The holiday lights & Christmas tree at Celebration Plaza in Carowinds Winterfest

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Winterfest at Carowinds

If you are looking for a great time in the Carolinas during the holiday season, then you have to head to Winterfest!

Winterfest is an annual event at Carowinds theme park in Charlotte on the North Carolina/South Carolina border.  It started a couple of years ago.  It keeps growing and I think this year was the best yet.

We made a video of highlights for a few visits my family took this year:

WinterFest Wonderland Parade

Video of Carowinds Winterfest new Wonderland Parade in Charlotte, NC

The main reason why I think this WinterFest is the best WinterFest ever is because of the brand new parade!  I absolutely love parades, and I love Christmas, so you can imagine my excitement at this parade!  It’s got holiday characters (like Jack Frost, the Snow Queen, Santa, Mrs. Claus, Gingerbread Men, etc.), beautiful floats, lights, performers, and more!  You can see it for yourself here

WinterFest Sections

The theme park is divided into different holiday-themed sections.

Celebration Plaza

The holiday lights & Christmas tree at Celebration Plaza in Carowinds Winterfest

The holiday lights begin right when you walk in at Celebration Plaza.  This is where the Christmas tree lighting takes place every night.  As you can see, the Christmas tree here is beautiful.  And they also have a great show in front of the tree called Cool Yule Christmas.  It features a lot of great singing and dancing, and we included parts of it in our video tour.

Celebration Plaza is the best place to go for food, too.  You can get holiday desserts and hot chocolate at Tinker’s Donut Hut.  You can get turkey legs and smoked sausage at Turkey Lurkey’s.  Blitzen’s Fixin’s  serves burritos, gourmet mac & cheese, and loaded baked potatoes.  You can get holiday-themed funnel cakes at Festive Funnel Cake.  Additional dining locations include Starbucks, Cinnabon, and Auntie Annie’s.

Celebration Plaza is also home to Sally’s Christmas Crafts, where children 12 years old and younger can decorate ornaments or create holiday cards.

Snow Flake Lane

A picture of Snow Flake Lake Ice Skating at Carowinds' Winterfest event

Snow Flake Lane is a beautiful area with an ice skating rink!  Snow Flake Lake Ice Skating is a great experience at Carowinds.

Harmony Hall is located in Snow Flake Lane.  You can get a lot of different food and drink here, which you see in the video.  They serve traditional holiday fixin’s as well as other great food, like turduckin burgers.  Harmony Hall is also where you can find the show Holiday in Harmony.  This is a really neat show you can watch while you eat.  The performers put on a radio show like you might have heard in another era.  They even involve in the audience, which is really cool.  You can see it for yourself in our video.

Snow Flake Lane is also where the Holly Jolly Trolley Park.  The Holly Jolly Trolley is an old-fashioned trolley carrying a talented cast of performers.  They sing great holiday music and even engage the audience.  You can see highlights of this performance in our video.

The Yule Logs is another group of talented performers who perform on Harmony Hall’s patio.

Snow Flake Lane is also where you can find Jack Frost’s Igloo Village.  You can rent one of these and then enjoy some privacy in a warm spot!  You also get VIP Seating at select shows, priority access to ice skating, priority access to a horse and carriage ride for 4 people, and you get refillable souvenir hot chocolate mugs!

North Pole Excursion

Get a horse & carriage ride at Winterfest at Carowinds theme park

Near where you would normally find Carolina Harbor during the summer is the North Pole section!  A really neat thing about the North Pole section is that you can get an actual horse and carriage ride here!

The North Pole Section is also home to Four Drummers Drumming, a great musical performance.  You can also enjoy decorating cookies at Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen.  And kids can have a lot of fun (and get rid of excess energy!) at Head Elf Training Challenge Course.

Christmas Park

A picture of a holiday decorated carousel at Winterfest at Carowinds theme park

Carowinds Theater is located in Christmas Park.  This is where you can see Charlie Browns’ Christmas Spectacular.  Get a sneak peek of the show here:

‘Christmas Park is also home to Prancer’s Pizza, where you can buy holiday pizza and meatball sandwiches.

Coca Cola Polar Bear Plaza

Coca Cola Polar Bear Plaza at Winterfest at Carowinds theme park

I just love this section of Carowinds!  The decorations are so beautiful.  And a huge, larger-than-life Santa holding a bottle of Coke?  How perfect is that?  You can see this section in our video.  And you can even see the Coca Cola Polar Bear!

