It’s finally the time of year to see some dazzling displays of Christmas lights! Charlotte, NC has options to drive through thousands of lights, or your family can explore the lights as you walk about. There is something for every family. Plus, many of these events have extra attractions, including snow tubing, ice skating, and visits with Santa.
We even added a few neighborhoods you can drive through to give your kids a quick burst of joy on your way home. So get that hot chocolate ready. Here’s everything you need to enjoy the season with the illuminated magic of lights!
Drive-Through Christmas Lights: Charlotte, NC
One of the most magical things about the holidays is the twinkly, dazzling lights around the city. These professional light displays take that magic to another level! With thousands of LED lights, holiday installations, decorated Christmas trees, and winter wonderland attractions, these drive-through Christmas light displays are an awesome memory maker for your kids.
Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, NC
November 17, 2023 – January 7, 2024
Admission cost: $35 – $175; Weekends are more expensive. Express passes are available for $75 per car.
We love Speedway Christmas. If you want to know more, check out our Kidding Around Review of Speedway Lights at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The annual Speedway Christmas at the Charlotte Motor Speedway is a unique experience that your kids will absolutely love! One of the most popular Christmas Lights events in North Carolina, you’ll be blown away by over 5 million synchronized lights as you drive through a 4-mile course. Plus, you get to drive on the iconic race track! There is also a Christmas Village where you can stop and enjoy an illuminated walking trail, photos with Santa, market vendors, food, and smores by the fire.
Free Christmas Lights in Charlotte, NC
Village Park, Kannapolis, NC
November 19th, 2023 – December 30th, 2023
Admission cost: Free; Train Ride: $2 per person; Carousel: $2 per person
Take a walk through the 250,000 dazzling lights that adorn Village Park in Kannapolis during their annual Celebration of Lights. Your kids will be bursting with excitement to ride the Winterland Express, a train ride that cruises through the light displays. Your family can also enjoy the carousel, make s’mores, visit with Santa, and enjoy Christmas carols. The light displays will not be open on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day, so plan accordingly.
Village Park is an awesome place to visit any time of year. We absolutely love the beautiful carousel. Don’t miss this one! Here’s our Kidding Around Review of Village Park!
December 1, 2023 – December 26, 2023
Admission cost: Free
If you are looking for a truly immersive holiday experience, then Christmas Town USA should be on your holiday bucket list! You can drive through the town and see the astounding number of light displays and decorated houses. Or, you can take a walk around and feel the magic.
Be sure to check out the tree lighting ceremony on December 1st, in addition to the annual Christmas parade and Yule Log Ceremony on December 14th, 2023. We recommend visiting during the week to avoid long lines and cars because this experience is super popular.
Rosie’s Coffee and Wine Bar Decorates for Christmas
940 North Davidson Street, Charlotte
You can enjoy a beautiful Christmas display with your coffee or wine on the patio at Rosie’s Coffee and Wine Bar. Their 2023 display is nearly ready! Get a sneak peek in their Instagram post below.
Walk Through Beautiful Charlotte Christmas Lights
Truist Field, Charlotte, NC
November 22, 2023 – January 1st, 2024
Admission Cost: $10+ for entry only; $40+ for all activities; Ages 3 and under are free
You can take a walk through Truist Field and enjoy over 10,000 lights! They have some pretty epic additions to the lights, including snow tubing, ice skating, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and lots of beautiful, larger-than-life decorations.
You’ll also want to check out The Market, which has 20 vendors selling everything from donuts to glow toys, perfect for your upcoming gift exchange. Be sure to check the schedule before heading to the field if you plan to see Santa, he’s a busy man this time of year and is only available during specific times.
Ballantyne’s Backyard, Charlotte, NC
December 7th, 2023 – December 30th, 2023
Admission cost: $10 – $20 for general admission. Preordering tickets is recommended.
Enjoy the season with a half-mile walk along a trail that is illuminated with over 1 million lights! The display at Ballantyne’s is unique in that the displays, lights, hundreds of decorated trees, and other installations are so strategically designed that you are truly immersed in the lights.
Plus, there is Christmas music to enjoy, an Alpine Avalanche Snow Tube slide, several kid’s activities, performers, food trucks, and nightly visits from Santa. The trail is stroller-friendly, so you can take your time exploring. The tree lighting ceremony happens on opening night, which is sure to be a spectacular experience!
Fun & Festive: Lights Plus Lots of Fun Things to Do
High Seas Minature Golf, Pirate Christmas
What’s better than mini golf? Um, mini golf with lots of Christmas lights of course! Play through the festive course, complete with glowing pirate ships lit by strands and strands of lights. In years past they’ve had a life-size snow globe photo op, snowfalling, and other activities.
