From over-the-top Christmas light displays and holiday markets to ice-skating, dance performances and Kwanzaa celebrations, here’s a snapshot of 10 festive winter wonderland events happening in cities across the country. Enjoy them with family and friends or solo (don’t shy away from taking yourself on a merry little Christmas date). Check local listings to find more holiday events in your area.
NOLA Christmasfest (Dec. 21-30): Come to play at this family-friendly event presented by Coca-Cola, where attractions include indoor ice-skating, ice slides and carnival rides. Timed tickets start at $25.
Downtown Holiday Market (through Dec. 23): Pick up last-minute holiday gifts from local vendors at this popular holiday market located near the National Portrait Gallery. Plus, enjoy sweet and savory treats and music by Carly Harvey, hailed as D.C.’s Queen of the Blues. The market is free to the public.
Alvin Ailey at City Center (through Dec. 24): Witness bold and beautiful brown bodies in motion during Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s annual winter residency at New York City Center. Tickets start at $29, and Ailey's signature Revelations is always a calendar highlight.
Harlem Gospel Choir Christmas Day Matinee at Sony Hall (Dec. 25): Celebrate the reason for the season on Christmas Day with this renowned gospel choir composed of Holy Ghost-rousing singers and musicians from various Black churches in Harlem and the tristate area. Seats at Sony Hall are sold out, but for $25 you can purchase a live stream link, which will be accessible through January 1, 2023.
Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular (through Jan. 2): Kick it with the Rockettes (we’ll be clapping extra for the sisters in the formation) during this annual holiday showstopper. Tickets start at $46. And if you can’t make it to the Big Apple, watch the original Hallmark movie A Holiday Spectacular featuring the Radio City Rockettes.
Charlotte, North Carolina
The Hip Hop Nutcracker (Dec. 26-27): Celebrating its 10th anniversary, this remix and reimagining of the timeless Nutcracker ballet offers a mash-up of hip-hop dance to Tchaikovsky’s classic score. Tickets start at $20.
Pre-Kwanzaa Marketplace (online): Kwanzaa is from Dec. 26, 2022, through Jan. 1, 2023. Shop this virtual marketplace curated by Chicago’s Africa International House back in 2020 and embrace the spirit of the seven principles of this African American holiday: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith). You’ll find Afrocentric apparel, handcrafted teas, vegan body butter and more.
Capital City Kwanzaa Festival (Dec. 30): Hosted by the Elegba Folklore Society at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, this grand celebration proudly presents dance and drum performances, workshops, children’s activities, food and an African marketplace. Tickets are $6 for general admission, $5 for students ages 12-18 and adults 65-plus. For more info, call 804-644-3900 or go to the Elegba Folklore Society’s website.
First Night Alexandria (Dec. 31): Ring in the new year in Old Town Alexandria with music, dancing, food trucks and a fireworks finale over the Potomac River at midnight. Tickets are $10 for ages 3-10, $20 for ages 11-19, $50 for ages 20-64 and $30 for age 65-plus. Or watch the fireworks for free from Alexandria’s waterfront.
Jekyll Island, Georgia
Holly Jolly Jekyll (through Jan. 8, 2023): Take a trolley tour through hundreds of light displays, peep a big Christmas tree with over 45,000 lights, watch fireworks, play miniature golf and park to watch a drive-in presentation of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.