6 Charlotte Activities to Keep Kids Busy Over Holiday Break

Festive events and activities to entertain the kids when school is out
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Winter break begins next week. If you’re looking for ideas to combat the boredom or relieve some cabin fever, keep reading. We’ve got six local spots to entertain your kids—and out-of-town guests—over the holiday break.


Date: Saturday, December 18
Time: 2 p.m.-5 p.m.
Location: The Metropolitan, 1111 Metropolitan Ave.
Cost: Free
Details: Pack up the crew and head to Whoville for a meet and greet with the Grinch. Play the day away with a hot cocoa bar, cookies, holiday music, photo-ops, a bounce house, and more. Sycamore Brewing will also be onsite serving up adult beverages.
Pro Tip: The Metropolitan is filled with restaurants and boutiques, so you can finish that holiday list and tire out the littlest elves all in one afternoon.

Lake Norman Christmas Boat Parade

Date: Saturday, December 18
Time: 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m.
Location: The parade starts at Blythe Landing Park (15901 NC 73 Hwy., Huntersville) then heads to Ramsey Creek Park (18441 Nantz Rd., Cornelius). Parks will stay open 30 minutes after the parade has passed each location.
Cost: Free
Details: Oooh and aaah as decorated boats light up the evening in a nautical Christmas parade.
Pro Tip: Pack a picnic dinner or get takeout from a nearby restaurant and arrive early for a prime viewing spot on the shore.

Gingerbread Lane at the Ballantyne Hotel

Date: Daily through December 26
Time: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Location: The Carolina Room at The Ballantyne Hotel, 10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
Cost: Free. Vote for your favorite entry for a minimum donation of a $1 benefitting Atrium Health Levine Children’s Hospital.
Details: The holidays aren’t complete without a visit to Gingerbread Lane at the beautiful Ballantyne Hotel. Get inspired by these sweet creations then pick a winner.
Pro Tip: Stay for Holiday Tea in the lobby, offered Thursdays through Sundays from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. in December including Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.  The cost is $45 for adults or $60 with a glass of sparkling wine, and $25 for children under 12 (plus tax and gratuity).

Undeck the Hall

Date: December 28-29
Time: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Location: Nascar Hall of Fame, 400 E. MLK Jr. Blvd.
Cost: Free for members or with paid admission.
Details: Come “undeck” the halls and take home gifts from trees decorated with NASCAR-themed items including autographed souvenirs, die-cast cars, apparel, fan gear, and more. NASCAR Hall of Fame members may select an additional item.
Pro Tip: Make a whole day of it and let the kids design and build a new race car, work out like a pit crew member, and enjoy some friendly competition with hands-on activities throughout the Hall.

Cirque De Noel

Date: December 29 and 30
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, 130 N. Tryon St.
Cost: Starting at $44. Proof of vaccination or negative COVID test is required for entry.
Details: This live show features music from the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, awe-inspiring acrobatics, and popular tunes of the season.
Pro Tip: Make the evening extra special with a visit to one of uptown’s favorite restaurants. Check this list of partners for discounts and promotions.

Festival of Trees in Belmont, NC

Date: Daily through January 3
Time: 6:30 p.m.-Midnight
Location: 24 South Main St., Belmont
Cost: Free
Details: Walk through a magical wonderland of trees decorated by local schools and non-profit organizations in downtown Belmont’s Stowe Park. Don’t forget your holiday outfit for a prime photo op.
Pro Tip: Allow plenty of time to explore local boutique shops where you can find one-of-a-kind gifts for every person on your list.


Ice Skating at the U.S. National Whitewater Center

Date: Through mid-February
Time: Noon-10 p.m. Check the daily activity calendar before you go.
Location: U.S. Whitewater Center, 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
Cost: Purchase a Single Activity Pass ($25 each) or get in free with an All-Access Pass. Skates are included with purchase but bring your own socks. Parking is $6 per car.
Details: Skate the day or night away on more than 24,000 square feet of ice. Show off your best moves on four separate skate areas including two ice trails and two free skate zones. When you need a break, head to the converted on-ice Airstream serving hot and cold beverages and fresh brews.
Pro Tip: Catch up over lunch or dinner at River’s Edge, then take a walk around the center.