‘Tis the season of joy and cheer – It’s almost Christmas in the Queen City!
But, after a long year of work, responsibility, and a past couple of weeks of intense and exhausting holiday shopping, we also know that ‘tis the season of wanting to sit on your couch, prop your feet up, and relax. We get it—we do—but, like always, we’re here to encourage you to resist the urge to couch potato and instead get outside and smell the poinsettias. And where’s a better place to do that than our wonderful Queen City?
Are we beginning to convince you? We hope so. Keep reading, and we’ll really get you itching to go. First things first:
Go Ice Skating
Show off all of your Kristi-Yamaguchi-like moves to the people of Charlotte Wednesday through Sunday at the Nascar Hall of Fame Plaza’s Holiday on Ice. Bundle up, venture out to 400 East Martin Luther King Blvd, and skate in circles around the rink as you gaze out into the twinkling lights of our favorite city.
See the Lights
Bring your boo, or bring along a bunch of your family; either one works at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden’s annual Holidays at the Garden. Here, the lush scenery of Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is transformed into a winter wonderland. With over 600,000 lights, illuminated displays, festive decor, live music, crackling fires, and even a horse-drawn carriage available, the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is the perfect place to get in the holiday spirit for.
Take a trip to the various countries of Europe, and explore what festive activities, food, and drink, and art they have to offer at Romare Bearden Park’s Christmas Village. Try a classic Austrian strudel, German gingerbread, hot cider, or the traditional German “Glühwein” wine in a souvenir mug as you stroll through the rows of vendors in the park. While you’re at it, get some last-minute shopping in at the festival, or use the opportunity to explore the surrounding sight of Uptown.
Give Back to the Queen City
Charlotte is filled with wonderful organizations that allow others to give back to our community. This holiday season, pay it forward with Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child—where each volunteer fills a shoebox with toys, school supplies, or personal hygiene items and drops them off at a designated location, the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program—where each volunteer sponsors a child and donates items on a child’s wish list to his/her family, or the Charlotte Rescue Mission’s Christmas day service of providing warm meals to the homeless population.
Camp Out in your Car
Come out to the Charlotte Motor Speedway for Speedway Christmas. If Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden didn’t satisfy your need for Christmas lights, Speedway Christmas has a beautiful lights-to-music display of over 3,000,000 lights along their 3.5 mile drive. So turn on your radio and cruise through the speedway course. Afterwards, park your car, turn the radio to 105.1 FM, and listen to the holiday movie that shows every Thursday-Sunday on the Charlotte Motor Speedway’s giant speedway TV. Don’t forget the blankets and hot chocolate!
See a Ballet
This season, the Charlotte Ballet presents The Nutcracker. Follow the story of Clara as she encounters the battle between the Mouse King and the Nutcracker, watch the energetic dances of the jumping candy canes, and stare in awe at the iconic movement of the Sugarplum Fairy—all set to the melodic music of the Charlotte Symphony.
Run Off that Thanksgiving Turkey Weight
Support the Arthritis Foundation with Charlotte’s annual 5k race. Tie some jingle bells to your laces, dress up in your favorite Holiday gear, and join the festive 5k run.
Hear the Bells (and whistles…and flutes…)
Let the joyful sounds of the Charlotte Symphony’s Chorus as they sing Handel’s Messiah fill your ears and warm your spirit. We promise the experience will be better than any Christmas music you can play over your stereo at home.
Sip, then Dip
Don your favorite holiday attire and see what Charlotte’s Annual Santa Bar Crawl is all about. Bounce from bars like Tin Roof, Rooftop 210, and Strike City to taste the newest seasonal brews and see everyone’s fancy festive costumes.
Release Your Inner Artist
Get ready to create a masterpiece at the Bechtler Museum of Art as their on-staff art teachers lead you through an hour-long painting activity that shows you how to paint a winter wonderland. Sip on the specialty drink of the month—the Blue Mule—while you dip your brush in paint, swirl it across the canvas, and create to your heart’s delight.
We’ve listed ten exciting places to be and events to participate in this season, but the best thing about Charlotte is that there are so many other things to experience, places to be, and people to meet. So get up, get out, and take advantage of all our wonderful city has to offer this holiday season. And remember—let your days be merry and your heart be light. Cheers to Christmas in the Queen City, y’all.