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Celebrate the season with these family-friendly events (Dec. 16-18)

Posted November 17, 2022 2:20 p.m. EST
Updated December 15, 2022 2:26 p.m. EST

Disney On Ice to bring 'Frozen and Encanto' show to Raleigh

From gingerbread showdowns and art tours to Disney on Ice and Menorah Lighting celebrations celebrate the season with your children this weekend.

Dec. 15-18: Disney on Ice: Frozen and Encanto - If you missed the show in Raleigh, catch it this weekend in Fayetteville at the Crown Coliseum.

Disney On Ice to bring 'Frozen and Encanto' show to Raleigh

Dec. 16-24: Carolina Ballet presents The Nutcracker - See this holiday classic on stage in Raleigh Dec. 16-24.

Dec. 17: Durham's Holiday Parade - The parade is 10 a.m., Dec. 17, along Main Street in downtown Durham. You can watch it on WRAL.

Dec. 17: Family-Friendly Art Tour - Head to the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh for this 30-minute tour. Discover new-to-you works of art or say hi to old favorites on these playful tours. Tours are 30 minutes long and are best for kids ages 5–11 with their adult companions.

Dec. 17: Holiday Extravaganza at Durham Central Park - The Glass Jug hosts this event at Durham Central Park. Enjoy photos with Santa, Christmas ornament decorating, a holiday vendor market, food trucks, hot apple cider, mulled wine, and craft beer

Dec. 17: Family Gingerbread Showdown - Celebrate the season by designing your very own gingerbread house using graham crackers, frosting, and of course, candy! Bring your family and compete with other families for a chance to be crowned the Supreme Gingerbread Jam. $20 per gingerbread house. Register for this fun event online. This will take place at the Greystone Recreation Center in Raleigh.

Dec. 17-18: The Raleigh Ringers Holiday Concerts - This Raleigh holiday tradition will feature the group’s unique interpretations of sacred, secular, and popular music, including a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll.

Dec. 18: Apex Chanukah Festival: Enjoy a Chanukah Wonderland from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. with holiday crafts and games followed by the Grand Menorah Lighting at 5:15 pm. Don't miss the Gelt Drop with the Apex Fire Department plus a fire show, donutes, hot drinks and Yalla Kosher Food Truck.

Dec. 18: Downtown Raleigh Menorah Lighting: Join Chabad Young Professionals and Downtown Raleigh Alliance in celebrating the festival of lights with a beautiful Menorah lighting ceremony at the Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts. There will be plenty of warm drinks, fresh latkes and traditional donuts to go around!

Dec. 18: La Chocolatada de Luisito - This is a free family-friendly holiday storytime event at the City of Raleigh Museum. Enjoy treats, crafts and special story time with Author Rafael A. Osuba and Cristina España.

Dec. 18: Winter Solstice Market - Whether you’re pagan or witchy or maybe just a little craft curious, you’ll love our stellar lineup of over 20 magical local artists, makers, tarot readers, and healers at Motorco in Dec. 18.

Now-Dec. 24: WRAL Nights of Lights - Brighten your holiday season with WRAL Nights of Lights Drive-Thru Light Show at Dorothea Dix Park, brought to you by WRAL/Capitol Broadcasting Company in partnership with the City of Raleigh.

Now-Dec. 22 - Holiday Lights in the Garden: Come celebrate the holidays here at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden with festive lights throughout the Garden. The whole garden will be lit with lights and transformed into a Winter wonderland. Santa Claus, s’mores, entertainment, and more will be offered through the holiday season here at the Garden. Mark your calendar for the most wonderful time of the year!

Holiday Lights in the Garden

Now-Dec.18: Raleigh Little Theatre's Cinderella - RLT’s holiday tradition returns for the 38th year! This musical comedy is a holiday sugarplum for the whole family. Just the right mixture of comedy and romance can add the sparkle of magic to your holiday season. This visually stunning musical combines elegant costumes and scenery with singing, dancing, conniving step-relatives, and resourceful fairy folk.

Now-Dec. 24 - The Polar Express 3D - Enjoy this classic holiday movie at Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh. Select showings available on weekends in December. I went with my three kids last weekend. It was a little loud, but my three-year-old surprised me by wearing his 3D glasses nearly the entire time. My five-year-old isn't as adventurous as my other two kids. She was a bit frightened, but did great once she sat in my lap.

Now-Jan. 16: Skate the Square - Glide and gather on Cary’s new ice-skating rink at Fenton. Surrounded by spectacular food, trendy shops and winter holiday cheer, Fenton’s outdoor ice rink is a magical experience for all. Tickets are $16.

Now until Jan. 8: North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival - This annual event is back at Koka Booth Amphitheatre starting Friday, Nov. 18. It features more than 40 all new displays, each one comprised of hundreds of parts, and thousands of LED lights.

Now-Jan. 8: The Questioneers Exhibit at Kidzu - This brand new exhibit is based on one of my family's favorite book series, The Questioneers, written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts. It celebrates Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. Celebrate the grand opening of this traveling exhibit at Kidzu in Chapel Hill and find inspiration to solve everyday mysteries and think more critically about their world.


Tara Lynn is a former WRAL reporter and anchor. She lends her 15-plus years in journalism to tell visual stories through love-filled photography for families of all kinds. The mother of three little humans and one senior rescue dog believes in celebrating magic in the little things, the big loves, and the imperfect moments that make the most remarkable memories. Her vision is to help families celebrate and share their love through photography and curated album artwork that become timeless keepsakes connecting multiple generations...because moments often pass in the blink of an eye, and the photographs we take connect us to our memories and our great loves, forever.

You can find Tara Lynn on Instagram at @TaraLynn_andCo and TaraLynnAndCo.com. Learn more about her photography at TaraLynnAndCoPhoto.comTara Lynn and Co. Photography.