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Spring in Charlotte, NC: Activities & Things to Do

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Are you looking for things to do this spring in Charlotte, NC? We have lots of family-friendly ideas to keep you and the kids busy and having fun together. Grab the camera, you’re going to be making some memories this spring.

Spring in Charlotte, NC

We have lots of things to do this spring for you, including Easter Events, spring flowers, parks to explore, and lots more spring fun in Charlotte, NC

Easter in Charlotte, NC

If you’re looking for Easter Egg Hunts and other Easter activities, you’ll want to check out our Kidding Around Guide to Easter Egg Hunts in Charlotte, NC. It’s loaded with Easter Egg Hunts and events all over Charlotte and the surrounding areas. We even have some themed day trip ideas you won’t want to miss!

Easter Egg Hunt: Charlotte NC

Don’t Miss Any of the Easter Fun

Easter Egg Hunts in Charlotte, NC.

Spring Break

If you’re looking specifically for Spring Break things to do in Charlotte, NC, we have an entire guide for that! It’s full of adventures indoors and out so you can have fun together no matter the weather, plus day trip ideas and even some unique travel ideas.

Spring Break Guide to Charlotte, NC

Kidding Around’s Guide to Spring Break in Charlotte, NC

Spring Activities in Charlotte, NC

Pick Flowers!

Springtime means tulips and daffodils are blooming. What better way to enjoy them than an afternoon spent at a flower farm? There are several flower farms near Charlotte and within an easy day trip drive where you can visit and even pick your own flowers. Make a pretty spring bouquet for your home.

Play Outdoors

Looking for a place to play outside? Here are a few parks we love!

Village Park in Kannapolis has an antique carousel and a small train in addition to their fun playground. With picnic spots, restrooms on site, and paved walking trails, you can spend the whole day here.

Carousel at Village Green Park

Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park in Belmont, NC is a great spot to enjoy spring by the river. There’s a newly constructed playground on site, plus picnic areas, picnic shelters, and restrooms. Perhaps the coolest part of this park is the beautiful dock with bench swings that extend out into the river. Have your own kayak? You can launch for free from this park!

Go for a Hike

We LOVE heading out on a hike to see a gorgeous waterfall. It’s really one of the best ways to enjoy spring weather that we can think of. If you agree, try one of these Waterfalls near Charlotte. For something really unique, head to Western North Carolina and try this Waterfall Driving Tour.

Or, check out Anne Springs Close Greenway. You’ll find beautiful trails, events and even places to dine at this park.

Visit ZMAX Dragway for the April NHRA Event

The NHRA Four-Wide event returns to ZMAX April 26th-28th, 2024. We got to experience an NHRA Event at ZMAX last year and it was so much fun, especially for our kids. Every ticket is a pit pass at NHRA events which means you can get close to the cars, watch the teams work and even ask questions. Kids’ tickets are just $10!

ZMAX Funny Car being towed
Things to Do in Charlotte, NC

There are lots and lots more things to do in Charlotte!

Check out our HUGE Things to Do in Charlotte Guide.

Or, try this list of FREE Things to Do in Charlotte, NC

Celebrate Easter: Bunny, Events & Easter Egg Hunts: Charlotte, NC (2024)

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Are you looking for Easter activities, bunny brunches, and the perfect Easter Egg hunt? Charlotte, NC is full of events to celebrate the Easter season. Really, there are just so many events. To help you keep track of them and find the absolute best events and Easter Egg hunts for your kiddos, we created this list. We’ll be maintaining it all season long.

Bookmark this list, because we are just getting started! We’ll be updating this list all season long!

Want your event included? Email Maria@kiddingaroundcharlotte.com

Easter Egg Hunt: Charlotte NC

Find the Perfect Easter Egg Hunt: Charlotte, NC

Saturday, March 16th, 2024: Charlotte NC Easter Egg Hunts

Naturalist Egg Hunt: March 16th, 2024 from 10 am to 12 pm or 1 pm to 3 pm. Kids will make binoculars and search for replicas of real bird eggs hidden throughout SEED Wildlife & Children’s Garden. Kids will learn about songbirds and enjoy light refreshments. $25 for members and $30 for non-members, purchase tickets in advance.

