museums, agritourism locations, arts and cultural sites, and a charming downtown all within an easy drive from one another,” Furr says.

You can easily spend a day filled with family fun at Dan Nicholas Park, which has paddleboats, a park train, gem mining, a carousel, mini golf, an aquarium a barnyard and a water plaza/splash pad.

Savor the sounds of nature at Eagle Point Nature Preserve, a 200-acre area on High Rock Lake with hiking trails and canoe and fishing access. Help celebrate the 100th anniversary of Cheerwine with the “Cheerwine: 100 Years Exhibit” at Rowan Museum in downtown, or pack a picnic and head to Dunn’s Mountain Park for hiking and outdoor recreation.

Nearby attractions include the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville and Patterson Farm in China Grove. 

Insider tip: Tiger World, a nonprofit wildlife preserve for exotic animals in Rockwell, is a 20-minute drive from Salisbury. Educational guided tours occur Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.


Pinehurst
 

Photo courtesy of Village of Pinehurst

Through parks and greenways, families can enjoy walking trails, soccer and baseball fields, an in-line hockey rink, tennis courts, a disc-golf course, bocce ball and a splash pad.
 

The famed golf destination known as the Village of Pinehurst has much to offer families in addition to world-class golf courses. Through parks and greenways, families can enjoy walking trails, soccer and baseball fields, an in-line hockey rink, tennis courts, a disc-golf course, bocce ball and a splash pad.

“Pinehurst Resort offers many activities for parents and children alike,” says Melissa Holt, a communications specialist for the Village of Pinehurst. While mom and/or dad hit the links, kids can enjoy indoor games and fun at KidsClub. “Later, the whole family can enjoy the resort’s private lake, Lake Pinehurst, featuring fishing, boat rentals, kayaks, cabanas and more,” Holt says.

Downtown Pinehurst offers boutique shopping and family-friendly dining options. “While you’re there, stop by the Tufts Archives and learn about the Village of Pinehurst’s history,” Holt suggests.

Don’t-miss annual events include Fourth Fest in July with a parade and fireworks, and Holly Arts and Crafts Festival and Oktoberfest in the fall. 

Insider tip: For a delicious Southern breakfast, try the blueberry pancakes or biscuits and gravy at Pinehurst Track Restaurant while watching the horses train at the Harness Track.


Coast
 

Bath
 

Photo courtesy of Bill Russ — VisitNC.com

The harbor at Bath, North Carolina's first town.
 

A roundup of North Carolina’s small towns wouldn’t be complete without the state’s first town, incorporated in 1705. Bath, located on the Pamlico River, near the Pamlico Sound, is rich in history and is a National Historic Landmark. Learn about the town’s first settlers and how Bath became the state’s first port.

“Historic Bath is very scenic,” says Charles Guard, historic interpreter for Bath with the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “Many people come just to park by Bonner’s Point and sit out and watch the sunset.”

Bath was a favorite haunt of Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, the pirate, who frequented North Carolina’s coast.

Be sure to visit St. Thomas Episcopal Church, built in 1734, making it the oldest church building in the state. 

Insider tip: In front of the Bonner House, look south across the water. The land visible to the left is Plum Point, sometimes referred to as Teach’s Point after the notorious pirate who lived there.


Beaufort
 

Photo courtesy of Bill Russ ― VisitNC.com

Wild horses on Shackleford Banks, part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore. The horses are believed to be descendants of Spanish mustangs that were brought to North Carolina five centuries ago.
 

Founded in 1709 and incorporated in 1723, Beaufort is North Carolina’s third oldest town and is located along the state’s southern Outer Banks. Be sure to stroll along Front Street, a scenic downtown waterfront area offering a variety of shops and restaurants. The North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort serves as the official repository of artifacts from Blackbeard’s ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, since the ship ran aground near the town in 1718. See more than 300 pieces from the ship on display, and learn about the coastal environment and the area’s natural history at the museum.

Beaufort Historic Site offers a historic building tour that stops by the courthouse and the building that once housed the apothecary shop and doctor’s office.

Take a ferry or private boat to Rachel Carson Reserve, home to a herd of wild horses and host of summertime educational programs about the reserve’s habitats and animals. See more than 100 wild horses by hopping on a ferry to Shackleford Banks, a barrier island in Cape Lookout National Seashore. 

Insider tip: Book a guided bike tour with Hungry Town Tours, which offers a variety of historic, culinary and scenic tours to explore the historic charm of this small town.


Edenton
 

Photo courtesy of Kip Shaw/Chowan Tourism Development Authority

Tours are available of the 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse.
 

The first Colonial capital of North Carolina, Edenton offers a lively downtown and distinctive architecture that reflects the town’s 300-year history. Take a walking tour from the Historic Edenton State Historic Site to the 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse and 1767 Chowan County Courthouse, or a guided tour via trolley to view notable sites in the Edenton Cotton Mill Historic District.

Head to Colonial Park on South Broad Street for a cruise around Edenton Bay. “The Liber-Tea is an electric boat that can take families out for a wonderful maritime tour,” says Nancy Nicholls of the Chowan County Tourism Development Authority.

The town also offers kayaking, canoeing, camping and trails for walking and birding.

Visit the Edenton National Fish Hatchery, operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to learn about the hatchery’s role in preservation.

Annual events include Edenton Music and Water Festival each summer with free boat rides, live music, arts-and-crafts vendors, dancing and a guided sunset paddle activity.

The town’s Peanut Festival is held the first weekend in October and features a parade, Battle of the Bands event, arts-and-crafts vendors, and a 5K run/walk. 

Insider tip: See a show at the Rocky Hock Playhouse, a live Christian musical theater.


Manteo

PHOTO COURTESY OF CHIP HENDERSON — VISITNC.COM

Enjoy the scenic views of the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse and Manteo waterfront.
 

This coastal town on Roanoke Island is packed with family fun and history lessons. The scenic downtown waterfront is dotted with restaurants and gift shops, and is ideal for leisurely strolls and spectacular views of the harbor. One of the town’s most recognizable gems is the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse, the only in-shore lighthouse on the Outer Banks.

See a movie at the Pioneer Theatre, which claims the oldest single-screen theater in America. Additional family attractions include North Carolina Aquariums on Roanoke Island, Elizabethan Gardens and Roanoke Island Festival Park, a must-visit destination for learning about the area’s Native American history and first English colony settlement. While there, climb aboard the Elizabeth II, a 16-century replica ship, or explore American Indian Town, a new exhibit that represents what English explorers found in the late 16th century. Learn about the Lost Colony at Roanoke Adventure Museum or by attending a summer performance of America’s longest-running outdoor drama, “The Lost Colony.” 

Insider tip: Elizabethan Gardens hosts Wet and Wild Wednesday for young kids June 21-Aug. 16. Children can learn about plants and water, pot a take-home plant, and cool off with water sprinklers, squirt toys and a water cannon. The event is free with admission.


New Bern

Photo courtesy of Tryon Place

The gardens at Tryon Palace
 

Historic New Bern is an alluring Southern town along the Trent and Neuse rivers known as North Carolina’s first state capitol and the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola. It boasts a lively downtown consisting of shops, restaurants and riverfront attractions.

Tryon Palace, North Carolina’s first state capitol, is now a living history attraction offering character interpretation, tours and programs. Visit the Birthplace of Pepsi and the Pepsi Store on Middle Street to view and buy memorabilia, and stop by the New Bern Firemen’s Museum to learn about the oldest fire company in the state.

New Bern is also near the Croatan National Forest that offers 159,000 acres for camping, picnicking, swimming, canoeing, hiking and observing wildlife. Picnic at Union Point Park, in the historic downtown district. It features a gazebo, walkway, boat launches, a fishing pier and a small playground. Young kids can slide, swing and climb at the fort-like structure at  Kidsville at Seth West Parrot Park. 

Insider tip: Tour historic New Bern in a fully restored 1929 Ford Model A. Tours are booked via Aerie Bed and Breakfast Guest House and Conference Center, one block from Tryon Palace.


Ocracoke

Photo by Melinda Fondrie Sutton

The village of Ocracoke is popular with families who love outdoor recreation and water sports.
 

The island of Ocracoke is accessible only by plane or ferry, but it should still make your list of must-visit towns. There are no traffic lights, chain restaurants or movie theaters, making Ocracoke a simple and unique paradise for beach lovers to visit.

