The holidays are a time of joy, magic and making memories. But when the pressure of the yuletide spirit becomes too much, look to these six holiday events to put the jingle back in your bells. From last minute shopping opportunities and epic light displays to FREE events, these six winter activities are sure to make the crew merry and bright.
“Help! I need to finish (or start) holiday shopping.”
Solution: OMB’s Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market)
Fear not last minute shopper! OMB’s holiday market is open weekends through December 18 with one-of-a-kind gifts sure to delight all your friends and family (even the Scrooges). Join in the holiday spirit with festive music, lights, hot cocoa, food, fire pits and plenty of beer – including seasonal favorites.
Location: Old Mecklenburg Brewery, 4150 Yancey Rd, Charlotte, NC 28217
Dates: Weekends (Friday-Sunday) through December 18. Friday and Saturday, noon- 9 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Price: Free admission.
Pro Tip: It’s not too late to tell Santa what’s on your list! The jolly guy comes to OMB December 17 from 2-6 p.m.
“What do I do with all these people in my house?”
Solution: Lights and Ice Skating at the U.S. Whitewater Center
Show off your impressive ice skating moves or observe from afar with a hot drink or adult beverage at the U.S. Whitewater Center. The outdoor rink has over 24,000 square feet of ice split into four distinct skating areas – including two ice trails and two free skate zones. When you step off the ice, check out the cool light display located in the Ridge and Canyon activity areas.
Location: U.S. Whitewater Center, 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy, Charlotte, NC 28214
Dates: Through mid-February. Ice skating noon-10 p.m., lights turn on at 5:30 p.m.
Price: The light display is free. $25 for ice skating or free for U.S. Whitewater Center pass holders. Parking is $6 per car.
Pro Tip: Stop by the onsite restaurant for lunch, dinner or apps and drinks for the win (and more time out of the house!).
“There’s nothing open today.”
Solution: The Holiday Light Spectacular at Ballantyne’s Backyard
This outdoor holiday extravaganza includes light displays, snow globes, hundreds of decorated trees, visits from Santa and Mrs. Clause, holiday shops, food trucks and more. Tickets are on a first come, first serve basis. Head here Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve – it’s open!
Location: Ballantyne’s Backyard, 11611 N Community House Road, Charlotte, NC 28277
Dates: December 15-31 (Open Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve), 5-10 p.m. daily.
Price: Starting at $15, kids under three are free.
Pro Tip: Go snow tubing for an additional $10.
“It’s so nice out, where should we go?”
Solution: Pirates Christmas at High Seas Miniature Golf
When warm December breezes roll in, get outside and enjoy it with a round of holiday mini golf. Lights, activities and special effects transform the 18-hole course into an epic pirate wonderland with adventure around every corner. Perfect for date night, friends night out or family time!
Dates: Now through the holidays. Lights turn on at dusk. Open Monday through Wednesday, noon-8:30 p.m., Thursday and Friday, noon-9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Location: High Seas Miniature Golf, 10001 Charlotte Hwy, Fort Mill, SC 29707
Price: $10 for adults; $8 for kids four to 12 and Seniors. Children three and under are free with paying adult.
Pro Tip: With an onsite beer and wine garden and lots of space to run around, everyone will love the gift of a great day out.
“I need a FREE and fun activity.”
Solution: Gingerbread Lane at The Ballantyne Hotel
Take a walk down Gingerbread Lane in the beautiful Ballantyne Hotel and ooh and ahh at gingerbread creations by professional and novice bakers. Vote for your favorite entry with a $1 donation to the Levine Children’s Hospital, then make a stop at the life-sized gingerbread hut for a festive cocoa or other tasty libation.
Location: The Ballantyne Hotel, 10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy, Charlotte, NC 28277
Dates: Daily through December 26, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Price: FREE (food and drinks not included)
Pro Tip: This multigenerational activity offers lots of holiday picture stops!
“We can’t decide what we want to do.”
Solution: Speedway Christmas
If your group of jolly elves can’t decide how they want to usher in the holiday, make a visit to Speedway Christmas. Pack the crew in the car and lap the speedway lined with over four million lights. Keep the holiday joy going and visit the Christmas village, take photos with Santa, roast marshmallows, enjoy kids rides or watch a movie on the 16,000-square foot Speedway screen.
Location: Charlotte Motor Speedway, 5555 Concord Pkwy S, Concord, NC 28027
Dates: Through January 8, 6-10 p.m.
Price: Tickets are per vehicle starting at $30 Monday-Wednesday and $40 Thursday through Sunday.
Pro Tip: Skip the line and get to the fun faster with a Fast Pass. The Fast Pass lane is open Thursday through Sunday for $70 per vehicle.