Zeta Easter Egg Hunt: March 16th, 2024 from 12 pm to 3 pm. Free and open to the public at the Zeta House, there will be several egg hunts divided by age, plus face painting, bounce houses, games and more. 4248 Beatties Ford Road, Charlotte

March 20th, 2024 (Wednesday)

Easter Egg Hunt at Martha Rivers Park: March 20th, 2024 at 6 pm. There will thousands of toy and sticker-filled eggs at this event and kids will hunt by age group. Parents are only allowed to help kids ages 2 and under. Gastonia, NC

March 22, 2024 (Friday)

Eggs in the Park: March 22, 2024 6 pm to 8 pm. The City of Lowell, NC will hide 6,000 eggs for this Easter Egg Hunt. Kids will be divided into hunts by age. Harold Rankin Park, Lowell, NC

Saturday, March 23rd, 2024 Easter Egg Hunt: Charlotte, NC

Hop to It: March 23rd, 2024 10 am to 1 pm. Indian Trail Parks and Recreation hosts this event at Chestnut Square Park. They will have egg hunts, photos with the East Bunny, crafts, and games The first hour of the hunt will be an inclusive egg hunt for those of differing abilities that will include different types of eggs including beeping eggs, magnetic eggs, and elevated eggs. FREE, 320 Chestnut Parkway Indian Trail

South End Spring Fling: March 23rd, 2024 10 am to 12 pm. This event at Pritchard Church will have egg hunts, vendors, food trucks, and face painting. It’s family and pet-friendly. Get your free tickets to Southend Spring Fling. 1117 South Boulevard Charlotte, NC, FREE

Easter Egg-Stravaganza: March 23rd, 2024 10 am to 1 pm at Lake Corriher Park in China Grove, NC. This one is free, with several age-designated egg hunts, Easter Bunny, and even a little petting zoo.

Piedmont Social House Easter Egg Hunt: March 23rd, 2024 10 am to 1 pm with egg hunts for kids 12 and under and free photos with the Easter Bunny with your own camera/phone.

Tom Sykes Recreation Center Bunny Brunch and Egg Hunt: March 23rd, 2024 from 10 am to 11:30 am. The cost is $12 for bunny brunch, Easter crafts, and an egg hunt at Dillworth Playground.

Greater Church Eggstravaganza: March 23rd, 2024 from 2 pm to 5 pm. This is a FREE event with a mega egg hunt, recreational activities, food vendors and more.

March 28th, 2024 (Thursday)

Sugaw Creek Recreation Center Spring Easter Egg Hunt: March 28th, 2024 at 6 pm. Register in advance. Kids will be broken into groups by age. FREE

Saturday, March 30th, 2024: Easter Egg Hunts in Charlotte, NC

Rama Swim Club Easter Egg Hunt: March 30th, 2024 10:30 am to 1 pm. In addition to an Easter Egg hunt, there will also be a petting zoo, Boba Tea Bar, food trucks, and face painting. 6109 Wheeler Drive, Charlotte

The Community Cookout & Egg Hunt: March 30th, 2024 11 am to 2 pm. In addition to a free egg hunt for kids ages 0 to 12, there will also be free hot dog plates for everyone, plus live music, games, and activities. 150 North Research Campus Drive, Kannapolis, NC

Mr. Putty’s First Annual Easter Egg Hunt: March 30th, 2024 from 9 am to 11 am. This is a free event with thousands of eggs hidden throughout the miniature golf course. Tega Cay coffee will also be handing out FREE coffee.

Downtown Belmont Easter Egg Hunt: March 30th, 2024 11 am to 1 pm at Stowe Park with Easter egg hunts, face painting, and pictures with the Easter Bunny. Bring your own basket.

Spring Craft Fair and Easter Egg Hunt: March 30th, 2024 10 am to 3 pm. Free hot dog plates, free Easter bunny photos, egg hunts on the hour beginning at 11 am, plus vendors. Idlewild Baptist Church, Mathews, NC

Eggstravaganza: March 30th, 2024 from 10:30 am to 12 pm. This Easter Egg hunt is for toddlers and preschool through 5th grade. Registration is requested. Free

Birkdale Village Easter Egg Hunt: March 30th, 2024 from 9 am to 10:30 am. The first annual Birkdal Village Easter Egg Hunt is free and open to the public, with egg hutns at 9 am and 10 am divided by age (3 and under at 9 am and 4-7 at 10 am). The Easter Bunny will also be available for photos.

Don’t forget to head over to our Kidding Around Charlotte Facebook page and our Community page where you can tell us your favorites and share any events we missed!

More Easter Activities

Donuts with Duck and Bunny: March 23rd, 2024 at 9 am, 10 am and 11 am. Purchase tickets in advance Tickets go on sale January 22, 2024. Each table is $10 and includes one donut per person and a family table craft.

2024 Easter Bunny Run 5K & Festival: March 30th, 2024. This event includes a 5k, fun run, and totally FREE festival that will have food trucks, music, crafts and even dancing with the Easter Bunny from 9 am to 11 am.

