Raleigh, N.C., Holiday Events

Whether you’re visiting friends and family or you’ve lived here your entire life, the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year to be in Raleigh, N.C. While incredible seasonal events are offered year-round, our city and its surrounding areas particularly shine during the chilly months leading up to the holidays.

From tree lightings to magnificent light displays, incredible ballets to holiday parades, Raleigh, N.C., truly captures the magic and nostalgia of the holiday season through a variety of festivities.


The winter months are referred to as the most magical time of the year for good reason—community celebrations, light displays and performing arts productions capture the holiday spirit in a uniquely vibrant way. The Raleigh Christmas Parade, a tradition for more than 70 years, is the largest Christmas parade between Atlanta and Washington, D.C., drawing nearly 60,000 visitors to the streets of downtown Raleigh to see marching bands, dancers, classic cars, super heroes and Santa Claus; A Christmas Carol, a beloved musical comedy presented by Theatre In The Park and the brainchild of local passionate mind Ira David Wood III, has wowed more than a million guests in its 40-plus years in the production; and First Night Raleigh rings in each New Year by filling the city center with big crowds enjoying sleigh rides, a Ferris wheel, heaps of live music and an epic grand finale that sees a giant copper acorn drop from the sky as the clock strikes midnight.

Elsewhere, tree lightings and light displays, ballet and symphony performances, an outdoor ice skating rink and a Kwanzaa celebration in the Town of Cary offer ways to get involved in the holidays for everyone.

Keep an eye on the event listings below to truly make the most of your holidays in Raleigh, N.C.!