“Shells are plentiful on the 16 miles of clean, untouched, virgin seashore, without any houses, condos or high rise hotels over your shoulder,” says Helena Stevens, travel and tourism director for Ocracoke. “We are truly unique.”

The village is popular for families who love outdoor recreation. “Go kayaking on Silver Lake or explore Springer’s Point Nature Preserve, one of Blackbeard the Pirate’s haunts,” Stevens suggests.

Families can take an offshore adventure by chartering a fishing expedition, sailing Pamlico Sound or visiting Teach’s Hole, where Blackbeard was beheaded in 1718.

Experience Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree the last weekend in October to see a historically accurate pirate encampment and watch three ships re-create the last hours of Blackbeard’s life. Visitors are encouraged to wear their best buccaneer gear to this event.

The village welcomes summer with the Ocrafolk Festival — three days of music and storytelling that takes place during the first full weekend in June.

Insider tip: Capture the perfect family photo at Springer’s Point, which offers wide panoramic views.


Myra Wright is the web editor of Carolina Parent and Piedmont Parent. She frequently writes about North Carolina travel and loves exploring the state with her husband and three kids.

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Daily Calendar

December 2017

Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era-the Age of Dinosaurs.  See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time forgot. Observe predators stalking an armored...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6900
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Children can meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, search the greenway for candy canes, and finish with s'mores over a campfire. There are two candy cane hunt sessions (1 and 3pm) that are limited to 100...

Cost: $12 per child; $10 for members

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
288 Dairy Barn Lane
Ft. Mill , SC
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Telephone: 803-547-4575
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Root for the Panthers with other new dads and families. Non-alcoholic beverages and children's area provided.

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Free Range Brewing
2320 N. Davidson St.
Charlotte, NC  28205
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This parade features Waxhaw's local school marching bands and entries and floats by hundreds of members of the community. Afterwards, have a snack with Santa.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Waxhaw
, NC


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​Bring your pets and family to SouthPark for photos.

Cost: Photo packages start at $24.99.

Where:
SouthPark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
Charlotte, NC
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Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
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Drive (or walk!) the two miles through town of McAdenville and view more than 375 live trees, 200 wreaths, and a 46-foot wide image of Old Man Winter blowing snowflakes over the lake. ...

Cost: Free

Where:
McAdenville , NC


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Melissa Lynch is a Gaston County resident who loves experimenting with acrylic pours and alcohol inks. This exhibit features abstract lines and pops of color that represent a transitional time...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
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Telephone: 704-922-7681
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The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. The 45-minute program starts on the hour. All performances are subject to cancellation so check the website for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-716-8649
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Selections from one of the nation's most important and comprehensive collections of African-American art. This collection features a number of images from the fifty-eight-piece collection of...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Telephone: 704-547-3700
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The debut of one of the most expansive collections of abstract and contemporary African-American art.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Telephone: 704-374-1565
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Explores how artists immortalize people, places and memories through the visual arts.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Both mesmerizing and mysterious, Siobhan’s works represent the interactions, and sometimes conflicts, of her conscious and subconscious minds. These thoughts are characterized by stunning...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Telephone: 704-547-3700
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Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops and Concord-area families are invited to enjoy this magical Christmas village offering free photos with Santa and free family holiday activities...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd
Concord, NC  28027
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This uptown holiday event is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured programming...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
, NC
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Carowinds will be magically transformed into a winter wonderland full of enchantment and holiday cheer. Become immersed in the season’s spirit with spectacular holiday lights and...

Cost: $25+

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28273
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The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is turned into a winter wonderland. Over 600,000 lights will decorate the space with sparkling fountains and twinkling trees. Also enjoy live music, shopping,...

Cost: $8.95-$14.95

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
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Telephone: 704-825-4490
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Drive the 3.5 mile course to see over 3 million lights. Then visit with Santa in the village for a special photo opportunity. The village also includes a petting zoo, a live nativity,...

Cost: $25-$30 per car when village is open; $20 per car when village is closed

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Pkwy.
Concord, NC
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Telephone: 800-455-3267
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Visit Santa at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden and get a professional photographer to take pictures of your family. Reservations required.  Nov. 24-26, Dec. 3, 7-10, 14-17

Cost: Packages start at $45. (Admission to the garden is also required)

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
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Telephone: (704) 825-4490
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Bring your furry friends to Concord Mills to get pictures with Santa.

Cost: Free; additional cost for photos.

Where:
Concord Mills
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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Stroll through the park or take a ride on the Winterland Express to see more than 250,000 Christmas lights. The Celebration of lights will also feature the Double Decker Carousel and performances...

Cost: Free

Where:
Village Park
700 West C. Street
Kannapolis, NC  28081
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Telephone: 704-920-4343
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Visit with Santa, take a pony ride, pet animals, and roast marshmallows over a fire. Even feed a tiger! Sun.-Thur., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sat., 6-10pm.

Cost: $7 per person

Where:
Zootastic Park
385 Ostwalt Amity Road
Troutman , NC
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Telephone: 704-245-6446
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Skate on more than 7,000 square feet of ice in the heart of the city.  The ice rink opens at 5 p.m. Nov. 17. See website for ongoing hours.

Cost: $10 admission; $4 skate rental

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
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Just an hour in length, this performance features the Grey Seal Puppets, carols by the Carolina Kids' Voices Choir, the "dancing" purple hippo and a visit by Santa Claus. Dec. 9...

Cost: $15-$22

Where:
Knight Theater
Levine Center for the Arts
430 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-1000
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This performance is a Carolina family tradition that's been going on for 63 years. Come listen to the Carolina Voices perform with special guests on a set that is a 32-foot Christmas tree....

Cost: $25-$40

Where:
Knight Theater
Levine Center for the Arts
430 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-1000
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View gingerbread creations by both amateurs and professionals. Vote on your favorites for $1 each; all donations benefit Levine Children's Hospital. 

Cost: Free.

Where:
The Ballantyne Hotel
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
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Telephone: (704) 248-4000
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Clara LeBlanc trips at a holiday party and is whisked off to the hospital to learn that her ankle is broken. That night her friends and get-well gifts swirl in her dreams. This show is the...

Cost: $20-$45

Where:
Booth Playhouse
130 N Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Telephone: 704-844-0449
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Explore the term "cabinet of curiosities" with this exhibit that describes a room rather than a piece of furniture. "Cabinets" originated in the 16th century and held large...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
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Telephone: 704-922-7681
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When the worst kids in the history of the world find out there are free snacks at Sunday School, they take it upon themselves to audition for the annual Christmas pageant. Will a group of kids who...

Cost: $12+

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte, McColl Family Theatre
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

More information

The Year of the Engineer is an initiative celebrating the creativity and imagination of engineers. It includes the opening of an all-new Thinker Space lab and exhibition Think it Up, along with the...

Cost: $13-$17

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Take the train to the North Pole to meet Santa with a live reading of the story The Polar Express, complete with songs from the movie. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served. Open on...

Cost: $30+

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
411 S. Salisbury Ave.
Spencer, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-636-2889
Website »

More information

Come watch the classic tale of Scrooge unfold on stage. Check website for performance times. 

Cost: $28

Where:
Theatre Charlotte, The Eloise Macdonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts is putting on the holiday classic of "It's a Wonderful Life." Come watch as a guardian angel shows George Bailey what life would have been...

Cost: $11-$13

Where:
Matthews Community Center
100 McDowell Street East
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-846-8343
Website »

More information

Watch as Clara encounters an epic battle between the Mouse King and Nutcrackers, a snowfall, jumping candy canes and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Choreography by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and music from the...

Cost: $25-$125

Where:
Charlotte Ballet, Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Watch Scrooge as he is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.  See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $12

Where:
Black Box Theatre at the Ballantyne Arts Center
11318 North Community House Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-4670
Website »

More information

Winter Wonderland Ice Skating Rink is an open-air holiday experience nestled between South Park Mall and Symphony Park. It features a 5,000 square for ice skating rink, a pub and a coffee shop and...

Cost: $12 for admission, $5 for skate rental

Where:
Symphony Park
4400 Sharon Rd
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit features more than 40 of Mexico's leading photographers. The photographs in the museum, ranging from just a few inches to floor-to-ceiling murals, explore an assortment...

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

This exhibit features 21st century long gowns, from cocktail attire to wedding dresses. Featured creations by Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs, Missoni, Issey...