Free Photos with the Easter Bunny

March 15th, 2024: Kendra Gives Back: Free Photos with the Easter Bunny at Kendra Scott (Jewelry), 16805 Birkdale Commons Parkway, Huntersville, partnered with the Absolute Hope Foundation. 20% of profits from purchases will go to the Absolute Hope Foundation.

Hop to Midtown, on March 23rd, 2024 from 11 am to 2 pm, get a free photo with the Easter Bunny taken by a professional photographer, plus enjoy face painting and a live DJ.

Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops offer free visits and free professional photos with the Easter Bunny every year. Find out more about Bass Pro Shops FREE Easter Bunny Photos in our review and check back soon for 2024 information!

Easter Bunny Family photo at Cabelas
Thanks to our readers for sending us this cute photo.

More Easter Events Worth the Drive

Want more Easter?

Plan a day trip to the Upstate and try one of these Easter Egg Hunts in Greenville, SC or head to the midlands for Easter in Columbia, SC.

Spring Festival at Museum of the Waxhaws Saturday, March 23rd, 2024 from 10 am to 3 pm. FREE family event with egg hunt, crafts, visits with the Easter Bunny and living history demonstrations. Waxhaw, NC

Sharpe House Easter Tea and Egg Hunt 2024 Saturday, March 23rd, 2024 from 11 am to 4 pm. This event is an Easter Tea and egg hunts. There are 3 different seatings at 11 am, 12:45 pm, and 2:30 pm, and the egg hunts will be after the tea. Purchase tickets in advance. Statesville, NC

Take a Ride on the Easter Bunny Express at the South Carolina Transportation Museum. Tickets are available for March 23rd and March 30th, 2024. There are five trains each day and they will fill up, so get your tickets in advance! Winnsboro, SC

5 Valentine’s Day Cards Free! Print or Make These EASY cards right now!

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Valentine’s Day cards for kids do not have to be complicated or expensive. No, you don’t have to include candy, stickers, tattoos, or any other little trinket that’s got a pretty good chance of being dropped on the way home anyway. A simple card that says “Hey, thanks for being my friend,” is heartfelt and in keeping everything good about Valentine’s Day. Of course, you can include little gifts if you’d like to and they do make the Valentine’s Day festivities at school a little more sparkly. Either way, here are some ideas for FREE (or very cheap) Valentines.

free printable valentine's day cards

Valentine’s Day Charlotte, NC (2024): The Premier Guide

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Are you ready to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Charlotte, NC? Our 2024 Charlotte, NC Valentine’s Guide is full of ideas to help you celebrate. We have date ideas, restaurant suggestions, parent’s night out events for Valentine’s Day childcare, family things to do to celebrate, and lots more!

Valentine's Day Charlotte, NC

Fun Date Ideas

If you’re looking for something a little different for a date night this Valentine’s Day, check out our list of fun & unique date ideas in Charlotte, NC. We have more than 17 ideas to help you plan that no-so-ordinary date.

Our list even has some totally free ideas that really are fun. So, you can get out to celebrate Valentine’s Day, even if you’re on a tight budget.

Special Valentine’s Events

These events would make a great date night!

Valentine’s Paint & Plant at NoDa Brewing Company on January 30th, 2024: Paint a planter and pot your plant, while enjoying a favorite beverage.

Adult Valentine’s Day Cooking Class at Flour Power in Charlotte on February 2nd, 2024. Learn to make chocolate-covered strawberries, Chicken Marsala, and molten lava cakes.

French Macaroon Workshop at Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen, from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm on February 9th, 2024.

Valentine’s Day Comedy Show at Cloudcheck Hookah&Daiquiri Bar on February 14th, 2024 at 10 pm.

Free Comedy Show at Pilot Brewing on February 14th, 2024 from 7 to 8:30 pm.

Romantic Restaurants in Charlotte, NC

If a nice meal out together is more your thing, check out our list of Romantic Restaurants in Charlotte. We have several fine-dining options on the list, plus a few more casual date-night restaurant ideas we love.

If we missed your favorite romantic restaurant, let us know! Pop over to our Kidding Around Charlotte Facebook page and send us a message. We want to hear all about why it’s your favorite!

Valentine’s Day in Charlotte with the Kids

Make a free Valentine’s Basket at the Home Depot Kids Workshop on February 3rd, 2024. Free event

Make a free Cactus Valentine’s Bag at JCPenney Kids Zone craft event on February 10th, 2024 at 11 am. Free event

SAS Cupcakes: Frost cupcakes, enjoy a story and a craft at SAS Cupcakes Valentine’s Story Time on February 9th at 10:30 am and February 10th at 10:30 am.

