45 Things to Do to Keep You Warm This Winter
It’s easy to want to hibernate during the chilly months in Charlotte, but these events and activities will keep you and your crew warm enough to get through the winter.
by Amanda Lea Dec 23, 2019
1. Savor new experiences and revisit favorite spots during Queen's Feast: Charlotte Restaurant Week. More than 130 of the best restaurants in 10 counties around the Charlotte area offer three courses at dinner for just $30 or $35 per person (not including tax and gratuity). Pro tip: Tables fill up fast for this bi-annual event, so reservations are recommended.
When: Runs from Jan. 17 through Jan. 26, 2020
2. Celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the 2020 Atrium Health Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Parade in Uptown Charlotte.
When: Runs from Jan. 15 through Jan. 20, 2020
3. Celebrate the history and heritage of NASCAR and welcome a new class of racing legends during the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Week. Special events include exhibit unveils and behind the scenes tours, autograph sessions and Induction celebrations.
When: Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, 2020
4. Get your Valentine’s Day plans on the books and snag your tickets to the Andrea Bocelli Valentine’s Day Tour, which kicks off at the Spectrum Center. The Italian tenor serenades his audience with a soaring selection of love songs that will have you swooning in your seat until the final note. That’s amore!
When: Feb. 7, 2020
5. Strip down for a cause at the annual Cupid’s Undie Run. Less is more in this "brief," mile(ish) fun run, which raises money to find a cure for neurofibromatosis, a genetic tumor disorder that affects 1 in every 3,000 births. The event kicks off at Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Whisky River at the Epicentre and ends with an epic dance party.
When: Feb. 8, 2020
6. See Charlotte community leaders twirl for a cause at Dancing with the Stars of Charlotte at the Knight Theater. Presented by Carolina Breast Friends, local stars, paired with professional dancers, perform ballroom dance numbers that are scored by judges from the competitive dance world while audience members vote for their favorite star by making donations. The coveted mirror ball trophy is given to the top fundraiser, the biggest crowd pleaser and the highest-scoring dancer.
When: Feb. 28, 2020
7. Cheer on your favorite local basketball and hockey teams through the winter months. Both the Charlotte Checkers and the Charlotte Hornets play through April 2020 and have fun giveaways and themed events throughout the season. Check out their schedules for special promotional games.
8. Treat yourself to a spa day at The Spa at Ballantyne or The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Charlotte. Both offer luxurious relaxation areas and treatment packages that will have your dry, winter skin saying “namaste.”
9. Laugh it up at The Comedy Zone. Check out Open Mic and Comedy Battle nights for the ultimate belly laughs.
10. Strike up some fun with a frame or two of bowling in the Queen City. 10 Park Lanes, Queen Park Social, Piedmont Social House and Bowlero (formerly Strike City) are just a few spots where you can grab a drink and try to avoid gutter balls.
11. Give your “work from home” routine a jolt by grabbing a cold brew and a cronut (the divine result of combining a croissant and a doughnut) at Coco and the Director. The stadium seating and oversized throw pillows promise to make that spreadsheet seem a little less daunting. Bonus: Grown-up beverages and cozy loft tables also make this a great date night spot.
12. If you like your coffee with a side of altruism, fill up your cup at Julia’s Cafe and Books. The shop is named for Julia Maulden, one of Charlotte’s pioneering public servants who was instrumental in the founding of Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte. Through the purchase of coffees, pastries and gently used books, customers can contribute to the Charlotte housing crisis. Bonus: The coffee is sourced by local favorite Magnolia Coffee Company and served up by volunteer baristas.
13. Get your game on at Abari Game Bar. Hailed as Charlotte’s original arcade and bar hybrid, this is the place to get your pinball fix or gather your crew around the living room area to play your favorite retro console. Super Mario World? You’re on. Bonus: Check out Ready Player One: Charlotte Game Bars for more ways to play.
14. Get a dose of paws-itivity at Mac Tabby. The eclectic, laid back vibe of the NoDa cat café invites visitors to leave their worries at the door and cuddle up with a dozen cute kittens who are up for adoption. Snacks, coffee and kombucha are available in the (cat-free) café area.
15. Play detective at one of Charlotte’s many escape rooms. With a variety of themes, difficulty levels and group size options, each mission will keep you guessing until the last piece of the puzzle falls into place. Try Timed Out Escape in Ballantyne, Escape Rooms At The Mills in Belmont or Exit Strategy with multiple Charlotte-area locations.
16. Belt out your favorite tune with your karaoke crew. Keep your circle close by reserving one of Seoul Food Meat Company’s four private karaoke rooms. Or try Jeff’s Bucket Shop, a casual, “members-only” dive bar in Montford. Bonus: For more karaoke ideas, check out 8 Charlotte Stages for Karaoke.
17. Climb, swing or scale your way through obstacle courses and rock walls at Kinetic Heights or Inner Peaks. Whether you want to channel your inner “American Ninja Warrior” or take your rock climbing to new heights, these indoor adventures offer a fun challenge for both adults and kids.
