20+ Great Things to Do in North Carolina in January

Last Updated on February 11, 2022

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These things to do in North Carolina in January will get your year started on the right foot! Our guide shares the best events during our coldest winter month.

January is a month of new beginnings in North Carolina, where you can slow down and relax after the holiday hustle and bustle. And while our state isn’t nearly as busy as November or December, you’ll find there are still plenty of events going on throughout.

Because there are holdovers from Christmas, exciting sports events, and more fun going on, we’ve organized this post into the following sections:

  • Christmas and Holiday Celebrations (Christmas at Biltmore, Speedway Christmas, and More!)
  • Winter Sports (NBA, NCAA, NFL, and Hockey)
  • More Things to Do in North Carolina in January

As we’ve done with previous monthly roundups, we’ve ordered these January events by starting date and alphabetized by city.

Read More: Winter in North Carolina

Things to Do in North Carolina in January (Christmas and Holiday Celebrations)

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Christmas at Biltmore (Through January 9)

Things to Do in North Carolina in January
Biltmore Estate.

December is the biggest winter month for Christmas and Holiday home tours, and two of them keep on moving into early January. Christmas at Biltmore wraps up after another run at America’s Largest Home.

Read More: The Best Things to Do in Asheville

WinterLights, Manteo (November 30-January 19)

WinterLights in Manteo continues on from November and December. It’s the perfect opportunity for a stroll through the Elizabethan Gardens while enjoying the beautiful Christmas lights. Festive trees, warm fires, and lights radiating from every corner make this a must-see event!

Hot tip: If you plan to go more than once, it’s worth buying a Season Pass!

Read More: Things to Do in the Outer Banks

More Christmas Lights Festivals

Things to Do in North Carolina in January Speedway Christmas Charlotte Motor Speedway NC
Speedway Christmas.

Those are not the only flashy things to do in North Carolina in January. Here are more holiday lights festivals that are wrapping up during the first month of the year.

Read More: Unique Things to Do in North Carolina (The NC Bucket List)

KwanzaaFest, Statewide (January 1)

We mentioned the seven days of Kwanzaa beginning on December 26. Celebrations will be held in Raleigh, in Asheville, and elsewhere in North Carolina.

And if you know of more Kwanzaa festivities that we need to share, please let us know here.

Things to Do in North Carolina in January (Winter Sports)

Winter sports are on full display during January in North Carolina. We start with the hardest hitting teams in the business.

Hockey (All Month)

Seeing Carolina Hurricanes is one of the best things to do in Raleigh. Here’s how their home schedule looks in January:

  • Calgary (January 7)
  • Florida (January 8)
  • Columbus (January 13)
  • Vancouver (January 15)
  • New York Rangers (January 21)
  • Las Vegas (January 25)
  • New Jersey (January 29)
  • San Jose (January 30)

Ticket Info

Minor League Hockey will also be in full swing in January and throughout the winter months. Keep an eye out for these teams’ home games this January:

Read More: Things to Do in Fayetteville

NBA Basketball (All Month)

Not to be overshadowed by the NCAAs, watching NBA basketball’s Charlotte Hornets is one of the best things to do in North Carolina in January.

The Hornets will kick off 2022 on January 2 against 2021 NBA Finals runner-up the Phoenix Suns at home in Charlotte. Including that first matchup, the Hornets have 9 home games at the Spectrum Center.

  • Phoenix (January 2)
  • Detroit (January 5)
  • Milwaukee (January 8)
  • Milwaukee (January 10)
  • Orlando (January 14)
  • Oklahoma City (January 21)
  • Atlanta (January 23)
  • Los Angeles Lakers (January 28)
  • Los Angeles Clippers (January 30)

Some big names will be coming through Queen City, and you can grab tickets here.

Read More: Things to Do in Charlotte

NCAA Basketball (All Month)

Men’s and Women’s college basketball really starts getting into high gear during the first month of the year. Here are some interesting games between in-state foes in North Carolina on both sides.

Men’s NCAA Division 1 Games in North Carolina

  • Elon at UNC-Wilmington (January 11)
  • Duke at Wake Forest (January 12)
  • NC A&T at High Point (January 15)
  • NC State at Duke (January 15)
  • UNC-Wilmington at Elon (January 16)
  • NC A&T at UNC-Asheville (January 19)
  • Campbell at NC A&T (January 22)
  • UNC at Wake Forest (January 22)
  • Gardner Webb at UNC-Asheville (January 26)
  • NC State at UNC-Chapel Hill (January 29)

Read More: 50+ Easy Day Trips from Fayetteville (Great Getaways!)

