4330 Westmont Drive
Charlotte, NC 28217
The annual Christmas at the Library celebration at the Billy Graham Library, located off the Billy Graham Parkway, includes a variety of holiday-themed events including a live nativity scene, colorful light displays, horse-drawn carriage rides and live carolers singing holiday music. Guests are welcome to sing along. Caroling and the other holiday events begin at 5 p.m. Earlier in the day, you can tour the Billy Graham Library, visit a petting zoo, shop for gifts at Ruth’s Attic and enjoy holiday goodies such as Mother Graham’s pound cake, cinnamon rolls and hot apple cider in the Dairy Bar. You can also share in a traditional Christmas feast, Thursday through Saturday. The Christmas at the Library celebration runs through December 23, Monday through Saturday, and is free. Additional fees are required for meals and carriage rides, and there’s a $10 parking fee after 3 p.m.
601 E. Park Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28203
Historic Dilworth is one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods with many residences decorated for the holidays. Christmas Eve is a particularly good night to visit, as local residents place candle luminaries along the sidewalks and streets, especially around Latta Park, a tradition since 1980. The wide sidewalks along East Boulevard are ideal for caroling. Afterwards, stop for libations at a local establishment such as the East Boulevard Bar and Grill, 300 East, Lebowski’s or JJ’s Red Hots, a favorite with kids.
100 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
The youngest carolers will enjoy singing along with the Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra, an animatronic group of 18 instrument-toting bears. A long-standing holiday tradition, the orchestra gives free, 45-minute performances of holiday classics in Founders Hall next to the Bank of America Corporate Center in Uptown, decorated for the season with millions of twinkle lights and sparkling trees from the Peppermint Forest. Shows takes place every hour from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., daily through December 27, but check the Orchestra’s Facebook page for updates on the current schedule as performances are canceled during private events. After the show, you can enjoy a casual breakfast or lunch at Taste, or a meal at Aria Tuscan Grill or City Smoke, all located adjacent to Founders Hall.
Alexander Michael’s Tavern
401 W. 9th St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
This historic neighborhood in Uptown is decked for the holidays annually by the Friends of Fourth Ward Association. Imitation gas street lights illuminate brick sidewalks lined with Victorian mansions, many of them over 100 years old, all wearing their Christmas finery. The homeowners here are very welcoming, hosting an annual Holiday Home Tour in early December, and richly deserve some neighborly caroling. The blocks from W. 8th and W. 10th streets, between Poplar and Pine, are home to most of the historic buildings. Stop by Alexander Michael’s Tavern on W. 9th Street, housed in an historic former grocery store, to warm up with some good eats and drinks.
Charlotte, NC 28205
Considered the hippest and most fun of Charlotte’s neighborhoods, Plaza-Midwood in recent years has become the heart of the city’s lighted ball movement. Residents attend workshops every fall to learn to craft chicken wire and LED lights into brightly lit globes that are launched into the old trees leaning over neighborhood streets in the weeks before Christmas. The number of globes grows each year, and they can now be found throughout Plaza-Midwood, but Thomas and Pecan avenues typically have the best displays. Thank the locals for this awesome holiday light tradition with some caroling, then stop by Nova’s Bakery, the Diamond, the Common Market or one of the neighborhood’s many other eateries for refreshments.
Related: A Guide To Christmas Town USA!
With 15 years of experience covering restaurants in Charlotte and the Carolinas, and two regional guidebooks under her belt, Renee Wright examines the dining scene with enthusiasm plus a deep knowledge of food trends and outstanding local eating ops. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.