A Guide to Holiday Events in Charlotte: 2019
Concerts, stage shows, and more
Belmont Festival of Trees (Dec. 2-Jan. 1, 2020)
Stowe Park, 24 S. Main St., Belmont. 6-8pm. Free. Enjoy a festive stroll down Main Street and through Stowe Park after dark to view the Christmas trees decorated by local businesses and organizations.
Christmas Town USA (Dec. 2-26)
McAdenville. Free. Drive or stroll through McAdenville to see over 250 evergreens, covered with more than a half-million red, white and green lights, plus the town lake circled with dozens of evergreens, draped with hundreds of lights.
Leonard Bearstein Orchestra (Dec. 2-27)
Founder’s Hall, 100 N. Tryon St. See website for schedule. The display of well-dressed animatronic bears perform classic holiday songs at Founders Hall in the Bank of America Corporate Center. The 45-minute performances are free and include time-honored holiday classics, such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”
The Holiday Shop (Dec. 4-7)
Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, 300 E. 7th St. Free admission. Gifts range in price from 50 cents to $6. The Holiday Shop includes Santa’s Bag and The ENCORE! Boutique. Santa’s Bag gives children ages 10 and younger the opportunity to shop for family and friends with the help of volunteer elves. The ENCORE! Boutique is a place for tweens, teens and adults to shop while children are shopping in Santa’s Bag. Santa will be in the lobby during the event. Wed.-Fri., 9am-11:30am and 4:30-7pm; Sat., 10am-2pm, or until merchandise sells out.
ChristmasVille (Dec. 5-8)
Throughout Rock Hill. More than 70 events to welcome the holidays, including horse-drawn carriage rides, historic tours, strolling Dickens carolers, art, theater, dance, music, a gingerbread house contest, multiple Santa activities, and a real ice-skating rink.
Gingerbread Lane (Dec. 4-26)
Ballantyne Hotel, 10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy. Free. Enjoy a stroll through Gingerbread Lane and cast your vote and donation for your favorite creation. Donations benefit Levine Children’s Hospital. Hot cocoa is available for purchase.
Christmas in Davidson (Dec. 5-7)
Downtown Davidson. 6-9pm. Free. Enjoy horse-drawn carriage and hay rides, an ugly sweater contest, a doggie fashion show and visits with Santa each night at Santa’s House. Santa arrives at Dec. 5 at 6:29pm in horse-drawn carriage.
A December to Remember at Promenade (Dec. 7, 14 and 21)
Promenade on Providence, 10844 Providence Road. 3-5pm. Free. Celebrate the season at Promenade on Providence the first three Saturdays of December.
Blakeney Santa Photo Experience (Through Dec. 22)
Blakeney, Ardrey Kell and Rea roads. 980-474-1660. Free. See Santa Claus in his custom-built house on the Village Green. See website for schedule.
The Polar Express Train Ride (Through Dec. 22)
North Carolina Transportation Museum, 1 Samuel Spencer Drive, Spencer. 4-10pm. $32-$325. The Polar Express Train Ride, inspired by the run-away hit movie, features a train ride to the North Pole with dancing chefs, cookies, hot chocolate, Santa and a presentation of the first gift of Christmas.
Charlotte Christmas Village (Through Dec. 24)
Uptown Charlotte, 406 N. Tryon St. Free admission. A German-inspired Christmas Market that includes traditional German foods, homemade crafts and gifts, and local musical performances. Closed Mondays. Santa makes appearances on select dates. See website for Santa’ss schedule.
WinterFest (Through Dec. 31)
Carowinds, 14523 Carowinds Blvd. $48+, children ages 5 and younger free with Pre-K Pass. Carowinds is transformed into a winter wonderland with spectacular holiday experiences. Fri., 5-10pm; Sat., 2-10pm; Sun., 4-10pm.
Christmas Wonderland of Lights (Through Jan. 1, 2020)
Zootastic Park, 385 Ostwalt Amity Road, Troutman. $7, ages 2 and younger free. Drive
through reindeer forest, and see the Christmas Wonderland of Lights. Check out the animal feedings, carousel rides and train rides. S’mores will be available for purchase. Sun.-Thur.,6-9pm; Fri.-Sat., 6-10pm.
Holidays at the Garden (Through Jan. 5, 2020)
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, 6500 New Hope Road, Belmont. 5-9pm. $10-$19. Walk the garden to see musical topiaries and thousands of lights. Mrs. Claus visits Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden Friday through Sunday through Dec. 22 and Christmas Eve from 6-8pm. Santa Claus is available for professional photos with families on Dec. 2, 9 and 16 from 5-8:30pm with additional fee and reservations. Santa is also available Tuesday through Thursday from Dec. 2-19 from 5:30-8:30pm for personal photos.
Holiday on Ice (Through Jan. 5, 2020)
NASCAR Hall of Fame, 400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. $12-$16. Uptown Charlotte’s outdoor ice rink returns to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza. Take a picture with the giant polar bear, under the tree or in the decorated Ceremonial Garden.
Speedway Christmas (Through Jan. 5, 2020)
Charlotte Motor Speedway, 5555 Concord Pkwy. S., Concord. 6:30-11:30pm. $20-$30. Drive 3.75 miles with 3.5 million lights. Every Thursday through Sunday, the indoor Christmas Village will include photos with Santa, children’s activities, a display of decorated Christmas trees, vendors and specialty foods. Do not miss the live nativity, Ferris wheel, merry go round and carriage rides outside.
Founders Holiday Ice Rink (Through Jan. 20, 2020)
Downtown Rock Hill, 205 Saluda St. $10, includes skates.
Winter Wonderland Skating Rink (Through Jan. 20, 2020)
Symphony Park at Southpark Mall, 4400 Sharon Road. All ages. $12-$17. Skate on the 5,000 square-foot ice rink, enjoy holiday lights and decor, Santa’s pub, a coffee shop, live music, surprise guests and festive activities.
Ice Skating and “Lights” (Through February)
U.S. National Whitewater Center, 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy. Ice skating and “Lights” is included with activity pass or annual pass. Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 sq. ft of ice. Located in the upper pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three distinct programming areas and an on-ice Airstream serving hot and cold beverages. “Lights” is a half-mile walking trail featuring immersive light installations created by Charlotte artist Meredith Connelly.