What Are the Fun Things To Do in Wilmington, NC and in the Surrounding Areas this December 2023?

The most wonderful time of the year is here! There are a lot of activities and events to go to and to do with your family and friends in the yuletide season. Mark it on your calendars and enjoy our December celebration here in the Southeast North Carolina area.

December 01

Spirit of Calabash Parade and Christmas Tree Lighting
Callahan's of Calabash, Downtown Calabash, Calabash, NC 28467

  • Join this year's event in Downtown Calabasj with the Spirit of Calabash Parade in Beach Drive to River Road.
  • Enjoy community caroling, hot cocoa, children's letter writing, and reindeer food station. Santa will be there too.
  • 6:00PM | Tree lighting begins immediately after the parade. For more details, visit their social media here.

Oak Island Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
Middleton Park Complex, 4610 E Dolphin Dr., Oak Island, NC 28465

  • Enjoy the evening with local music, crafts, a Santa mailing station and more at the Oak Island Tree Lighting Ceremony.
  • 5:00PM to 7:00PM | For more information, go here.

Southport Winterfest: Mayor's Downtown Tree Lighting Ceremony
Whittler's Bench, Southport, NC 28461

  • Share in the joy of the season in this tree lighting ceremony.
  • With hot chocolate and cookies provided by the Southport Beautification Committee.
  • 6:00PM | See more details here.

All is Bright at Poplar Grove
Poplar Grove Plantation, 10200 US Highway 17 North, Wilmington, NC 28411

  • Come visit the historic Poplar Grove Plantation with magical light display and arts, crafts and gift vendors, and more. Children can spend time on Thursday, Friday and Sunday with Santa and do marshmallow roasting. December 10th is reserved for Santa and Pet pictures.
  • December 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22 and 23. | 5:00PM until 8:45PM
  • Tickets: $10 per person | Family package (2 Adults & 2 Children): $35 | Food available for purchase.
  • To see more information and book tickets online, click here.

Cape Fear Festival of Trees 
North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, 900 Loggerhead Rd, Kure Beach, NC 28449

  • Wander through the glistening trees and holiday elegance, and get festive with the fishes!
  • Open until January 2, 2024 from 9:00AM to 5:00PM except on dates the Aquarium is closed.
  • Find out more and reserve your tickets here.

The Holiday Flea at the BAC 
Brooklyn Arts Center + The Annex
, 516 N Fourth St., Wilmington, NC 28401

  • Come and shop here in the "ultimate vintage flea" with a variety of vintage, retro, up-cycled and fabulous antique treasures. Food trucks, coffee shop, and bar is open each day.
  • Ticket admission is $10 for all three days | Kids 12yrs old and below are free.
  • Friday, December 1, 4:00PM to 8:00PM | Saturday, December 2, 10AM-5PM | Sunday, December 3, 12PM-5PM

The Second City: What the Elf? 
UNCW Kenan Auditorium
, 601 S College Rd, Wilmington, NC 28403

  • Have an evening of laughter in this Holiday sketch comedy along with unscripted improvisations.
  • Suggested for audiences age 17+. Ticket prices start at $25
  • 7:30PM. Get your tickets here.

The Nutcracker: NY Ballet for Young Audiences 
Thalian Hall Center for Performing Arts
, 310 Chestnut St., Wilmington, NC 28401

  • Here an holiday baller for both the young and the young at heart. Bring your tiny dancers with you.
  • December 1, Friday at 4PM and 7PM | December 2, Saturday at 10AM
  • Tickets start at $35. Hurry. Get your tickets here.

December 2

Carolina Beach Holiday Market 
Carolina Beach Lake Park
, Atlanta Ave. and Lake Park Blvd., Carolina Beach, NC 28428

  • Shop around for your holiday gifts for all ages in your list with over 100 vendors of handmade arts, crafts and artisans.
  • FREE to enter from 9:00AM to 3:00PM

Breakfast with Santa & Mrs. Claus 
Carolina Beach Pier, 1800 Carolina Beach Avenue N, Carolina Beach, NC 28428

  • Have good breakfast with a breathtaking ocean view and festively decorated bay area.
  • Santa and Mrs. Claus will come to your table and listen to your holiday wishes and take photos with you.
  • Please plan ahead. Recurring every Saturday until December 23, 2023 at 9:00AM.
  • Phone reservations required. Please call 910-636-3075 .

Holiday Train Expo 
Independence Mall
, 3500 Oleander Dr., Dillards Wing of Independence Mall, Wilmington, NC 28403

  • Come marvel at the spectacular displays of 12 unique model train layouts as over 30 trains travel across miles of track through winter wonderland villages, parks and landscapes.
  • December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 26, 27, 30. | 12:00PM until 5:00PM
  • Adults $8 | Children 3-12yrs old $6 | Children under 3 Free

Island of Lights Christmas Flotilla 
Carolina Beach Boat Basin to Snow's Cut
, Carolina Beach, NC 28428

  • Enjoy the sight of fishing boats and pleasure crafts decorated with thousands of lights as they stream along the Intracoastal Waterway. Water crafts will cruise from Snow's Cut to the Carolina Beach Boat Basin and back.
  • Bring your family for another year to remember and create core memories.
  • 6:00PM

Island Lights of Flotilla Cruise 
Island Cruises, 301 Carl Winner Dr, Carolina Beach, NC 28428

  • Set sail in the front row seat for the Island of Lights Christmas Flotilla Boat Parade. This cruise will then join the Flotilla as it returns to the Marina.
  • Tickets: Adult $36 | Child (ages 0-12) $26 | Full cash/card bar onboard with non-alcoholic drinks, coffee and hot chocolate. Call (910) 232-3272 to book tickets or online here.
  • 5:00PM until 7:00PM

December 3

20th Annual Wilmington Holiday Parade 
Parade starts at North Front Street from Walnut to Church Streets, Historic Downtown Wilmington, NC 28401

  • Join the festivities on this annual event with marching bands, floats, entertainers, and our dear old jolly Santa Claus. Parade starts 6PM until 9PM.
  • Click here for updates.

Christmas Palm Tree Lighting 
Carolina Beach Pier
, 1800 Carolina Beach Ave. N, Carolina Beach, NC 28428

  • Welcome Christmas Holidays on the shore with the festive lighting of the giant Palm Tree!  Have fun in the seaside with the oceanfront Sandbar boasts bushy Christmas Trees for sale, festive light displays on the Pier and open air Tiki Bar, and the cozy indoor second floor decor will leave you merry and bright, making this three celebration levels.
  • Free for Spectators | Food and Drinks available for purchase
  • 5:00PM to 8:00PM | See updates here.

Happy Holidays everyone!


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