Wilmington, NC:  Holiday events in Wilmington, North Carolina and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach fill the months of November and December with a great amount of cheer! Throughout the season, there are twinkling enchanted forests, candlelight home tours, parades, model train displays, concerts, theatrical productions, holiday tours, cruises, and New Year’s celebrations. From the river to the sea, visitors can immerse themselves in holiday arts and cultural activities and shop for one-of-a-kind and locally crafted gifts at beach and riverfront boutiques, shopping villages, art galleries and museum shops. Brighten this holiday season with a coastal getaway to Wilmington and its island beaches. To download a free 2018 Holiday Events brochure, please visit our Seasonal Highlights page. Here’s a sampling of holiday events.  

Light-Up the Season – Holiday Lights & Parades

Nov. 19-Dec. 30: Cape Fear Festival of Trees, N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher, Kure Beach

Nov. 23-Dec. 31: Island of Lights Festival, Carolina & Kure Beaches

Nov. 23: Lighting at the Lake Celebration, Carolina Beach Lake Park

Nov. 23-Nov. 24: North Carolina Holiday Flotilla at Wrightsville Beach (An STS Top 20 Event!)

Nov 23, 24 & 30 Dec. 1 & 7-22: Enchanted Airlie, Advance tickets required. Airlie Gardens, Wilmington

Nov. 23-Dec. 29 Fridays & Saturdays: Spirit of the Holidays Cruise, Wilmington Riverfront

Nov. 23: Downtown Holiday Tree Lighting, Downtown Wilmington

Nov. 23-Dec. 31: Holiday Lights & Window Displays, Mayfaire Town Center, Wilmington

Nov. 30: Christmas Tree Lighting & outdoor holiday movie screening, Greenfield Lake, Wilmington

Nov. 30: Island of Lights Christmas Parade, Carolina Beach

Dec. 1: Island of Lights Christmas Flotilla, Carolina Beach

Dec. 2: Wilmington Holiday Parade, Downtown Wilmington Riverfront

Dec. 8: Island of Lights Tour of Homes, Carolina/Kure Beaches

Dec. 9: Floating Lantern Ceremony, Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington

Christmas Days of Yore

Dec.7-9 & 14-16: A Merry Little Christmas Festival: Candlelight Tours, Poplar Grove, Hwy. 17N, north of Wilmington

Dec. 1-2: Old Wilmington by Candlelight Tour, Latimer House, Wilmington

Dec. 1: Annual Candle Tea, Covenant Moravian Church, Wilmington

Dec. 2-3: Jingle Bells Holiday Tea, Bellamy Mansion, Downtown Wilmington

Dec. 4: Fort Fisher Holiday Open House, Fort Fisher State Historic Site, Kure Beach

Dec. 8: Christmas Stroll Through the Past, Bellamy Mansion & Burgwin-Wright House, Downtown Wilmington

Deck the Stages – Theatre, Dance & Film

Nov. 16-Dec 23: Fridays & Saturday. Sunday starting Dec. 9: Dinner Theatre: Christmas Cactus, TheatreNOW, Wilmington

Nov. 21: The Great Russian Nutcracker, UNCW Kenan Auditorium, Wilmington

Nov. 29-Dec 16: Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol, Cape Fear Playhouse, Wilmington

Nov. 30-Dec. 1: Ballet for Young Audiences: The Nutcracker, Thalian Hall, Wilmington

Dec. 1-2: City Ballet-A Carolina Nutcracker, CFCC Wilson Center, Wilmington

Dec. 6-9, 13-16: The SantaLand Diaries. Thalian Hall, Ruth & Bucky Stein studio theatre, Wilmington

Dec. 7-9 & 14-16: A Christmas Carol, Thalian Hall, Wilmington

Dec. 8: A Charlie Brown Christmas, CFCC Wilson Center, Wilmington

Dec. 15: Wilmington Ballet Co. Presents: “Nutcracker,” CFCC Wilson Center, Wilmington

Dec. 20: “It’s A Wonderful Life” film screening, Thalian Hall, Wilmington

A Joyful Noise – Musical Celebrations

Nov. 27: Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, Wilson Center, Wilmington

