Last Updated on January 17, 2022
Last Updated on January 17, 2022
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)
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
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.
- Tanglewood Park Festival of Lights in Clemmons (Through January 1)
- Holidays at the Garden in Belmont, Gaston County (Through January 2)
- Tryon Resort Winterfest in Mill Spring (Through January 2)
- Winter Wonderlights at the Greensboro Science Center (Through January 2)
- Cape Fear Festival of Trees at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher (Through January 3)
- North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival in Cary (Through January 3)
- Speedway Christmas in Concord (Through January 16)
KwanzaaFest, Statewide (January 1)
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)
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:
- Charlotte Checkers (January 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, and 23)
- Fayetteville Marksmen (January 7, 8, 14, 28, 29, and 30)
- Carolina Thunderbirds in Winston-Salem (January 1, 2, 15, and 16)
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)
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)
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.
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.
Astronomy Days, Raleigh (January 25 to 31)
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)
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.
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?
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