Cost: $6-$15; free for children 4 and under

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

See your favorite Christmas scenes and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $5-$33

Where:
The NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 704-831-8893
Website »

More information

Skate on 4,200 square feet of real ice, plus enjoy go karting, play mini golf, and have fun on the spider web. On Nov. 17 from 5-8pm Olaf will be at the Speedpark available for pictures, hugs...

Cost: $12 for ice skating, includes skates. Other activities cost extra

Where:
The Speedpark at Concord Mills
8461 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-527-8464
Website »

More information

Enjoy a narrated version of a holiday favorite! This Nutcracker Ballet is performed by the Harris YMCA School of Dance and is appropriate for all ages. Showtimes: Sat., 10:30am, 1:30pm,...

Cost: $15

Where:
Queens University, Dana Auditorium
1900 Selwyn Avenue
Charlotte, NC  28274
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-6928
Website »

More information

There are multiple workshops for different ages Sat. and Sun. Girl Scouts badges are also available.  On Sat., children under 10 can attend the Inventor Workshop from...

Cost: $17; $10 for members

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N Tryon St
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Attendees can share Santa’s love for marine life with Scuba Claus dives, engage in classic Christmas tales during holiday story time with Sharky and participate in seasonal favorites such as...

Cost: Included in admission to museum ($10.95-$19.95)

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord
8111 Concord Mills Boulevard
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era-the Age of Dinosaurs.  See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time forgot. Observe predators stalking an armored...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Tuck your little one in a stroller and join one of our educators for an easy walk along our paved nature trail. Relax, chat with other parents and experience what nature has to offer this month in...

Cost: Free

Where:
McDowell Nature Center
15222 York Rd.
Charlotte, NC  28278
View map »


Sponsor: McDowell Nature Center
Telephone: 980-314-1128
Website »

More information

The "Sad Clown with the Golden Voice" is back with a suitcase full of all new emotional anthems and plenty of Kleenex! Puddles' set is peppered with a brilliant sense of the absurd,...

Cost: $25+

Where:
McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square
345 N College St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: (704) 372-1000
Website »

More information

Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drive (or walk!) the two miles through town of McAdenville and view more than 375 live trees, 200 wreaths, and a 46-foot wide image of Old Man Winter blowing snowflakes over the lake. ...

Cost: Free

Where:
McAdenville , NC


Website »

More information

Melissa Lynch is a Gaston County resident who loves experimenting with acrylic pours and alcohol inks. This exhibit features abstract lines and pops of color that represent a transitional time...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. The 45-minute program starts on the hour. All performances are subject to cancellation so check the website for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-8649
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops and Concord-area families are invited to enjoy this magical Christmas village offering free photos with Santa and free family holiday activities...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd
Concord, NC  28027
View map »


Website »

More information

On Mondays from September to May, all children under the age of 16 can come paint pottery for just $3/hour.

Cost: $3 per hour

Where:
Dish It Out
7828 Rea Road
#C
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-544-4848
Website »

More information

Bring your little one to Perfect Balance Training Center for "Tot Time" - an hour of free play in the gym. There is no instructor so parents are in charge of their children. No need to...

Cost: $5 cash or $6 with credit card (monthly special available as well)

Where:
Perfect Balance
8850 Monroe Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-299-8445
Website »

More information

Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays and Christ-centered festivities with families from across the Southeast who have made...

Cost: Free; additional cost for carriage rides

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
Charlotte, NC  28217
View map »


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is turned into a winter wonderland. Over 600,000 lights will decorate the space with sparkling fountains and twinkling trees. Also enjoy live music, shopping,...

Cost: $8.95-$14.95

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Bring your furry friends to Carolina Place to get a picture with Santa and the whole family.  A standard package with (1) 5x7, (1) 4x6, (4) wallets and digital downloads starts at...

Cost: Photo packages vary.

Where:
Carolina Place
11025 Carolina Pl Pkwy
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Stroll through the park or take a ride on the Winterland Express to see more than 250,000 Christmas lights. The Celebration of lights will also feature the Double Decker Carousel and performances...

Cost: Free

Where:
Village Park
700 West C. Street
Kannapolis, NC  28081
View map »


Telephone: 704-920-4343
Website »

More information

Visit with Santa, take a pony ride, pet animals, and roast marshmallows over a fire. Even feed a tiger! Sun.-Thur., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sat., 6-10pm.

Cost: $7 per person

Where:
Zootastic Park
385 Ostwalt Amity Road
Troutman , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

Skate on more than 7,000 square feet of ice in the heart of the city.  The ice rink opens at 5 p.m. Nov. 17. See website for ongoing hours.

Cost: $10 admission; $4 skate rental

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

View gingerbread creations by both amateurs and professionals. Vote on your favorites for $1 each; all donations benefit Levine Children's Hospital. 

Cost: Free.

Where:
The Ballantyne Hotel
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: (704) 248-4000
Website »

More information

Explore the moon, stars and beyond in the new planetarium. Housed in the museum's original Charlotte A. Kelly Planetarium, the dome has been retrofitted with a new Digitarium Zeta...

Cost: $8

Where:
Discovery Place Nature
1658 Sterling Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Explore the term "cabinet of curiosities" with this exhibit that describes a room rather than a piece of furniture. "Cabinets" originated in the 16th century and held large...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

The Year of the Engineer is an initiative celebrating the creativity and imagination of engineers. It includes the opening of an all-new Thinker Space lab and exhibition Think it Up, along with the...

Cost: $13-$17

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

This musical is based off the stories of Genesis. Act I tells the story of Adam and Eve, Cain, and Abel and Act II tells the story of Noah and the flood.  Showtimes at 2pm and...

Cost: $12 in advance, $15 at door

Where:
Jewish Community Center, Gorelick Hall
5007 Providence Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-366-5007
Website »

More information

Winter Wonderland Ice Skating Rink is an open-air holiday experience nestled between South Park Mall and Symphony Park. It features a 5,000 square for ice skating rink, a pub and a coffee shop and...

Cost: $12 for admission, $5 for skate rental

Where:
Symphony Park
4400 Sharon Rd
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See your favorite Christmas scenes and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $5-$33

Where:
The NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 704-831-8893
Website »

More information

Skate on 4,200 square feet of real ice, plus enjoy go karting, play mini golf, and have fun on the spider web. On Nov. 17 from 5-8pm Olaf will be at the Speedpark available for pictures, hugs...

Cost: $12 for ice skating, includes skates. Other activities cost extra

Where:
The Speedpark at Concord Mills
8461 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-527-8464
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era-the Age of Dinosaurs.  See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time forgot. Observe predators stalking an armored...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drive (or walk!) the two miles through town of McAdenville and view more than 375 live trees, 200 wreaths, and a 46-foot wide image of Old Man Winter blowing snowflakes over the lake. ...

Cost: Free

Where:
McAdenville , NC


Website »

More information

Melissa Lynch is a Gaston County resident who loves experimenting with acrylic pours and alcohol inks. This exhibit features abstract lines and pops of color that represent a transitional time...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

This annually recurring exhibit fills the museum with model train displays, railroad memorabilia, and antique toys and games. Visitors of all ages will be enchanted as they explore the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC  28086
View map »


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. The 45-minute program starts on the hour. All performances are subject to cancellation so check the website for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-8649
Website »

More information

Selections from one of the nation's most important and comprehensive collections of African-American art. This collection features a number of images from the fifty-eight-piece collection of...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

The debut of one of the most expansive collections of abstract and contemporary African-American art.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-374-1565
Website »

More information

Explores how artists immortalize people, places and memories through the visual arts.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

Both mesmerizing and mysterious, Siobhan’s works represent the interactions, and sometimes conflicts, of her conscious and subconscious minds. These thoughts are characterized by stunning...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops and Concord-area families are invited to enjoy this magical Christmas village offering free photos with Santa and free family holiday activities...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd
Concord, NC  28027
View map »


Website »

More information

This uptown holiday event is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured programming...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Charlotte’s Road to Revolution Exhibition is composed of 17 original oil paintings by Charlotte artist Dan Nance, 20 interpretive panels and eighteenth-century antiques that tell the story of...

Cost: $7-$10

Where:
The Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

Bring your little one to Perfect Balance Training Center for "Tot Time" - an hour of free play in the gym. There is no instructor so parents are in charge of their children. No need to...

