6 Kid-Friendly NYE Events and Activities in Charlotte

Say buh-bye to 2020 and welcome 2021 with the whole crew

The clock is ticking towards the ultimate yearly countdown – New Year’s Eve. Like everything else this year, the celebration to send out 2020 and welcome 2021 will look different, but there are still lots of ways to enjoy the last day of the year and have a whole lot of fun.

From lights you can drive or walk through, to an elegant afternoon tea, an overnight celebration, or one that welcomes the New Year at noon – there is something all ages are sure to love. Many activities have limited capacity and advance tickets and reservations are required. Most of the events are currently available through the first of the year, so you can compile an epic list of things to do to stay busy during the holiday break. Social distance requirements apply.

Send out the old and welcome the new in style this year.

Get outdoors at the U.S. National Whitewater Center

Spend the last day of 2020 zipping through the ice trail or free skate on 17,000 sq. ft of rink at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Advance tickets are required and capacity is limited. Skating is open till 10 p.m. and free for pass holders or you can purchase a single activity pass for $20 that includes skates (don’t forget your socks!). If you prefer the feel of solid ground under your feet, take a walk in the woods through a magical light display designed by local artist Meredith Connelly. Lights power down at 10 p.m. and the experience is free, not including the $6 per vehicle parking fee. 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy, Charlotte, NC 28214

Ice Skating

Pack the car for a Speedway Christmas

Light up your New Year’s Eve at Speedway Christmas in Concord. With more than 4 million lights of every shape, size and color on a 3.75-mile course – this is the place to be NYE. Tune into 101.3 FM as you travel around the track and get into the groove with a synchronized light show to music from 6-10 p.m. rain or shine. Please note the main entrance and concession sales close nightly at 10 p.m. Cars are $20 (10 people max), vans $40 (36 people max) and busses $140 (57 people max).  Concord Pkwy S, Concord, NC 28027

Be charmed at Holidays at the Garden

Bundle up and head to Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden and be charmed by topiary displays, rolling lights, blossoming cherry trees, roaring fires and more. Indulge your craving for festive treats with food trucks, roasted marshmallows and a cold or warm beverage. Advance tickets are available for 5 p.m., 6:30 and 8 p.m. Tickets will sell out once the garden reaches capacity. Ticket prices are Adult: $14.95; Senior (60+): $12.95; Child 2-12: $7.95; children under 2 are free. 6500 S New Hope Rd, Belmont, NC 28012


Photo credit (including cover image): Craig McCausland

Celebrate early at New Years At Noon – Sky Zone (Northlake)

If your brood has some energy to burn or if you prefer your New Year’s Eve celebration to wrap up well before the clock strikes midnight, head to Sky Zone at Northlake and jump into 2021 starting at 11 a.m.  Tickets are $25 per person and include games, prizes, a balloon drop and more. Wear out the kids and enjoy a restful end to 2020. 7325 Smith Corners Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28269

Sky Zone

Enjoy afternoon tea at The Ballantyne Hotel

Looking for something special to close out a tough year? Make reservations for afternoon tea at the Ballantyne Hotel from 1-4 p.m. Tickets are $60 for adults (and includes a glass of champagne) and $25 for children 5-12. Warm up and enjoy time together with a variety of seasonal loose leaf tea blends and a selection of savory tea sandwiches, traditional confectioneries, holiday treats and live entertainment. Call  704-248-4100 to reserve your spot. 10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy, Charlotte, NC 28277


Countdown to fun at Great Wolf Lodge

If you can’t get out of town for New Year’s Eve, do the next best thing and head to the Great Wolf Lodge. Hang out in the comfort of your suite and as the clock nears midnight, enjoy a resort-wide broadcast of a very special Great Wolf Lodge countdown celebration. Filled with music, dancing, character appearances and fun interactive elements, the in-room celebration will kick-off at 11:55 pm. Each guest suite will include complimentary 2021-branded hats, beads, crowns and other party favors to help you get into the New Year spirit. 10175 Weddington Rd, Concord, NC 28027

Great Wolfe Lodge

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2021!