12 Must-Do Holiday Events for Families in Charlotte

Pack up the cookies and hot chocolate and head to one (or all 12) of these merry holiday "to-do's."


Published:

Gingerbread Lane at Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge

The Charlotte area is bubbling over with fun, family-friendly holiday happenings. With everything from a whole-town light display to farmers’ market-style holiday shopping and a heartfelt celebration of the first Christmas, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So pack up the cookies and hot chocolate and head to one (or all 12) of these merry holiday "to-do’s."


1. Holiday on Ice

Whether it’s a winter wonderland in the Queen City or not, WBT and K107.9 Radio brings its annual outdoor skating rink to frost noses and toes in the heart of uptown. Located at the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Brevard Street on the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza, the rink is open from Nov. 20 through Jan. 3. Skate rentals are $3, and the $10 per person admission is good for skating all day. Cash and checks only are accepted on site, but you can purchase tickets online ahead of time to avoid lines at the ATMs near the rink.
holidayonicecharlotte.com

 

Opening night at @wbtradio & @1079thelink's #holidayoniceclt presented by Cool Renewal Spa! #keepcalmandskateon

A photo posted by Holiday On Ice (@holidayoniceclt) on


2. Holidays at the Garden

Nature is all a-twinkle at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens’ annual holiday display. Happening Nov. 20 through Jan. 3, the gardens, located at 6500 South New Hope Road in Belmont, display more than 500,000 lights, as well as wonders such as the perennial favorite Orchid Tree and indoor décor featuring natural elements such as artichokes, berries, and cotton. There are also special days that Santa is planning a visit, plus special craft events. Children can tell him their wish list and have a picture made. Ticket prices vary – check the website for details.
dsbg.org

 

A photo posted by Lorraine (@regenbaby) on


3. ChristmasVille

Be overtaken by holiday spirit Dec. 3 through 6 in downtown Rock Hill for the eighth-annual ChristmasVille event. Actually a composite of more than 70 individual events, four days of festivities include old standbys such as a parade, carriage rides, carolers, kids’ crafts, festive foods and, of course, Santa Claus. The affair also features more unique attractions like mini golf, a Ferris wheel, a rock climbing wall, and pony rides. And on Dec. 5, a fireworks display will light up the night near the Christmasville stages. ChristmasVille is free to enter, but some events do charge for participation.
christmasvillerockhill.com

 

A photo posted by pamajam (@pamajam) on


4. Uptown Charlotte Tree Lighting

The Queen City celebrates the season together at the intersection of Trade and Tryon on Dec. 3 at 5:30 p.m. as Charlotte’s official tree is lit for the season. Always a festive occasion, the ACC mascots will be in attendance to pump up the crowd even more! Event is free.
charlottecentercity.org


SEE ALSO: Charlotte Holiday Tree-Lightings and Parades


5. Gingerbread Lane

A popular holiday tradition at the Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge, Gingerbread Lane is a display of confectionary edifices created by local professional chefs and amateurs alike for the hotel’s annual competition. From Dec. 10-27, the public is invited to view the gingerbread houses and vote on their favorite for the people’s choice award. Plus the event benefits a great cause – the Levine Children’s Hospital. Admission is free, but a minimum donation of $1 is required to vote, and proceeds from the voting goes to Levine Children’s Hospital.
theballantynehotel.com

 

Congratulations to all of our Gingerbread Lane winners! Visit The Ballantyne to view an enchanting display of each creation. #hotelsfortheholidays

A photo posted by The Ballantyne Hotel Charlotte (@ballantynehotel) on


6. Speedway Christmas

Drive the oval … slowly. More than 3 million lights are displayed along the track for holiday enchantment, NASCAR style. The drive-thru experience opens to the public runs seven nights a week through Dec. 30. At the end of the course, you can park and walk (and eat!) your way through the special Christmas village set up on the infield to visit the petting zoo, a Bethlehem Village complete with live animals and actors, food and gift vendor booths, and photos with Santa. The Christmas village is open Thursday through Sunday nights Admission is $20-$30 per car.
charlottemotorspeedway.com


