Thanksgiving is officially over and it is time to start getting festive. The holiday season is here and Charlotte has so many fun things to offer. Take a break from studying and make sure to check out some of these things before going home for winter break!

1. Uptown ice skating

Holiday on Ice is Charlotte’s outdoor ice rink right in the heart of Uptown. It is perfect for a romantic date or a night out with your friends. It is only $16, including skate rentals, for all day skating. Holiday on Ice is located right by the NASCAR Hall of Fame and is only a few minutes walk from the nearest light rail station. Nothing beats ice skating right in the middle of the city!

2. Drive the track at the Charlotte Motor Speedway

Charlotte Motor Speedway hosts a drive-through light show featuring more than 3.5 million lights over the remarkable 3.75-mile course for the holiday season. It is $25 to $30 per car, so grab a bunch of your friends and see the light display.

3. Order a Cookout eggnog milkshake

This Cookout holiday specialty is the quickest way to get in the holiday spirit. Try this yummy treat next time you’re at cookout.

4. Go see holiday lights at McAdenville

McAdenville is known as Christmas Town, USA. There is over 160 homes decorated festively and you can walk or drive through the light display. McAdenville is also completely free! Make sure you get there early; lots of people go and it closes at 11 p.m.

5. Carowinds Winterfest

All rides are open during Carowinds Winterfest, but also so much more. There is a light display, street performers and special holiday desserts. You can find tickets for as low as $26 if you purchase online. Go on Saturday when the park is open from 2-10 p.m. so you get a whole night of fun!

6. Gingerbread Lane

The Ballantyne Lane hosts a professional gingerbread competition during the month of December. You can view these amazing, intricate gingerbread designs completely free starting December 6th to the 26th. Maybe after visiting you will be inspired and you can make your own house with friends!

7. Fourth Ward Holiday Tour

Take a trip to Charlotte’s past by taking a self guided tour through some beautiful private homes in the Fourth Ward of Uptown Charlotte. There are houses that have been restored from the Victorian age as well as very modern homes.

8. Go visit Santa

This might seem a little cheesy, but Bass Pro Shops at Concord Mills Mall is offering free pictures with Santa. Take a trip to the mall, get some gift shopping done and get a free festive picture with friends.

9. Visit Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens not only have a beautiful light display and pretty scenery, but they also have live music daily, bonfires for S’mores, a model train display and Santa Claus. Admission is $12.95.

10. Host a gift exchange with friends

Winter Break is quickly approaching and people are going back home. Before everyone leaves, celebrate your favorite traditions with your friends from school! Whether it’s hosting a gift exchange or watching holiday movies, get together with everyone one last time before next semester!

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