Things to do

7 Ways to Have a Merry Charlotte Holiday

Twinkling lights. Shopping sprees. Ice skating. It’s the hap-happiest season of all thanks to our featured partners.

There are hundreds of ways to celebrate the holidays in Charlotte, but few are as memorable as these. Whether you cozy up by a fire, sip hot cocoa beneath a festive wintry mix or experience the magic of Saint Nick’s Tinsel Town, these top picks offer Christmas card-worthy experiences.

Be sure to follow @charlottesgotalot on Instagram from Dec. 10 to 16 for a week full of giveaways from the folks on our CLT Nice List!

The Nutcracker - Photo courtesy of Blumenthal Performing Arts Center

Cheer on the Nutcracker as he takes on the Mouse King at Belk Theater.

Celebrate the sights and sounds of the holidays at “The Nutcracker” through Dec. 23. Join Clara as she encounters an epic battle between the Mouse King and Nutcracker, a breathtaking snowfall, jumping candy canes and the iconic Sugar Plum Fairy. Complete with choreography by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and music from the Charlotte Symphony, “The Nutcracker” premiered with all new sets and costumes in 2016. Whether it’s a treasured family tradition or you’re experiencing it for the first time, Nutcracker promises wonderful holiday memories for years to come!

Marriott Southpark - Photo courtesy of Marriott International

Pack your gift bags with Marriott's Holiday Shopping package.

Share the joy of holiday travel and treats this season and choose from four Marriott International participating hotels in Uptown and South Park. Book the Holiday Shopping package at either Marriott City Center, Westin Charlotte, SouthPark Marriott or Renaissance SouthPark, and receive breakfast for two daily and a $50 shopping gift card to be used at either SouthPark Mall or Charlotte Premium Outlets. Whether you need to finalize last-minute gifts, or treat yourself to a shopping day for one, this package is perfect for you.

SouthPark Mall - Photo courtesy of Simon Malls

Experience the season of giving at SouthPark Mall.

With new stores like Peloton, Amazon, Trina Turk and Nespresso, SouthPark Mall is the perfect place to find a gift that wows this holiday season. While you’re collecting stocking stuffers, be sure to check out the mall’s festive happenings: Santa photos are taking place through Dec. 24, and in nearby Symphony Park, Winter Wonderland is bringing ice skating, tree deliveries and general merriment to holiday shoppers. Hungry after lugging those bags around? Check out South Park eatery Bulla Gastrobar, a new Spanish tapas restaurant with brunch, happy hour and tasty seasonal menus.

Holidays at the Garden - Photo courtesy of Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Roast marshmallows around a crackling fire at Holidays at the Garden.

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden’s Holidays at the Garden, now through Jan. 6, is bigger and better than ever before! Experience an all-new musically orchestrated topiary display, wander through the new illuminated Piedmont Prairie Garden, explore new lights and lanterns in the perennial gardens and much more. Enjoy annual traditions, including the 15-foot orchid tree, live music, warm beverages, children’s activities and holiday shopping in The Garden Store. There will even be cozy fires where you can warm your hands and roast marshmallows. Purchase your tickets online in advance to save.

Winter Wonderland - Photo courtesy of Simon Malls

Ice skate amid snow flurries at Winter Wonderland.

Located at SouthPark Mall and open through Jan. 7, Winter Wonderland is a holiday delight for the whole family with a 142-foot ice rink, holiday lights, décor and music, daily snowfall, hot chocolate, delicious eats and an adult bounce house called Santa’s Pub with a full bar tuned to the latest game. Plus, enjoy Tree Elves, a service that sends real elves to deliver premium Fraser Fir Christmas trees to your door.

WinterFest - Photo courtesy of Carowinds

Decorate cookies with Mrs. Claus at Carowinds' WinterFest.

Have a holly jolly holiday at Carowinds’ seasonal event WinterFest, which decks the amusement park with more than 5 million shimmering lights, a 70-foot tree and lavish displays. Through Dec. 31, the amusement park will have festive fun and hands-on holiday activities located throughout the park. Plus, there will be tons of rides open to complete your night of memory making. Want to keep rocking around the clock? Check out WinterFest’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, which invites guests to ring in 2019 amid the park’s shimmering lights and festive décor.

Tinsel Town - Photo courtesy of Northlake Mall

Meet and greet with Santa in Tinsel Town at Northlake Mall.

At Northlake Mall, Santa’s residence during the holidays is Tinsel Town, an immersive experience complete with 12-foot ornaments, dozens of decorated trees and dazzling lights both inside and above. Offering Santa photos every day through Dec. 24, this festive holiday display is the perfect way to capture memories for years to come. You can even join Saint Nick for a cookie and milk break (Monday−Saturday, 1−2 p.m.; Sunday, 3−4 p.m.) before continuing your holiday shopping extravaganza.

For more ways to enjoy the holiday season in Charlotte, check out "22 Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in Charlotte," the "Queen City Gift Guide" and "Ring in 2019 at Charlotte's New Year's Parties."

And don't forget to follow @charlottesgotalot on Instagram from Dec. 10 to 16 for a week full of giveaways!