Things to Do

Holiday Light Displays Around Charlotte

From drive-thru wonders to enchanted gardens, Charlotte’s lights displays are shining bright this holiday season.

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

This blog is brought to you in partnership with Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden.

The magical twinkling of Christmas lights transform daily surroundings into winter wonderlands. Immerse yourself in the Queen City’s sparkling displays and experience the awe-inspiring spectacles sure to get you in the holiday spirit.

Holidays at the Garden - Photography by Jamey Price

Holidays at the Garden

Area: Belmont
When: Nov. 25-Dec. 31

Winter glistens at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden with dazzling lights, sparkling fountains and holiday décor. Gather around the warmth of an outdoor fire while kids, young and old, delight in merriment and s’mores-making. Grab snacks and warm beverages from on-site food trucks and a photo in front of the towering Orchid Tree. Stop in the Garden Store, perfect gifts for everyone on your list.


Speedway Christmas

Area: Concord
When: Nov. 18-Jan. 8

The four-mile drive beneath the canopy of lights at the Charlotte Motor Speedway is a must for many lights-lovers. Hundreds of creative displays and lights are synchronized to Christmas music so roll down the windows and take in the sights as you tour one of the Southeast’s largest and most fun light shows, complete with movies and other special events making this worthy of an annual tradition.

A Kannapolis Christmas

Neighborhood: Kannapolis
When: Nov. 19-Dec. 30

For a small-town Christmas festival reminiscent of Hallmark Christmas movies, check out A Kannapolis Christmas. The Celebration of Lights kicks off with the annual Tree Lighting on Nov. 19 and runs through Dec. 30 at the Village Park. The Celebration features lights, displays, Santa and performances by the Kannapolis Singing Bears, making it a perfect holiday event for the whole family.

LIGHTS at Whitewater Center

Neighborhood: West Charlotte
When: Mid November - Mid February

Explore the half-mile, self-guided walking trail through the woods lining the U.S. National Whitewater Center. An artistic display conceptualized by local artist Meredith Connelly, this fully immersive experience is unlike any other. Take the tour and make your way to the ice-skating rink on the Upper Pond, complete with hot chocolate and cold brews to conclude a magical evening.

Carowinds WinterFest

Carowinds WinterFest

Area: South Charlotte
When: Nov. 21-Jan. 1

On select dates from Nov. 21 to Jan. 1, see Carowinds transform into WinterFest, a family-friendly festival featuring holiday experiences with music, food, shops, games and a grand display of holiday lights and decorations, boasting one of the largest and most magnificent Christmas trees in the area. Meander throughout the day and end at the evening’s Wonderland Parade, a moving lights display set to holiday tunes sure to make the evening bright.

CLTFC & Panthers Tree Lighting

Neighborhood: Uptown
When: Nov. 22

Come together this Christmas with your fellow Carolina Panthers and Charlotte FC fans to the annual tree lighting ceremony at Bank of America Stadium on Nov. 22. Enjoy hot cocoa, write letters to Santa, take pictures of this memorable event at the many photo booths and more and check out the tree outside the stadium welcoming eager sports fans for the remainder of the holiday season.

Light the Knights

Neighborhood: Uptown
When: Nov. 23-Jan. 6

See the city and the Charlotte Knights’ AAA baseball field in a whole new light with the annual Light the Knights walk-through lights experience. Grab a tube and slide down the snow tubing hill, glide around the ice skating rink and grab some gifts and goodies at the Charlotte Christmas Village. Take in the sights and sounds with live music and nightly visits from Santa and this one-of-a-king holiday experience.

Downtown Belmont

Festival of Trees

Area: Belmont
When: Nov. 28-Jan. 3

Take a tree-lined stroll through Stowe Park’s Festival of Trees. Evergreens are decked with by residents and businesses and are surely a sight to see. Enjoy a dinner at Heirloom or a breakfast at Honey Comb Café and experience the walkable Main Street, filled with shopping, holiday decor and pop-up festivals all season long.

Christmas Town USA

Christmas Town USA

Area: McAdenville
When: Dec. 1-26

Known as “Christmas Town U.S.A.,” McAdenville's display is both driveable and walkable with local shops like Floyd & Blackie’s offering sweet treats to fill your belly as you’re filled with the holiday spirit at the 67th annual holiday experience.

Carolina Holiday Light Spectacular

Neighborhood: Ballantyne
When: Dec.12-31

Ballantyne’s Backyard’s inaugural Carolina Holiday Light Spectacular is a magical walk-through display with giant snow globes, interactive elements and live performances from Santa, ballet dancers and more. The park’s trees are covered in lights and decorated for the season, with plenty of events and displays ready to delight guests of all ages.