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.
by Jamie Killian Dec 14, 2022
Camp North End
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1. Bundle up near the fire or under heaters as you spend the day at Camp North End. Enjoy 12 food and drink spots, 11 shops and art collectives, and 50+ murals, all connected by 76 acres of cozy outdoor space to explore. Check out the guide to this winter-friendly outdoor artistic hub to take advantage of all this destination has to offer.
2. Ring in 2023 in style – and with a song at the Avett Brothers New Year’s Eve concert at Bojangles Coliseum featuring Valient Thorr. If getting fancy is your thing, check out the Great Gatsby themed party happening at Hilton Charlotte Uptown. Head to Trolley Barn Fermentory & Food Hall for a New Year’s Eve party complete with a Winter Wonderland theme and signature cocktails along with the traditional champagne toast. Skipping the booze? Hop on the Funny Bus Comedy City Tour’s Sober New Year’s Eve Tour.
3. Let a cocktail keep you cozy at Optimist Hall’s Billy Sunday. Choose from classic cocktails or winter-themed drinks. When hunger strikes grab Asian street fare at Bao and Broth or Indian street food at Botiwalla.
4. Learn a little bit more about those delicious cocktails at Charlotte History Museum’s Twelfth Night: Spirits of the Season on January 7. There will be tastings from local distillers and a lecture on the history of moonshiners. Stop back in the museum Feb. 23-25 for the African American Heritage Festival.
5. Get your dose of culture at one of Charlotte’s museums with a breadth of exhibits. Find the “Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds” exhibit at Mint Museum Uptown Feb. 11-May 21, “Pop to Now: Warhol and his Legacy” at Bechtler Museum of Modern Art through Jan. 12, “Men of Change” through March 12 at Levine Museum of the New South, Reginald Sylvester II’s works in “Painter’s Refuge: A Way of Life” at Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture through Jan. 16 and the newest addition to the Charlotte museum community, Museum of Illusions with mind-bending installations.
6. Celebrate National Bagel Day on January 15 with Poppy’s Bagels in South End for delicious kettle-boiled bagels. If you’re looking for a true New York style bagel, try Poppyseeds Bagels in Matthews.
7. Show your smarts with some trivia. Gather a group of friends and head to NoDa Brewing’s North End Taproom for music trivia the second and fourth Thursday of each month. In the Mill District, Rhino Market has trivia every Thursday, and Free Range Brewing hosts a trivia and game night bi-weekly on Tuesday nights. Don’t forget to grab a Brew Badge before heading in.
8. Explore the tropics without leaving the Queen City with a trip to SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord as you take a stroll through North Carolina’s only ocean tunnel.
9. Burn rubber at Victory Lane Indoor Karting. Adding to the fun of go karts is bowling, ax-throwing, an escape room and an on-site grill.
10. Grab some friends for a DIY night out. Bring your own wine, beer and snacks as you pour candles at Paddywax Candle Bar. Head to Atherton Mill’s The Cocktailery for DIY cocktail classes or to Lip N Pour to create unique lip colors (BYO drinks and snacks and book Rose Chauffeured Transportation to make transportation a breeze).
11. Get your giggle on at The Comedy Zone in AvidXchange Music Factory. Find your favorite comedians from an exciting line-up of up-and-coming, as well established acts ready to make you laugh this winter season. Grab dinner at Bocao Sushi beforehand and hit Small Bar for beers after the show.
12. Spend a night at the theater with Opera Carolina, for George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (Jan. 22, 24, 26 and 28), Innovative Works (Feb. 3-25) with Charlotte Ballet or at Blumenthal Performing Arts with Les Misérables (Jan. 31-Feb. 5) and Come From Away (March 7-12) taking the stage this winter. Before your show of choice, explore the Midtown and Elizabeth neighborhoods with drinks at Devil’s Logic Brewery or dinner at The Fig Tree.
