It’s holiday season, so soak in the merriment and get festive. Here are our 15 can’t-miss events this month.
(1) Whitewater Center Ice Skating
Open now | U.S. National Whitewater Center | 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily | $20 for single activity pass | 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 has three areas (free skate, winter sports, and a 600-foot ice trail). The skating area also has a skate-up bar where you can buy craft beer, hot chocolate, and coffee.
[Agenda related guide: 23 must-do festive holiday events in Charlotte]
(2) The Polar Express Train Ride
Now until December 22 | 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 magic quite like that before or since. So treat your inner child (or actual child) to a holiday train ride. Rides are every weekend, Friday-Sunday, from mid-November through December.
(3) Charlotte Christmas Village – Christkindlmarkt
Now to December 24 | 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 (spiced wine pronounced “Gloo-vine”) 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.
(4) Speedway Christmas
Now t0 January 5 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | 6-10 p.m. nightly | $20-$30 per car | 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: They’re closed Christmas Day.
(5) Holiday on Ice
Now to January 5 | NASCAR Hall of Fame | 5 p.m. | $12+ | Details
Why you should go: Skate your way past Christmas trees and sparkling lights while drinking hot cocoa in Uptown. Be sure to view the full schedule here.
(6) Power 98 Winter Block Party featuring DaBaby
December 5 | Bojangles’ Coliseum | 8 p.m. | $61-$180+ | Details
Why you should go: The local rapper who recently skyrocketed to fame returns to his hometown.
(7) OMB’s Weihnachtsmarkt Weekend
December 6-22 | OMB | Varies | Free | Details
Why you should go: OMB’s annual Weihnachtsmarkt Weekend is back with 40-plus vendors for you to shop from. Expect tons of lights, Glühwein, holiday music, hot cocoa, festive food, fire pits, and tons of beer. It’s open every Friday-Sunday from December 6-22.
(8) Charlotte Ballet’s Nutcracker
December 6-23 | Belk Theater | Varies | $25+ | Details
Why you should go: One of the beloved holiday traditions in the city, the “Nutcracker” is a Christmas classic that never gets old.
(9) Gingerbread Lane at the Ballantyne Hotel
December 6-26 | The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge | All day | Free | Details
Why you should go: The Ballantyne hosts an annual gingerbread house competition for amateurs, pros, and kids. The houses will be on display most of December and are free to view. But you can pay $1 to vote for your favorite house, with all proceeds benefitting Levine Children’s Hospital.
(10) Birdsong 8-Year Anniversary Party
December 7 | Birdsong | All day | Free, $15 bundle | Details
Why you should go: To celebrate turning 8, Birdsong will have live music all afternoon, vendors, food, and of course lots of beer. If you want to skip lines, you can buy the $15 pre-sale package which gets you an anniversary pint glass and four beer tokens.
(11) Fourth Ward Holiday Home Tour
December 6-8 | Fourth Ward | Varies | $30-$45 | Details
Why you should go: Take a self-guided walking tour through the most beautifully decorated private homes in the quaint Uptown neighborhood. You’ll find carolers, bell ensembles, and horse-drawn carriage rides, along with tasting stations and free samples at select stops.
(12) Checkers Star Wars Night
December 14 | Bojangles Coliseum | 6 p.m. | $18+ | Details
Why you should go: The Checkers take on the Syracuse Crunch, and you get to take photos with your favorite Star Wars characters throughout the game. If you can’t make this one, the Checkers also have home games on December 13, 17, 18, 21, and 22.
(13) Charlotte Girl Tribe Holiday Pop Up
December 14-15 | Charlotte Convention Center | All day | $5-$25 | Details
Why you should go: More than 200 women-owned businesses will be there. Treat yourself, stock up on Christmas gifts, sip bubbly, and support local women. Plus, they’ll have on-site piercing from the Renegade Pearl and free braids and dry styles from Drybar.
(14) Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks
December 15 | Bank of America Stadium | 1 p.m. | $55-$340+ | Details
Why you should go: Quarterback Russell Wilson is back in town to face fellow MVP candidate Christian McCaffrey. The Panthers are also at home for the season finale on December 29 against the Saints.
(15) Charlotte Hornets vs. Boston Celtics
December 31 | Spectrum Center | 3 p.m. | $18-$437+ | Details
Why you should go: Spend New Year’s Eve with Kemba Walker, the former Hornets star who’s now on the Celtics. The Hornets have eight other home games this month, including against the Golden State Warriors on December 4, the Brooklyn Nets on December 6, and the Washington Wizards on December 10. See the full schedule here.
Looking for more things to do? Here’s the full Axios Charlotte calendar with over 75 cool, upcoming events in Charlotte.