Confetē Soirée and Play in Huntersville is offering a Valentine event with cookie decorating and a craft, plus open play and snacks on Valentine’s Day February 14th at 10 am. The event is $20.

Watch! Our Valentine’s Ideas for a Family Celebration

We joined Fox Carolina, Access Carolina to talk about Valentine’s ideas for celebrating with the whole family.

Valentine’s Day Childcare: Parent’s Night Out

Parent’s Night Out Programs (also known as Kids’ Night Our Programs) are a great option if you need childcare to get a date night out. These events may not be exactly on February 14th, but you can pick one in February and celebrate a little early or a little late. You’ll likely avoid the restaurant crowds when you go this route anyway, which is pretty great in our opinion.

Flour Power in Charlotte, NC offers a Kids Night Out Program every other Friday. This cooking program includes dinner and dessert!

The Flour Power location in Fort Mill, SC also offers a Kids Night Program every other Friday.

The YMCA of Greater Charlotte offers several Kids Night Our Programs at its locations. You’ll find them arranged by age group on Fridays and some Saturdays. The program includes games, stories, crafts, and more. Current February options are on February 2nd, February 9th, February 10th, February 16th, and February 23rd. Cost and times vary by location but in general they are in the early evening hours and on average $40 for non-members and $30 for members.

The Mecklenburg County Recreation Depart sometimes offers Kids Night Out programs. Their February 16th Kids Night Out event is full, but keep them in mind for future events!

Perfect Balance Training Center in Charlotte offers a Parents Night Out program once a moth on Saturday from 5:30 to 8:30 pm for both members and non-members. the event is $25 when you register in advance and includes pizza, a drink and gym time. The next event is on February 17th, 2024.

Life Time Charlotte offers lots of Parents Night Out options including a Valentine’s Day Party for kids ages 4 to 8 on February 10th, plus other themed nights including a painting party, tween takeover, and superhero event.

GymFit Sports Center is offering a parents night out program on February 10th at 6 pm. The cost is $40 ($30 for additional siblings) and includes dinner, a movie and bounce houses/trampolines.

Charlotte Martial Arts Academy is offering a Dodgeball Party Parent’s Night Out on February 24th, 2024 from 5 pm to 9 pm and the cost is $25.

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Greenville, SC: Travel With KAG!

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Planning a visit to Greenville, SC? Travel to the area is booming, and we’re so glad you’re here! We love our little city (and so does The New York Times, Forbes, and Southern Living!) because there’s so much for everyone to see, do, and eat.

Art connoisseurs, outdoor enthusiasts, foodies, and history buffs will all find something to enjoy while visiting Greenville. And, of course, families have an incredible amount of opportunities to make memories here. So, since you’re planning to visit, we wanted to make your planning a little easier by giving you a list of our top recommendations for places to eat, places to stay, and things to do in Greenville… as well as a guide to parking in downtown Greenville.


10 Best Romantic Restaurants in Charlotte, NC

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In need of one of The Queen City’s perfect date night restaurants? Charlotte, NC knows how to create ambiance and a romantic atmosphere for couples through exceptional dining experiences. These 10 romantic restaurants in Charlotte, NC are certain to make date night even more special. These restaurants are perfect for a night out, Valentine’s Day, or any special occasion with your loved one. We have collected fine dining establishments in addition to some affordable options, so you can fit a date night into your budget!

Date night restaurants near Charlotte, North Carolina

Best Fine-Dining, Romantic Restaurants in Charlotte, NC

For any special occasion, finding the perfect restaurant that is luxurious and offers a unique experience is top of the list. These fine-dining date night restaurants in Charlotte, NC will make for the perfect night along with a wonderful memory.

The Fig Tree Restaurant

1601 East 7th Street, Charlotte, NC

The Fig Tree is the epitome of fine dining and romance. With an expansive wine list and main course meals like Veal Osso Buco and Pekin Duck Breast over Creamy Pumpkin Polenta, you will be dazzled by the restaurant’s curated menu. The atmosphere is cozy and warm, a perfect setting for a romantic evening.


4620 Piedmont Row Drive Suite 170B, Charlotte, NC 

If you are looking for a restaurant with a wow factor, then Peppervine is the place. With locally sourced ingredients, craft cocktails, and a large selection of worldly wines, you are certain to impress your date. The restaurant is known for its small plates shares with items like Thai Pork Spare Ribs and Spanish Octopus, or you can indulge in a large plate option of items like Lamb Pappardelle. Just, save room for dessert!


