Things to Do

Outdoor Holiday Experiences to Enjoy This Season

While the holidays certainly look different this year, we are still devoted to keeping the spirit of the season alive with a handful of activities around Charlotte. Below you’ll find a few places to start – so blast Michael Bublé and grab that cup of cocoa, it’s time to deck the halls.

All events and activities are subject to change.


Taste of the Season at Carowinds

Dates: Select Days (Saturdays and Sundays) Through December 20
Tickets: Bundle (parking and admission included) with 3 Tastings: $39.99

Celebrate a Taste of the Season at Carowinds. This outdoor dining experience has a sleigh-full of family activities:

  • Purchase a Tasting Card to choose among 30 samples of holiday sweets and savories
  • Feast your eyes on dazzling holiday décor
  • Enjoy seasonal shows
  • Wrap up your holiday shopping

And of course, select family rides you know and love will be open to enjoy. The Taste of the Season dining experience is from noon to 8 p.m. There is a limited capacity per day so book your spot soon!


Winter at the U.S. National Whitewater Center

Dates: Through mid-February
Single Activity Pass $20

Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 sq. ft of ice at the U.S. National Whitewater Center! Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three distinct programming areas and an on-ice Airstream serving hot and cold beverages. Skate rentals are included in pass purchases and socks are required. Please note ice skating capacity has been limited.

While you’re there, enjoy “Lights,” an illuminated walking trail that leads viewers through a series of immersive light installations featuring webs, vines, crystals and other natural features integrated into the forest. The experience, available 6 to 10 p.m. through February features multi-sensory works created by artist Meredith Connelly that are site-specific to the outdoor facility.


Charlotte Christmas Village

Dates: November 27 - December 23
Tickets: $7

The Charlotte Christmas Village celebrates 5 years! Throughout the European-inspired Christmas Market in Uptown, you’ll find an array of specialty foods, from classic Austrian strudels to Bratwurst with Sauerkraut to glazed nuts. While browsing around, visitors can also enjoy hot mulled wine, cider, hot chocolate, and alcoholic-free Glühwein in a souvenir village mug.

The Charlotte Christmas Village will be open Thursdays 3 to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Holidays at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Dates: November 27, 2020 - January 3, 2021
Tickets: Adult: $14.95; Senior (60+): $12.95; Child 2-12: $7.95; Child under 2: Free

Although the Holidays at the Garden show is just a bit smaller than in years past, you can still sing along to your wintertime favorites at the popular topiary display, take in the rolling lights of the Piedmont Prairie, and stroll among the blossoming cherry trees at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. Grab a bite from the food trucks, roast a marshmallow beside a roaring fire, sip a warm or cold beverage, and soak up the season’s cheer.

Advance tickets will be available for 5, 6:30 and 8 p.m. arrival times. Tickets for each of the three time slots will admit participants for 90 minutes to enjoy all the event has to offer.


Christmas at the Billy Graham Library

Dates: November 30 – December 23
Tickets: Although admission and parking to Christmas at the Library are free, registration is required. In addition, certain activities are ticketed (horse-drawn carriage ride - Adults – $8, Children under 12 - $4 / Christmas dinner - Adults – $25, Children under 12 – $12)

Christmas is a special time at The Billy Graham Library. Patrons are invited to check out the live nativity scene (select hours), participate in a horse-drawn carriage ride featuring a 15-18 minute ride around the BGEA Headquarters & Library grounds, listen to story time featuring readings from Christmas books (begin every 30 minutes beginning at 5 p.m.), sing along with the Christmas carolers, and even dine on Christmas dinner offered Thursdays through Sundays at 5 and 7 p.m. each night.

Christmas festivities are available Monday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Christmas activities begin at 5 p.m. and remember, registration to attend and for any of the ticketed events are required. See their website for full details on each offering.


Believe at the North Carolina Zoo

Dates: December 5-6 and 12-13
Tickets: $15 per person plus full price zoo admission. Advance reservations/timed ticketsfor the zoo is required. Children under 2 are free with a paying adult.

Enjoy holiday daytime fun and see the animals at the North Carolina Zoo at Believe, a family-friendly event occurring the first two weekends in December. Your Believe ticket includes access to the following activities from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Junction Plaza:

  • Unlimited rides on the festive carousel
  • Cookie and warm seasonal beverage (coffee, cider, cocoa) available at four locations in the park
  • Treehouse trek (weather permitting)
  • Holiday scavenger hunt
  • Four candy stations with mascot animals
  • A walk through the Swirly Twirly Forest to Santa
  • Holiday photo with Santa *1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Social distancing and masks will be required for all guests. Staff will continue to implement best practices for the safety of all guests including increased cleaning, masked staff and event volunteers and socially spaced event activities.