7. Christmas at the Library

Celebrate the season with heart at the Billy Graham Library. Visit after 5 p.m. to see the live nativity scene and take a horse drawn carriage ride ($7 for adults, $3 for kids) through light displays, or come early and spend the day taking a tour of the Library, viewing the animals from the nativity scene when they’re off duty, shopping at Ruth’s Attic gift shop, and snacking on home-style goodies at the Dairy Bar. Visiting the library is free and parking is free.
billygrahamlibrary.org

 

A photo posted by Jonathan Dale Martin (@jmart1128) on


8. Leonard Bernstein Symphony Orchestra

Delight the little ones with a quick trek into uptown Charlotte to visit the Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra. The 18-piece display of adorable animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs hourly at Founders Hall in the Bank of America Corporate Center (located at 100 N. Tryon St.) Nov. 30-Dec. 31. Performance times subject to change. Find the Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra page on Facebook for most up-to-date schedule.
foundershall.com


9. The Train to Christmas Town

Hop aboard the holiday train for a delightful experience with Santa filled with a photo opportunity and a few presents. Plus, enjoy a special reading of the holiday story and find a few of the characters walking throughout the train! The first train of the season departs on Nov. 27 and runs through Dec. 27. Tickets start at $25. The train station is located at 667 Cason St., Belmont.
traintochristmastown.com


10. Christmas Candlelight Tour

If a peek into Christmases past is your thing, Historic Rosedale Plantation, just three miles from the center of uptown on North Tryon Street, hosts a candlelight tour of its Federal-period house on Dec. 6 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Docents portray Dr. David Caldwell and his wife, Harriet, who owned the then 919-acre plantation in the 1830s. The nostalgia continues with the sounds of a hand-bell choir, and refreshments served in the English basement kitchen after the tour. Cost is $12-$15.
historicrosedale.org


11. Christmas Town USA

Each year since 1956, the town of McAdenville, located in Gaston County, has glowed with holiday lights, attracting national attention and countless visitors. The display has grown from a few trees around McAdenville Lake to more than 375 live trees, 200 wreaths, and a 46-foot wide image of Old Man Winter blowing snowflakes over the lake. This year, the festivities kick off with a tree-lighting ceremony on Dec. 1 and continue each night until Dec. 26. The two-mile route is drivable or you can walk, and there’s no admission fee either way, but be prepared to wait in traffic, especially on weekend nights.
mcadenville-christmastown.com

 

A photo posted by Morgan (@dreamfinderphotography) on


12. 'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Take in a theatrical production of the classic holiday special in the family-friendly atmosphere of ImaginOn. The Children’s Theater of Charlotte weaves together stories and music celebrating the spirit and traditions of Hanukkah, Chrsitmas and Kwanzaa Dec.12- 23. ImaginOn is located at 300 E. 7th Street. Tickets start at $12.
ctcharlotte.org


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February 2016

Join a naturalist and venture deep into the preserve to see what roams around during winter. At the end, warm up by sipping hot cocoa while watching the birds in the garden. 

Cost: FREE.

Where:
Reedy Creek Nature Preserve
2900 Rocky River Road
Charlotte, NC
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The Chinese New Year has been celebrated for more than four thousand years. This festival marks the end of a long winter season and the beginning of spring. Come to I CAN Create after a...

Cost: Free with admission.

Where:
Discovery Place KIDS
105 Gilead Road
Huntersville, NC
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Features artwork of over 30 artists, created in a range of artistic styles and media including pencil, ink, watercolor, and woodcut. Families can also expect interactive components.