Cost: $5 cash or $6 with credit card (monthly special available as well)

Where:
Perfect Balance
8850 Monroe Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-299-8445
Website »

More information

Get free entry to the Schiele Museum every second Tuesday of the month from 4-8pm and every fourth Friday of the month from 1-5pm. 

Cost: Free

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 East Garrison Boulevard
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays and Christ-centered festivities with families from across the Southeast who have made...

Cost: Free; additional cost for carriage rides

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
Charlotte, NC  28217
View map »


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is turned into a winter wonderland. Over 600,000 lights will decorate the space with sparkling fountains and twinkling trees. Also enjoy live music, shopping,...

Cost: $8.95-$14.95

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Bring your pet to Monroe Crossing to get a picture with the whole family, furry-friend included. There is also a Santa Paws Party on Dec. 19 from 6:30-7:30pm where families can bring their...

Where:
Monroe Crossing
2115 W. Roosevelt Blvd.
Monroe, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Stroll through the park or take a ride on the Winterland Express to see more than 250,000 Christmas lights. The Celebration of lights will also feature the Double Decker Carousel and performances...

Cost: Free

Where:
Village Park
700 West C. Street
Kannapolis, NC  28081
View map »


Telephone: 704-920-4343
Website »

More information

Visit with Santa, take a pony ride, pet animals, and roast marshmallows over a fire. Even feed a tiger! Sun.-Thur., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sat., 6-10pm.

Cost: $7 per person

Where:
Zootastic Park
385 Ostwalt Amity Road
Troutman , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

Skate on more than 7,000 square feet of ice in the heart of the city.  The ice rink opens at 5 p.m. Nov. 17. See website for ongoing hours.

Cost: $10 admission; $4 skate rental

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

View gingerbread creations by both amateurs and professionals. Vote on your favorites for $1 each; all donations benefit Levine Children's Hospital. 

Cost: Free.

Where:
The Ballantyne Hotel
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: (704) 248-4000
Website »

More information

Explore the moon, stars and beyond in the new planetarium. Housed in the museum's original Charlotte A. Kelly Planetarium, the dome has been retrofitted with a new Digitarium Zeta...

Cost: $8

Where:
Discovery Place Nature
1658 Sterling Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Explore the term "cabinet of curiosities" with this exhibit that describes a room rather than a piece of furniture. "Cabinets" originated in the 16th century and held large...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

The Year of the Engineer is an initiative celebrating the creativity and imagination of engineers. It includes the opening of an all-new Thinker Space lab and exhibition Think it Up, along with the...

Cost: $13-$17

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Come watch the classic tale of Scrooge unfold on stage. Check website for performance times. 

Cost: $28

Where:
Theatre Charlotte, The Eloise Macdonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Winter Wonderland Ice Skating Rink is an open-air holiday experience nestled between South Park Mall and Symphony Park. It features a 5,000 square for ice skating rink, a pub and a coffee shop and...

Cost: $12 for admission, $5 for skate rental

Where:
Symphony Park
4400 Sharon Rd
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See your favorite Christmas scenes and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $5-$33

Where:
The NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 704-831-8893
Website »

More information

Skate on 4,200 square feet of real ice, plus enjoy go karting, play mini golf, and have fun on the spider web. On Nov. 17 from 5-8pm Olaf will be at the Speedpark available for pictures, hugs...

Cost: $12 for ice skating, includes skates. Other activities cost extra

Where:
The Speedpark at Concord Mills
8461 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-527-8464
Website »

More information

Get one free child ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket on Tuesdays. Each additional child (ages 3-12) receives a discount as well, costing only $5 each. 

Cost: $15 for adult

Where:
Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 866-229-1573
Website »

More information

Collards + Culture is a life-size installation that explores African culture and how Africans were brought to the Americas through the Middle Passage. This program is part of the ASC Culture...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era-the Age of Dinosaurs.  See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time forgot. Observe predators stalking an armored...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Bring your children to Mallard Creek Recreation Center to go on a scavenger hunt for candy canes. Crafts will also be available. Register online. 

Cost: $4

Where:
Mallard Creek Recreation Center
2530 Johnston-Oehler Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980- 314-1121
Website »

More information

Do you love stories of action and suspense? Do you love stories about animals? Capture the drama of the natural world as you experience Latta Plantation Nature Preserve through the eyes of your...

Cost: $5

Where:
Latta Plantation Nature Center
6211 Sample Rd
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Telephone: 980-314-1129
Website »

More information

Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drive (or walk!) the two miles through town of McAdenville and view more than 375 live trees, 200 wreaths, and a 46-foot wide image of Old Man Winter blowing snowflakes over the lake. ...

Cost: Free

Where:
McAdenville , NC


Website »

More information

Melissa Lynch is a Gaston County resident who loves experimenting with acrylic pours and alcohol inks. This exhibit features abstract lines and pops of color that represent a transitional time...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

Certified technicians will check and help families install carseats. No appointment necessary. Bring your vehicle, seat and if possible the child for the most assistance. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews Police Department
1201 Crews Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Certified technicians will check and help families install carseats. No appointment necessary. Bring your vehicle, seat and if possible the child for the most assistance. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Huntersville Fire Station 1
110 S. Old Statesville Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This annually recurring exhibit fills the museum with model train displays, railroad memorabilia, and antique toys and games. Visitors of all ages will be enchanted as they explore the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC  28086
View map »


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. The 45-minute program starts on the hour. All performances are subject to cancellation so check the website for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-8649
Website »

More information

Children ages 3-5 years can share stories through books, songs, and other activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Statesville Library
201 N. Tradd St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-878-3097
Website »

More information

Selections from one of the nation's most important and comprehensive collections of African-American art. This collection features a number of images from the fifty-eight-piece collection of...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

The debut of one of the most expansive collections of abstract and contemporary African-American art.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-374-1565
Website »

More information

Explores how artists immortalize people, places and memories through the visual arts.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

Both mesmerizing and mysterious, Siobhan’s works represent the interactions, and sometimes conflicts, of her conscious and subconscious minds. These thoughts are characterized by stunning...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops and Concord-area families are invited to enjoy this magical Christmas village offering free photos with Santa and free family holiday activities...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd
Concord, NC  28027
View map »


Website »

More information

This uptown holiday event is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured programming...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Charlotte’s Road to Revolution Exhibition is composed of 17 original oil paintings by Charlotte artist Dan Nance, 20 interpretive panels and eighteenth-century antiques that tell the story of...

Cost: $7-$10

Where:
The Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

Bring your little one to Perfect Balance Training Center for "Tot Time" - an hour of free play in the gym. There is no instructor so parents are in charge of their children. No need to...

Cost: $5 cash or $6 with credit card (monthly special available as well)

Where:
Perfect Balance
8850 Monroe Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-299-8445
Website »

More information

Explore the Mint Museum's exhibitions.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph, 2730 Randolph Road
Mint Museum Uptown, 500 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays and Christ-centered festivities with families from across the Southeast who have made...

Cost: Free; additional cost for carriage rides

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
Charlotte, NC  28217
View map »


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is turned into a winter wonderland. Over 600,000 lights will decorate the space with sparkling fountains and twinkling trees. Also enjoy live music, shopping,...

Cost: $8.95-$14.95

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Join us for some mid-week cheer from 5-8 pm at Waverly! Start a new holiday tradition with us that includes a night full of entertainment including music, shopping, sweet treats, cookie...

Cost: Free

Where:
Waverly
Ardrey Kell and Providence Road
Charlotte, NC  28277
View map »


Telephone: 704-665-5608
Website »

More information

Stroll through the park or take a ride on the Winterland Express to see more than 250,000 Christmas lights. The Celebration of lights will also feature the Double Decker Carousel and performances...

Cost: Free

Where:
Village Park
700 West C. Street
Kannapolis, NC  28081
View map »


Telephone: 704-920-4343
Website »

More information

Visit with Santa, take a pony ride, pet animals, and roast marshmallows over a fire. Even feed a tiger! Sun.-Thur., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sat., 6-10pm.

Cost: $7 per person

Where:
Zootastic Park
385 Ostwalt Amity Road
Troutman , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

Skate on more than 7,000 square feet of ice in the heart of the city.  The ice rink opens at 5 p.m. Nov. 17. See website for ongoing hours.

Cost: $10 admission; $4 skate rental

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

View gingerbread creations by both amateurs and professionals. Vote on your favorites for $1 each; all donations benefit Levine Children's Hospital. 

