Things to Do

45 Things to Do to Keep You Warm This Winter

As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, it can be tempting to want to hibernate till spring. But from ice skating and holiday markets to cooking classes and concerts, there’s plenty to do in the Queen City to keep you and your crew from going stir-crazy this winter.

Camp North End

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Photo courtesy of Camp North End

1. Bundle up near the fire or under one of their heaters when you spend the day at Camp North End. Plus enjoy their 14 food and drink spots, 12 shops and art collectives, and 50+ murals, all connected by 76 acres of outdoor space to explore. Check out our guide to this winter-friendly outdoor artistic hub so you can take advantage of all this neighborhood has to offer.

2. Make plans to kick off the New Year with these Queen City festivities:

  • For a family-friendly NYE celebration, check out New Year's Eve at WinterFest at Carowinds. Live music, delicious treats and early-evening countdowns are the perfect backdrop for welcoming the New Year. If you can hang until midnight, enjoy the amazing fireworks display at midnight. When: Dec. 31 from 5 p.m.-12:30 a.m.

  • Uptown Charlotte comes alive at the CLT NYE Presented by Ally at Tryon Street at Levine Avenue of the Arts. Enjoy a DJ, live music, the lighting of the Queen City crown and a huge CLT NYE fireworks display blasting off at midnight. When: Dec. 31 at 8 p.m.

  • Reserve your spot for the New Year’s Punchin’ Eve at The Suffolk Punch. Tickets include a drink package, a DJ experience, photo booths, sparklers, party hats, a midnight champagne toast and more. When: Dec. 31 from 10 p.m.-2 a.m.

3. Lose yourself in 300,000 cubic feet of flawless projections animating Vincent van Gogh’s oeuvre at the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit at Camp North End. When: Through Jan. 2

4. Enjoy live performances and discussions at Charlie Parker: Reverberations at the Harvey B. Gantt Center of African-American Arts + Culture presented in partnership with the UNC Charlotte Department of Music. This multifaceted event honors legendary musician and innovator Charlie “Bird” Parker as part of UNC Charlotte's Charlie Parker 101 project. When: Jan. 13 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

5. Celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through the virtual 2022 Atrium Health Charlotte-Mecklenburg Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday Celebration. During this year’s celebration, highlights from past parades will be featured on WBTV along with programming that showcases how members of our community are reflecting on and honoring Dr. King’s legacy. When: Jan. 17, 2022
NASCAR Hall of Fame 2020 Induction Ceremony - Photography from Getty

6. Celebrate NASCAR legends who are being honored at the Class of 2021 Induction Ceremony at NASCAR Hall of Fame. (Dale Earnhardt Jr., Red Farmer and Mike Stefanik make up the Hall of Fame’s 12th class and first with three members.) When: Jan. 20-22

7. Tackle a cross-country loop at the Charlotte Running Club Winter Classic 8K at McAlpine Creek Park. When: Jan. 22, 2022 at 11 a.m.

8. Enjoy a live performance of the deliciously hysterical children's bestseller “Dragons Love Tacos” at Children's Theater of Charlotte. The story comes to life in a big way as the taco party of all taco parties literally brings down the house. When: Feb. 11-March 6, 2022

9. Spend a day ice skating at the U.S. National Whitewater Center (through Feb. 15). The 24,000-square-foot ice skating surface (including a brand new skating trail in the Upper Pond) is the perfect place to practice your twists and twirls. Or sign up for one of the USNWC’s racing events, like the New Years Eve Trail Race (Dec. 31), the Frigid Trail Race and Plunge (Feb. 5), or the Ride and Seek MTB Adventure Race (Feb. 26).

10. Mark your calendar for the 49th Annual Mid-Atlantic Boat Show at the Charlotte Convention Center. The largest boat show in the Carolinas, you can cruise through more than 35 marine dealers from across the region. When: Feb. 10-13

Bank of America Stadium - Photo courtesy of Charlotte FC

11. Don’t miss a historic milestone in Queen City sports with Charlotte FC’s inaugural home match against LA Galaxy at Bank of America Stadium. When: March 5 at 8 p.m.

12. For lovers of all things bizarre and unusual, visit the Oddities and Curiosities Expo at the Charlotte Convention Center. When: Feb. 26 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

13. Attend the full tournament or catch a few games of The 2022 Hercules Tires Big South Men's and Women's Basketball Championships at Bojangles Coliseum. When: March 1-6

14. Celebrate Women’s History Month with tickets to Jazz Room Presents Women in Jazz at Stage Door Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. The show features an all-female congregation of world-class instrumentalists. When: March 17-19

15. Don’t miss the big shows coming to The BOPlex, Spectrum Center, Blumenthal Performing Arts, and other local venues. The Isley Brothers (at the Bojangles Coliseum Dec. 23), Billie Eilish (at the Spectrum Center Feb. 6), Dancing with the Stars 2022 Tour (at Ovens Auditorium Feb. 23), and Oliver Tree (at The Fillmore March 18) are just a few of the top acts coming to the Queen City. Check out our winter concert guide for a full roundup.

#CharlottesGotALot

16. RSVP to one of the fabulous drag brunches at The Artisan's Palate or attend one of the epic “day parties” at Petra's every other Sunday.

