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Holiday Activities in Cary, Raleigh and Wake Forest

Holiday Activities in Cary, Raleigh and Wake Forest

It’s the holiday season and there are activities for the entire family to get in the Christmas spirit. We’ve compiled a list of local holiday events specific to Cary, Wake Forest and Raleigh!

Cary Events

See 20 light displays illuminated by thousands of LED lights at the Chinese Lantern Festival at Booth Amphitheatre in Cary Nov. 23-Jan. 13. The hours are 6-10 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. The festival also features cultural performances and artisans. Purchase tickets, $15 for adults and $10 for ages 3-17, online at

Cary Players present “A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol” Nov. 30-Dec. 3 at the Cary Arts Center. See the website for show times and to purchase tickets, $20 for adults and $18 for kids.

The Town of Cary lights its tree, which features handcrafted ornaments from more than 130 community groups, Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall Campus. The ceremony also showcases musicians, singers and actors from the community.

The Cary Jaycees hosts the 2018 Cary Christmas Parade Dec. 8, 1-5 p.m. See the website for the parade route,

Cary Ballet Company presents “The Nutcracker Suite” Dec. 15 at 11 a.m. at the Cary Arts Center. Purchase tickets, $12, at

Raleigh Events

“Cinderella,” Raleigh Little Theatre’s holiday favorite, is on now through Dec. 16. See the website for show times and to purchase tickets,

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical” is running at Fletcher Theater now through Dec. 24. Purchase tickets, $25 and up, at

The Downtown Raleigh Alliance hosts the Downtown Raleigh Tree Lighting Celebration Nov. 30, 6-7 p.m., at Lichtin Plaza at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Live music entertainment, holiday carolers, sweet treats and refreshments highlight the event. Santa Claus and his elves will mingle with the crowd that evening, and families are encouraged to take their cameras for the opportunity to take a free photo with Santa. For more information visit

Theatre in the Park presents “A Charlie Brown Christmas” Nov. 30-Dec. 9, and its 44th annual production of “A Christmas Carol” is Dec. 5-9 at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium and Dec. 12-16 at the Durham Performing Arts Center. See the website for all show times and purchase tickets at

Santa makes an appearance at the Sleigh Rides and Cider event at Historic Oak View County Park Dec. 1, 5-7:30 p.m., which also offers families horse-drawn carriage rides, handmade crafts, hot apple cider, live music and more.

The Raleigh State Capitol hosts its annual tree-lighting ceremony Dec. 6. The festivities begin on Capitol Square at 5 p.m. with luminaries and holiday music by the Kaiser Middle School Eighth Grade Concert Band. At 5:30 p.m. the Raleigh Concert Band will perform. The governor and dignitaries will make their way to the South grounds at 6:15 p.m. to officially begin the ceremony. Santa is scheduled to make an appearance? and The Junior Woman’s Club will give away cookies and hot chocolate. The Capitol’s annual holiday open house will begin at 6:30 p.m. following the ceremony. The public is invited inside to see holiday decorations and natural greenery located throughout the building, and the Wake Med Chorus will perform in the rotunda Dec. 6-7 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and Dec. 8 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Play with Santa's elves, take part in holiday activities, roast s'mores outdoors and enjoy museum play Dec. 7, 6-8:30 p.m., at Marbles' Evening with Elves event. Purchase advance tickets, $25/member and $30/nonmember, at Week-of-tickets, if available, are $30/member, $35/nonmember. 

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s holiday spectacle, “Ghosts of Christmas Eve,” is Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at PNC Arena. Purchase tickets at

Carolina Ballet presents “The Nutcracker” Dec. 14-23 at Raleigh Memorial auditorium. See the website for show times and purchase tickets at

Mordecai Historic Park invites families to tour Raleigh’s oldest home and birthplace of President Andrew Johnson on a lantern tour Dec. 8. One-hour tours run 5-10 p.m. and feature vignettes of the Mordecai family, soldiers and enslaved people during the Civil War. Purchase tickets, $5 per person, at (click on “advanced search” and search for “Mordecai”) or call 919-966-4364. Mordecai Historic Park also hosts its annual Holiday Open House Dec. 15, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., and Dec. 16, 1-4 p.m. Tour the home as it would have been decorated for Christmas during colonial days through the World War II era. Admission is free.

Raleigh Ringers’ Holiday Concerts at Meymandi Concert Hall Dec. 15 at 3 and 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 16 at 3 p.m. showcase unique interpretations of sacred, secular and popular music arranged just for handbells. Purchase tickets at

North Carolina Symphony presents "Cirque de Noel," featuring aerial feats, mind-boggling contortions and amazing juggling acts accompanied by festive music, Dec. 21 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 22 at 3 and 8 p.m. at Meymandi Concert Hall. Purchase tickets, $18 and up, at

The renowned Raleigh Boychoir presents “Carols of Christmas” Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. at Edenton Street United Methodist Church. Purchase tickets, $10-$22, at

And make plans now to usher in 2019 at First Night Raleigh Dec. 31, 2 p.m.-midnight, in downtown Raleigh. Enjoy a variety of family-friendly activities prior to the Acorn Drop at midnight. A First Night button, $11, is required for entry.

Wake Forest

The Lighting of Wake Forest celebration on Nov. 30th includes the town Christmas tree lighting followed by Santa's arrival in a Wake Forest fire truck.

Wake Forest’s largest community event - the Wake Forest Christmas Parade is Dec. 8th at 1 pm.

The Wake Forest Historic Preservation Commission and the Wake Forest Woman's Club present their biennial Christmas Historic Home Tour on Saturday, Dec. 1st, from 1-7 pm. Come stroll down the street, listen to holiday music and visit a decorated home.

The free Downtown Holiday Open House is Dec. 1st at 10 am and includes special offers and complimentary refreshments at participating shops and restaurants as well as fun-filled activities for kids and families. Pictures with Santa and complimentary face painting will be offered from 10 am-3 pm at The Cotton Company Event Gallery.

The Wake Forest Holiday Artisans Market is Dec. 1st, from 9 am-3 pm, at the Wake Forest Renaissance Centre. This third annual Artisans’ Market will be a unique gift-shopping opportunity featuring many types of handmade items in a wide range of prices. 

We wish you and your family a joyous holiday season! If you’re dreaming of a Robuck Design Build custom luxury home this holiday season, be sure to check out our list of available homes and view our inspiration gallery!

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