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Spending the Holidays in Durham, North Carolina

Your guide to spending the holidays in Bull City this year

Featured photo: American Tobacco Campus via Durham Magazine

Festive lights and holiday delights! Whether you’re a local or passing through, Durham is the perfect place to find holiday activities for the whole family. Make the most of your holiday visit to Durham with these activities:

FIND THE PERFECT TREE

Searching for the perfect tree? Make lasting memories with the family and cut down your own tree at  Jordan Lake Christmas Tree Farm. Not a Griswold kind of family? Let someone else do the work and pick up a tree at TROSA Christmas Tree Lot.

WHERE TO FIND THE CELEBRATIONS

First Night Raleigh via visitRaleigh

Get in the holiday spirit early with the 77th Raleigh Christmas Parade (in person & on tv) on Saturday, November 20th. Head back to Raleigh on NYE for an evening of celebration, featuring interactive art installations, exciting entertainment and a spectacular fireworks show at First Night in Raleigh.

 

LIGHT UP YOUR HOLIDAY

Chinese Lantern Festival in Cary, NC via visitRaleigh

What would the holidays be without the lights? At the top of our list is the lights at the American Tobacco Campus – see the Lucky Strike Tower decked out for the holidays and surrounded by decorated trees below every night from 5:30-11pm Dec 6 – 30. Visit at the start of the month and celebrate the 17th Annual Tower Lighting. Crank up the holiday tunes and drive through the Magnum Family Christmas Lights, which features a synchronized light show with 100,000 lights. Drive through the tunnel of lights at Fieldstream Farm & Christmas Lights (Nov 25 – Dec 31). Fall in love with 7-acres of Christmas light display with Piper Lights drive-thru display (Nov 26 – Jan 1). Take a 20-minute holiday themed hayride on the Boyette Family Farm at Lights on the Neuse. See the lights dance to music on a whole new level at Lake Myra Christmas Lights show (Nov 25 – Dec 31). Enjoy wonderful, larger than life displays at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary at the Chinese Lantern Festival (Nov 19 – Jan 9).

Slow down and experience a night of education and history with Christmas by Candlelight. Enjoy a quaint evening of lights and music at the Duke Chapel by Candlelight: Christmas Open House.

SEE A SHOW

The Nutcracker, Carolina Ballet

Enjoy all of your favorite Christmas stories again and more with a performance-filled December. Experience the magic of The Nutcracker again with the Carolina Ballet. Or a unique and joyful mashup of the holiday classic with The Hip Hop Nutcracker at Durham Performing Arts Center. You can also see A Christmas Carol and A Christmas Story: The Musical at DPAC. See a musical comedy adaptation of the Dickens classic at Theatre In The Park presents: Ira David Wood III’s A Christmas Carol. Feeling fabulously festive? See your favorite local queens perform on the live stage at the Carolina Theatre of Durham’s Murray & Peter present: A Drag Queen Christmas.

TIS’ THE SEASON TO SHOP

Bright Black Candles

Kick off the holiday shopping season with the Durham Art Walk Holiday Market (Nov 17 – 18). Shop with puppies and beer (we’re convinced this is the best and only way to shop from now on) at Shop Durham’s Holiday Market at Durty Bull Brewing Co. (Nov 23). Support Black-owned businesses and makers at the The Black Market marketplace at Durham Armory (Nov 23). Find high quality, affordable arts and crafts made by local and regional artisans at the Durham Holiday Craft Market. Shop holiday ornaments and a visit with “Santas Just Like Me” at Hayti Heritage Center. Savor seasonal eats and sip on festive beverages as you shop at The Streets at Southpoint and at Bright Spirits Holiday Market at Motorco Music Hall. Still searching for that perfect gift? Check out our Fuchsia Penguin Community Gift Guide for more ideas on where to shop local this holiday season!

Looking for more festive activities in and around Durham? Visit Day by Day Triangle’s Holiday Guide for more holiday themed events in the area.

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