Everything You Must Do in Raleigh This December (With Holiday Festivities Galore)
Photo by kaitlynb_23

Everything You Must Do in Raleigh This December (With Holiday Festivities Galore)

Wednesday, Nov 28 2018

You know the drill—our complete guide to the best of December in and around Raleigh. From makers markets to world-class performances to spiked beverages, there's a little holiday cheer for everyone this December (and some non-holiday goodies for when you need a break)!

Take your pick between can't-miss events, new places to explore and old favorites that are just too good to pass up this time of year! Don't just think about it, go do it!

Looking for more holiday happenings? Check out our lists of the best markets for shopping, the best fun runs for staying fit and festive and the best Christmas lights—and keep an eye out for a full guide to NYE events soon!

Not-to-Miss December Events

The Nutcracker Presented by the Carolina Ballet at Fletcher Opera Theater
Photo by @@CarolinaBallet

The Nutcracker Presented by the Carolina Ballet

The Nutcracker is the perfect way to celebrate this Holiday season. Let the live symphony orchestra, grand magical illusions, and magnificent sets and costumes take you away to the Land of Sweets!

Multiple Day Event
The Nutcracker Presented by the Carolina Ballet
$35+   .  Fletcher Opera Theater   .  Raleigh
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The Holiday Lights Tour on The Great Raleigh Trolley at The Great Raleigh Trolley
Photo by @greatraleightrolley

The Holiday Lights Tour on The Great Raleigh Trolley +2133 fire icon

All aboard the Great Raleigh Trolley for an evening of magical twinkle lights. Sing along to holiday-themed songs, cuddly-up with loved ones and enjoy the best holiday light show in North Carolina.

Multiple Day Event
The Holiday Lights Tour on The Great Raleigh Trolley
$30+   .  The Great Raleigh Trolley   .  Raleigh
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Miracle at the Haymaker at The Haymaker
Photo by @miraclepopup

Miracle at the Haymaker +1774 fire icon

Party down with Santa at Raleigh's pop-up holiday bar all month long, where you can revel in festive AF decor and order limited-time holiday-themed drinks, like the Christmaspolitan or the Run Run Rudolf. Cheers!

Multiple Day Event
Miracle at the Haymaker
$$   .  The Haymaker   .  Raleigh
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Catch a Flick and Grab a Bite at Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Raleigh
Photo by @drafthouse

Christmas Movie Screenings and Parties at Alamo Drafthouse

This December, Alamo Drafthouse is bringing a slew of your holiday favorites back to the big screen. Get excited to revisit classics like Home Alone, Elf, A Christmas Story, Love Actually and more.

Catch a Flick and Grab a Bite at Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh
$   .  Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Raleigh   .  Raleigh
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Black Nativity by Langston Hughes at Talley Student Union
Photo by @justicetheaterproject

Black Nativity by Langston Hughes

Enjoy this non-traditional, non-denominational telling of the birth of Jesus, written by Langston Hughes.

Multiple Day Event
Black Nativity by Langston Hughes
$21+   .  Talley Student Union   .  Raleigh
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Cirque de Noel With North Carolina Symphony at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
Photo by @North Carolina Symphony

Cirque de Noel With North Carolina Symphony

Get some serious culture on with this combination circus and symphony show. Expect jaw-dropping acts like aerial, contortionists and juggling set to breathtaking festive music.

Sat Dec 22, 8:00p
Cirque de Noel With North Carolina Symphony
$25+   .  Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts   .  Raleigh
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Stardust to Ashes - (A Tribute to David Bowie) at Deep South at Deep South the Bar
Photo by @deepsouthbar

Stardust to Ashes - (A Tribute to David Bowie) at Deep South

Ring out Deep South Bar's second to last night in existence with this debut tribute to David Bowie. 

Sun Dec 30, 8:00p
Stardust to Ashes - (A Tribute to David Bowie) at Deep South
$10   .  Deep South the Bar   .  Raleigh
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Raleigh Improv Opening Weekend With Ken Jeong at Raleigh Improv
Photo by @Improv Raleigh

Raleigh Improv Opening Weekend With Ken Jeong

Best known for his roles in Community and The Hangover, NC-raised Ken Jeong will be ringing in the opening of a new comedy club in Cary!

Multiple Day Event
Raleigh Improv Opening Weekend With Ken Jeong
$35+   .  Raleigh Improv   .  Cary
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NC Chinese Lantern Festival 2018 at Koka Booth Amphitheatre
Photo by @twwilkinson

NC Chinese Lantern Festival 2018 +2357 fire icon

With 20 displays, each comprised of hundreds of parts and thousands of LED lights, an evening stroll through the NC Chinese Lantern Festival in Cary might just blow your mind.

