CHARLOTTE — From popular attractions draped in sparkling lights to romantically lit gardens and parks, the Charlotte area shines bright during the holiday season.
Here are a few of our favorite places to enjoy the magic of the holidays.
Please be sure to use the links provided to check for last-minute updates before you go.
Ballantyne’s Backyard — Stroll along an outdoor walking trail filled with more than 1 million illuminated lights, dozens of oversized snow globes, hundreds of decorated trees, a snow tube slide, and a Christmas village complete with boutiques, shops and a rotating roster of food trucks during the Carolina Holiday Light Spectacular at Ballantyne’s Backyard. Ticket prices start at $10 per person for Monday through Thursday, and $15 for Friday through Sunday. Children ages 3 and older will need a ticket. Open Dec. 8-30. Link
Billy Graham Library — During Christmas at the Library, visitors can see a beautiful display of lights and a live nativity, plus enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, story time for kids and carolers. Admission is free, but there is a cost for the carriage rides. On display Dec. 1-23. Link
Camp North End — Camp North End is expanding its holiday offerings this season as it transforms into Camp North Pole. In addition to its annual holiday-themed Mistletoe Market and must-see Reindog Parade, there will be an outdoor ice-skating rink and the complex will be decked out in festive holiday décor. The ice rink opens on Nov. 22 and runs through Jan. 7. The Mistletoe Market will take place on the first three Saturdays in December (Dec. 2, 9 and 16) and the Reindog Parade is on Dec. 9. Link
Carowinds — The largest theme park in the area is decked out for the holidays during WinterFest. See millions of holiday lights plus live shows, festive décor and a holiday parade. There’s also an ice rink and select rides are open. Tickets start at $32.99. Open select nights from Nov. 17 - Jan. 1. Link
Charlotte Motor Speedway — See more than 5 million twinkling lights along a 4-mile course around the iconic racetrack during Speedway Christmas. The Christmas Village is open Thursday through Sunday nights where visitors can get out of their cars and enjoy holiday activities, including photos with Santa. Christmas-themed movies will also be shown on the giant 16,000-square-foot Speedway TV from Thursday through Sunday. Tickets per vehicle start at $35 Monday through Wednesday and $45 Thursday through Sunday. Open Nov. 17 - Jan. 7 (closed Dec. 24). Link
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden — See twinkling lights and sparkling fountains, roast marshmallows by a roaring fire, grab a bite from a food truck, sip a warm or cold beverage and soak up the season’s cheer during Holidays at the Garden at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. Tickets cost $25 for adults, $23 for seniors 60+, and $15 for children ages 2-12. Children younger than 2 are admitted free. Open Nov. 24 - Dec. 23 (closed on Mondays). Link
McAdenville — Every December, the quiet little town of McAdenville in Gaston County transforms into “Christmas Town, USA,” which has been consistently ranked in the top 5 in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Public Holiday Lights Display. See hundreds of trees covered in lights and homes and yards decorated for the holidays along the 1.3-mile route. There is no cost to see the lights. On display Dec. 1-26. Link
Patriots Park — Enjoy a stroll through Patriots Park in Kings Mountain where more than 1 million lights have transformed the area into a holiday wonderland full of festive displays that will remind you of Christmases long ago. Admission is free. Open nightly from Nov. 22 - Jan. 1. Link
Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium — See thousands of twinkling lights, more than 35 themed Christmas trees and other festive décor during Sea Life’s Sea of Lights, which is on display Dec. 1 - Jan. 3. Tickets start at $18.99. Link
Truist Field — The Charlotte Knights will light up Uptown with its annual walk-through holiday experience. Light the Knights features tens of thousands of lights throughout the ballpark along with Christmas trees, holiday displays, snow and appearances from Santa. There is also an NHL regulation-size ice rink and a ten-lane snow tubing hill. Admission costs $10; ice skating and tubing cost extra. Children ages 3 and younger are admitted free. Open Nov. 22 - Jan. 1. Link
Village Park — Get into the holiday spirit in Kannapolis at the Celebration of Lights in Village Park. See 250,000 lights, roast marshmallows or make s’mores and visit Santa. Visitors can also catch a train ride on the Winterland Express and see the Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra that called Founders Hall in Uptown Charlotte home for 20 years. Admission to the park and viewing of the lights is free; tickets to ride the train are $2 per person. Tickets for the carousel are also $2 per person. The attractions is open nightly Nov. 18 - Dec. 30. Link
Worth the road trip
Biltmore — Asheville’s most famous address has transformed into an unforgettable Yuletide destination for Christmas at Biltmore. By day, the rooms of Biltmore House shimmer, beautifully decorated with Christmas trees, ribbons, garlands and thousands of twinkling lights. In the evenings, flickering candlelight, glowing fireplaces and live music transport you back in time to the first Vanderbilt family Christmas in 1895. Tickets start at $110. On display through Jan. 7. Link
Riverbanks Zoo — Stroll through the zoo and discover nearly 60 larger-than-life handcrafted lanterns inspired by nature. Plus, enjoy interactive activities, fun photo ops, and seasonal favorites including nightly snowfall and visits with Santa. Tickets start at $19.99 for adults and $14.99 for children ages 2-12. Children younger than 2 are admitted free. Open select nights Nov. 17 - Jan. 14. Link
Tanglewood Park — See miles of lights and dozens of festive displays during the annual Festival of Lights at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons. Admission starts at $20. On display from Nov. 17 - Jan. 1. Link
WATCH: Christmas season begins with tree-raising at the Biltmore
©2021 Cox Media Group