13 Fun Things to Do in Raleigh-Durham Over Thanksgiving
Festivals, outdoor activities and seasonal fun
Photo courtesy of North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival
View an updated version of this article for 2019 here: Fun Things to Do in the Triangle Over Thanksgiving.
Enjoy the Triangle with your family and friends during Thanksgiving break. Check out these ideas for family fun, and don’t forget to call ahead to ensure that venues are open.
1. Catch a tree-lighting or other holiday event taking place Thanksgiving weekend by browsing our 2017 holiday roundup.
Photo Courtesy of Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership
2. Enjoy the Chinese Lantern Festival at Booth Amphitheatre in Cary Nov. 24-Jan. 14. You can see more than 20 displays with thousands of LED lights. Hours are 6-10 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday. The festival also features Chinese performers on weekends. Purchase tickets online, $15 ages 18 and older and $10 for ages 3-17, at boothamphitheatre.com/nc-chinese-lantern-festival-cary. Find more holiday light shows in our roundup of Must-See Holiday Light Shows Across North Carolina.
3. See the North Carolina Symphony present “Home Alone” Nov. 24, 7:30 p.m.; and Nov. 25, 3 p.m. in Meymandi Concert Hall. Enjoy this comedy classic on a big screen as the symphony plays the delightful score by John Williams live. Purchase tickets for $14-$29. at ticketmaster.com.
4. Take in a holiday show. The Durham Performing Arts Center presents “Hip Hop Nutcracker,” Nov. 24 at 2 and 7 p.m., a contemporary re-imagination of Tchaikovsky’s timeless music. The Brian Setzer Orchestra performs rockabilly song arrangements in its 14th Annual “Christmas Rocks! Tour” Nov. 26 at 7:30 p.m. Purchase tickets online. dpacnc.com. Catch "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical" at Fletcher Theater for performances Nov. 24-Dec. 24. Purchase tickets, $15 and up, at ticketmaster.com.
Photo courtesy of Curtis Brown Photography
5. Shop for hand-crafted North Carolina gifts, from pottery to jewelry to foods at these eight unique venues in the Triangle or at one of these holiday craft fair taking place Thanksgiving weekend:
• The Black Market: Nov. 24, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Northgate Mall, 1058 W. Club Blvd., Durham.
• Christmas Carousel Holiday Gift Market: Nov. 24-25, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Nov. 26, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $8/adult, $4 ages 6-12. Free for ages 5 and younger. Jim Graham Building, North Carolina State Fairgrounds, 1025 Blue Ridge Rd., Raleigh.
• Holiday Handmade Pop-Up Market: Nov. 25, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Perch Studios, 106 S. Greensboro St., Ste. E, Carrboro.
6. Donate your time, talents or treasure to a charitable organizing serving those in need. Browse our roundup of local nonprofits where your family can help. Call ahead to ensure the volunteer opportunities listed are still available before you head out.
7. Catch The Polar Express at the Wells Fargo IMAX Theatre at Marbles starting Wednesday, Nov. 22.
Image courtesy of Warner Bros.
8. Explore our state's cultural museums. The North Carolina Museum of History, North Carolina Museum of Art and North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh will be closed on Thanksgiving day, but open the day after (Friday) for regular hours. The North Carolina's Museum of Art Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park is open daily, including holidays (dawn to dusk) and features paved and gravel trails past interesting works of art.
THOMAS SAYRE, GYRE, 1999, © 2009 THOMAS H. SAYRE PHOTO COURTESY OF THE NORTH CAROLINA MUSEUM OF ART
10. Take in a holiday show. The Durham Performing Arts Center presents “Hip Hop Nutcracker,” Nov. 24 at 2 and 7 p.m., a contemporary re-imagination of Tchaikovsky’s timeless music. The Brian Setzer Orchestra performs rockabilly song arrangements in its 14th Annual “Christmas Rocks! Tour” Nov. 26 at 7:30 p.m. Purchase tickets online. dpacnc.com.
11. Head outdoors with your family for a hike or Turkey Trot race. Explore one of these 10 Hikes Kids Enjoy in the Triangle and consider entering one of several Turkey Trot races taking place this weekend.
Photo courtesy of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
12. Take your kids to Yates Mill Historic County Park to make a Thankfulness project Nov. 24 at 8:30 a.m. or to listen to a story at 11 a.m.
13. Attend the Turkey Chase Trail Festival at Umstead Park. Take part in a 5K, 10K or 20K. After the race, enjoy fruit, brownies and other treats. Register online.