13. Unlock the wonder of creativity at ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center, a destination with interactive experiences that challenge, inspire and excite young minds. Catch a show at the adjoining Children’s Theatre of Charlotte with Confessions of a Former Bully (Jan. 14-22), Allie Kazan and the Magic Mansion (Feb. 4-19), Sunjata Kamalenya: The True Lion King of Africa (Mar. 3-4) and The Night Diary (Mar. 10-26), all accented by accompanying events throughout the library. Grab lunch, hot cocoa or artisan popcorn next door at The Market at 7th Street.
15. Get creative with make-your-own experience at Hot Glass Alley for hand-blown glass ornaments, beer mugs and other delicate pieces. If that is too daunting, book a class with Splatter CLT which brings out the kid in everyone through paint-mixing-and-throwing sessions that yield one-of-a-kind results.
16. Unwind with an evening of Jazz at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts and Culture in Uptown for the Jazz @ The Gantt series featuring up-and-coming musicians from New York City, where Black artists have honed their contribution to the musical landscape. Nearby, catch a show at Middle C Jazz with multiple shows weekly in this intimate club.
17. Find your zen with yoga at Anne Springs Close Greenway for lunchtime and evening yoga sessions which are open to participants of all skill levels. If the weather is too chilly, check out one of the spots featured in our guide to yoga in Charlotte.
19. Savor the tail-end of the holiday season at Birkdale Village in Huntersville for ice skating through Jan. 16. Scope out the newly renovated outdoor pavilion and enjoy movies or sports on the big screens in the common areas. Then, grab a casual dinner at Eez Fusion & Sushi or Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar. For something fancier, head to Dressler’s. Top off your visit with dessert from Buttermilk Pie Shop with the I-40 Pie, an unforgettable mix of pecan and chocolate.
20. Connect with the LGBTQ+ community through a plethora of entertainment and dining options. Enjoy some karaoke at the video lounge BarArgon. Hit up the Saturday night dance parties at The Bar 316 or order up some chic’n drumsticks at Veltree (named for Velvet Kelty-Jacobs and her wife, Tree Kelty-Jacobs), Charlotte’s first Black-women-owned vegan soul food cafe.
21. Warm up with a trip to the indoor rainforest at Discovery Place Science. Visit the current exhibit Science Fiction/Science Future on display until Jan. 1 and come back for Top Secret to learn about spies and other undercover facts.
22. Work your way through the ultimate dining bucket list. Our comprehensive list of 101 Must-Try Restaurants will inspire you to try a new restaurant, a new cuisine or even discover a new neighborhood.
23. Cheer on your favorite national hockey and basketball teams through the winter months. Both the Charlotte Checkers and the Charlotte Hornets play through April 2023 and have fun giveaways and themed events throughout the season. Check out their schedules for special promotional games.
24. 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 and Optimist Hall, Reigning Doughnuts in NoDa, or Pepperbox Doughnuts in NoDa or South End.
25. 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.
26. 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.
27. 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.
28. 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.”
29. Hang out with your canine companion at Skiptown. Weekly specials like $5 Beers on Mondays and Wine Down Wednesdays give you and your pup plenty of reasons to celebrate.
30. 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.
31. 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.
32. Nail the bullseye with an ax 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.
33. 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 are just a few spots where you can grab a drink and try to avoid gutter balls.
35. 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.
37. Work on your golf game at Topgolf in Southwest Charlotte or University City. 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. Or, work on your short game at Puttery’s miniature golf course which winds its way indoors and features an immersive game experience.
38. 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.
39. Looking to get some work done? Grab a coffee from Coco and the Director. The stadium seating and oversized throw pillows promise to make that spreadsheet seem a little less daunting.
40. 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. Park Road Books, Archive CLT and Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find are great options for shelf-browsing and book-buying.
41. 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.
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 Street. 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 Assorted Table Wine and Shop for the perfect bottle of vino to remember your visit.