Cost: $3-$5, includes museum admission

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
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Sponsor: Cultural and Heritage Museums
Telephone: 803-909-7244
Contact Name: Marie Cheek
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Cost: $5-$8

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th St.
Charlotte, NC
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Telephone: 704-333-1887
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Featuring a full-scale model of Titanoboa and clips from a Smithsonian Channel documentary, the exhibition delves into the discovery, reconstruction, and implications of this enormous...

Cost: $4-$10, includes museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Telephone: 704-866-6900
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Edward Tulane, a toy china rabbit, is very much in love with himself. Self-absorbed and selfish, he comes to believe he is cursed when he is accidentally tossed overboard and away from the...

Cost: $12+

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E. 7th St.
Charlotte, NC
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Telephone: 704-973-2828
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Celebrate Chinese New Year with a special storytime, books to check out, and self-directed activities in the Spangler Library.

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center
300 E. 7th St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Telephone: 704-416-4630
Website »

More information

Through games, crafts, stories, puppets and more learn about animals and plants.

Cost: Free

Where:
Reedy Creek Nature Center
2900 Rocky River Road
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-432-6460
Website »

More information

Tuck your little one in a stroller and join an educator for an easy walk along the paved nature trail. In case of inclement weather, meet inside the Nature Center for indoor...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-588-5224
Website »

More information

Features artwork of over 30 artists, created in a range of artistic styles and media including pencil, ink, watercolor, and woodcut. Families can also expect interactive components.

Cost: $3-$5, includes museum admission

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


Sponsor: Cultural and Heritage Museums
Telephone: 803-909-7244
Contact Name: Marie Cheek
Website »

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Filled with stories, songs, and activities specifically designed for children with autism spectrum disorders, sensory integration issues, or other developmental disabilities

Cost: Free

Where:
Beatties Ford Road Regional Library
2412 Beatties Ford Road
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Website »

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Explore the surprising ways that Latinos are shaping the South and how the South is shaping Latinos. Museum hours: Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., Noon-5pm.

Cost: $5-$8

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

Featuring a full-scale model of Titanoboa and clips from a Smithsonian Channel documentary, the exhibition delves into the discovery, reconstruction, and implications of this enormous...

Cost: $4-$10, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

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Celebrate Fat Tuesday with the family and breakfast for dinner. Pancakes will be served until 7 p.m.

Cost: FREE.

Where:
St. Patrick's Catholic School
1121 Buchanan St.
Charlotte , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-333-3174
Website »

More information

Features artwork of over 30 artists, created in a range of artistic styles and media including pencil, ink, watercolor, and woodcut. Families can also expect interactive components.

Cost: $3-$5, includes museum admission

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


Sponsor: Cultural and Heritage Museums
Telephone: 803-909-7244
Contact Name: Marie Cheek
Website »

More information

Engage your preschoolers with books, activities, stories and songs that encourage language and pre-reading skill development in order to help them grow into successful readers.

Cost: FREE.

Where:
Myers Park Library
1361 Queens Road
Charlotte , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-416-5800
Website »

More information

Explore the surprising ways that Latinos are shaping the South and how the South is shaping Latinos. Museum hours: Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., Noon-5pm.

Cost: $5-$8

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

Featuring a full-scale model of Titanoboa and clips from a Smithsonian Channel documentary, the exhibition delves into the discovery, reconstruction, and implications of this enormous...

Cost: $4-$10, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, watch the story of an extraordinary girl who dreams of a better life. Showtimes: Wed.-Thurs., 7:30pm; Fri., 8pm; Sat., 2 and 8pm; Sun., 1:30 and 7pm.

Cost: $29.50+

Where:
Belk Theater, Blumenthal Performing Arts
130 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

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For children who speak English as a second language enjoy books, activities, stories and songs that help with language development and literacy skills.

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center
300 E. 7th St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-416-4630
Website »

More information

Features artwork of over 30 artists, created in a range of artistic styles and media including pencil, ink, watercolor, and woodcut. Families can also expect interactive components.