Cost: Free.

Where:
The Ballantyne Hotel
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: (704) 248-4000
Website »

More information

Explore the moon, stars and beyond in the new planetarium. Housed in the museum's original Charlotte A. Kelly Planetarium, the dome has been retrofitted with a new Digitarium Zeta...

Cost: $8

Where:
Discovery Place Nature
1658 Sterling Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Explore the term "cabinet of curiosities" with this exhibit that describes a room rather than a piece of furniture. "Cabinets" originated in the 16th century and held large...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

The Year of the Engineer is an initiative celebrating the creativity and imagination of engineers. It includes the opening of an all-new Thinker Space lab and exhibition Think it Up, along with the...

Cost: $13-$17

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Come watch the classic tale of Scrooge unfold on stage. Check website for performance times. 

Cost: $28

Where:
Theatre Charlotte, The Eloise Macdonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Cameron Mackintosh presents the new production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg's Tony Award-winning musical.  See website for showtimes.   

Cost: $25+

Where:
Ovens Auditorium.
2700 Independence Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: (704) 372-1000
Website »

More information

Come see Theatre Street's Student Cast who are in grades K-5 perform "The Lion King," kids edition.  See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $10

Where:
Tate Hall - Central Piedmont Community College
1206 Elizabeth Ave.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-330-6840
Website »

More information

Winter Wonderland Ice Skating Rink is an open-air holiday experience nestled between South Park Mall and Symphony Park. It features a 5,000 square for ice skating rink, a pub and a coffee shop and...

Cost: $12 for admission, $5 for skate rental

Where:
Symphony Park
4400 Sharon Rd
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit features more than 40 of Mexico's leading photographers. The photographs in the museum, ranging from just a few inches to floor-to-ceiling murals, explore an assortment...

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

This exhibit features 21st century long gowns, from cocktail attire to wedding dresses. Featured creations by Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs, Missoni, Issey...

Cost: $6-$15; free for children 4 and under

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

See your favorite Christmas scenes and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $5-$33

Where:
The NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 704-831-8893
Website »

More information

Skate on 4,200 square feet of real ice, plus enjoy go karting, play mini golf, and have fun on the spider web. On Nov. 17 from 5-8pm Olaf will be at the Speedpark available for pictures, hugs...

Cost: $12 for ice skating, includes skates. Other activities cost extra

Where:
The Speedpark at Concord Mills
8461 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-527-8464
Website »

More information

Collards + Culture is a life-size installation that explores African culture and how Africans were brought to the Americas through the Middle Passage. This program is part of the ASC Culture...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era-the Age of Dinosaurs.  See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time forgot. Observe predators stalking an armored...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Visit Santa's Workshop and listen to stories, watch a movie, eat snacks and make a craft to take home.   No registration required. 

Cost: Free.

Where:
York Public Library, Meeting Room
21 East Liberty St.
York, NC
View map »


Telephone: 803-684-3751
Website »

More information

The Hampton Inn and Suites at Phillips Place will transform into a 3D light show. There will be goodie bags for the first 300 children to each show, complimentary hot chocolate, snow, holiday...

Cost: Free

Where:
Phillips Place
6800 Phillips Place Ct.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-714-7656
Website »

More information

You are invited to a pre-screening of ‘Star Wars – The Last Jedi’. Proceeds benefit the IGNITE Program for individuals with high-functioning autism and Asperger's Syndrome....

Cost: $25

Where:
Our Town Cinemas
227 Griffith Street
Davidson, NC  28036
View map »


Telephone: 704-897-8982
Contact Name: Ali
Website »

More information

Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drive (or walk!) the two miles through town of McAdenville and view more than 375 live trees, 200 wreaths, and a 46-foot wide image of Old Man Winter blowing snowflakes over the lake. ...

Cost: Free

Where:
McAdenville , NC


Website »

More information

Melissa Lynch is a Gaston County resident who loves experimenting with acrylic pours and alcohol inks. This exhibit features abstract lines and pops of color that represent a transitional time...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

This annually recurring exhibit fills the museum with model train displays, railroad memorabilia, and antique toys and games. Visitors of all ages will be enchanted as they explore the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC  28086
View map »


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. The 45-minute program starts on the hour. All performances are subject to cancellation so check the website for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-8649
Website »

More information

Selections from one of the nation's most important and comprehensive collections of African-American art. This collection features a number of images from the fifty-eight-piece collection of...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

The debut of one of the most expansive collections of abstract and contemporary African-American art.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-374-1565
Website »

More information

Explores how artists immortalize people, places and memories through the visual arts.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

Both mesmerizing and mysterious, Siobhan’s works represent the interactions, and sometimes conflicts, of her conscious and subconscious minds. These thoughts are characterized by stunning...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

This program is a 6-part series, based on the NC Curriculum for Public Instruction, that will get kids exploring the natural world. We will highlight many ecological and scientific features the...

Cost: $5

Where:
McDowell Nature Center
15222 York Rd
Charlotte, NC  28278
View map »


Sponsor: McDowell Nature Center
Telephone: 980-314-1128
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops and Concord-area families are invited to enjoy this magical Christmas village offering free photos with Santa and free family holiday activities...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd
Concord, NC  28027
View map »


Website »

More information

This uptown holiday event is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured programming...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Charlotte’s Road to Revolution Exhibition is composed of 17 original oil paintings by Charlotte artist Dan Nance, 20 interpretive panels and eighteenth-century antiques that tell the story of...

Cost: $7-$10

Where:
The Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

Bring your little one to Perfect Balance Training Center for "Tot Time" - an hour of free play in the gym. There is no instructor so parents are in charge of their children. No need to...

Cost: $5 cash or $6 with credit card (monthly special available as well)

Where:
Perfect Balance
8850 Monroe Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-299-8445
Website »

More information

Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays and Christ-centered festivities with families from across the Southeast who have made...

Cost: Free; additional cost for carriage rides

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
Charlotte, NC  28217
View map »


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is turned into a winter wonderland. Over 600,000 lights will decorate the space with sparkling fountains and twinkling trees. Also enjoy live music, shopping,...

Cost: $8.95-$14.95

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Drive the 3.5 mile course to see over 3 million lights. Then visit with Santa in the village for a special photo opportunity. The village also includes a petting zoo, a live nativity,...

Cost: $25-$30 per car when village is open; $20 per car when village is closed

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Pkwy.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 800-455-3267
Website »

More information

Visit Santa at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden and get a professional photographer to take pictures of your family. Reservations required.  Nov. 24-26, Dec. 3, 7-10, 14-17

Cost: Packages start at $45. (Admission to the garden is also required)

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
View map »


Telephone: (704) 825-4490
Website »

More information

Stroll through the park or take a ride on the Winterland Express to see more than 250,000 Christmas lights. The Celebration of lights will also feature the Double Decker Carousel and performances...

Cost: Free

Where:
Village Park
700 West C. Street
Kannapolis, NC  28081
View map »


Telephone: 704-920-4343
Website »

More information

Visit with Santa, take a pony ride, pet animals, and roast marshmallows over a fire. Even feed a tiger! Sun.-Thur., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sat., 6-10pm.

Cost: $7 per person

Where:
Zootastic Park
385 Ostwalt Amity Road
Troutman , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

Skate on more than 7,000 square feet of ice in the heart of the city.  The ice rink opens at 5 p.m. Nov. 17. See website for ongoing hours.

Cost: $10 admission; $4 skate rental

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

View gingerbread creations by both amateurs and professionals. Vote on your favorites for $1 each; all donations benefit Levine Children's Hospital. 

Cost: Free.

Where:
The Ballantyne Hotel
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: (704) 248-4000
Website »

More information

Explore the moon, stars and beyond in the new planetarium. Housed in the museum's original Charlotte A. Kelly Planetarium, the dome has been retrofitted with a new Digitarium Zeta...

Cost: $8

Where:
Discovery Place Nature
1658 Sterling Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Explore the term "cabinet of curiosities" with this exhibit that describes a room rather than a piece of furniture. "Cabinets" originated in the 16th century and held large...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

The Year of the Engineer is an initiative celebrating the creativity and imagination of engineers. It includes the opening of an all-new Thinker Space lab and exhibition Think it Up, along with the...

