14 winter date ideas for every kind of couple, from hockey games to holiday markets


While I support an evening spent in comfortable sweatpants watching a timeless Christmas movie during the winter, I also believe the holidays offer some of the best date night opportunities.

Charlotte’s light displays, over-the-top seasonal attractions and local holiday markets serve up the perfect recipe for a romantic evening, no matter what kind of couple you and your boo might be.


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The Outdoorsy Couple

If you and your significant other don’t mind a bit of chilly weather, spend the evening at the Carowinds WinterFest. Over five million shimmering lights and a 70-foot tree bring the evening to life, elevated with holiday snacks and live performances. Winterfest will decorate the park select evenings from November 18 – December 31. Tickets begin at $26.

Seeking a tranquil evening outdoors? Admire millions of lights (literally) at Holidays in the Garden. Musically-orchestrated topiary displays and seasonal culinary delights are sure to spark holiday cheer.

If you don’t mind a short drive, visit Christmas Town USA to admire a holiday wonderland complete with over 160 decorated homes and 265 evergreen trees glittering with 500,000 red, green, and white lights. Pro Trip: Park nearby and walk the display, as car traffic is heavy on weekends.

[RELATED: Celebrate the season with ‘A Mile Of A Million Lights’ at Holidays at the Garden, Nov. 23 through Jan. 6]

The Foodie Couple

Although the holiday home tour is sold out, you can still visit the decorated Fourth Ward neighborhoods. Work up an appetite admiring the light displays, then enjoy dinner in a historic home restaurant. Alexander Michael’s serves up the perfect pasta dish with homemade cream sauce, and since you walked, you deserve to start with the loaded potato appetizer. Or, indulge in the seasonal menu at McNinch House Restaurant, serving artfully-prepared seafood and warm desserts.


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The Artsy Couple

Listen to the sounds of the season with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra’s Magic of Christmas, where you and your beau will enjoy tunes from the Nutcracker, The Polar Express, and more. The show runs from December 14 – 23 at the Knight Theater, and tickets range from $19 – $195.

If your holidays aren’t complete without a sighting of the sugar plum fairy, watch the Charlotte Ballet perform the Nutcracker from December 7 – 23 at the Belk Theater. Tickets range from $35 – $100.

The Shopping Couple

Finding the perfect gift sometimes requires stepping outside of commercial malls in favor of hometown holiday markets. Hunt for a unique find together at the Charlotte Christmas Village, where you’ll enjoy live performances, Glühwein, and specialty foods (November 22 – December 4).

If seasonal beer is on your agenda, visit the Weihnachtsmarkt at The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and wander the decorated outdoor market lined with vendors showcasing locally-produced goods (Fridays and Saturdays, November 30 – December 15).

[RELATED: Shop local at these 25 can’t-miss holiday markets now through December]

The Nerdy Couple

If you tend to bond over learning experiences, let your nerd flag fly at Discovery Place Science. Create a masterpiece together at Make & Mingle, the museum’s adults-only craft workshop. This month, prep your home for the holidays with a DIY wine rack and tray. Couples pricing is $47, which includes free parking, light hors d’oeuvres, and two beer/wine tickets.


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The Sporty Couple

Cheer for your favorite Charlotte team together this winter. Head to Spectrum Center to catch a Charlotte Hornets basketball game or watch the puck glide across the ice at the Bojangles Coliseum during a Charlotte Checkers game. Be sure to check out the themed gear from Glory Days Apparel so you can show support for the team in style.

If you prefer to hit the ice yourselves, rent a pair of skates at the NASCAR Hall of Fame Holiday on Ice, where you can bond under the lights of the Hall’s glittering Christmas tree. Admission plus skate rental is $16/person.

[RELATED: 15 free outdoor fall and winter activities in Charlotte, from hitting the trails to holiday markets]


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