The NC Winter Bucket List: 10 Essential Holiday Experiences You Can’t Miss Near Charlotte

Jessica Ramos Jessica Ramos

The NC Winter Bucket List: 10 Essential Holiday Experiences You Can’t Miss Near Charlotte
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, the holidays are just around the corner, literally, and we couldn’t be more excited. A lot of holiday light shows, festivities, and performances are starting up this weekend and the next, so we created this awesome guide to all things Charlotte (or near by) that you’ll want to knock off your bucket list this season. Enjoy and happy holidays!

1. Choose from Nascar Hall of Fame-themed toys from a variety of Christmas Trees, for free!

Even if the roller rink at the Nascar Hall of Fame is closed this year, you can still enjoy all the holiday fun at ‘Holidays at the Hall.’ This event combines all things festive (like Santa greetings and a 32-foot Christmas tree with thousands of LED lights) and NASCAR, like photos with Lighting McQueen. There will also be the official “Undeck the Hall” event on December 28th-29th from 10am to 4pm where guests can come and choose gifts off the trees from the Nascar Gift Shop, which will be free with paid admission to the museum. There will also be a new activity where you can design and build your own race car!

2. Hitch a ride on the magical Polar Express

The perfect weekend getaway from Charlotte, head out 3 hours to Bryson City, where you’ll find the station ready to take you on a magical journey. All aboard the Polar Express as it heads through the Great Smokey Mountains. On this journey, guests will be able to enjoy warm treats, hot cocoa, cookies, and a surprise visit from Santa. Once the train reaches the North Pole, Santa will head on board for photo opps and fun.

3. Get started on your Christmas shopping at the Vintage Charlotte Market

The Vintage Charlotte Market is back, and it’s the perfect place to get some early Christmas shopping done. With over 60+ handmade and vintage vendors, you’ll be able to find clothing, artwork, home goods, and so much more. If you get a little tired, get your caffeine fix from Hex Coffee, or fill your tummy with Bleu Barn or My Sausage Buddy food trucks outside the convention center.

Where: 820 Hamilton St.

4. Sip on some Glühwein at this German Chrismas Market

The Weihnachtsmarkt Weekend is back at the Olde Meckleburg Brewery this year with their traditional German market! Sip on some Glühwein, which is a warm, spiced wine or sip from some of OMB’s steins filled with delicious and authentic German brews. The first weekend takes place November 26th, 27th, and 28th and the second weekend takes place December 3rd, 4th, and 5th.

5. Sip on tropical tiki drinks at this Christmas-themed pop up

The Royal Tot, the brightly-colored tiki cocktail bar that hit Charlotte this summer, is getting a festive re-make just in time for the holidays. They had temporarily set up shot at Refuge at Rumway Cove, but now, they’ll be settling into their permanent spot and collaborating with Sippin’ Santa. The fully-opened, Royal Tot, will be begin on November 22nd, and Sippin’ Santa will be hosted here throughout the rest of the 2021 year, so come and enjoy some cute tiki, holiday drinks.

6. Take the family or friends to see of these dazzling light shows

Some of North Carolina’s best venues are getting bedazzled for the holidays in spectacular, immersive art installations. Enter these winter wonderlands, be dazzled by millions of twinkling lights, and enjoy the Christmas spirit in style. Some you may have experienced before, some are brand new, and some are bigger and better than ever.

  • Denton Farm Park
  • Airlie Gardens
  • Chetola Resort

7. Enjoy a cozy outdoor patio igloo, chateau, or greenhouse

There will be a lot of fun markets and dining spots to enjoy this year at some of Charlotte’s nicest outdoor venues. Metropolitan and Camp North End are two such spots that will host things like the outdoor Mistletoe Market on the first three Saturdays in December. The GoodYear House will also be doing their lovely igloo outdoor dining this year, so keep an eye out for more lovely patios.

8. Take a hike to America’s most photographed waterfall

photo by eric barton via google

Voted America’s most photographed waterfall is Looking Glass Falls, which is also one of the most beautiful wintry waterfalls because of the snowy landscape that surrounds it. During the cold months, the waterfall even freezes over which can create a stunning backdrop for photos or for nature photographers.

9. Pay a visit to Christmasville USA

McAdenville also known as Christmas Town USA is the perfect holiday getaway here in North Carolina. Each year it has an amazing Christmas light show that usually sees a ton of tourists, a huge Christmas Tree lighting that takes place on December 1st, and tons of red and green lights decorating the trees, street posts, and houses.

10. Go hunting for the perfect Christmas Tree

There are a ton of Christmas tree farms that you can scour for the absolute perfect tree. From Bear Valley Farm in Glenville to the Panoramic View Tree Farm in Boone. Make sure to bring the whole family along to select that perfect living room centerpiece this Christmas season and enjoy other activities like hayrides, hot cocoa sipping, and petting zoos.

  • Spillman’s Christmas Tree Farm
  • Fir Heaven Sake Christmas Tree Farm
  • Smoky Mountains Christmas Tree Farm
  • C & J Christmas Trees


[featured image via shutterstock]


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