30+ Wonderful Things to Do in North Carolina in November (Updated for 2021)

Last Updated on October 6, 2021

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If you plan to visit Western NC, please check beforehand to see if the area is safe following the recent flooding. Officials have closed some sections of Pisgah National Forest (including Forest Heritage Scenic Byway and Blue Ridge Parkway stops) to keep visitors out of danger. Please respect signage and local guidance.

November in North Carolina is the last full month of fall and when we begin looking forward to winter, with the weather cooling off. There are also tons of local holiday and Christmas events kicking off, leaving plenty of things to do in North Carolina in November.

And with the help of readers and members of our Facebook Group, we’ve come up with 30-plus local events throughout the state.

In case you’re looking for something specific, we’ve separated this guide into two sections. Here’s what you’ll find:

  • Things to Do in North Carolina in November (Various Themes)
  • Things to Do in North Carolina in November (Holiday and Christmas Events)

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

You can scroll down to the second section or keep reading about the first of many fun things to do in North Carolina in November.

Many of these things to do in North Carolina in November (along with September and October) are also mentioned in our guide that covers fall. Some even feature in our guides to December and January, as well as winter things to do in North Carolina.

Things to Do in North Carolina in November (Various Themes)

Note that many November events in NC may make the decision to cancel or alter times/dates, sometimes at the last minute. Please visit the links we’ve provided to each individual event to confirm details and also, to lend your support in cases of cancellation.

Note: If you represent a tourism bureau, destination marketing organization, or PR agency and want placement here, please visit this page for more info.

NGK NTK World of Outlaws World Finals, Concord (November 4-6)

The first of our things to do in North Carolina in November is one of the loudest this year!

Rev your engines and get ready for the best dirt racing event in the country! World of Outlaws Finals at the Charlotte Motor Speedway brings the best in the sport to Cabarrus County.

Grab yourself a 3-day Pit Pass or camp for the weekend alongside the track, this clay-slinging race weekend is bound to be wicked fast!

While you’re in the area, you’ll need to eat. These great restaurants and breweries are ready to serve you!

NC Pecan Harvest Festival, Whiteville (November 5-6)

Celebrate North Carolina’s pecan growers with 20,000 of your closest friends at the NC Pecan Harvest Festival! In downtown Whiteville, the festival includes live music, a pecan run, a parade, food, and even a car show!

Tickets can also be purchased to tour the historic homes of Whiteville during the festival. If you have kids aged 8-17, you can enter them in the Pecan Harvest Festival Cooking Contest!

Southport Wooden Boat Show, Southport (November 6)

The Southport Wooden Boat Show is a great way to celebrate Southport’s heritage and maritime history!

Festival-goers can see wooden boat exhibits, hop on a boat ride, or enjoy some of the many hands-on activities for children!

WNC Pottery Festival, Sylva (November 6)

Among all these great things to do in North Carolina in November, the WNC Pottery Festival is one that you can’t miss! With over 40 master potters from 16 states, this event features some of the best handmade pottery in the country.

With live throwing and firing demonstrations and even a “throw down” on Friday before this November event begins, there are lots of ways to get your clay on!

Whirligig Festival, Wilson (November 6-7)

Things to Do in North Carolina in November

Head out to Wilson for two days of fun at the Whirligig Festival. Stroll through the bucket list-worthy Vollis P Simpson Whirligig Park while enjoying tons of food, arts, and free fun from over 200 vendors.

It’s a great time for everyone in the family (especially the kids) and you might just see us there, too!

Visiting the Vollis P Simpson Whirligig Park is one of the best things to do in North Carolina!

Carolina Renaissance Festival, Huntersville (November 6-7, 13-14, and 20-21)

Huntersville’s annual Carolina Renaissance Festival continues from October and is ready for you every Saturday and Sunday until November 21.

Nearly 1,000 artists will fill the 25-acre village, along with music, theater, food and drinks, and even more. Don’t miss the Tournament Jousting, falconry demos, their Living Mermaid exhibit, either! 

Outer Banks Half Marathon, Nags Head (November 7)

Things to Do in North Carolina in November Outer Banks Marathon Road Image

Beginning on the largest sand dune on the East Coast, the Outer Banks Half Marathon brings runners from across the state to complete!

With beautiful scenery all around you during your run, it’s no wonder this event is incredibly popular!

This is one of many reasons we love the Outer Banks during its supposed Off-season.

Cucalorus Festival, Wilmington (November 10-14)

Film buffs and artists converge in Wilmington for the Cucalorus Festival every November! This is one of the best things to do in North Carolina in November and here’s why.

The festival showcases more than 300 films from around the world. 

Speedway Christmas (November 19- January 2)

With more than 4 million lights twinkling around the 3.75-mile course that includes the oval and the ROVAL, Charlotte Motor Speedway invites you to celebrate the season at Speedway Christmas!

