After the 15-minute Thanksgiving meal (trust me, I’ve timed it), there’s just so much football and shooting the breeze a family can take over the extended holiday weekend. Bundle up and head to Uptown Charlotte for sight-seeing, photo ops, cocoa and a well-deserved cocktail.

(1) Watch the Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade.

9:30 a.m., Nov. 23. Free admission.

The Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade is a spectacular way to begin Thanksgiving Day. Cheer the marching bands, floats, dancers and other performers as they parade through Uptown. Plan ahead for parking and bring chairs and blankets to set up along the parade route, which begins at Levine Avenue of the Arts and ends at 9th Street.

(2) Skate at Holiday on Ice.

Opening day was Nov. 17. NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza, 400 E. MLK Jr. Blvd.
Admission is $10, Skate rental is $4

Holiday on Ice is Charlotte’s seasonal outdoor skating rink. Show off your triple axel or skate for the first time. Grab a hot cocoa and a seat after your amazing feat. There’s also no shame in watching from Buffalo Wild Wings with your favorite brew in hand.

(3) Visit The Ritz-Carlton’s Giant Gingerbread House

Nov. 22–Dec. 27, 201 E. Trade St. Free admission.

The life-size gingerbread house in The Ritz-Carlton’s lobby is made of edible, sweet-scented cookies and candies. The cottage stands 12-feet-tall and features an electric train and garden inhabited by elves. While there, stop at Bar Cocoa for a macaroon. Need something stronger after a long day of sightseeing? The Punch Room on the 15th floor has craft cocktails and a relaxing atmosphere.

(4) Shop at Charlotte Christmas Village

Nov. 23-Dec. 24, 2017, 300 S. Church St. Free admission.

Last year, the Charlotte Christmas Village made its debut at Romare Bearden Park. The German-inspired market is a great place to shop for holiday gifts at a variety of local and international booths. Look for warm apple turnovers, hot cocoa and live music and dancing. If you are Uptown for the Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade, the village opens immediately following the parade. Dogs on leashes are welcome!

(5) Indulge in treats.

After you’ve walked off turkey day calories, Uptown’s shops and bakeries offer options for a quick bite or drink to take in the holiday vibe. Grab coffee and pastries at Amélie’s French Bakery or Coco and the Director. Stop at Stoke for the new Stoke Manhattan made with Maker’s Mark Private Select. For the chocolate lovers, The Asbury and The Dunhill Hotel Bar offer the Chocolate Cake Roll with an orange buttercream filling and a vanilla and parsnip purée.

(6) Tour the Uptown Museums.

Closed Thanksgiving Day, check museum websites for hours.

Visit the The Mint Museum, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and Harvey B. Gantt Center African-American Arts + Culture with a $20 ticket available through CarolinaTix, good for two days. Impress family with Smartify, a brand new app to help navigate the Mint.

Take advantage of Museum Store Sunday on Nov. 26 and be a part of the newest way to support our museums. More than 400 museum stores around the world will open on this day to encourage shoppers to purchase unique gifts for family and friends. Among the participating museums are the Mint, the Bechtler and Levine Museum of the New South.

Photos: Courtesy of Charlotte Center City Partners, Michael Tulipan

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