Women’s NCAA Division 1 Games in North Carolina

  • Campbell at Gardner Webb (January 1)
  • NC A&T at Campbell (January 4)
  • UNC-Chapel Hill at NC State (January 6)
  • UNC-Asheville at Gardner Webb (January 11)
  • Campbell at High Point (January 15)
  • Duke at NC State (January 16)
  • UNC Wilmington at Elon (January 16)
  • High Point at UNC-Asheville (January 18)
  • NC A&T at UNC-Asheville (January 25)
  • UNC-Chapel Hill at Duke (January 27)
  • NC A&T at Gardner Webb (January 29)
  • NC State at UNC-Chapel Hill (January 30)

Read More: Fun Museums in Greensboro (Kid-Friendly, Contemporary Art, and More!)

NFL Football (January 2 and 9)

The Carolina Panthers don’t have any home games left in January, but they do have two NFC South clashes worth watching. The first one is at New Orleans on January 2 and at the Panthers close out the season at the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Bucs.

More Things to Do in North Carolina in January

Here are more things to do in North Carolina in January that aren’t related to Christmas, the holidays, or sports.

First Day Hikes, Statewide (January 1)

To kick off the new year in nature, all North Carolina State Parks hold a series of First Day Hikes (many guided) throughout the day.

Whether you’re in Western North Carolina near Chimney Rock State Park (and the Chimney Rock), nearby South Mountains State Park (home to High Shoals Falls), or at Carolina Beach State Park near Wilmington, there’s a hiking trail for you.

More info on all First Day Hikes and participating parks can be found here.

Read More: 25 of the Most Amazing Winter Hikes in North Carolina

Animal Park Tree Toss, Burlington (January 8)

Have you ever wondered what happens to all those leftover Christmas trees? In Burlington, many trees are donated to the Conservator Center Animal Park.

Used as special enrichment, the animals enjoy the smells and new textures from the trees at the annual Tree Toss.

Guests are invited to walk around the park to watch the animals enjoy the trees. You’ll also get a chance to create a craft to take home. Tickets do sell out so make sure to buy them in advance!

Toy, Sportscard, Non-Sportscard & Hot Wheels Show, Raleigh (January 8)

Presented by Inside Pitch Promotions, vendors of vintage and new sports, toys, and hobby collectibles organize tables at the Raleigh State Fairgrounds for guests to purchase or trade.

Inside Pitch events happen throughout the year, so keep an eye out for the next ones!

Moonshine Heritage Day, Wilkesboro (January 15)

On January 15, Moonshine Heritage Day in Wilkesboro will celebrate the High Country town’s claim to fame as America’s Moonshine Capital. Live music, food trucks, local crafts and more make this a fun event that belongs on your calendar.

Read More: Winter in Boone (20 Great Activities, Snow Tubing, and More!)

Astronomy Days, Raleigh (January 25 to 31)

Raleigh Museum of Natural Sciences1

Get to see the bigger picture at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences during Astronomy Days. During this free event, stations across the museum allow guests to interact, learn and ponder.

Create a rocket, play a Jeopardy-style game from the Raleigh Astronomy Club, and learn about constellations during the out-of-this-world and kid-friendly fun!

Read More: Free Things to Do in Raleigh

Asheville Fringe Arts Festival (January 27 to 30)

The Asheville Fringe Arts Festival returns as a hybrid event. That means they will be presenting a combination of in-person and online shows.

Read More: Awesome Asheville Restaurants

Winterfest, Blowing Rock (January 27 to 30)

Blowing Rock Winterfest features lots of fun events over four days in one of our favorite small towns. There’s a Polar Bear Plunge in Chetola Lake, Winterfeast (15 restaurants in one place), Ice Carving in Memorial Park, and much more.

Read More: Things to Do in Blowing Rock

Rare & Vintage Beer Tasting, Durham (January 29)

January Events in NC Rare and Vintage Beer Tasting Image

The annual NC Rare & Vintage Beer Tasting celebrates new and exciting flavors in hops. Attendees learn about the 50 to 55 beers being poured, while enjoying local eats, too!

This event will raise funds and awareness for The Michael James Jackson Foundation for Brewing & Distilling.

Read More: Craft Breweries in Durham: The Go-To Guide for a Bull City Pint

Ready for These Things to Do in North Carolina in January?

December in North Carolina is a wonderful and busy time for everyone. We look forward to enjoying these Christmas and holiday events while searching for more to share with you. 

Before looking ahead to our future adventures, we’d love to know what’s on your mind. Which of these things to do in North Carolina in December will you be attending?

Also, what events do you think we should add to this list? 

Note: If you’re reaching out on behalf of a business, PR agency, or DMO, please visit this page.

More Things to Do in North Carolina

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