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Lake Norman Holiday Events Guide

a grandmother reads to her grandchildren by a Christmas tree in a StayLakeNorman luxury vacation rental

The holiday season is here and December celebrations are well underway. If you are looking for the perfect place to celebrate with loved ones, look no further than one of our Lake Norman Luxury Vacation Rentals. A stay in one of our Lake Norman waterfront homes is a holiday getaway you and yours will never forget. With homes that sleep anywhere from 8-21 guests you’ll have room for the whole crew. Every one of our homes is the perfect base from which to explore the many Lake Norman and Charlotte area holiday happenings. We’ve gathered up some of our favorites and listed them here to help you experience the holidays like never before.


If holiday activities for kids are what you are after, you won’t be disappointed. The list below includes Chanukah celebrations, Winter Solstice celebrations, and Christmas events! If you are looking for where to find Santa, jump ahead to the next section!

The Polar Express Train Ride

When: December 8th – 11th, 13th-23rd

Where: North Carolina Transportation Museum

Participants are encouraged to wear pajamas when this holiday favorite comes to life aboard the trains at the North Carolina Transportation Museum. There will be cookies and hot cocoa and a reading of the Polar Express Book while young ones are transported to Santa’s Village where everyone can remember what it’s like to hear the bell and believe.

Chanukah Celebration at Birkdale Village

When: December 20th

Where: Birkdale Village

Come to celebrate the third day of Chanukah with the Chabad of Lake Norman at Birkdale Village. There will be group activities, hot food, and drinks, all making for a memorable evening with your loved ones.

Movies on Main Presents Holiday Films

When: December 21st, 8-10pm

Where: Charles Mack Citizen Center

Bring a blanket and your friends and family for a free movie night where you’ll enjoy the Holiday classic, It’s a Wonderful Life!

RCNP Winter Solstice Celebration for Kids

When: December 21st, 3pm

Where: Reedy Creek Nature Preserve

Spend some time with your loved ones outdoors this holiday season at the Reedy Creek Nature Preserve where you’ll celebrate as the seasons shift from Fall to Winter.

three adults smile and laugh with a child in front of a Christmas tree in a StayLakeNorman luxury vacation rental


If photos with Santa are part of your Christmas tradition, there are plenty of fully immersive experiences to choose from! The following events will make you and your young ones feel like they’ve landed at the North Pole!

A Classic Christmas in Downtown Mooresville

When: December 9th, 6-9pm

Where: Downtown Mooresville

You’ll not only find Santa in Downtown Mooresville, but you’ll also find ice skating, Christmas carolers, live musical performances, plenty of shopping and dining, hot cocoa and treats, a gingerbread house competition and a life-sized snow globe!

Santa at Birkdale Village

When: November 20th – December 24th

Where: Birkdale Village

The elves have told us that booking an appointment is recommended to ensure a special time with Santa at his North-pole inspired cottage in Birkdale Village. Walk-ups are accepted if time allows.

Zootastic Park Christmas Wonderland of Lights

When: November 18th – January 1st

Where: Zootastic Park

Have you ever heard that Santa has baby kangaroos? He does at Zootastic Park! You’ll also experience 4 million Christmas lights in their drive-thru display. Be sure to stop for hot chocolate, s’mores, and a ride on their carousel or train!


Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t explore the great outdoors and the wonderful winter activities this time of year brings. There is ice skating, hiking, snow tubing and even the option of a Holiday 5k!

Ice Skating at the US National Whitewater Center

When: Mid-November – Mid-February

Where: U.S. National Whitewater Center

The Whitewater River has turned to ice! There are two open skating rinks and an ice trail to explore at the Whitewater Center this year. Also available are hot cocoa, beer, and snacks for all to enjoy!

Light the Knights

When: November 23rd – January 6th

Where: Truist Field

Did someone say snow tubing in Charlotte? Truist Field has transformed into a winter wonderland, with ice skating and hockey rinks, a holiday light show, a Christmas Village complete with European treats, and a 150-foot snow tubing hill!

