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Your 5-minute guide to the best things to do in Charlotte | Dec. 3-9

·6 min read

Editor’s note: CharlotteFive has limited coverage of in-person, indoor events to help prevent community spread of COVID-19. Masks are now required in Charlotte and many venues for indoor spaces or close settings.


Shop local art at the First Friday Gallery Crawl in South End. This monthly event features live painting and music, extended shop hours, special receptions and more. At the Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art, view the newest works by Larry Horowitz, along with new works by seven artists in the “Winter Selects” exhibition. Plan to stop by Dilworth Artisan Station, Gallery C3 at Alchemy, Hodges Taylor and StudioWorks Gallery + Artist Collective, as well. 6 p.m. Free. Rail Trail.

Larry Horowitz’s “Snow Shadow.”
Larry Horowitz’s “Snow Shadow.”

Attend the Christmas Tree Lighting at Optimist Hall. In addition to an illumination of the tree, there will be a performance by DJ Vinchy, s’mores at the firepit and a build-your-own hot chocolate bar from the Spindle Bar truck. You can also bring unwrapped toys for the Magical Toy Drive for Salvation Army from Dec. 3-12. The tree lighting event will take place from 6-9 p.m. Free. 1115 N. Brevard St.


Get everything you need for the holidays at Shop Small Saturdays in South End. In the morning, shop Holidays at the South End Farmers Market at Atherton Mill, then stick around for the Shop Small Saturday Market, featuring 30+ vendors at the Design Center. The farmers market will take place from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Shop Small Market will take place from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. 2000-2140 South Blvd.

Celebrate Repeal Day at The Vintage. To commemorate the 88th anniversary of Prohibition’s end in the U.S., The Vintage will host an evening event with period-themed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres including Vespers, Manhattans and shrimp cocktails. The event will also include a midnight Old Forester Signature bourbon toast and a special welcome cocktail developed and barrel-aged by bar manager Rob Florio. Guests are encouraged to dress in ‘20s and ‘30s style. 8:30 p.m. $35 for members, $45 for non-members. 215 E. Worthington Ave.

Commemorate Repeal Day during a special celebration at The Vintage.
Commemorate Repeal Day during a special celebration at The Vintage.


Get even more holiday shopping done at the last Front Porch Sunday of the year. Presented by Esther & Elsa, this open-air market at Sycamore Brewing will host 70+ local businesses, including food trucks and mobile shops. There will also be live music, holiday photo ops and giveaways throughout the day. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. 2161 Hawkins St.

Engage in Slow Flow Yoga at Twigs & Figs. Each Sunday throughout December, the Ballantyne plant shop will host a yoga class to relax the mind, body and spirit throughout the busy holiday season. For 60 minutes, the instructor will guide guests through asanas to relieve stress and pain while bringing balance to the body. This class is open to all levels. 9 a.m. $10 recommended donation to benefit Time Out Youth Charlotte. 15205 John J Delaney Dr., Suite B.


Order a box of the best cookies in the state. Honeybear Bakeshop was recently named the top-ranked spot to get cookies in North Carolina, according to Yelp. Cookie flavors rotate weekly and may include flavors such as milk-and-cookies, Oreo peppermint bark and more. Ordering is available from Sunday to Thursday to take home on Friday. Pick up at 2000 Thrift Road.


If you’re a healthcare worker, teacher, day care worker, police officer, firefighter, grocery store worker or other essential worker, head to Aliño Pizzeria for COVID Heroes Appreciation Day. Show your workplace ID badge for takeout of a complimentary Margherita or Sorrento pizza. Also note: The pizzeria won’t be able to take call-in orders this day. 11:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Dec. 7. 500 S. Main St., Mooresville.

Stop by Alino Pizzeria for COVID Heroes Appreciation Day. 
Stop by Alino Pizzeria for COVID Heroes Appreciation Day.

Get your holiday beer fix at a local brewery. Look for the Honey Pie with local Cloister Honey from Birdsong Brewing Co., Frosted Sugar Cookie from Brewers at 4001 Yancey and Christmas Cookie Winter Ale from Sycamore Brewing. CharlotteFive created a guide, so you can make your list — and check it twice — to try the best seasonal brews.


Check out the Winter Wonder Bar at Bocado. Throughout December, the bar and diner will transform into a holiday pop-up bar, complete nostalgic lights and themed cocktails. There will even be a few warm cocktails, such as the Buttered Bah Humbug (rum, house-made butterscotch, cinnamon, steamed milk) and the Drop It Like It’s Hot Chocolate (gourmet chocolate, bourbon, steamed milk, whipped cream). 2000 South Blvd.

Visit the Shops at Winnifred. Formerly the Shops at Centro Railyard, this stretch of retail recently went under a rebranding, but you can still shop your favorite local spots such as Glory Days Apparel, OLPR Leather Goods and BW Sweets Express and more. 1425 Winnifred St.

Visit the newly rebranded Shops at Winnifred at the former Centro Railyard building. 
Visit the newly rebranded Shops at Winnifred at the former Centro Railyard building.


View holiday light displays across the Queen City. From Carowinds Winterfest to the Festival of Trees in Belmont, there are plenty of spots to check out festive illuminations throughout the holiday season. Check out the CharlotteFive guide to plan your evening amidst the lights.

At Carowinds Winterfest, you can stroll throughout the park while enjoying seasonal treats, enjoy a few rides and more. 
At Carowinds Winterfest, you can stroll throughout the park while enjoying seasonal treats, enjoy a few rides and more.

Stroll the Charlotte Christmas Village. Designed to commemorate the centuries-old holiday market tradition, Truist Field will come to life with shopping from around the world, live entertainment and themed treats. Explore handmade gifts while enjoying a European menu of bratwursts, schnitzel and strudel, along with hot cider, hot chocolate, gluhwein and more. 5-10 p.m. $5. 324 S. Mint St.

Mark your calendar

If you’re looking for a spot to snap a holiday pic with your pooch, Santa will be on hand at Skiptown on Saturday, Dec. 11 from noon-4 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 12 from noon-3 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 18-19 from noon-4 p.m. Pictures are $15, and ornaments are an additional $12. 222 Rampart St.

Secure your tickets for the Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular. This all-new production will feature acrobats, aerialists and holiday songs performed by the cast of Cirque Musica at Ovens Auditorium. Dec. 14. 7:30 p.m. $25+. 2700 E. Independence Blvd.

Spend New Year’s Eve at a late-night performance from Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, complete with drinks, hors d’oeuvres, a ball drop and special host Delighted Tobehere. Proof of vaccination and photo ID required. 9 p.m. $71.71 + Hadley Theatre, 2132 Radcliffe Ave.

Celebrate the New Year with an evening of music featuring American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle. The ticket includes a post-concert party at Belk Theatre with champagne, hors d’oeuvres and desserts, dancing on stage and more. Proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test required. $66+ 7:30-11 p.m. Dec. 31. 130 N. Tryon St.

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