715 Providence Road, Charlotte, NC

There is nothing quite like Italian food, it originates from one of the most romantic countries in the world! Stagioni is highly recommended and with modern Italian options like Truffle Tagliatelle, Duck Confett Gnocchi, and Spicy Braised Lamb Cavatelli, it’s easy to see why. Plus, you can order to go if you want to bring the delicious menu back to the coziness of your own home. However, it’s hard to pass on the supreme romantic ambiance and vibes of dining at Stagioni.

McNinche House

511 North Church Street, Charlotte, NC

Wanting to go a little more luxury? Then McNinche House is the ultimate fine dining experience. With three, four, and five-course dining options, you will spend the evening feeling the sparks fly between you and your partner while enjoying some of the best food you’ll ever have. If you’re already going all out, we recommend the 5 Course Chef’s Tasting, because Chef knows best! The restaurant is inside a Victorian house in the Fourth Ward, so dining is set up in various rooms with variations in decor and ambiance, all of which are stunningly romantic.

More Affordable: Best Date Night Restaurants: Charlotte, North Carolina

Date night doesn’t always have to be some extravagant experience. Sometimes it’s more about quality time with someone you love. These restaurants are perfect for a laid-back, low-key date night with good food, great drinks, and lots of love!

Alexander Michaels

401 West 9th Street, Charlotte, NC
No Reservations Accepted

In need of a date night restaurant that is a little more affordable, but also has pub vibes? Alexander Michaels is loved by Charlotte locals, and with a relaxed vibe and warm lighting, it would make a great low key first-date option.


$$ – $$$
1601 Elizabeth Avenue, Charlotte, NC

With handcrafted cocktails, pasta dishes like Blue Crab Ravioli and Beef Tartare, and small plate options to share, Customshop is a wonderful option for a date night spot. The restaurant prides itself on sourcing high-quality local goods from farms and purveyors, giving a regional touch to the menu. Plus, it was voted one of Charlotte Magazine’s Top 50 restaurants.

Gibson Mill Market in Concord

325 McGill Avenue NW, Concord, NC
No Reservations Required

Just a short drive north of Charlotte, you’ll find Gibson Mill Market. Date night here would be casual and fun! You can grab a brew from one of the 3 breweries, dine at one of many food hall-style restaurants inside the mill, and then head downstairs to play board games together at Luck Factory Games. There is also an escape room called The Valcarol Missions. Sounds like the perfect date night to me!

Gibson Mill and Market in Concord, North Carolina

The Market at Gibson Mill makes for the perfect laid-back date night!


131 North Main Street, Davidson, NC

Looking for someplace fresh and farm-to-table? Kindred regularly changes its menu, so you can enjoy a date here with your significant other regularly and still have a new and unique dining experience. The restaurant is in the Davidson College area, with laid-back vibes to match.

Dilworth Tasting Room

300 East Tremont Avenue, Charlotte, NC 
Southpark Location: 4905 Ashley Park Lane, Charlotte, NC

Date night wouldn’t be complete without some handcrafted cocktails! Dilworth Tasting Room takes crafting cocktails seriously, and you’ll find gorgeous drinks, delicious wine, and a complimentary menu that will elevate date night to spectacular. Plus, they have special nights you can enjoy throughout the week with wine flights, jazz music, and ½ off-wine deals. 

300 East

300 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC

Nothing says charming quite like a restaurant located inside a renovated house. 300 East has a quirky charm to it and serves sharable plates, salads and sandwiches, and entrees like Bronzed Sesame Salmon and Grilled Gorgonzola Cream Filet. They also have some tasty-looking cocktails too.

Whitewater Center Ice Skating: The Family Day You’ve Been Looking For in Charlotte, NC

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What is it like to ice skate outdoors at the Whitewater Center in Charlotte, NC? The National Whitewater Center offers ice skating from November through mid-February annually and it is totally a blast. My husband and I had an absolutely wonderful time with our teen and pre-teen-aged kids. If you’re thinking about a visit to try some ice skating, we’ve got all the information for you, plus our parent’s review of skating at the Whitewater Center.

Ice skating at the Whitewater Center

About Whitewater Center Ice Skating

If you aren’t familiar with the National Whitewater Center, it is a large outdoor sports facility with many options like climbing, ziplines, ropes courses, mountain biking, and lots more. Tickets can be purchased for a full day of activities or just a single activity. We purchased tickets for ice skating only. The $25 per person fee covered a day of skating as well as our skating rentals.

We visited specifically to go ice skating at the Whitewater Center. The skating surfaces here are unique, much more than a simple oval rink. There are several skating areas for free skating, as well as loops of skating trails. The areas are divided into two sections of ice, which makes for a lot more variety than your typical ice rink!