Cost: $3-$5, includes museum admission

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


Sponsor: Cultural and Heritage Museums
Telephone: 803-909-7244
Contact Name: Marie Cheek
Website »

More information

Enjoy stories, movement with music, and a seasonal craft.

Cost: $5

Where:
Main Street Children's Museum
133 E. Main St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore the mint museum's exhibitions.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph | 2730 Randolph Road
Mint Museum Uptown | 500 South Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2018
Website »

More information

Explore the surprising ways that Latinos are shaping the South and how the South is shaping Latinos. Museum hours: Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., Noon-5pm.

Cost: $5-$8

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

Featuring a full-scale model of Titanoboa and clips from a Smithsonian Channel documentary, the exhibition delves into the discovery, reconstruction, and implications of this enormous...

Cost: $4-$10, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, watch the story of an extraordinary girl who dreams of a better life. Showtimes: Wed.-Thurs., 7:30pm; Fri., 8pm; Sat., 2 and 8pm; Sun., 1:30 and 7pm.

Cost: $29.50+

Where:
Belk Theater, Blumenthal Performing Arts
130 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Find out what life was like for enslaved people that lived and worked at Brattonsville. Tour hours: 11am and 2pm.

Cost: $3-$6, includes museum admission

Where:
Historic Brattonsville
1444 Brattonsville Road
McConnells, SC
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Telephone: 803-684-2327
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Bring the family to Chick-fil-A Stonecrest and lend a hand in creating cards for those who are forgotten on Valentine's Day! Join us to put "Love in Action." Dress in pajamas to...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Chick-fil-A StoneCest at Piper Glen
7910 Rea Rd
Charlotte, NC  28277
View map »

More information

Features artwork of over 30 artists, created in a range of artistic styles and media including pencil, ink, watercolor, and woodcut. Families can also expect interactive components.

Cost: $3-$5, includes museum admission

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


Sponsor: Cultural and Heritage Museums
Telephone: 803-909-7244
Contact Name: Marie Cheek
Website »

More information

Explore the surprising ways that Latinos are shaping the South and how the South is shaping Latinos. Museum hours: Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., Noon-5pm.

Cost: $5-$8

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

Featuring a full-scale model of Titanoboa and clips from a Smithsonian Channel documentary, the exhibition delves into the discovery, reconstruction, and implications of this enormous...

Cost: $4-$10, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, watch the story of an extraordinary girl who dreams of a better life. Showtimes: Wed.-Thurs., 7:30pm; Fri., 8pm; Sat., 2 and 8pm; Sun., 1:30 and 7pm.

Cost: $29.50+

Where:
Belk Theater, Blumenthal Performing Arts
130 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Features artwork of over 30 artists, created in a range of artistic styles and media including pencil, ink, watercolor, and woodcut. Families can also expect interactive components.

Cost: $3-$5, includes museum admission

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


Sponsor: Cultural and Heritage Museums
Telephone: 803-909-7244
Contact Name: Marie Cheek
Website »

More information

In this free, 90-minute workshop, kids can go behind the scenes to learn how to code, program, and play in their own gaming world. Register today at www.microsoftstore.com/southpark as...

Cost: FREE.

Where:
SouthPark Microsoft Store
4400 Sharon Rd
Charlotte , NC  28211
View map »


Telephone: 704-916-6610

More information

Explore the surprising ways that Latinos are shaping the South and how the South is shaping Latinos. Museum hours: Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., Noon-5pm.

Cost: $5-$8

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

Featuring a full-scale model of Titanoboa and clips from a Smithsonian Channel documentary, the exhibition delves into the discovery, reconstruction, and implications of this enormous...

Cost: $4-$10, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, watch the story of an extraordinary girl who dreams of a better life. Showtimes: Wed.-Thurs., 7:30pm; Fri., 8pm; Sat., 2 and 8pm; Sun., 1:30 and 7pm.

