Inspiration and Adventure Await Families in Coastal Brunswick County

Introduce your inner child to your family at the beach


Published:

The view from the top of Oak Island Lighthouse.

Photo by Micki Bare

Embraced by warm ocean breezes and breathing in the heavy salt air, I curl my toes in the damp sand and magically shed a year’s worth of deadlines, appointments, bills and other adult responsibilities. Then, when the clothes are unpacked and the guidebooks reviewed, I find the child in me and introduce her to my boys. The beach has a similar effect on many parents, which is why it is so often a top family vacation pick. From central NC, the coast’s Brunswick County offers conveniently located, family-friendly venues sans the overly commercialized congestion of the bigger tourist spots up and down the Atlantic Seaboard.

Kindred Spirit Mailbox

What is so special about a mailbox? When it is miles from a postal route and people willingly walk — or ride a bicycle — a very long way along the beach just to reach it, you can bet there is good reason. It’s been nearly 40 years since a local couple erected the Kindred Spirit mailbox on Bird Island. Since then, visitors have filled hundreds of journals with their innermost thoughts and wishes, hopes and dreams.

Be sure to bring a snack and plenty of water as you make your way down Sunset Beach toward the Bird Island Sanctuary. I’d recommend planning a picnic for the outing. As you journey toward the mailbox, you’ll first spy an American flag waving proudly above it. When you arrive, you’ll notice the bench with weatherworn carvings left behind by past visitors. And as picturesque and serene as the area is upon arrival, it is what’s inside the Kindred Spirit mailbox that will amaze and overwhelm you.

At any given time, there are three or four spiral notebook journals and a handful of pens inside. Visitors are encouraged to read the journals as well as write their own, personal entries. Take the time as a family to read aloud some of the entries and then pass out the journals and pens and let everyone add their own inspired thoughts. Let the little ones in the family dictate their contributions.

Whether short and simple or pages long and detailed, every journal entry connects all visitors — from all corners of the world — in a unique way, as they are all kindred spirits who, for a few moments in the same beautiful place, shared glimpses into their souls.

And while you journey to and from this magical oasis, enjoy bird watching — don’t forget the binoculars — and, later in the season, be on the lookout for turtle nests. Just be sure to leave the nests and the majestic sand dunes undisturbed.

Adventure

The slow pace of a beach picnic adventure can be relaxing. But some families demand a little more excitement on their once-a-year getaway. Shallotte River Swamp Park Adventure, a new addition to the offerings in Brunswick County, is for thrill-seeking families. With a focus on ecological education, the park offers a zip line tour, aerial adventure park and swamp boat tours.

Each activity provides visitors views of the beautiful trees, water and animals that make up the swamp ecosystem. Your family could encounter deer, turkeys, raccoons, owls and wild boar amongst the mighty 100-year-old cypress trees and reflective, black, glassy swamp waters.

Since I had never tried a zip line before, I opted to breathe deeply and make my kids proud by sailing through the air between ten stations spanning a mile and a quarter of cable. The butterflies in my stomach became more aggressive with every step we climbed toward the first landing. I was so worried about getting stuck in the middle of the cable and dangling helplessly over the swamp, I came in a little fast on my practice run. Not only do you practice before heading out on the actual tour, the first stop for every group is an instructional and safety class.

My initial fears gave way to sheer excitement by the time I was standing on the third platform. Not only was I proud for not nearly knocking over one of our guides, I realized we were always tethered to cables with our “Y” clips. Flying through the swamps, above and through the trees, the years melted away, and the kid in me kept screaming for more.

Lighthouses

The views from the zip line were extraordinary, so it was time to top the experience. What would a North Carolina beach trip be without a visit to a lighthouse? Brunswick County is home to both Old Baldy and the Oak Island Lighthouse, making it a great place to obtain your NC Lighthouse passport and begin your pilgrimage up the coast to visit them all.

When my boys were little, Oak Island Lighthouse was still off limits to the public. I took a picture of them near the old sign on the public side of the fence that kept visitors away from the semi-retired coast guard facility. Last year, I had the opportunity to climb to the top. Visitors are welcome now, but you may want to give some thought to which family members actually make the trek.

Since the Coast Guard designed it for efficiency, you must climb a series of metal ladders joined by metal grate landings to get to the top. Once there, the views will take your breath away; but the old rails on the lookout deck won’t pass any playground safety inspections. You might want to leave the youngest family members — along with anyone afraid of heights or who suffers from bouts of vertigo — at the base.

After my zip-line adventure, I was able to power through the sweaty palms and a resurgence of angry butterflies to climb to the top. As I kept my back glued to the wall and took in every angle of a coastal view that will be painted in my memory forever, I felt strongly that “Y” clips could make great addition to this attraction.