The first section consists of two free skating areas, and an ice trail surrounding them. In the middle of this area is an off-ice island with benches, high-top tables, and a cute airstream trailer selling hot chocolate and other beverages. The second skating section is a large ice trail loop full of meandering twists and curves. Go around the loop as many times as you want, and you can freely move between the two skating areas!

Ice trails, ice skating at the National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, NC

Arriving to Skate

Our first piece of advice is to purchase your tickets and fill out your waivers online. It was easy to do online and it made the process when we arrived ridiculously simple.

When you arrive at the National Whitewater Center, you’ll pay to park ($12) and helpful staff will direct you to the parking lots closest to your planned activities. For skating, once you park, you’ll walk from the parking lot, past a pavilion with restrooms, and down a gravel path to the River Center where you’ll check in. You CAN purchase tickets and fill out waivers here if you need to.

Arriving at 11 am on a Saturday morning we did not wait in line at all. We were able to wall right up to the counter and show them our tickets to be scanned, then it was down the counter to grab our rental skates. Easy as pie.

There are lockers available here if you’d like to leave your personal items locked up. But, most people seemed to just leave their shoes tucked under benches. This is what we did, along with a few discarded jackets as the day went on, and we had no problems.

From the skate rental area, it’s an easy walk down the rubber mats to the first skating surface. And that’s it, you’re ready to skate!

Video Review:

What’s it like to go ice skating at the Whitewater Center? See for yourself in our video tour!

What’s Special About Skating at Whitewater? Parent Review

Our trip to go skating at Whitewater was a day trip. We drove about an hour and a half to get to the Whitewater Center and it was totally worth it. I’ve never gone skating anywhere that wasn’t an oval skating rink. This was so much more interesting, and even when there were quite a few people on the ice, it didn’t feel crowded.

While we’re at it, let’s talk about that crowd. Some skaters clearly had significant ice skating skills, and then there were those, like us, who did not. So, don’t worry if you don’t know how to skate. Rails surround the skating spaces and line the ice trails and you can hang on all the way around if you want!

Arriving at about 11 am was perfect as there were very few people on the ice. It was a bit more crowded as it got into the afternoon, but there was still plenty of space.

Ice skating trails

Eating at the Whitewater Center

Beside the skating area is the Trail Center where you can order from a small menu of soups, chili, and sandwiches. There’s both indoor and outdoor space to enjoy your food, including several fire pits beside Adirondack chairs overlooking the skating rinks.

We did not get lunch when we were at the Whitewater Center, but we did enjoy some hot chocolate from the airstream trailer on the ice! The trailer only serves beverages, but it was such a nice spot to stop and relax for a few minutes of a skating break

The Whitewater Center also has a sit-down, full-service restaurant on site, called River’s Edge.

Hours for the food and beverage services around the center change from day to day. Check the food and beverage portion of the Whitewater website for hours on the day of your visit.

Hot chocolate at Whitewater Center Ice Skating

All the Things Parents Want to Know

How much is ice skating at the Whitewater Center?

$25 per person, and that includes the skate rental. You do not get a discount if you bring your own skates.

When does Whitewater Center Ice Skating open?

Ice Skating is available at the Whitewater Center from mid-November through mid-February. Daily hours change. Check the calendar at the Whitewater Center for pass activity hours to find the hours on the day you’d like to visit. Don’t forget that current weather conditions can change what is available so checking in on the status of activities the day of your visit is advisable.

Ice skating at Whitewater Center

Who will enjoy ice skating at the Whitewater Center?

  • Anyone who can walk is allowed to skate, so even younger tots can enjoy the ice. For little ones, I’d recommend visiting earlier in the day to have as much ice to yourselves as possible.
  • This was an activity that all my kids really enjoyed, even my hard-to-please teens who initially weren’t terribly happy with the prospect of a “family day.”

What does it cost to park at the Whitewater Center?

Parking is $12 per car. There is lots of parking available, so you shouldn’t have any trouble! And, the parking attendants can give you directions towards your desired activities.

Restrooms are plentiful. In fact, you’ll find some clean restrooms right beside the parking lot, which is perfect after a longer drive. You’ll also find clean restrooms between the skating area and the skate rental building. You can’t wear skates into the restrooms though, so, we highly recommend you visit the restrooms before you lace up!

Waivers must be filled out. I highly recommend doing this in advance to save time when you arrive! You can easily fill them out online when you purchase tickets.

Ice skating at Whitewater Center

Go Ice Skating at the National Whitewater Center

5000 Whitewater Center Parkway
Charlotte, NC
Whitewater Center Website: Ice Skating

5+ Places for FREE Sledding: Charlotte, NC

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Hoping for some snow for a little sledding? Charlotte, NC doesn’t get a lot of snow so if you’re tired of waiting, you can plan a totally free little day trip up to the mountains for some sledding. Really! These spots are just a couple of hours’ drive from Charlotte, and they are A LOT more likely to have snow.