Cost: $13-$17

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Enjoy storytime with a reading of A Pirate's Night Before Christmas by Phillip Yates, sing a rendition of a Pirates 12 Days of Christmas and visit with Santa Claus.  Dec....

Cost: Free.

Where:
Mooresville Public Library,
304 S. Main St.
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come watch the classic tale of Scrooge unfold on stage. Check website for performance times. 

Cost: $28

Where:
Theatre Charlotte, The Eloise Macdonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Watch as Clara encounters an epic battle between the Mouse King and Nutcrackers, a snowfall, jumping candy canes and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Choreography by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and music from the...

Cost: $25-$125

Where:
Charlotte Ballet, Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Cameron Mackintosh presents the new production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg's Tony Award-winning musical.  See website for showtimes.   

Cost: $25+

Where:
Ovens Auditorium.
2700 Independence Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: (704) 372-1000
Website »

More information

Come watch the York County Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker.  See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $15

Where:
Johnson Theatre
115 Johnson Hall
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-323-2287
Website »

More information

Winter Wonderland Ice Skating Rink is an open-air holiday experience nestled between South Park Mall and Symphony Park. It features a 5,000 square for ice skating rink, a pub and a coffee shop and...

Cost: $12 for admission, $5 for skate rental

Where:
Symphony Park
4400 Sharon Rd
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit features more than 40 of Mexico's leading photographers. The photographs in the museum, ranging from just a few inches to floor-to-ceiling murals, explore an assortment...

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

This exhibit features 21st century long gowns, from cocktail attire to wedding dresses. Featured creations by Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs, Missoni, Issey...

Cost: $6-$15; free for children 4 and under

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

See your favorite Christmas scenes and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $5-$33

Where:
The NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 704-831-8893
Website »

More information

Skate on 4,200 square feet of real ice, plus enjoy go karting, play mini golf, and have fun on the spider web. On Nov. 17 from 5-8pm Olaf will be at the Speedpark available for pictures, hugs...

Cost: $12 for ice skating, includes skates. Other activities cost extra

Where:
The Speedpark at Concord Mills
8461 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-527-8464
Website »

More information

Collards + Culture is a life-size installation that explores African culture and how Africans were brought to the Americas through the Middle Passage. This program is part of the ASC Culture...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era-the Age of Dinosaurs.  See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time forgot. Observe predators stalking an armored...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

All Aboard the Polar Express at Jackson Orthodontics! Join us to celebrate the magic of Christmas as we bring the Polar Express to life.  Come on out and visit with Santa, create and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Jackson Orthodontics
13527 Steelcroft Pkwy
Suite C
Charlotte, NC  28278
View map »


Telephone: 704-464-0696
Website »

More information

Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drive (or walk!) the two miles through town of McAdenville and view more than 375 live trees, 200 wreaths, and a 46-foot wide image of Old Man Winter blowing snowflakes over the lake. ...

Cost: Free

Where:
McAdenville , NC


Website »

More information

Melissa Lynch is a Gaston County resident who loves experimenting with acrylic pours and alcohol inks. This exhibit features abstract lines and pops of color that represent a transitional time...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

This annually recurring exhibit fills the museum with model train displays, railroad memorabilia, and antique toys and games. Visitors of all ages will be enchanted as they explore the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC  28086
View map »


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. The 45-minute program starts on the hour. All performances are subject to cancellation so check the website for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-8649
Website »

More information

Selections from one of the nation's most important and comprehensive collections of African-American art. This collection features a number of images from the fifty-eight-piece collection of...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

The debut of one of the most expansive collections of abstract and contemporary African-American art.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-374-1565
Website »

More information

Explores how artists immortalize people, places and memories through the visual arts.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

Both mesmerizing and mysterious, Siobhan’s works represent the interactions, and sometimes conflicts, of her conscious and subconscious minds. These thoughts are characterized by stunning...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Bring your toddler each week for free play at the Statesville Library. We will play music, read a short story and have different activities for your little one to explore. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Statesville Library
201 N. Tradd St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-878-3097
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops and Concord-area families are invited to enjoy this magical Christmas village offering free photos with Santa and free family holiday activities...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd
Concord, NC  28027
View map »


Website »

More information

This uptown holiday event is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured programming...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Charlotte’s Road to Revolution Exhibition is composed of 17 original oil paintings by Charlotte artist Dan Nance, 20 interpretive panels and eighteenth-century antiques that tell the story of...

Cost: $7-$10

Where:
The Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

Bring your little one to Perfect Balance Training Center for "Tot Time" - an hour of free play in the gym. There is no instructor so parents are in charge of their children. No need to...

Cost: $5 cash or $6 with credit card (monthly special available as well)

Where:
Perfect Balance
8850 Monroe Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-299-8445
Website »

More information

This family-friendly event features craft brews, wine, cider, live music and the best food trucks in Charlotte. Bring the whole family, including your dogs. Along...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sycamore Brewing
2161 Hawkins St.
Charlotte, NC  28203
View map »


Sponsor: Sycamore Brewing
Contact Name: Katelyn Carpenter
Website »

More information

Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays and Christ-centered festivities with families from across the Southeast who have made...

Cost: Free; additional cost for carriage rides

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
Charlotte, NC  28217
View map »


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

Carowinds will be magically transformed into a winter wonderland full of enchantment and holiday cheer! Become immersed in the season’s spirit with spectacular holiday lights and...

Cost: Starts at $25.

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28273
View map »


Website »

More information

The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is turned into a winter wonderland. Over 600,000 lights will decorate the space with sparkling fountains and twinkling trees. Also enjoy live music, shopping,...

Cost: $8.95-$14.95

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Drive the 3.5 mile course to see over 3 million lights. Then visit with Santa in the village for a special photo opportunity. The village also includes a petting zoo, a live nativity,...

Cost: $25-$30 per car when village is open; $20 per car when village is closed

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Pkwy.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 800-455-3267
Website »

More information

Visit Santa at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden and get a professional photographer to take pictures of your family. Reservations required.  Nov. 24-26, Dec. 3, 7-10, 14-17

Cost: Packages start at $45. (Admission to the garden is also required)

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
View map »


Telephone: (704) 825-4490
Website »

More information

Stroll through the park or take a ride on the Winterland Express to see more than 250,000 Christmas lights. The Celebration of lights will also feature the Double Decker Carousel and performances...

Cost: Free

Where:
Village Park
700 West C. Street
Kannapolis, NC  28081
View map »


Telephone: 704-920-4343
Website »

More information

Christopher Warren-Green leads the Charlotte Symphony Chorus and a quartet of soloists in Handel's oratorio masterpiece, "Messiah."

Cost: $19 +

Where:
Belk Theater
430 S Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-714-5128
Website »

More information

This original music revue tells the age-old story of the reason for the season. The traditional Holiday narrative is re-framed in a contemporary way with classics such as Twas The Night...

Cost: $20

Where:
McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square
345 N. College St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Visit with Santa, take a pony ride, pet animals, and roast marshmallows over a fire. Even feed a tiger! Sun.-Thur., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sat., 6-10pm.

Cost: $7 per person

Where:
Zootastic Park
385 Ostwalt Amity Road
Troutman , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

Skate on more than 7,000 square feet of ice in the heart of the city.  The ice rink opens at 5 p.m. Nov. 17. See website for ongoing hours.

Cost: $10 admission; $4 skate rental

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

View gingerbread creations by both amateurs and professionals. Vote on your favorites for $1 each; all donations benefit Levine Children's Hospital. 

Cost: Free.

Where:
The Ballantyne Hotel
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: (704) 248-4000
Website »

More information

Explore the moon, stars and beyond in the new planetarium. Housed in the museum's original Charlotte A. Kelly Planetarium, the dome has been retrofitted with a new Digitarium Zeta...

Cost: $8

Where:
Discovery Place Nature
1658 Sterling Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Explore the term "cabinet of curiosities" with this exhibit that describes a room rather than a piece of furniture. "Cabinets" originated in the 16th century and held large...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

When the worst kids in the history of the world find out there are free snacks at Sunday School, they take it upon themselves to audition for the annual Christmas pageant. Will a group of kids who...

Cost: $12+

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte, McColl Family Theatre
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

More information

The Year of the Engineer is an initiative celebrating the creativity and imagination of engineers. It includes the opening of an all-new Thinker Space lab and exhibition Think it Up, along with the...