Cost: $29.50+

Where:
Belk Theater, Blumenthal Performing Arts
130 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Amid the chaos of citizens being charged to use public restrooms from a terrible water shortage, a Gotham hero plans a revolution to help lead his community to freedom.

Cost: $12-$18

Where:
Fullwood Theater
100 Mcdowell St. East
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Led by local York County birders, help count the different species by listening to their songs and by spying their outlines and colors in a winter habitat. Dress for the weather, this program...

Cost: $5, includes museum admission

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Sponsor: Cultural and Heritage Museums
Telephone: 803-909-7244
Contact Name: Marie Cheek
Website »

More information

Storytelling, children's crafts, activities, and games. Fairy, gnome, and other appropriate costumes are encouraged but not required. 

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-875-1391
Website »

More information

Learn about birds through a naturalist and participate in activities for kids.

Cost: Free

Where:
Reedy Creek Nature Center
2900 Rocky River Road
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-432-6459
Website »

More information

Featuring favorite children’s movie music, including Disney Classics such as “It’s A Small World” and “Let It Go.”

Cost: $19.50-$24.50

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


Website »

More information

View six historic works created by African-American choreographers Talley Beatty, Asadata Dafora, Katherine Dunham, Bill T. Jones, Donald McKayle and Pearl Primus, filmed by the American Dance...

Cost: Free with admission.

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


Website »

More information

 Participate in hands-on art activities, special museum tours and more.  Explore the abstract art of Sam Francis by making a watercolor painting. Also, create handmade...

Cost: Free for children, $8 for the general public

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-353-9208
Website »

More information

Learn about the various relationships that exist amongst organisms.

Cost: $4-$10, includes admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

In commemoration of Black History Month, join in a family program that celebrates the history of African Americans.

Cost: FREE.

Where:
The Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive
Charlotte, NC  28215
View map »


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

The Kratt Brothers activate some fan favorite creature power suits to confront a comic villain. Through hilarious pratfalls and amazing animal wow facts the...

Cost: Starting at $27.75

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


Telephone: 800-745-3000
Website »

More information

Features artwork of over 30 artists, created in a range of artistic styles and media including pencil, ink, watercolor, and woodcut. Families can also expect interactive components.

Cost: $3-$5, includes museum admission

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


Sponsor: Cultural and Heritage Museums
Telephone: 803-909-7244
Contact Name: Marie Cheek
Website »

More information

Enjoy making special Valentine crafts to share with family and friends.

Cost: $5

Where:
Main Street Children's Museum
133 E. Main St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

     Reed Gold Mine State Historic Site will offer “Black Gold: North Carolina Slavery and Reed Gold Mine” tours every Saturday in February at 1 p.m. and...

Cost: $2 for 8 and older, ages 7 and under free

Where:
Reed Gold Mine
9621 Reed Mine Road
Midland, NC  28107
View map »


Sponsor: Reed Gold Mine
Telephone: 704-721-4653 x211
Website »

More information

Explore books in creative ways through interactive activities including math and science.

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center
300 E. 7th St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore the surprising ways that Latinos are shaping the South and how the South is shaping Latinos. Museum hours: Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., Noon-5pm.

Cost: $5-$8

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

Featuring a full-scale model of Titanoboa and clips from a Smithsonian Channel documentary, the exhibition delves into the discovery, reconstruction, and implications of this enormous...

Cost: $4-$10, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, watch the story of an extraordinary girl who dreams of a better life. Showtimes: Wed.-Thurs., 7:30pm; Fri., 8pm; Sat., 2 and 8pm; Sun., 1:30 and 7pm.

Cost: $29.50+

Where:
Belk Theater, Blumenthal Performing Arts
130 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Amid the chaos of citizens being charged to use public restrooms from a terrible water shortage, a Gotham hero plans a revolution to help lead his community to freedom.

Cost: $12-$18

Where:
Fullwood Theater
100 Mcdowell St. East
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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