The top FREE holiday activities to do in Charlotte this season, ranked

Photo courtesy of the Charlotte Observer - by Jeff Siner

We’re all about free things here at CharlotteFive — and we know you are, too.

That’s why we ranked the absolute best holiday activities you can do for free in Charlotte this season.

Hear our top eight recommendations for free holiday activities on the CharlotteFive Podcast now (or scroll down to read a sneak preview in the content below).

4. Gingerbread Lane at The Ballantyne Hotel

via Charlotte on the Cheap

What: Each year, The Ballantyne Hotel hosts a gingerbread competition offering three independent categories, including professional, amateur and child for entry. After the gingerbread creations are delivered to the hotel by the participants, the public is able to walk through to see them all. You have the option of donating $1 to vote on your favorite.

Don’t skip out on the hot chocolate (with the option to add liqueur) from the Gallery Bar.

When: Now through Dec. 26. The hot chocolate is available from 2 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Gingerbread Lane is open all day-long.

Where: The Ballantyne Hotel – 10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy

3. Phillips Place Winter Wonderland

via Phillips Place
What: A six-story 3-D holiday light show will be projected onto The Hampton Inn & Suites There will be plenty of activities going on including face painting, balloon artists, a visit from Santa, holiday stilt walkers, and a ‘100% chance of snow’. Goodie bags will be handed out to the first 300 kids per show. Enjoy complimentary hot chocolate, too!
When: Thursday, December 13 at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Where: Phillips Place – 6700 Phillips Pl. Ct.

2. Christmas at the Library

via thebglibrary on Instagram

What: The Billy Graham Library is celebrating yet another holiday season with a live nativity scene including real camels, donkeys, lambs and more, plus Christmas carolers, a Christmas story time for kids and more. A paid ticket of just $8/adult will get you a 15-18 minute horse-drawn carriage ride around the library grounds.

When: Now through Dec. 22 on Mondays-Thursdays from 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m. and Fridays-Saturdays from 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m.

Where: The Billy Graham Library – 4330 Westmont Dr.

The CharlotteFive Podcast — powered by OrthoCarolina — is a weekly city guide podcast that aims to deliver interesting and useful news about Charlotte. It’s hosted by Sallie Funderburk and Alicia Thomas and is a production of The Charlotte Observer and Brian Baltosiewich. You can follow us on Twitter @CharlotteFive, on Instagram @cltfive, and on Facebook. If you have any feedback, shoot us an email to

Featured image via @stephnscarpa on Instagram


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