Cost: $13-$17

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Take the train to the North Pole to meet Santa with a live reading of the story The Polar Express, complete with songs from the movie. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served. Open on...

Cost: $30+

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
411 S. Salisbury Ave.
Spencer, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-636-2889
Website »

More information

Come watch the classic tale of Scrooge unfold on stage. Check website for performance times. 

Cost: $28

Where:
Theatre Charlotte, The Eloise Macdonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts is putting on the holiday classic of "It's a Wonderful Life." Come watch as a guardian angel shows George Bailey what life would have been...

Cost: $11-$13

Where:
Matthews Community Center
100 McDowell Street East
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-846-8343
Website »

More information

Watch as Clara encounters an epic battle between the Mouse King and Nutcrackers, a snowfall, jumping candy canes and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Choreography by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and music from the...

Cost: $25-$125

Where:
Charlotte Ballet, Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Cameron Mackintosh presents the new production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg's Tony Award-winning musical.  See website for showtimes.   

Cost: $25+

Where:
Ovens Auditorium.
2700 Independence Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: (704) 372-1000
Website »

More information

Come watch the York County Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker.  See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $15

Where:
Johnson Theatre
115 Johnson Hall
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-323-2287
Website »

More information

Winter Wonderland Ice Skating Rink is an open-air holiday experience nestled between South Park Mall and Symphony Park. It features a 5,000 square for ice skating rink, a pub and a coffee shop and...

Cost: $12 for admission, $5 for skate rental

Where:
Symphony Park
4400 Sharon Rd
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit features more than 40 of Mexico's leading photographers. The photographs in the museum, ranging from just a few inches to floor-to-ceiling murals, explore an assortment...

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

This exhibit features 21st century long gowns, from cocktail attire to wedding dresses. Featured creations by Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs, Missoni, Issey...

Cost: $6-$15; free for children 4 and under

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

See your favorite Christmas scenes and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $5-$33

Where:
The NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 704-831-8893
Website »

More information

Skate on 4,200 square feet of real ice, plus enjoy go karting, play mini golf, and have fun on the spider web. On Nov. 17 from 5-8pm Olaf will be at the Speedpark available for pictures, hugs...

Cost: $12 for ice skating, includes skates. Other activities cost extra

Where:
The Speedpark at Concord Mills
8461 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-527-8464
Website »

More information

Collards + Culture is a life-size installation that explores African culture and how Africans were brought to the Americas through the Middle Passage. This program is part of the ASC Culture...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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Bring your kids for a special breakfast with Santa. There will be a variety of kid's breakfast options. No reservations needed.

Cost: Free admission; food will have standard cost at restaurant.

Where:
The Peach Stand
1325 Highway 160 W
Fort Mill, NC
View map »


Telephone: 803-547-7563
Website »

More information

Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era-the Age of Dinosaurs.  See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time forgot. Observe predators stalking an armored...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

As a guest of the Breakfast with Santa event, you will have exclusive access to Dave & Buster's, including our Million Dollar Midway which is packed to the rafters with hundreds...

Cost: $19.99

Where:
Dave & Buster's Concord Mills
8361 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC  28027
View map »


Telephone: 704-979-1706
Website »

More information

Children can enjoy a private visit with Santa. Allows time for personal photography. Santa can then give a personalized gift to the child (brought by the parents). Registration required. 

Cost: $5 per child, free for people older than 18.

Where:
Historic Latta Plantation
5225 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-875-2312
Website »

More information

Come run to support the Cannon Memorial YMCA Annual Support Campaign. There is both a one-mile fun run and a 5k. Children of all ages and parents with strollers are welcome in the...

Cost: $10-$20

Where:
Kannapolis YMCA
101 YMCA Drive
Kannapolis, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-939-9622
Website »

More information

Join us as we learn about Kwanzaa with Mother Minter. We will hear stories, sing songs and participate in extension activities that give participants a deeper understanding of the Kwanzaa...

Cost: Free.

Where:
Hickory Grove Library
5935 Hickory Grove Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-416-4402
Website »

More information

The event will include live entertainment, brunch bites, sweets, high noon tea (mimosas for the adults will be available), storytelling, Victorian Mr. Claus, photos, ornament making and gifts.

Cost: $39.99 per adult; $24.99 per child

Where:
Amelie's French Bakery
380 S College St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

Hit the USNWC's trail system and run this 5k dressed at Santa Claus. There will be a prize for the best Santa lookalike. After the run, there will be giveaways and competitions. 

Cost: $30-$37

Where:
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Bring the whole family to paint their version of one of two adorable Christmas penguins! This class is perfect for all ages and skill levels. Simply follow the artists step by-step...

Cost: $12

Where:
Cajun Canvas
11116-B South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28273
View map »


Telephone: 704-504-5224
Website »

More information

Join us as we celebrate the most wonderful time of the year! Face painting, trackless trains, horse carriage rides, and of course Santa!

Where:
Arboretum Shopping Center near Bed Bath and Beyond
8008 Providence Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-295-4002
Website »

More information

Sardis will host The Sound of Christmas, a free community Christmas concert. The concert will feature choirs from St. Stephen UMC and Sardis Presbyterian Church with special appearances from Sardis...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sardis Presbyterian Church
6100 Sardis Road
Charlotte, NC  28270
View map »


Telephone: 704-366-1854
Website »

More information

Join the Charlotte Concert Band as they celebrate the holidays with carols and traditional seasonal selections from around the world, as well as more contemporary works that have been inspired by...

Cost: Free

Where:
Queens University - Dana Auditorium
1900 Selwyn Ave.
Charlotte, NC  28274
View map »


Website »

More information

Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drive (or walk!) the two miles through town of McAdenville and view more than 375 live trees, 200 wreaths, and a 46-foot wide image of Old Man Winter blowing snowflakes over the lake. ...

Cost: Free

Where:
McAdenville , NC


Website »

More information

Run this event dressed as Santa, an Elf, a Reindeer or a snowman! Strollers are welcome! Registration includes a shirt and Santa/Elf/Snowman hat or Reindeer antlers.  8k starts at 9am....

Cost: $22.50-$50

Where:
S. Mint Street in-between Romare Bearden Park and the Knights Stadium
, NC


Telephone: (704) 968-5666
Website »

More information

Melissa Lynch is a Gaston County resident who loves experimenting with acrylic pours and alcohol inks. This exhibit features abstract lines and pops of color that represent a transitional time...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

Eat a pancake breakfast, enjoy festive crafts, watch a movie, ice skate and get a photo with Santa.

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-654-4400
Website »

More information

This annually recurring exhibit fills the museum with model train displays, railroad memorabilia, and antique toys and games. Visitors of all ages will be enchanted as they explore the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC  28086
View map »


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. The 45-minute program starts on the hour. All performances are subject to cancellation so check the website for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-8649
Website »

More information

Selections from one of the nation's most important and comprehensive collections of African-American art. This collection features a number of images from the fifty-eight-piece collection of...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

The debut of one of the most expansive collections of abstract and contemporary African-American art.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-374-1565
Website »

More information

Explores how artists immortalize people, places and memories through the visual arts.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

Both mesmerizing and mysterious, Siobhan’s works represent the interactions, and sometimes conflicts, of her conscious and subconscious minds. These thoughts are characterized by stunning...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops and Concord-area families are invited to enjoy this magical Christmas village offering free photos with Santa and free family holiday activities...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd
Concord, NC  28027
View map »


Website »

More information

Lakeshore Learning Stores provide fun, free crafts every Saturday from 11am to 3pm. Visit Bit.ly/freecraftsforkids for the featured craft of the week or call your local Lakeshore Learning store for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lakeshore Learning Store
10005 E. Independence Blvd.
Matthews, NC  28105
View map »


Sponsor: Lakeshore Learning Store
Telephone: 704-849-2450
Website »

More information

This uptown holiday event is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured programming...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come to family storytime at Barnes & Noble. Activities to follow. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble, Morrison Place
4020 Sharon Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-364-0626
Website »

More information

Charlotte’s Road to Revolution Exhibition is composed of 17 original oil paintings by Charlotte artist Dan Nance, 20 interpretive panels and eighteenth-century antiques that tell the story of...

Cost: $7-$10

Where:
The Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

​Santa will be roaming the mall on these special days handing out treats and stopping for photos. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Charlotte Premium Outlets
5404 New Fashion Way
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come to BLACKLION for free photos with Santa. Fun backdrops for selfies and a few of Santa's friends will also be there. Feel free to bring your personal cameras. 