18. Get your shop on. Grab a coffee and discover the latest trends at SouthPark Mall.
21. Nail the bullseye with an axe at Axe Club of America. This stress-burning activity takes darts and bowling to the next level. Bonus: The Plaza Midwood location is just a few steps away from Catawba Brewing Company, so you can take the party next door for a round of White Zombies.
23. Tackle DIY projects like creating wooden welcome signs and chunky crocheted blankets at Anders Ruff Workshop.
24. Have your science shaken, not stirred, at Discovery Place’s Science on the Rocks. Every third Friday of the month features themed activities and a chance for adults 21+ to explore the museum after-hours. Unlike field trips from your childhood, Science on the Rocks transforms each floor of the museum with crazy activities, costume contests, bars and music.
25. Unearth hidden treasures at antique and consignment shops. Wander the aisles of Sleepy Poet Antique Mall to discover clusters of extensive collections or find the perfect piece of vintage furniture at Classic Attic.
26. You don’t have to plan a trip to escape the daily grind. Pack your overnight bag for a decadent staycation in the Queen City. Escape reality the moment you walk into the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel, with breathtaking views of Romare Bearden Park.
28. Get lost in a classic novel, have a playdate at story time or meet new friends in a book club. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has multiple locations around Charlotte and surrounding areas and offers more than free Wi-Fi and study nooks.
29. Get in touch with your inner Robinhood at Barefoot Archery. Practice or learn to shoot in one of the eight, 20-yard USA Archery-approved lanes. Bonus: Classes and camps are also available if you really want to sharpen your archery skills.
30. Unlock the wonder of creativity at ImaginOn, a destination with interactive experiences that challenge, inspire and excite young minds. This collaborative effort between the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Children’s Theatre of Charlotte is a 102,000-square-foot facility located in Uptown and visited by more than 300,000 people each year.
31. Play like a kid at Frankie’s Fun Park. Between go-kart tracks, miniature golf courses, laser tag, amusement rides and arcade games, you can easily spend the day at this play-cation paradise.0
32. Get your dose of culture at one of Charlotte’s award-winning museums. Here’s a sampling a few places to explore:
- Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
- Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
- Levine Museum of the New South
- Mint Museum – Uptown
33. Create your own custom creation at Paddywax Candle Bar. Choose a vessel and fragrance before being led through each step of the candle pouring process, which takes about an hour. You can BYOB, but beer and wine are also available for purchase.
35. Shake up your workout routine. Try Work For Your Beer, an online directory that brings together thousands of people for free and cheap yoga classes, run clubs and other fitness events at beer-related venues throughout the city. Or try one of Fit Atelier’s signature classes like “The Beat,” a dance cardio class taught by top instructors.
36. Whip up a culinary creation or sharpen your knife skills with a cooking class at Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen. Their adult classes make cooking at home approachable and fun. Classes are designed to accommodate cooks at every skill level.
39. Give back to the community by signing up to help with one of the many volunteer opportunities in Charlotte. Here are a few ideas:
- Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte provides a safe, affordable and caring "home-away-from-home" for the families of children receiving treatment in Charlotte-area medical facilities.
- Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina focuses on education, advocacy and partnerships to eliminate hunger by the solicitation and distribution of food.
- Crisis Assistance Ministry supports people in financial crisis, helping them move toward self-sufficiency.
- Humane Society of Charlotte offers volunteer opportunities such as shelter care, administrative support and special events and fundraisers.
40. Watch dueling pianists battle it out at Howl at the Moon. You’ll be singing along with energetic and engaging performances at this live music bar in Charlotte’s Epicentre. Pro tip: The bar is closed Sunday through Tuesday for special events. Drink specials and theme nights occur Wednesday through Saturday.
41. Learn something new at a Skillpop class. From hand lettering and hip hop to meditation and marketing, these pop-up classes taught by local pros present bite-sized info to help you follow your passion or learn something new.
42. Take a dive under the sea at Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium. See all the fantastic creatures that dwell beneath the waves. If you’re feeling brave, you can touch the sea stars, hermit crabs and urchins in the Interactive Touchpool.
43. Channel your inner Dorothy Hamill at the annual Holiday on Ice at the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza. Get your picture taken with the giant polar bear, under the tree or in the Ceremonial Garden decorated with thousands of glimmering holiday lights. Grab a hot chocolate at the concession stand to keep you warm and toasty.
When: Runs Nov. 2020 through Jan 2021
44. Take a cruise through Speedway Christmas at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The 10th edition of Charlotte’s drive-through light show features more than 4 million lights over a 3.75-mile course. Bonus: Get the full effect by tuning into 101.3 FM to fill your car with Christmas music as you take in illuminated holiday displays.
When: Runs Nov. 2020 - Jan 2021
45. Raise your glass to the new year with a variety of Queen City events. Join the Charlotte Symphony for dessert, champagne and dancing at the New Year’s Eve Celebration at Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Fireworks will set 2020 ablaze when the clock strikes midnight at Carowinds’ WinterFest New Year's Eve celebration. Or flaunt your finest at the Gorgeous NYE 2020 @ The Ritz.
When: Dec. 31, 2020