Places for Snow sledding, Charlotte, NC

Of course, if you want a “guaranteed” snow-ish experience you can visit any of the snow tubing places near Charlotte, NC. But if there’s snow in the mountains, and you come armed with a sled and a good sense of fun (and maybe a thermos of hot cocoa and some favorite snacks) you can have a great time without spending any more money than the gas it takes to chase down that snow.

Check out these free sledding hills you can visit.

Free Sledding Hill in Beech Mountain, North Carolina

About 2 1/2 hours from Charlotte, NC

In addition to the Beech Mountain Ski Resort, the city offers a free sledding hill behind the Brick Oven Pizzeria at 110 Bark Park Way, Beech Mountain. This new sledding hill location is considered much safer than the previous hill behind the visitor’s center. There is more parking, the hill is fenced in, and there is no longer a power pole in the middle of the run. You’ll also find a bathroom and playground, so you can stay all day.

The Sledding Hill is open seven days a week, weather permitting. And, the city will often make snow for this hill, giving you lots more opportunities for sledding even if nature isn’t being cooperative. This is the only free sledding hill we know about that makes snow.

Blowing Rock, North Carolina Sledding

1 hour and 45 minutes from Charlotte, NC

Blowing Rock, North Carolina has several parks that offer a great opportunity for snow play!

Boone, North Carolina: Sledding Spots

2 hours from Charlotte, NC

Boone, NC sees a fair bit of snow, which means they have several parks used for winter fun. If snow is on the ground, these parks would be fun to visit for sledding. Of course Boone is a fun town for a day trip anyway, so just pack your sleds and boots and be ready for an adventure.

Check conditions before you go: Use the town of Boone’s webcam so you can check up on the snow status in real-time!

  • Moses H. Cone Memorial Park: Hills for sledding and even cross-country ski trails
  • Daniel Boone Park is a public park that offers sledding on Strawberry Hill. (Be sure to stop for a bathroom break before you head to the park because the restrooms are closed during the winter months.

Getting to some of these spots can be a challenge at times due to weather. The Blue Ridge Parkway often closes during inclement weather, making spots along this highway difficult to access.

But, this road closure can actually be really fun. When the road closes to traffic, it is open for walking, using snow shoes, and it even offers families a unique opportunity to sled right on the road. For road closure information, visit the Road Closures on the Blue Ridge Parkway page. To take a peek at what Milepost 241 on the Parkway looks like, head to the Bluffs Restaurant Webcam.

For more safety tips and info about The Blue Ridge Parkway in winter, head to the Blue Ridge Parkway Facebook page.

Brevard, North Carolina: Sledding Spots

2 1/2 hours from Charlotte, NC

Enjoy Winter in Charlotte, NC: The Premier Guide

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Are you looking for things to do this winter in Charlotte, NC? Winter has arrived! That means it’s time for all the activities the cooler weather lets us enjoy, from winter hikes to snow tubing, great family dining to awesome indoor play places. We created our Kidding Around Charlotte Winter Guide to help you plan your family’s fun! No reason to stay home and be bored!

Charlotte, NC Winter Things to Do

Outdoor Things to Do This Winter: Charlotte, NC

Snow Tubing

The ultimate family-fun winter day, snow tubing. There are lots of places about a 2-hour drive from Charlotte where you can head for a day of winter fun on a snow tube.

Here’s our list of places to go snow tubing near Charlotte, NC.

Ice Skating

Charlotte’s Whitewater Center is the place to go for ice skating in the winter. They offer skating from mid-November through mid-February, making it a true winter season offering. Day tickets for skating are $25 and that includes the skate rental and use of the 24,000 square foot skating space. The ice is unlike other rinks and is made up of 4 distinct skating areas, connected by ice trails.

Ice skating at the Whitewater Center


Even if there’s no snow on the ground in Charlotte (and let’s face it, there probably isn’t), you can still enjoy some free winter fun with a day of sledding. You’ll just have to drive into the mountains a bit. So toss those sleds in the car and grab the kids’ winter coats. It’s time to go find some snow.

❄️Here’s where to go sledding near Charlotte, NC.

Winter Hikes

Cooler weather can make for some much more enjoyable hiking conditions- less sweat, no humidity, and open views without leaves on the trees. There are places near Charlotte where you can enjoy a cooler weather hike or walk, and of course there are some fabulous day trip hikes you can take in the mountains.

Want to check out some of our winter hikes and see what you’re in for? We made a video for that, because these hikes are seriously gorgeous.

