MONDAY, NOVEMBER 25
Charlotte Motor Speedway | 6-10 p.m. | $20-$30 | Details
Why you should go: Nothing says Christmas in the Carolinas like 4 million lights arranged around a race track. Expect a Ferris wheel, Bethlehem village, photos with Santa, fun foods, games, fire pits for s’mores roasting, and drive-in style Christmas movies, too. Note: The village is only open Thursday-Sunday.
Whitewater Center Ice Skating
U.S. National Whitewater Center | Agenda Preview
Why you should go: This new ice skating rink includes 17,000 square feet of ice on the Upper Pond of the whitewater river, and it’ll have three areas (free skate, winter sports and a 600-foot ice trail). The skating area will also have a skate-up bar where you can buy craft beer, hot chocolate and coffee.
Holiday on Ice
NASCAR Hall of Fame | 5 p.m. | $12+ | Details
Why you should go: Nothing says holiday spirit like ice skating your way past Christmas trees and sparkling lights and drinking hot cocoa.
[Agenda related guide: 23 must-do festive holiday events in Charlotte]
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 26
Panthers Tree Lighting
Corner of Mint & Graham streets | 6:30 p.m. | Free | Details
Why you should go: Expect appearances by Sir Purr, the TopCats Cheerleaders, the PurrCussion Drumline and the Black & Blue Crew. The tree lighting ceremony program will also include new family-friendly performances, children’s activities, festive music, and a special visit from Santa Claus. Bottled water and hot cocoa will be available free of charge with additional food and drinks also available for purchase from various local food trucks on site.
Charlotte Christmas Village – Christkindlmarkt
Corner of Seventh & North Tryon streets | All day | Free | Details
Why you should go: The annual European-inspired Christmas Market is back. Expect the usual speciality foods, Glühwein in a souvenir village mug, cider, hot chocolate, vendors, photos with Santa, and holiday performances. The market is open now through December 24, and is closed on Mondays.
McGill’s Winter Wonderland
Rosie’s Wine Garden | 4-10 p.m. | Free | Details
Why you should go: They’ve got lights, hot chocolate, and s’mores now through December, plus you can still purchase the usual wine and beer. Bring a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots if you’re feeling generous.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27
Thanksgiving Eve Party!
Pinhouse | 6 p.m. to midnight | Free | Details
Why you should go: Relax before all of your relatives arrive (or maybe bring them!) and sip drinks by a huge fire pit and indulge in a free s’mores buffet.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28
2019 Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade
Uptown Charlotte | 9 a.m. to noon | Free, $25-$35 VIP reserved seats | Details
Why you should go: The Charlotte Thanksgiving Parade started out in 1947 as a small-town community event. Now, 72 years later, it has grown to become the No. 1 destination for folks who want to celebrate their family, friends and neighbors over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Breakfast with Santa
Coco and the Director | 7 a.m. | $35 | Details
Why you should go: Your ticket includes a breakfast sandwich, side of fruit or yogurt, non-alcoholic beverage, and one photo with Santa, plus a VIP bleacher seat for the parade.
Turkey Dash Charlotte
Ballantyne – 8410 Rea Road | 8:30 a.m. | $40 | Details
Why you should go: This family-friendly event on Thanksgiving morning benefits Beds for Kids and includes a 4-mile run/walk, a 1-mile fun run (walk) and family village with bounce houses for kids of all ages. And if you’re closer to Waxhaw, check out the MillBridge Turkey Trot.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29
Fire Pit & Cider Party at Windy Hill
Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill | 1-9 p.m. | Free | Details
Why you should go: Nothing says fall like fire pits, hayrides, and fresh cider at the orchard. It’s the perfect way to transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
Queenflea Holiday Makers Market
summerbird | 5-10 p.m. | Free, $5 VIP | Details
Why you should go: Shop from 50-plus local artists, makers, and thrifters while checking off your Christmas list. The market is also open on Saturday.
Winter Wonderland Grand Opening!
SouthPark Mall | 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. | $12-$17 | Details
Why you should go: The open-air ice rink has returned for another season, and the first 100 visitors get free skate rental. If you have your own skates, it’s $12 for two hours and it’s $17 for two hours of skating and skate rental.
Plaza Midwood Tree Lighting & Santa Visit
Pizza Peel | 6 p.m. | Free | Details
Why you should go: Get in the holiday spirit with a tree lighting, a visit with Santa, and hot cocoa (with alcohol add-ins available).
Black Friday at Sycamore!
Sycamore Brewing | Noon 11 p.m. | Free | Details
Why you should go: They’ll have food trucks lunch through dinner, the usual cider and beer, and Apple Pie Cider and Christmas Cookie Frozé on tap all day long.
Home Alone in Concert
Belk Theater | 7:30-9:30 p.m. | $44-$207 | Details
Why you should go: A quintessential holiday classic, you can’t go wrong with seeing “Home Alone” in concert. The orchestra will be playing the movie will be on the big screen.
The Polar Express Train Ride
N.C. Transportation Museum| 4 p.m. | $37 kids, $43 adults | Details
Why you should go: I remember the first time I saw “The Polar Express” in theaters and I’m not sure I’ve experienced greater magic. So treat your inner child (or actual child) to a holiday train ride. Rides are every weekend, Friday-Sunday, from mid-November through December.