So Much More

Brunswick County is also home to beaches such as Sunset, Ocean Isle, Holden, Caswell and Oak Island, which offer kayaking, fishing and all your typical coastal activities. Bald Head Island, home of Old Baldy Lighthouse, can be seen from Southport, which for decades has served as a backdrop for movies, such as “Crimes of the Heart” (1987), “I Know What You Did Last Summer” (1997) and “Safe Haven” (2013). Historical landmarks and museums abound. And the food, from freshly caught seafood to traditional Southern fare offered at restaurants such as The Provision Company in Holden Beach and Ports of Call Bistro in Southport — two of my personal favorites — will have you planning out your next vacation before you leave because there will be something else on the menu you’ll want to try when you return.

For more information on all that Brunswick County has to offer, visit ncbrunswick.com.

 

Micki Bare is the associate editor for Piedmont Parent. She draws from her early childhood career, parenting and life experiences to feed her passion for writing. In addition to working for Piedmont Parent, she is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books, writes a weekly newspaper column and maintains a blog. She lives in Asheboro with her husband, sons, mother and a handful of pets.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

At Home in Hendersonville

Often overshadowed by Asheville, its showier neighbor to the north, this charming western North Carolina town is a family destination in its own right.

Helping Your Child Sleep Well on Vacation

How to make the trip more enjoyable for everyone.

Where to Ski, Snowboard and Tube Near North Carolina

Warm up this winter on a family skiing, snowboarding or snowtubing trip just a short drive away.
Edit Module

Newsletter Sign-Up

Stay connected to what's going on for kids and families in the Charlotte area by signing up for our FREE e-newsletters!

Subscribe

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

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
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

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
View map »


Telephone: 803-547-4575
Website »

More information

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
View map »


Website »

More information

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


Website »

More information

​Bring your pets and family to SouthPark for photos.

Cost: Photo packages start at $24.99.

Where:
SouthPark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
Charlotte, NC
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

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

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

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
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

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
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

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
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

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
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
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

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
View map »


Telephone: 704-844-0449
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

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: $7-$35

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

For over a decade, families have creatively celebrated the holiday season with Community School of the Arts’ Gingerbread House Workshops. This annual event has turned into a beloved family...

Cost: Free

Where:
Spirit Square
345 N. College St
, 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

The annual Carmel Presbyterian Drive-Thru Christmas is a dramatic representation of the major events related to the birth of Jesus Christ. Beginning with the biblical account of the prophecy of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carmel Presbyterian Church
2048 Carmel Road
Charlotte, NC  28226
View map »


Telephone: 704-366-5114
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: $7-$35

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

For over a decade, families have creatively celebrated the holiday season with Community School of the Arts’ Gingerbread House Workshops. This annual event has turned into a beloved family...

Cost: Free

Where:
Spirit Square
345 N. College St
, 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 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

The annual Carmel Presbyterian Drive-Thru Christmas is a dramatic representation of the major events related to the birth of Jesus Christ. Beginning with the biblical account of the prophecy of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carmel Presbyterian Church
2048 Carmel Road
Charlotte, NC  28226
View map »


Telephone: 704-366-5114
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: $7-$35

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

For over a decade, families have creatively celebrated the holiday season with Community School of the Arts’ Gingerbread House Workshops. This annual event has turned into a beloved family...

Cost: Free

Where:
Spirit Square
345 N. College St
, 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

Come join toddler time at Big Air this week. Santa will be a special guest and there will be free milk and cookies! 

Cost: $8

Where:
Big Air Trampoline Park
2408 Sardis Road North
, NC
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: $7-$35

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

For over a decade, families have creatively celebrated the holiday season with Community School of the Arts’ Gingerbread House Workshops. This annual event has turned into a beloved family...

Cost: Free

Where:
Spirit Square
345 N. College St
, 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

Come join toddler time at Big Air this week. Santa will be a special guest and there will be free milk and cookies! 

Cost: $8

Where:
Big Air Trampoline Park
2408 Sardis Road North
, NC
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: $7-$35

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

For over a decade, families have creatively celebrated the holiday season with Community School of the Arts’ Gingerbread House Workshops. This annual event has turned into a beloved family...

Cost: Free

Where:
Spirit Square
345 N. College St
, 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: $7-$35

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

For over a decade, families have creatively celebrated the holiday season with Community School of the Arts’ Gingerbread House Workshops. This annual event has turned into a beloved family...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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 to celebrate the holiday season with a fun craft for all ages and artistic skill levels! Whether your style is more natural or totally glitz, you can make an ornament that will fit right in...

Cost: $5

Where:
President James K. Polk State Historic Site
12031 Lancaster Highway
Pineville, NC  28134
View map »

More information

Please join Franchise Owners Yaa and Bill McConnell for a grand opening event to celebrate the new Primrose School of South Charlotte. Local families and children are invited to attend the grand...

Cost: Free

Where:
Primrose School of South Charlotte
15933 Lancaster Highway
Charlotte, NC  28277
View map »


Telephone: 704-426-3652
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: $7-$35

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

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
View map »


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

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
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-6261
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

For over a decade, families have creatively celebrated the holiday season with Community School of the Arts’ Gingerbread House Workshops. This annual event has turned into a beloved family...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Directories

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

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.
Edit ModuleShow Tags