Multiple Day Event
NC Chinese Lantern Festival 2018
$15   .  Koka Booth Amphitheatre   .  Cary
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December New Business Openings

NOW OPEN: Papa Shogun at Papa Shogun
Photo by @kween_for_a_day

Enjoy Fusion Like You've Never Had at Papa Shogun

Papa Shogun is offering a unique blend of Italian and Japanese food at Seaboard Station in Downtown Raleigh. Kombu gnocchi, anyone?

NOW OPEN: Papa Shogun
$$   .  Papa Shogun   .  Raleigh
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NOW OPEN: Hi-Wire Brewing at Artists at the Warehouse - Golden Belt
Photo by @hiwirebrewing

[Worth the Drive] Play Soccer Pool and Sip Beer at Hi-Wire Brewing +319 fire icon

Check out Asheville's circus-themed brewery at their first taproom in the Triangle, touting previously hard-to-access brews, soccer pool courts, an incredible wrap-around mural and more.

NOW OPEN: Hi-Wire Brewing
-   .  Artists at the Warehouse - Golden Belt   .  Durham
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NOW OPEN: The Bittery at Crude Bitters and Sodas & The Bittery
Photo by @crudebitters

Sip Mocktails and Craft Sodas at The Bittery

Head to Crude Bitters' cocktail supply shop and soda fountain to taste their unique hand-crafted bitters, enjoy some mockails and stock your bar. Cheers to local Raleigh imbibing!

NOW OPEN: The Bittery
$   .  Crude Bitters and Sodas & The Bittery   .  Raleigh
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Epic Axes at Southern Charred at Southern Charred
Photo by @chloemcawesome

Throw Hatchets at Epic Axes' New Permanent Location at Southern Charred +734 fire icon

Addicted to axes like the rest of us? Join Epic Axes every Thursday through Sunday at Southern Charred for a couple rounds of ax throwing.

Weekly
Epic Axes at Southern Charred
$8+   .  Southern Charred   .  Raleigh
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NOW OPEN: PLUS Dueling Piano Bar at PLUS Dueling Pianos Bar
Photo by @pluspianobar

COMING SOON: PLUS Dueling Pianos Bar

The Nation's largest dueling pianos bar is opening on Glenwood on November 30, and this is not your momma's piano performance. Expect music by request, a full bar and dance floor and tons of fun.

NOW OPEN: PLUS Dueling Piano Bar
-   .  PLUS Dueling Pianos Bar   .  Raleigh
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Always a Good Idea

Sharpen Your Skills With SkillPop at Downtown Raleigh
Photo by @skillpoprdu

Sharpen Your Skills With SkillPop

If you're looking to learn something new, look to SkillPop. The startup hosts in-person, interactive classes in a range of topics from calligraphy to photography to pasta making!

Sharpen Your Skills With SkillPop
$$   .  Downtown Raleigh   .  Raleigh
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Glow Up at Moonwalk Mini Golf at Galaxy Fun Park
Photo by @galaxyfunpark

Glow Up at Moonwalk Mini Golf +624 fire icon

Take a trip through space at Galaxy Fun Park's glow-in-the-dark, indoor mini-golf course! Grab your crew or the fam and play through 18 holes while you check out the custom blacklight art.

Glow Up at Moonwalk Mini Golf
$8   .  Galaxy Fun Park   .  Raleigh
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Experience the Artistry of Vidrio at Vidrio
Photo by @g._a._bruno

Experience the Artistry of Vidrio

Vidrio offers a delicious menu featuring Mediterranean traditions made with NC ingredients, paired with a stunning interior—seriously, it's what fine art is made of.

Experience the Artistry of Vidrio
$$   .  Vidrio   .  Raleigh
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Past Experiences

Boylan Heights Artwalk at Boylan Heights
Photo by @claire_metal

Boylan Heights Artwalk

Revel in the holiday spirit in one of Raleigh's oldest neighborhoods while shopping. This unique event is back for its 26th year with local artists on the porches and lawns of Boylan Heights homes.

Past
Boylan Heights Artwalk
Free   .  Boylan Heights   .  Raleigh
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Hot Nuts & Cider 2018 at Raleigh City Farm
Photo by @personstreet

Hot Nuts & Cider 2018

Warm up the December night with a bunch of hot nuts and cider by the fire. Chat with friends, tell stories, and enjoy piping hot cups of spiked hot apple cider and nuts.