Dec. 8: Homegrown Holiday with Zoe & Cloyd, UNCW Kenan Auditorium, Wilmington

Dec. 15: 7th Annual Toys for Tots Fundraiser concert. Brooklyn Arts Center, Wilmington 

Dec. 18: The Beach Boys Reasons for the Season Christmas Tour, Wilson Center, Wilmington

Dec. 19: NC Symphony Holiday Pops, CFCC Wilson Center, Wilmington

Dec. 19: 3 Redneck Tenors, Thalian Hall, Wilmington

Oh What Fun! – Families with Young Children

Nov. 18-Dec.24: Santa’s Workshop & Photos with Santa, Mayfaire Town Centre, Wilmington

Nov. 22: Wrightsville Beach Turkey Trot, Wrightsville Beach Loop, Wrightsville Beach

Nov. 23: Battleship Ho Ho Ho, USS NORTH CAROLINA, Wilmington

Nov. 23: Black Friday Dash 5K & 1 Mile Race, Waterline Brewing Co., Wilmington

Nov. 23-Jan. 2: Holiday Skate Rink, Mayfaire Town Center, Wilmington

Nov. 23-Dec. 29 Fridays & Saturdays: Christmas Train & Light Spectacular, Wilmington Railroad Museum

Nov. 24-Dec. 30 (Fri.-Sat.-Sun.): Holiday Train Expo 2018, Independence Mall (Dillards wing), Wilmington

Nov. 24: Santa Arrival & Holiday Show, Mayfaire Town Center, Wilmington

Nov. 24: Turkey Trot 4 Mile Trail Run/Walk, Carolina Beach State Park

Nov. 24, Dec. 1, 8 & 15: Christmas by the Sea, Carolina Beach Boardwalk

Dec. 1: Dashing Through the Glow 5k & Holiday Festival, River Lights Community, Wilmington

Dec. 7-9: Kure Beach Christmas Fantasy Show, K Ave., Kure Beach

Dec. 8: Storytime with Santa, Barnes & Noble Mayfaire, Wilmington

Dec. 8: 5k Jingle Bell Run, Wrightsville Beach Park, Wrightsville Beach

Dec. 8-9; 15-16; 22-23: Saturdays & Sundays: Polar Express Holiday Show, Wilmington Railroad Museum, Wilmington

Dec. 8 & 15: Polar Express Day, Children’s Museum of Wilmington

Dec. 9: Santa Cares: Sensory Friendly Santa Event, Mayfaire Town Center, Wilmington

Dec. 14-15, 21-24: Caroling with Santa & “Reindeer” Drawn Trolley/Carriage, 1st block of Market Street, Wilmington

Dec 31: New Year’s Noon, Children’s Museum, Wilmington

Ongoing through Dec. 24: Shopping Center “Santa” visits: Cotton Exchange, Mayfaire Town Centre, Independence Mall

Shop ‘til You Drop

Nov. 17 & 24: Kure Beach Holiday Market, Oceanfront Park, Kure Beach

Nov. 17-Dec. 24: Artisan Holiday Market by Going Local NC, Mayfaire Town Center, Wilmington

Nov. 30-Dec. 2: Holiday Flea at BAC, Brooklyn Arts Center, Wilmington

Dec. 1: Carolina Beach Holiday Market, Carolina Beach Lake Park

Happy New Year!  December 31

New Year’s Noon Countdown, Children’s Museum, Wilmington

Midnight in Paris, Le Catalan, Wilmington

Island of Lights New Year’s Eve Countdown, an STS Top 20 Event, Kure Beach Oceanfront Park, Kure Beach

New Year’s Eve Gala-dinner, show “Mamma Mia” & dancing/midnight toast, Thalian Hall, Wilmington

New Year’s Eve Speakeasy Celebration, TheatreNOW, Wilmington

Insider Tips: Event details often change without notice and/or sell out in advance, so please confirm event date, time, place before traveling any distance. For a FREE Official Visitors Guide, email visit@wilmingtonandbeaches.com. For seasonal highlights and to download a free 2018 Holiday Event brochure, click here.



Connie Nelson
Wilmington CVB
910-341-4030 x120