Drive through this iconic track and turn on 101.3 FM and enjoy the festive lights. Stop by the Christmas Village which includes a 100 ft slide, carousel, Ferris wheel, and fun for the whole family!

Pottery Festival, Seagrove (November 20-21)

Things to Do in North Carolina in November Seagrove Pottery Image

With the largest collection of potters in a concentrated area, Seagrove is home to a variety of styles, colors, and studios. Since 1982, the Pottery Festival has been bringing people from all over the world to celebrate the local area potters.

Browse the festival and speak to the craftspeople who made them, all while searching for the piece that speaks to you!

If you’re in the area, here are some more of our favorite things to do in Randolph County!

Piedmont Craftsmen’s Fair, Winston-Salem (November 20-21)

Since 1963, Winston-Salem has showcased the quality craftsmanship and handwork of more than 100 artisans at the Piedmont Craftsmen’s Fair.

With exhibitions ranging in media from clay, wood, glass, fiber, metal, and more you can find some of the best artwork from across the country during this event.

Small Business Saturday, Statewide (November 27)

Things to Do in Fayetteville NC Leclaires General Store Inside Image
Leclair’s General Store in Fayetteville.

There are several Shop Small Saturday events happening throughout the state.

No matter where you live, downtowns will have something special planned. Don’t forget about general stores throughout our state, like Leclair’s in Fayetteville, Mast in several locations, and Heritage Farms in Goldsboro.

If your city has anything exciting going on during this special day, please let us know about it! 

Things to Do in North Carolina in November (Holiday and Christmas Events)

This next section offers the best holiday- and Christmas-themed things to do in North Carolina in November.

The Polar Express Train Ride in the Smokies, Bryson City (November 12-January 1)

Things to Do in North Carolina in November Great Smoky Mountain Railroad Enterance

Feel the holiday magic with a warm cup of cocoa along the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad! The Polar Express Train Ride has been taken by over 90,000 North Pole lovers per year!

The 75-minute train ride starts in Bryson City, reenacts the classic story, and rumor has it that Santa himself makes an appearance!

Ashe County Christmas Tree Farms Choose & Cut Season, West Jefferson (Mid-to-Late November-December)

Things to Do in North Carolina in November Christmas Tree Farms

Make choosing and cutting your own Christmas tree a yearly tradition! We love Christmas tree farms and in Ashe County, 12 of them offer Choose and Cut.

Merry Merry Market, Greensboro (November 17)

The best artisans from the Triad all assemble in Greensboro during the Merry Merry Market! As an exclusive boutique holiday shopping market, you will be able to find that perfect gift for everyone on your list! $5 to enter and parking is free!

Check it out at the Revolution Mill Colonnade Events Center!

All that shopping work up a hunger? Check out our favorite Greensboro restaurants!

Festival of Trees, Pinehurst (November 17-21)

Stand in a sea of holiday delight at the Festival of Trees in Pinehurst! The Carolina Hotel parking lot will be filled with over 100 trees of various sizes decorated each in a unique way.

Visit for the silent auction, gift shop, raffle, and tap your toes to live entertainment.

Meadow Lights, Benson (November 19-December 21)

Meadow Lights in Benson is the largest and oldest Christmas event in Eastern Carolina! This free event includes the lighting of over 30 acres and a train ride through 10 more acres.

Hop on the carousel or grab some old-fashioned candy from the old country store before you soak up the beautiful twinkling lights!

Tweetsie Christmas, Blowing Rock (November 19 and More Select Evenings)

Tweetsie, North Carolina’s premier fun destination for train lovers, gets decked out for the holidays for Tweetsie Christmas! Ride the nighttime train surrounded by beautiful lights, say “Hello” to Santa and his Gingerbread House, and take photos inside large snowglobes!

Tickets are limited, so grab yours today before the train takes off!

Hungry after riding the train at Tweetsie? Check out these restaurants in Blowing Rock and Boone!

Chinese Lantern Festival, Cary (November 19-January 9)

Cary NC Chinese Lantern Festival Image

Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre lights up again when the Chinese Lantern Festival returns. All-new displays will headline evenings filled with music, hot cocoa, and more fun during one of our favorite events!

Ticket Info is available here.

Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting, Hickory (November 19)

Take in the holiday glow in Downtown Hickory! The annual Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting will kick off the holiday season! Join the parade or come for photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, these are memories that will last a lifetime!

Christmas on Main, Andrews (November 20)

Kick off the holiday season in Andrews with Christmas on Main! With over 100 craft vendors, a bake sale, a car show, and live entertainment this holiday event is full of family fun!

Stop by for photos with Santa, watch the children’s Christmas play, or smile as the tree is lit!

