Things to do

Guide to Hosting Thanksgiving Guests in Charlotte

First comes the feast, then comes the parade, then comes all of the holiday magic. Treat your guests to all there is to do and see in the Queen City during the holiday festivities.

Make the Thanksgiving holiday more than just a day to feast. Round up your guests and venture out to explore the Queen City in full holiday bloom. The Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade is a quintessential Charlotte experience, but beyond that, the parade is also the start of the city’s holiday celebrations.

The Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade

Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade

Skip watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade at home in favor of a much more up-close-and-personal experience with the largest Thanksgiving parade in the Southeast, the Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade. For more than 70 years, this lively celebration of the season has delighted Queen City revelers with floats, dancers, marching bands and more. The parade starts at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and draws more than 110,000 attendees. It’s the perfect family-friendly way to celebrate before you pass the potatoes and pumpkin pie. Pro tip: If the kiddies can’t wait for Santa to make his way down the chimney, you and your guests could start your day with a special breakfast and photo op with the jolly man himself. After breakfast with Santa at Coco and the Director, head over to your VIP bleacher seats and prepare to be in full Thanksgiving spirit.

Photo courtesy of Turkey Dash Charlotte

Turkey Dash Charlotte

Burn some extra calories before your feasting on mashed potatoes and stuffing at the Turkey Dash Charlotte. This event is a family-friendly run and walk in Ballantyne/South Charlotte on Thanksgiving morning. With both a four-mile route and a one-mile route, everyone can enjoy the fall morning regardless of their fitness level. There's also a "Family Village" with food, drinks, bounce houses and other entertainment for kids and kids-at-heart. Even better: proceeds go to support Beds for Kids, a charity that helps Charlotte-area families in need.

Holiday on Ice at the NASCAR Hall of Fame

Holiday on Ice

During this time of year, Holiday on Ice, the city’s only ice skating rink, turns the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza into a magical winter wonderland. Although the rink itself opens Nov. 16, the official tree lighting takes place on Nov. 25. After that, you’ll enjoy a serious dose of holiday cheer, plus rides and games. Skating and stake rental costs $14; if you bring your own skates, the entry fee is $10.

Charlotte Christmas Village - Photo by Robert Kisiah

Charlotte Christmas Village

Add a little creativity to your holiday shopping and skip the mall parking lot madness as you do it. The Charlotte Christmas Market, happening at the corner of Seventh and North Tryon streets, is the place to go. The European-inspired market offers charming crafts and gifts that will delight even the pickiest names on your list, plus live performances, plenty of tasty food and drink options, and more. It runs from Nov. 22 through Dec 24.

Moxie Mercantile

When you emerge from your turkey coma, start crossing off your holiday gift list! Get some inspiration from our shopping guide, save a few bucks with our thrift store guide or shop local with a list of some favorite shops and boutiques.

Now that it's officially time for candy canes and jingle bells, check out even more ways to celebrate the holidays all throughout the Queen City.