Your 5-minute guide to the best things to do in Charlotte | Nov. 27-Dec. 3.

Jillian Mueller
·4 min read

Editor’s note: During COVID-19 reopening Phase 3 in North Carolina, mass gatherings are limited to 10 people inside and 50 outside. Outdoor and entertainment venues, amusement parks and bars also have capacity limits. When arriving at an event, please use your best judgment about crowd size and safety and leave if it appears you cannot socially distance properly. It’s up to all of us to prevent community spread of the coronavirus.


Drive in and watch classic Christmas movie “Elf” at the Ballantyne Drive-in Movie Series. All proceeds benefit the Second Harvest Food Kitchen of Metrolina. Cars are allowed on a first come, first serve basis, so arrive early to secure your spot. 7:10 p.m. 14120 Ballantyne Corporate Place. $30 per car.

Kick off the holiday season with a stroll through the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden’s Holidays at the Garden lights display. Purchase your tickets in advance and arrive for a 90-minute time slot to wander through the gardens, roast marshmallows and grab a snack from food trucks. 5-8 p.m. 6500 S. New Hope Road, Belmont. Adult $14.95 senior (60+) $12.95, child ages 2-12 $7.95, child under 2 free.

Advance tickets are required this year for Holidays at the Garden at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden.
Advance tickets are required this year for Holidays at the Garden at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden.

Colder weather means that it is stout season for Charlotte beer lovers. Stop by NoDa Brewing for the Purely Intentional Breakfast Stout Release. This collaborative new beer is made with Pure Intentions coffee beans and has a 6.4% ABV. Noon-10 p.m. 2921 N. Tryon St. Free admission.


Skip the trip to the big box store and shop your favorite small businesses on Small Business Saturday. Starting this weekend, South End Charlotte will host an outdoor pop-up vendor market at different locations in the neighborhood each Saturday through Dec. 19. This weekend, you can shop til you drop at Atherton Plaza. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 2140 South Blvd. Free admission.

Check out live music from local performing artists at locations all around Charlotte with the Music Everywhere CLT Communities in Concert series. Catch free live shows at 7th Street Market, Reid’s Fine Foods in South Park, the South End Farmers market and more. There are also livestream shows for those hunkering down at home. For showtimes and locations, visit

Make your home into a cozy winter getaway with a little elbow grease and these tips from local interior designers. Check out our suggestions for adding an outdoor living space to your abode for hosting socially distant guests and enjoying the great outdoors from your own backyard.


See a livestream performance from Jackie O’ and the All of Us Band at the Jazz N Soul Inspirations virtual concert. 7 p.m. Free with pre-registration.

Bundle up and come out for a Party at the Park at the Mint Museum Randolph. Enjoy live music from The Mike Strauss band, bites from the Wrap ‘N Roll Food Truck, and a cash bar on the front terrace. 1-4 p.m. 2730 Randolph Road. Free admission.


Spend your lunch break with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra for an interactive, livestream performance at the CSO Healing Hands: Sounds of the Season concert. Enjoy live music, conversations with the musicians and the opportunity to ask the orchestra members questions. 11 a.m. Free with pre-registration.

Watch the Belmont Christmas Tree Lighting. Join us in front of City Hall for the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony. After the festivities, participants will stroll down Main Street for the kickoff of the Festival of Trees in Stowe Park. 6 p.m. 115 N. Main St., Belmont. Free admission.


Visit McAdenville, also known as Christmas Town, USA to see a charming small town decked out in a light display that has earned recognition from USA TODAY. Drive through the town to see the lights and stop at a local restaurant for a socially distanced dinner. The lights will be up through Dec. 26. 5:30-10 p.m. McAdenville, NC. Free admission.

Lights will be up in McAdenville through Dec. 26.
Lights will be up in McAdenville through Dec. 26.


Support small businesses while shopping online with the Merry Maker’s Virtual Market. Check out art and goods from over 77 vendors without leaving your couch. Market is available online 24/7. Free admission.


Watch the SeaLife Aquarium sparkle at the Sea of Lights. See the aquarium lit up with over 10,000 lights, have a socially distanced dance party, write a letter to your favorite fish friend and do a festive self-led craft. All activities are included in the price of admission. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 8111 Concord Mills Blvd. $21.95 for adults, $14.95 for children.

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