Downtown Lights Up! – Holiday Lighting, Goldsboro (November 23)

Downtown historic Goldsboro kicks off the holiday season with Downtown Lights Up! Flip the switch and watch the lights with a visit from Santa, real snow, hot cocoa, and trolley rides!

Mooresville Christmas Parade, Mooresville (Late November)

Celebrating together as a community since 1944, the Mooresville Christmas Parade features fantastic floats, marching bands, and plenty of family fun!

While in town, explore these other things to do in Mooresville, too!

Christmas in the Country, Rocky Point (Late November-December 31)

175,000 lights illuminate a mile-long drive in Old Homestead during Christmas in the Country. Make memories and see faces light up in awe and then sip on hot chocolate together while picking out the perfect Christmas tree.

Only 15 minutes from Wilmington, this event is the perfect way to celebrate the holidays in North Carolina!

Christmas in the Park and Lighting of the Town, Blowing Rock (November 26)

Always occurring the Friday after Thanksgiving, Blowing Rock’s downtown floods with people wanting to celebrate the season together at Christmas in the Park! With free hot chocolate, caroling, and of course a visit from Santa, there’s fun and romance for everyone!

Choose & Cut Christmas Tree Season, Boone (November 26-December 24)

Take home the perfect Fraser Fir from the High Country! 11 tree farms are participating in the Choose & Cut Christmas Tree Season as well as several participating in special lodging packages! Check out the full list here.

If you’re looking for a place to eat in the area, our guide to must-eat restaurants in Boone is here to help!

Santa on the Green & Cashiers Christmas Tree Lighting, Cashiers (November 26-27)

Get to know Santa a little more intimately at The Village Green, a 13.2-acre park in the heart of Cashier. With glistening lights and decorations, the park becomes a winter wonderland for Christmas on the Green!

The tree lighting will take place at the Gazebo at 5:00 pm!

Most of the leaves may be down but the nearby Silver Run Falls will still be beautiful!

Hangin’ with Santa & Kites with Lights, Nags Head (November 26-27)

Sure, Santa can sleigh, but did you know he can also fly a kite like a boss too!? Join Santa and his elves at Jockey’s Ridge to light the Solar Christmas tree as well as large kites decorated for the holiday season for Hangin’ with Santa & Kites with Lights!

Enchanted Airlie, Wilmington (November 26-December 22)

Since 2005, lights have sparkled at Airlie Gardens for Enchanted Airlie bringing guests from all across the world! Come to Hanover County and walk through the decorated gardens themed with holiday lights, music, and special displays!

Tickets are charged by the carload, but this is a walking event so please plan accordingly!

Bryson City Spirit of Christmas, Bryson City (November 27)

Bring a canned good to donate to the food pantry or a gift for the toy drive and celebrate the season of giving in downtown Bryson City!

With carols being sung as the Christmas Tree lights up to hot cocoa and cookies, Bryson City honors the Spirit of Christmas!

Light Up Cornelius, Cornelius (November 28)

Bring your camera and get ready for a rocking good time celebrating Christmas at the Cornelius Town Hall!

With entertainment by local performers, carriage rides, food and craft vendors, and plenty of children’s activities, Light Up Cornelius is a beautiful holiday tradition in North Carolina.

Winter Wonderland, Franklin (November 27 and December 4)

Watch as the Town of Franklin transforms into a magical Winter Wonderland! Starting with an annual tree lighting ceremony on the square and extended business hours for the downtown businesses, there’s nothing quite like this celebration!

With free carriage rides, a candlelight service, and free miniature train rides, this family-friendly event is the perfect way to ring in the holiday season.

The fall colors will likely be gone by this time, but you can still hike or drive up to Wayah Bald Tower for the best views in Franklin!

NC Holiday Flotilla at Wrightsville Beach, Wrightsville Beach (November 27)

How about a holiday parade, on the water?! The NC Holiday Flotilla has been an annual event since 1983 and is full of events for everyone in the whole family.

Beautiful boats decorated with festive lights and live music will give you memories of a lifetime!

Winterlights, Manteo (November 28 and 30)

Grab your sweetie and stroll through one of the most romantic displays in the South. Winterlights at The Elizabethan Gardens is a radiant glow of holiday décor and festive displays.

Warm your hands at the open-air fire on the Great Lawn or check out the holiday gifts and plant sales.

Season passes are available and worth it if you’re planning to attend more than one night!

Ready for these Fun Things to Do in North Carolina in November?

This month might not have been as busy as October, but there are still plenty of things to do in North Carolina in November! This is the last full month of fall before we move on to December and Winter.

As always we look forward to sharing all the local events happening in North Carolina. Before looking ahead, we’d love to know from you. Which of these events and festivals you’ll be attending? We look forward to hearing from you and sharing our fun times exploring the state during November.

Also, what things to do in North Carolina in November 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 November

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