Indoor Things to Do This Winter: Charlotte, NC

Unwind Indoor Play Cafe

With a climbing wall, sandbox, and loads of sensory spaces, the Unwind Indoor Play Cafe is definitely a spot to check out for indoor play time. They even have snacks, coffee and other tdrinks available for purchase so you can make a whole afternoon of it.

Kidding Around Charlotte got to visit to review the play cafe, and we had a great time! Check it all out in our review: Unwind Indoor Play Cafe

Ninja Nation

Head up to Huntersville, NC for open gym time at Ninja Nation. Kids (and adults) can try out all their ninja skills on Ninja Nation’s course equipment in their super clean gym. We loved the friendly staff.

Here’s our full review of Ninja Nation.

Open Gym at Ninja Nation is for ages 5 and up. They offer open gym Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm, Monday through Thursday from 4 pm to 7 pm and Friday from 4 pm to 8 pm.

Open gym prices start at $20 for an hour of gym time with options for 2 hours and a full day pass.
14120 Statesville Road Huntersville, NC 28078

Discovery Place Science Museum

Any Charlotte area indoor list would not be complete without Discovery Place. The kids (and adults) will enjoy playing and learning here for hours.

You’ll save a few dollars if you purchase your tickets online. If you plan to visit more than once, a family membership is probably the way to go.

Online ticket prices: $18-19 for children, $23-24 for adults (Children under 2 are free)
Buy tickets online
301 N. Tryon Street, Charlotte

Gibson Mill

Get everyone something to eat that they’ll love at the food hall at Gibson Mill. Hang around and play games or visit the small arcade for a little family fun.

Gibson Mill outdoor seating

Here’s our full review of Gibson Mill.

Still Need More Options?

Things to Do in Charlotte, NC

Discover lots more things to do in our HUGE Charlotte, NC Things to Do Guide

Enjoy Holiday Lights on the River (2023): Columbia, SC

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Looking for an amazing drive-thru light display? Holiday Lights on the River in Columbia, SC may be just what you are looking for. This display features millions of lights along the 3-mile route, with themed sections of the display, lots of animation and family activities like a winter tube slide, hayride and Santa! Here’s everything you need to know about Holiday Lights on the River in Columbia, SC.

Holiday Lights on the River boats
Boats at Holiday Lights on the River, Photo Credit: Jen Husson

Holiday Lights on the River: The Details

The three miles of holiday lights that make up Holiday Lights on the River, make this display one of the largest in the Midlands of South Carolina and well worth the drive from the Upstate. You’ll find creatively themed sections of the display that make this drive-through light experience unique including sports-themed lights to enjoy, plus dinosaurs, trains, fairytales, snowy trees, and armed services.

Here’s a little sneak peek at what you’ll see at Holiday Lights on the River:

It was by far the best drive through display I’ve seen. Lots of movement and animation.

Jen H.
  • Holiday Lights on the River runs from November 23rd through December 31st, 2023.
  • Hours are 6 pm to 10 pm
  • Go early, and plan to wait in line, especially on the weekends
  • The cost is $25 per car / $50 per 12-15 passenger van / $75 for 15+ passenger vans
  • Your ticket includes the additional activities
Holiday Lights on the River
Holiday Lights on the River in Columbia, SC, Photo Credit: Jen Husson

Activities at Holiday Lights on the River

Admission to Holiday Lights on the River includes several activities you can stop and enjoy. However, if you choose not to stop, the lights themselves are still well worth the admission fee.

  • Hayride
  • Winter Wonderland tube slide
  • Laser light show
  • Letter writing station to Santa
  • Santa visits November 24th and 25th, December 1st and 2nd, December 8th and 9th, and December 15th though the 23rd, 2023. Photo packages are an additional cost.
Monster Truck Moose Holiday Lights
Monster Truck Moose at Holiday Lights on the River, Photo Credit: Jen Husson

Want to See Holiday Lights on the River?

Holiday Lights on the River
Saluda Shoals Park
6071 St. Andrews Road
Columbia, SC

Admission: $25 per car, $50 per 12-15 passenger van and limos, $75 per bus, plus a 3% fee for credit cards.

Saluda Shoals Park Holiday Lights
Holiday Lights on the River, Photo Credit: Jen Husson

Ready for more Christmas Lights Near Columbia?

Holiday lights and Christmas lights: Columbia, SC

We have a whole list for you! Really, we did all the work and now you can choose from over 15 Christmas and holiday light displays near Columbia, SC. Our list includes more drive-thru displays, plus free displays, lights you can walk through, and lots more!

Want to visit another of the South’s fabulous Christmas Towns? Here are the Best Christmas Towns of the South.