Updated for 2019 (But a couple pictures are from 2018.)
When Uptown Charlotte turns on the holiday lights it instantly becomes a festive destination. Within walking distance of each other are four towering Christmas trees, a Christmas market, outdoor ice skating, plenty to eat and drink, and, of course, an orchestra of animatronic bears.
Start at Mint Museum Uptown, head up North Tryon, making several stops, until you get to Charlotte Christmas Village. Then head to the Ritz Carlton on College, and then the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza on MLK. Return to Mint Museum Uptown, and that’s a total of 1.9 miles total.
We suggest the Panthers tree as a drive-by attraction, but if you include that in the walking tour, add on about a half mile.
Want to see it all (or at least a lot of it) in one night? Put on your comfortable shoes and try it yourself!
Some of the destinations are just for a quick look and others are places you’ll want to spend some time. Most of the attractions on this walk would be great day or night. Make sure to check the times for everything and to follow links for updates.
Everything on this tour is free to see. Just pay for food, drink and ice skating. Maybe bring a couple bucks for busking musicians you encounter? (You don’t need to tip the animatronic bears.)
A great place to stop for food and drink is Amelie’s Uptown, at 380 S. College Street, between the Ritz Carlton and NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza.
Need to park? Here’s a parking map from Center City Partners. You can park in several garages after 5 p.m. for just $6. (But don’t hold us to that.) If you do the walking tour in the order below, park in the Levine Center for the Arts parking garage on Stonewall Street, between Church and Tryon. And then just take the elevator up to the Plaza and you’ll be right outside the Mint Museum.
1. Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon Street
The giant red ornament “half buried” in the ground is a popular photo op during the holiday season. It’s right in front of The Mint Museum Uptown.
2. Thomas Polk Park
105 North Tryon Street
2. Atrium at 300 S. Tryon
No website for this one, but stop in at 300 South Tryon Street to check out another electric train set, this one all in white, and a tree decorated in an elegant white and gold theme.
3. Poptopia (but only through December 7)
101 North Tryon Street
For four days only, shop for unique, local gifts at Uptown’s Pop-Up shop.
- Wednesday, December 4th: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Thursday, December 5th: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Friday, December 6th: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Saturday, December 7th, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
4. The Square
100 North Tryon Street
Thomas Polk Park, The Square and Founders Hall are all at the Trade and Tryon intersection. Polk Park is across Tryon Street from Founders Hall and The Square.
Although the official Uptown Tree is at Charlotte Christmas Village this year, there’s a massive decorated tree here, as always, as well as the big golden ornaments. The Square is the heart of Uptown and is the perfect place to soak in the festive atmosphere.
5. Founders Hall
100 North Tryon Street
Inside Founders Hall, the Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra performs on the hour. This ensemble, made up entirely of animatronic bears, is a long-standing and much-loved Charlotte tradition. The bears will be performing daily from December 2nd through December 27th, with some exceptions. Time varies. No performances December 25th.
6. Charlotte Christmas Village
7th and Tryon Streets
Open Tuesdays through Sundays
Mondays: Closed (except December 23rd)
Open through Christmas Eve
Shop from local vendors in this German-themed Christmas market. Enjoy bratwurst, fudge, cider and much more. This is a great place to get free pictures with Santa. Just bring your camera. Also, the official Uptown Holiday Tree is here this year.
More information on Charlotte Christmas Village, including the hours, the schedule for Santa visits and entertainers.
7. Ritz Carlton
Holiday Wonderland at Ritz Carlton
201 East Trade Street
Visit any time
The lobby of the Ritz Carlton is all decked out. Check out the decorated trees, plus the 12-foot wide gingerbread house, complete with an electric train. Pictures from 2018.
8. NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 East MLK Jr. Boulevard
You might be tempted to skip the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza, because it’s a couple blocks away, but don’t. The tree here is actually one of the most colorfully decorated in Uptown Charlotte, and, even if you aren’t skating, Holiday on Ice sets a festive scene. There’s more going on too, including live music, Santa and special events. Skating is $16, including skates, or $12 if you have your own.
The rink is open Wednesdays through Sunday, and starting December 16th, it’ll be open every day through January 5th. Schedule varies. Pictures from 2018.
9. Carolina Panthers Christmas Tree
Outside Bank of America Stadium, at Mint and Graham Street. This could be a drive-by viewing. Picture from 2018.