With cooler temperatures and the hope of snow in the air, it can only mean one thing: Christmas is right around the corner! But when you work full-time and have a family, it can be difficult to get into the holiday spirit. While some of your neighbors have had their Christmas trees up for a week or more, other people need a bit of a nudge to get out of Grinch mode.
One of the best ways to ignite the Christmas spark is to check out some of the holiday light tours and seasonal events going on in and around Charlotte. Visit these holiday light displays with friends and family, and you’re sure to get into the spirit of the season.
100 Main Street, McAdenville, N.C. 28101
2016 marks McAdenville’s 61st year of holiday light displays and festivities, and it only gets better year after year. Each holiday season, McAdenville residents decorate the entire town in Christmas lights. Visitors will be awed by the 375 lit trees, more than 200 wreaths decorating the light poles, and neighborhood blocks lined with houses absolutely drenched is twinkling lights.
In addition to the light displays, McAdenville will also host a Yule Log Ceremony and Annual Christmas Town Festival on Friday, December 16. Santa visits each night of the festival between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., and the first 1,000 people in attendance each night get complimentary hot chocolate and kettle corn.
The festival runs from Thursday, December 1 through Monday, December 26. Lights glow nightly on Monday through Friday from 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights are notably busier, so consider visiting on a weekday night.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 South New Hope Road, Belmont, N.C. 28012
For a picturesque holiday light experience, head to the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens in nearby Belmont, N.C. for their Holidays at the Garden event, held November 18 through January 1 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and lights illuminate at 5 p.m. The Gardens are aglow with a dazzling display of lights – more than 600,000 in total! It’s a holiday destination perfect for the whole family.
Kids can visit with Santa, admire the model train display, take the Children’s Holiday Discovery Trail, and explore the grounds on the Garden Tram. The Gardens are also a great date night destination. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride before roasting s’mores by the campfire and sipping on espresso from Crowders Creek Coffee Co.
Grab a seasonal libation from the Garden’s bars, grab a bite to eat from a food truck on select nights, and enjoy karaoke or live music every night.
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Parkway South, Concord, N.C. 28027
NASCAR fans and Christmas fanatics rejoice: Speedway Christmas is back for its seventh season at Charlotte Motor Speedway. More than 3 million lights line the lights-to-music 3.5-mile long drive-thru course. This is one holiday experience that simply cannot be missed, especially because you don’t have the leave the warm comfort of your car when the temperature takes a dip this month.
Speedway Christmas is open every Thursday-Sunday and the entire week of Christmas. The Christmas Village is an ideal outing for families, as it includes a petting zoo, Bethlehem village, horse-drawn wagon rides, and pictures with Santa. They also project Christmas flicks like “A Christmas Story” and “Frozen” on their 16,000 square foot high-definition screen.
Make sure that nobody misses the lights by letting someone else do the driving. Peak Limo’s professional chauffeurs can drive you around, so everyone gets a good look at the beautiful lights and holiday cheer.
*Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in 2014. However, it has since been updated to reflect the most current information.