17. Plan a girls night out or a birthday bash and book a party at Lip N' Pour to create your own custom lip and skin products. BYO drinks and snacks and book Rose Chauffeured Transportation to make transportation a breeze.

18. Connect with the LGBTQ+ community through a plethora of entertainment and dining options. Enjoy some karaoke at the video lounge bar, Argon. Hit up the Saturday night dance parties at The Bar 316 (recipient of Charlotte Magazine’s 2021 Best of the Best neighborhood bar award). Or order up some chic’n drumsticks at Veltree, Charlotte’s first Black-women-owned vegan soul food cafe. (The name is a blend of Velvet Kelty-Jacobs and her wife, Tree Kelty-Jacobs.)

19. Warm up with a trip to the indoor rainforest at Discovery Place Science. (While you’re there, visit the current exhibit Apollo: When We Went to the Moon on display until Jan. 2.)

20. Work your way through the ultimate dining bucket list. Our comprehensive list of 101 must-try Charlotte restaurants will inspire you to try a new restaurant, a new cuisine or even discover a new neighborhood.

Charlotte Hornets - Photography by Cody Hughes

21. Cheer on your favorite local basketball and hockey teams through the winter months. Both the Charlotte Checkers and the Charlotte Hornets play through April 2022 and have fun giveaways and themed events throughout the season. Check out their schedules for special promotional games.

22. Taste your way through some of Charlotte’s hottest doughnut shops. Try OMG Donuts in MoRa, MJ Donuts in Pineville, Duck Donuts in Dilworth, Suárez Bakery in Park Road Shopping Center or Pepperbox Doughnuts in NoDa or South End.

23. 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.

24. Lend a paw and volunteer to help with organizations like Greater Charlotte SPCA and Humane Society of Charlotte, or offer to foster a pet in need. If you’re ready to adopt, you can find your new best friend and apply to give them a fur-ever home.

25. 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, District 57 near Wesley Heights, or Exit Strategy with multiple Charlotte area locations.

26. 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.”

27. Hang out with your canine companion at Skiptown. Weekly specials like Muddy Monday and Wine Down Wednesday give you and your pup plenty of reasons to celebrate.

28. Climb, swing or scale your way through obstacle courses and rock walls at Inner Peaks. Whether you want to channel your inner “American Ninja Warrior” or take your rock climbing to new heights, this indoor adventure offers a fun challenge for both adults and kids.

29. Get your shop on. Discover the latest trends at SouthPark Mall. Snag a deal at Charlotte Premium Outlets. Explore one of the quaint boutiques in Ballantyne Village. Or stop by WelcomeCLT for the perfect Charlotte swag.

30. Nail the bullseye with an axe at BATL Charlotte (Axe Club of America). This stress-burning activity takes darts and bowling to the next level. Bonus: The LoSo location is just a few steps away from Brewers at 4001 Yancey, so you can take the party across the street.

Queen Park Social - Photography by Kate Magee

31. Strike up some fun with a frame or two of bowling in the Queen City. Queen Park Social, 10 Park Lanes, Piedmont Social House, Pins Mechanical, and Bowlero (formerly Strike City) are just a few spots where you can grab a drink and try to avoid gutter balls.

32. Get crafty with paint and sip classes or DIY workshops. City Art Room and Wine & Design are two to check out if you want to wield a paintbrush while sipping on some chardonnay.

33. Tackle DIY projects like creating wooden welcome signs and cozy crocheted blankets at Anders Ruff Workshop. You can even pick up DIY to-go kits and get crafty from your own home.

34. Unearth hidden treasures at Sleepy Poet Antique Mall’s new location on South Blvd. Or find the perfect piece of vintage furniture at Classic Attic. (For more quirky collectables, check out the antique shopping guide.)

35. Work on your golf game at Topgolf. When it's too cold to hit the links, cozy up in one of Topgolf's heated, climate-controlled bays. You can practice your swing while sipping on cocktails and snacking on shareable plates.

Merchant & Trade at the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel - Photography by Jamey Price

36. Pack your overnight bag for a staycation at one of Charlotte’s decadent hotels. Escape reality the moment you walk into the Grand Bohemian Hotel Charlotte or Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel in Uptown Charlotte. Both offer breathtaking views of the city.

37. Give your WFH routine a jolt with a cappuccino 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 snug loft tables also make this a great date night spot.

38. 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 much more than free Wi-Fi and study nooks.

39. 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.

40. Brunch with friends at Amélie’s French Bakery & Café and then meander your way through Park Road Shopping Center.

The Mint Museum - Photography by Golden Handshake

41. Get your dose of culture at one of Charlotte’s award-winning museums. Here’s a sampling of a few places to explore:

42. 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 that is visited by more than 300,000 people each year.

43. Pair your passion for plants and prosecco at PlantHouse in Dilworth. Roam the aisles to pick out the perfect house plant, or build your own terrarium at one of the workshops.

44. 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.

45. Sip, snack and shop at The Market at 7th St. A variety of vendors make this marketplace an easy one-stop shop. Try the “Grandma Pie” at Geno D’s Pizza, a caramel latte at Not Just Coffee, or fried dumplings at Momo Station Asian Fusion. Peruse CLT Find for unique local gifts and Good Earth Essentials for “zero waste, zero compromise” lifestyle and beauty products.