This section also is home to the Polar Bear Party, which has great games and prizes.

Country Fair Christmas Cakes is found here.  They serve holiday-themed funnel cakes (like a gingerbread funnel cake) as well as holiday hot chocolate.

Tinsel Town

A picture of the Tinsel Town section of Winterfest at Carowinds theme park in Charlotte, NC

I really love the decorations at Tinsel Town!  It has a great retro Christmas theme.  And wonderful decor!

Peppermint Patty’s Tree Trimming is located here.  That’s where you can decorate a crazy, over-the-top Christmas tree.

The Tinsel Town Diner offers foods like burgers, patty melts, and chicken tenders.

Blue Ridge Country Christmas

A picture of the Blue Ridge Country Christmas at Winterfest at Carowinds theme park

You can feel like you’re at your grandparent’s for a traditional Christmas celebration when you visit Blue Ridge Country Christmas.

There’s a lot of fun stuff here, too.  You can enjoy oversized holiday-themed lawn games at Ruby’s Reindeer Games.  You can shop for that special holiday gift at Artisan Alley, where local vendors sell their products.  There’s great music playing at Christmas Bluegrass.  And I really love Holidays for Heroes, where you can send a message to one of our members of the Military or Veterans.

There’s also a lot of great dining options here.  Dasher’s Diner offers great food like roasted pork loin, smoked sausage, sweet potatoes, and holiday hot chocolate.  You can also get desserts at Granny’s Ice Cream Shop.

Jingle Bell Boardwalk

A picture of Jingle Bell Boardwalk at Winterfest in Carowinds theme park in Charlotte, NC

Jingle Bell Boardwalk is another great section at WinterFest in Carowinds.  The decorations are gorgeous.  And I love how the holiday lights are synched with the music!

This is where you can find the North Pole Post Office.  The North Pole Post Office is where kids can write letters to Santa and get them sent straight to the North Pole!

And if you find yourself hungry at Jingle Bell Boardwalk, check out Chickie and Pete’s!

Christmas Crossroads

A picture of Jingle Jazz, a Christmas singing performance at Winterfest at Carowinds in Charlotte, NC

Christmas Crossroads is another wonderful section of Winterfest.  Midway Merriment is found here, where you can find lots of classic holiday characters.  You will love getting your picture taken with characters like the Sugar Plum Fairy, Jack Frost, Jingle Bell, Candy Cane, and more!

Christmas Crossroads is where you can find a great petting zoo full of animals you would have seen at the birth of Jesus.  Sounds of the Nativity is also found at Christmas Crossroads.  This is a show that celebrates the true meaning of Christmas, and you can see clips in our video.

Jingle Jazz is another highlight of Christmas Crossroads that we show in our video.  It is a group of Dickensian carolers singing holiday classics.

You can also get that perfect photo with Santa at St. Nick’s Pics.  WinterFest Railroad is also located here.  It’s an adorable village with a toy train running through it.  And you can also enjoy snow each night here at Carowinds Hometown Square!

Christmas Crossroads is also home to a number of great dining options.  Except on Sundays, you can enjoy Chick-Fil-A.  Get holiday-themed funnel cakes at Sugar’s Cake Factory.  Pretzels and churros are on the menu at Cheery Churros.

Candy Cane Lane

Candy Cane Lane is a beautifully decorated section of Winterfest at Carowinds theme park

Candy Cane Lane is so beautiful!  It is a wonderful walk where you can see beautiful candy cane-themed holiday lights and decorations.

Candy Cane’s Sugar Shack is found here.  That’s where you can get chicken & waffles, gingerbread cookies, holiday hot chocolate, and holiday desserts.

Charlie Brown’s Christmas Town

A picture of Charlie Brown's Christmas Town at Carowinds theme park in Charlotte, NC

See Camp Snoopy transformed into a wonderful winter wonderland!  Charlie Brown’s Christmas Town is where you can find a number of shows.  Tinker Toy’s Factory: The Christmas Fever is a show that emphasizes the importance of family and friends.  Watch reindeer perform holiday classics at Blitzen’s Brass Brigade.  Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree Lot is also found here.  You can help Charlie Brown & Linus find that perfect Christmas tree!

You can find Panda Express at Charlie Brown’s Christmas Town.  Dancer’s Snack Shack is where you can get burgers, holiday hot chocolate, and holiday cookies.

Discount Tickets

Looking for discount tickets to this great holiday event?  Click here and you can get $12 off your ticket.