Past
Hot Nuts & Cider 2018
$10+   .  Raleigh City Farm   .  Raleigh
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State Tree Lighting Ceremony and Holiday Open House 2018 at North Carolina State Capitol
Photo by @NorthCarolinaStateCapitol

State Tree Lighting Ceremony and Holiday Open House 2018

Join the State Capitol and Gov. Roy Cooper for the annual tree-lighting tradition. Luminaries light the streets while holiday music fills the air all leading up to the lighting of the Christmas tree.

Past
State Tree Lighting Ceremony and Holiday Open House 2018
Free   .  North Carolina State Capitol   .  Raleigh
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Hot Chocolate Run at Fleet Feet Raleigh
Photo by @moonofviolet

Hot Chocolate Run

Get the coziest reward after you finish your run! This group 5k will culminate in snacks and steaming mugs of hot chocolate.

Past
Hot Chocolate Run
Free   .  Fleet Feet Raleigh   .  Raleigh
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Sleigh Rides and Cider at Historic Oak View County Park
Photo by @bethirosen

Sleigh Rides and Cider

Head to Historic Oak View County Park for a magical night. Because, what could be more romantic than taking a horse-drawn carriage ride, sipping on hot apple cider, and enjoying some live music?

Past
Sleigh Rides and Cider
Free   .  Historic Oak View County Park   .  Raleigh
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Drag me to Whiskey at Whiskey Kitchen
Photo by @whiskey.kitchen

Drag Me to Whiskey

Whiskey Kirchen is hosting their first ever Drag Show during brunch. Four Queens will dazzle you with their performances, just don't forget your cash for tipping your favorite one.

Past
Drag me to Whiskey
Free   .  Whiskey Kitchen   .  Raleigh
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Super Mario Bros Screening at North Carolina Museum of History

Super Mario Bros Screening

Celebrate the 25th anniversary of this made-in-NC cult classic with a special big-screen viewing and even the chance to check out some items from the film.

Past
Super Mario Bros Screening
Free   .  North Carolina Museum of History   .  Raleigh
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Gift of the Magi Holiday Production at Sonorous Road Theatre & Film Studio
Photo by @_schoneseele_

Gift of the Magi Holiday Production

This story is set in the 1920s in New York City. It features immersive and interactive elements, a speakeasy with live music, and more for you to enjoy.

Past
Gift of the Magi Holiday Production
$25   .  Sonorous Road Theatre & Film Studio   .  Raleigh
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Tour De Toys Charity Ride & Dog Walk at Crank Arm Brewing Company
Photo by @Crank Arm Brewing

Tour De Toys Charity Ride & Dog Walk

Join this annual bike ride and dog walk to gather toys for kids in need this season. An unwrapped, new toy gets you entry in to the 12 mile or 6 mile bike, or the 2 mile dog walk. Costumes encouraged!

Past
Tour De Toys Charity Ride & Dog Walk
New Unwrapped Toy Donation   .  Crank Arm Brewing Company   .  Raleigh
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Historic Oakwood Candlelight Tour at Tucker House
Photo by @historicoakwood

Historic Oakwood Candlelight Tour

Go back in time and take a candle-lit tour of gorgeous, Victorian-era homes decked out for the holidays in the Historic Oakwood neighborhood.

Past
Historic Oakwood Candlelight Tour
$23+   .  Tucker House   .  Raleigh
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Bittersweet Presents: Champagne 101 at Bittersweet
Photo by @Bittersweet

Bittersweet Presents: Champagne 101

Just in time for your New Year's cheer, learn all about your fave celebratory bev with this professional class all about bubbly! You'll taste SEVEN different champagnes, get some tasty sweet treats and learn a ton while having fun.

Past
Bittersweet Presents: Champagne 101
$45   .  Bittersweet   .  Raleigh
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Music Bingo at My Way at My Way Tavern
Photo by @cleatandanchor

Music Bingo at My Way

Feeling lucky?  Put your musical know-how to the test with Music Bingo at My Way Tavern. Complete with prizes, beer and exclusive giveaways, it's clear this ain't your Grandma's Bingo night.

Past
Music Bingo at My Way
Free   .  My Way Tavern   .  Raleigh
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Santa Cause1 Party Benefitting Make-A-Wish at Marbles Kids Museum
Photo by @Alasdair Elmes on Unsplash

Santa Cause1 Party Benefitting Make-A-Wish

Ring in the season with this new annual event at Marbles! Don your most festive attire, enjoy a full meal and plenty of booze courtesy of partners like Bhavana and try your hand at some auction items.

Past
Santa Cause1 Party Benefitting Make-A-Wish
$75+   .  Marbles Kids Museum   .  Raleigh
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Everything You Must Do in Raleigh This December (With Holiday Festivities Galore)
Everything You Must Do in Raleigh This December (With Holiday Festivities Galore) +580 fire icon