Cost: Free

Where:
BLACKLION
10635 Park Rd
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-541-1148
Website »

More information

Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays and Christ-centered festivities with families from across the Southeast who have made...

Cost: Free; additional cost for carriage rides

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
Charlotte, NC  28217
View map »


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

Carowinds will be magically transformed into a winter wonderland full of enchantment and holiday cheer! Become immersed in the season’s spirit with spectacular holiday lights and...

Cost: Starts at $25.

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28273
View map »


Website »

More information

The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is turned into a winter wonderland. Over 600,000 lights will decorate the space with sparkling fountains and twinkling trees. Also enjoy live music, shopping,...

Cost: $8.95-$14.95

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Drive the 3.5 mile course to see over 3 million lights. Then visit with Santa in the village for a special photo opportunity. The village also includes a petting zoo, a live nativity,...

Cost: $25-$30 per car when village is open; $20 per car when village is closed

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Pkwy.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 800-455-3267
Website »

More information

Visit Santa at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden and get a professional photographer to take pictures of your family. Reservations required.  Nov. 24-26, Dec. 3, 7-10, 14-17

Cost: Packages start at $45. (Admission to the garden is also required)

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
View map »


Telephone: (704) 825-4490
Website »

More information

Stroll through the park or take a ride on the Winterland Express to see more than 250,000 Christmas lights. The Celebration of lights will also feature the Double Decker Carousel and performances...

Cost: Free

Where:
Village Park
700 West C. Street
Kannapolis, NC  28081
View map »


Telephone: 704-920-4343
Website »

More information

Christopher Warren-Green leads the Charlotte Symphony Chorus and a quartet of soloists in Handel's oratorio masterpiece, "Messiah."

Cost: $19 +

Where:
Belk Theater
430 S Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-714-5128
Website »

More information

This original music revue tells the age-old story of the reason for the season. The traditional Holiday narrative is re-framed in a contemporary way with classics such as Twas The Night...

Cost: $20

Where:
McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square
345 N. College St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Visit with Santa, take a pony ride, pet animals, and roast marshmallows over a fire. Even feed a tiger! Sun.-Thur., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sat., 6-10pm.

Cost: $7 per person

Where:
Zootastic Park
385 Ostwalt Amity Road
Troutman , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

Skate on more than 7,000 square feet of ice in the heart of the city.  The ice rink opens at 5 p.m. Nov. 17. See website for ongoing hours.

Cost: $10 admission; $4 skate rental

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Have breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus, take photos, watch a theater performance, and make a craft. Reservations required; tickets go on sale on Nov. 4 and must be purchased at the...

Cost: $5 per person

Where:
Matthews Community Center
100 McDowell St.
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: (704) 321-7275
Website »

More information

View gingerbread creations by both amateurs and professionals. Vote on your favorites for $1 each; all donations benefit Levine Children's Hospital. 

Cost: Free.

Where:
The Ballantyne Hotel
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: (704) 248-4000
Website »

More information

Explore the term "cabinet of curiosities" with this exhibit that describes a room rather than a piece of furniture. "Cabinets" originated in the 16th century and held large...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

When the worst kids in the history of the world find out there are free snacks at Sunday School, they take it upon themselves to audition for the annual Christmas pageant. Will a group of kids who...

Cost: $12+

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte, McColl Family Theatre
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

More information

The Year of the Engineer is an initiative celebrating the creativity and imagination of engineers. It includes the opening of an all-new Thinker Space lab and exhibition Think it Up, along with the...

Cost: $13-$17

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Repticon Charlotte is a reptile event featuring vendors offering reptile pets, supplies, feeders, cages, and merchandise as well as live animal seminars and frequent free raffles for coveted...

Cost: $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 5-12, free for children under 5

Where:
Cabarrus Arena & Events Center
4751 Highway 49 North
Concord, NC  28025
View map »


Telephone: 863-268-4273
Website »

More information

Take the train to the North Pole to meet Santa with a live reading of the story The Polar Express, complete with songs from the movie. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served. Open on...

Cost: $30+

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
411 S. Salisbury Ave.
Spencer, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-636-2889
Website »

More information

Stop by for some hot beverages and relaxation with crafting. We will be cutting paper snowflakes and coloring beautiful winter scenes before the bustle of the holidays. Registration required for...

Cost: Free

Where:
McDowell Nature Center
15222 York Rd.
Charlotte, NC  28278
View map »


Sponsor: McDowell Nature Center
Telephone: 980-314-1128
Website »

More information

Come watch the classic tale of Scrooge unfold on stage. Check website for performance times. 

Cost: $28

Where:
Theatre Charlotte, The Eloise Macdonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts is putting on the holiday classic of "It's a Wonderful Life." Come watch as a guardian angel shows George Bailey what life would have been...

Cost: $11-$13

Where:
Matthews Community Center
100 McDowell Street East
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-846-8343
Website »

More information

This musical is based off the stories of Genesis. Act I tells the story of Adam and Eve, Cain, and Abel and Act II tells the story of Noah and the flood.  Showtimes at 2pm and...

Cost: $12 in advance, $15 at door

Where:
Jewish Community Center, Gorelick Hall
5007 Providence Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-366-5007
Website »

More information

Watch as Clara encounters an epic battle between the Mouse King and Nutcrackers, a snowfall, jumping candy canes and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Choreography by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and music from the...

Cost: $25-$125

Where:
Charlotte Ballet, Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Cameron Mackintosh presents the new production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg's Tony Award-winning musical.  See website for showtimes.   

Cost: $25+

Where:
Ovens Auditorium.
2700 Independence Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: (704) 372-1000
Website »

More information

Come watch the York County Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker.  See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $15

Where:
Johnson Theatre
115 Johnson Hall
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-323-2287
Website »

More information

This performance of "Hairspray" is presented by Theatre Street's Teen Cast of students in 6th grade through college.  See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $15

Where:
Dale F. Halton Theater
1206 Elizabeth Ave
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-330-6840
Website »

More information

Winter Wonderland Ice Skating Rink is an open-air holiday experience nestled between South Park Mall and Symphony Park. It features a 5,000 square for ice skating rink, a pub and a coffee shop and...

Cost: $12 for admission, $5 for skate rental

Where:
Symphony Park
4400 Sharon Rd
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit features more than 40 of Mexico's leading photographers. The photographs in the museum, ranging from just a few inches to floor-to-ceiling murals, explore an assortment...

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

This exhibit features 21st century long gowns, from cocktail attire to wedding dresses. Featured creations by Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs, Missoni, Issey...

Cost: $6-$15; free for children 4 and under

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

See your favorite Christmas scenes and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $5-$33

Where:
The NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 704-831-8893
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Skate on 4,200 square feet of real ice, plus enjoy go karting, play mini golf, and have fun on the spider web. On Nov. 17 from 5-8pm Olaf will be at the Speedpark available for pictures, hugs...

Cost: $12 for ice skating, includes skates. Other activities cost extra

Where:
The Speedpark at Concord Mills
8461 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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Telephone: 704-527-8464
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Sit on Santa's lap, ride his horse, play on the farm playground and pat and hold bunnies, pig, sheep, goats, chicken, duck, cows, and puppies. Have your camera ready to take Christmas pictures!...

Cost: $7 per person; $5 kids horse rides.

Where:
Whispering Hope Farm
1405 Crowders Creek Road
Gastonia, NC
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Attendees can share Santa’s love for marine life with Scuba Claus dives, engage in classic Christmas tales during holiday story time with Sharky and participate in seasonal favorites such as...

Cost: Included in admission to museum ($10.95-$19.95)

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord
8111 Concord Mills Boulevard
Concord, NC
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Guests of all ages can participate in seasonal science fun with daily make projects every afternoon at Discovery Place Science.  Check the online calendar for the daily schedule. Activities...

Cost: Included with museum admission (adults, $17; children, $13); excludes IMAX

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St
, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-6261
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Collards + Culture is a life-size installation that explores African culture and how Africans were brought to the Americas through the Middle Passage. This program is part of the ASC Culture...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
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Annual Guides

GPS [Go. Play. See.]

Your guide to raising kids in the Queen City, plus our 2017 Readers' Favorites for places to play, explore and learn with the kids.

Education Guide

This comprehensive guide covers preschool, private, charter and public schools in Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Union and York counties.
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