Huntersville Half Marathon and Holiday 5k

When: December 9th-10th

Where: Huntersville

The Huntersville Holiday 5k starts Friday night at 7pm with the Half-Marathon and 10k event starting on Saturday morning at 8am. Runners can compete in two events if they are up for the challenge!

couple exchanging gifts in front of Christmas tree at a StayLakeNorman luxury vacation rental


If holiday shopping is on your to-do list, you’ll discover plenty of beautiful gifts and one-of-a-kind finds at the many Christmas Markets that come to town. Immerse yourself in these European-style holiday markets where food, music, and shopping abounds.

Weihnachtsmarkt Christmas Market

When: December 9th-11th, 16th-18th

Where: The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery

Come experience a German Christmas Village when the Biergarten transforms into a holiday market, complete with shopping, music, lights, food, fire pits, and of course, plenty of beer!

Mistletoe Market

When: December 4th, 11th, 18th

Where: Camp North End

Camp North End transforms into a Winter Wonderland with 25 of the most amazing regional handmade and vintage vendors. You’ll also find dogs in sweaters, marshmallow roasting over an open fire, live music, food, and drink!


With so many museums, cultural centers, performing arts venues, and galleries so close to Lake Norman there is no lack of events that tantalize the senses and engage the intellectual. These December events are ones that every art lover and cultural enthusiast will love.

Charlotte Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”

When: December 9th-23rd

Where: Belk Theater

With live music from the Charlotte Symphony, the Charlotte Ballet’s rendition of “The Nutcracker” is one you won’t want to miss!

Chanukah Concert

When: December 24th

Where: Epstein Family Chabad Center

See Yoel Sharabi perform live on the seventh night of Chanukah during a time of celebration and music. Refreshments will be served and a Menorah lighting will take place. This is a Chanukah event you won’t want to miss!

Kwanzaa Charlotte

When: December 26th – January 1st

Where: Charlotte

Join Kwanzaa Charlotte for 7 days of Kwanzaa celebrations in Charlotte! Each celebration highlights the 7 principles of the Nguzu Saba, which are unity, self-determination, collective and work responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.

Holiday House Tours at Historic Rosedale

When: December 6th – December 22nd

Where: Historic Rosedale

Walk through rooms of Christmas past as you witness a Victorian Christmas Dinner setting in the Great Hall, a 1940’s wartime family parlour decorated for the Holidays, and a cellar kitchen full of traditions of the African-American community at Rosedale.

Holidays Around the World

When: November 25th – December 31st

Where: The Schiele Museum

Take a journey in the James H. Lynn Planetarium & Science Theater as you experience holidays as they are celebrated around the world in this seasonal film.

Winter Solstice Celebration at UUCC

When: December 21st, 5:30pm-7:30pm

Where: Unitarian Universalist Community of Charlotte

There will be crafts, celebration, and hot beverages as you celebrate the Winter Solstice and the returning sun in this multigenerational, outdoor service. Dress warm and bring a chair!


If you’re looking for where to find the best Christmas light displays in Lake Norman and the surrounding areas, look no further than the following list. These Christmas light attractions will take your holiday celebrations to a whole new level.

4th Annual Lake Norman Lighted Boat Parade

When: December 17th, 5:30-7pm

Where: Lake Norman

This is a Lake Norman Christmas Tradition you won’t want to miss! Boats follow a path from Blythe Landing to Ramsey Creek to the Duke Explorium. Be sure to end the festivities with a delicious meal from one of the food trucks stationed at Duke Explorium.

Speedway Christmas

When: November 18th – January 8th

Where: Charlotte Motor Speedway

Less than 30 miles from Lake Norman, the Speedway Christmas at the Charlotte Motor Speedway is one of the Southeast’s largest Christmas holiday traditions. Four million lights follow a four-mile course, set to synchronized Christmas music. The show is open from 6-10pm, rain or shine.

Christmas Town USA

When: December 1st – 26th

Where: McAdenville

Enjoy over a mile of resident’s homes decked out for the holidays in this illuminated Christmas tradition. Viewers can explore by car or foot. Be sure to check the calendar for special events throughout the month.


Whether you enjoy drinking hot cocoa after a long day of ice skating or taking in the lights after a fun day of holiday shopping, Lake Norman has something for everyone. Why not make Lake Norman the holiday destination you return to year after year? Make your holidays magical by spending them in one of our stunning lakefront homes for rent. Start a new tradition when you cozy up in one of our luxury vacation rentals while making the most of this holiday season with the ones you love.

Article Updated December 5th, 2022

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