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Celebrating the Holidays in Downtown Raleigh

Downtown Raleigh is home to a season's worth of special holiday experiences for you and your family to enjoy. Check out this list of highlights, or visit our event calendar for an up-to-date collection of fun things to do Downtown this December and January.

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Illuminate Art Walk 

December 2th ⎻ January 6th 

Downtown Raleigh comes to light again this year with Illuminate Art Walk presented by Wake Tech. Parts of Downtown Raleigh’s Fayetteville Street and Glenwood South districts transform with large-scale, interactive and light-based art pieces that are unique and family-friendly. A highlight of this year's month-long event is Sonic Runway by Creos, a 300+ foot corridor of lights synchronized to the speed of sound.

The art walk is free to the public and self-guided.


The Nutcracker

December 16th ⎻ 24th

The Carolina Ballet will re-invision The Nutcracker for today’s audiences while staying true to its historic roots in a beautifully choreographed, full-length performance.



THE RINK Presented by UNC Health

November 19th ⎻ January 16th

Come enjoy the thrill of ice skating in a winter wonderland created in the heart of downtown Raleigh! THE RINK features a natural ice skating rink with stunning views of the Raleigh skyline. Activities and amenities include: fire pits, a Christmas tree, snack bar, games, and more. Tickets required. Visit the website for tickets and hours of operation.


Downtown Raleigh Christmas Tree

The Downtown Raleigh Christmas Tree stands tall and shines brightly in Lichtin Plaza outside the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Bring your family for a festive photo op or just marvel at the beauty of Downtown's official Christmas tree. Located at 2 E South St. Illuminated after dark. 


WRAL First Night Raleigh 

Saturday, December 31st ⎻ Sunday, January 1st

Thousands of residents come together on New Year’s Eve for WRAL First Night Raleigh in the heart of downtown. The night is capped off at midnight with music on the outdoor Main Stage, the famous Raleigh Acorn Drop, and a spectacular fireworks show. Some portions of the event are ticketed.


New Years Eve at Whiskey Rose

Saturday, December 31st

Celebrate the New Year at Glenwood South's premiere country bar Whiskey Rose with a champagne toast at midnight.