Check out this Pirates Christmas video from 2022.
Carowinds, Charlotte, NC
November 17, 2023 – January 1, 2023
Admission cost: $32.99+
Dazzling Christmas light display AND roller coasters! Count us in. Carowinds is already an epic experience, but each winter they break out thousands of lights for Winterfest. You will also enjoy live holiday performances, ice skating, holiday foods, a parade with decorated floats, and more.
Christmas Lights Displays Close to Charlotte, NC
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, Belmont, NC
November 24th, 2023 – December 23rd, 2023
Admission cost: $15 – $25; children under 2 are free.
There is something special about a garden display adorned with lights, especially with its perfectly curated display! Enjoy the dazzling lights, fountains, a cozy outdoor fire, and food trucks while you walk about the botanical garden. Tickets are timed entry, with a 5 pm and 7 pm option. It is recommended to purchase your tickets online, and members receive a discount.
Kings Mountain Christmas Extravaganza
202 South Railroad Ave, Kings Mountain
2023 TBA- Likely end of November through New Year’s Day
Kings Mountain Christmas Extravaganza
Christmas lights with an extraordinary history, hand-made by the Costner family, and taken over by Kings Mountain after their passing, the extravagant Christmas spirit lives on. Bring the family and walk through this amazing display.
Kings Mountain Downtown Christmas Lights
After checking out the Christmas Extravaganza, you can enjoy a free synchronized light show in Downtown Kings Mountain!
If you’re headed towards Upstate, SC, you have lots and lots of options when it comes to Christmas lights. Check them all out in the Kidding Around Guide to Christmas Lights Displays in Greenville, SC.
Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland
Tryon Equestrian Center
Drive time from Charlotte: About an hour and a half
Admission: $30-35 per car, $10-12 per child for Winterfest Village activities (no charge for adults)
Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland and Winterfest Village is a very popular option in Tryon, NC, not too far from the Upstate. The drive-thru light experience at the Tryon Equestrian International Center runs nightly from November 17, 2023 – January 7, 2024, from 6-10 pm. The Winterfest Village is open weekends in December through December 23rd from 5-9 pm with activities like bounce houses, carousel rides and visits with Santa.
Worth the drive from Charlotte, Columbia has a couple of really awesome lights displays. You can check them all out in our Columbia, SC Christmas Lights Guide.
We have two favorites in the Columbia area!
Holiday Lights on the River at Saluda Shoals
6071 St. Andrews Road, Columbia, SC
November 23 through December 31, 2023
Cost: $25 per car; $50 for passenger vans
Holiday Lights on the River is a drive-through Christmas Lights Display in Saluda Shoals. In addition to lights, there are a bunch of activities including a giant slide, smores, letters to Santa, and more.
Holiday Lights on the River is a Columbia favorite. Find out more in our Kidding Around Review of Holiday Lights on the River
Fireflies Holiday Lights
Segra Park, 1640 Freed Street, Columbia
November 16th, 2023- December 31st, 2023
Cost: $10-12 per person
Fireflies Holiday Lights was new last year and we loved our visit. You’ll get to walk through massive lights displays in Segra Park, Columbia’s baseball venue. Then you can enjoy visits with Santa, smores, and even a tree farm!
Great Neighborhoods to See Christmas Lights in Charlotte
If you are looking for a way to see some lights on an evening drive with the kids without having to pay any money, a Christmas lights drive through these Charlotte area neighborhoods will not disappoint. These festive neighborhoods gather each year to decorate their streets to spread the magic of the Christmas season.
Ardrey Neighborhood: This neighborhood goes all out, with most houses participating in decorating their homes. You’ll see Christmas lights, decorated trees, holiday installations, and more. Take a drive through the area, or park and let your kids walk the sidewalks. GPS Wheatfield Road, Charlotte if you need navigation.
Plaza Midwood: The Plaza Midwood has a unique tradition of adorning the tree-lined streets with Christmas light balls! They are colorful and beautiful, making it a great stop while driving around looking for lights with the kids.
Hillside Avenue: If you head near Myers Park in Charlotte, you’ll come across the gorgeous display of lights on Hillside Avenue. Light balls adorn most of the trees, and your kid’s eyes will sparkle while they enjoy the drive through the neighborhood.
Private Property Displays
1417 Deer Spring Court, Indian Trail, NC
This walk through display is lit from 5 pm to 10 pm until January 2nd, 2024
Want to see more Christmas lights? Our sister sites have lots more!
See Christmas Lights Near Greenville, SC.
Enjoy Christmas Lights Near Columbia, SC and the Midlands