(1) There’s no good way to get there. There just isn’t. Accept it. Resign yourself to it. Give yourself two hours, minimum. Hours are from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. on weeknights and from 5:30 to 11 p.m. on weekends. If you go late in the evening, there will be a billion cars. If you go early on a weekday, you’ll hit rush hour traffic. I’m told if you go at about 10 p.m. on a Sunday, it’ll be a breeze. Otherwise, bring a snack. Look at all that red!
(2) Prepare for bumper to bumper traffic. Going through Christmas Town is basically like being in a parade. You go real slow, shoot awkward photos out the window, and get a tan from the glow of brake lights. I was behind a guy from Oregon. Get used to this view:
3) Check out some really cool looking houses. None of them seemed to me to be the super high-tech, strobe-lighty kind of things. But they’re all classy, well-thought out decorations. It’s hard to get a good picture from your car, so you kind of have to take my word for it. But here are some examples of what they look like.
(4) Get out of your car. There should be plenty of parking, and you’ll want to stretch your legs anyway after how long it took you to get there. Here are three lots designated for parking:
But there’s also plenty of on-street parking to be found.
(6) Get some hot chocolate from the volunteer fire department. The friendly folks will offer you a piping hot Styrofoam cup full. Slip a dollar in the donation jar.
(8) Stroll through downtown. McAdenville’s Main Street is basically Small Town Southern America at its most classic.
(9) Enjoy the almost eerie silence. Even though there’s hundreds of cars around, you won’t hear a whole lot from the sidewalk. Just the church bells ringing the tune to “Silent Night” and “Joy to the World.”
(10) Say “Merry Christmas” to everyone. The carloads of kids (and even adults, too) will be wishing it to you, as well.
(11) Ponder how they even got all those lights up at the tops of the trees. I mean, seriously.
(12) Exit immediately onto I-85 North. Just as you leave the town, you’ll see a sign pointing to back to the big city. Cross off the item on your Charlotte bucket list.
FYI, you have through Dec. 26to see them this year.
Photo: David T. Foster / Charlotte Observer