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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.
This month is jam-packed with excitement around tons of other themes all over our state. And with the help of readers and members of our Facebook Group, we’ve come up with 50 things to things to do in North Carolina in November.
As we’ve done with previous monthly roundups, we’ve ordered these November events by starting date and alphabetized by city.
Many of these things to do 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
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Southport Wooden Boat Show, Southport (November 2)
Selected as Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Festival, the Southport Wooden Boat Show is great way to celebrate Southport’s heritage and maritime history!
In its 10th year, 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 2)
Also named one of Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Festival, the WNC Pottery Festival is not to be missed! 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!
Smoky Mountain Fly Fishing Festival, Sylva (November 2)
Sip on local beer hosted by Nantahala Brewing Company, check out the vendors making custom rods and nets, and watch live casting demos!
NC Pecan Harvest Festival, Whiteville (November 2)
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, 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 a kiddo aged 8-17, enter them in the Pecan Harvest Festival Cooking Contest!
Whirligig Festival, Wilson (November 2-3)
It’s a great time for everyone in the family (especially the kids) and you might just see us there, too!
The Vollis P Simpson Whirligig Park and the Festival are the first of a few things to do in North Carolina in November included in our NC Bucket List! We also mentioned the park in our guide to a weekend in Wilson.
Sip + Savor – A Wine, Food, and Music Experience, Durham (November 3)
Want to get a taste of the Triangle? Check out Sip+Savor at Durham’s DPAC! Pairing 30-plus of the best restaurants participating from Durham and Raleigh (don’t forget Chapel Hill!)with world-class wine, Sip+Savor is a must-eat must-attend thing to do in North Carolina in November!
World of Outlaws Finals Presented by Can-Am, Concord (November 7-9)
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!
Bacon and Brew Festival, New Bern (November 8)
There’s nothing better than bacon and beer! At the 5th annual Bacon and Brew Festival in New Bern, you can feast on bacon-themed menus from area food trucks, sip awesome beers, rock out to awesome music, and even watch some professional wrestling!
This 21 and over event benefits the United Way of Coastal Carolina and happens rain or shine!
BBQ, Blues, & Brews, Fuquay Varina (November 9)
Held annually as a fundraiser for Fuquay-Varina Downtown Association, festival-goers flood Broad Street to tap their toes to some blues, chow down on juicy barbecue, and savor locally brewed beer at the BBQ, Blues, and Brews Festival!!
Hot tip: arrive early because vendors are known to sell out of their barbecue!
Carolina Renaissance Festival, Huntersville (November 9-10, 16-17, & 23-24)
Huntersville’s 26th annual Carolina Renaissance Festival continues from October and is ready for you every Saturday and Sunday until November 24.
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!
Evening Lantern Tours: Draped in Black—Victorian Death Rituals, Manteo (November 9-10)
Halloween might be over, but in Manteo, they’re prepared to get spooky at Island Farm! This one night tour follows costumed interpreters into the home a grieving widow and the peculiar ways Victorian families mourned. Travel by lantern and step back in time!
Outer Banks Marathon & Half Marathon, Nags Head (November 9-10)
Beginning on the largest sand dune on the East Coast, the Outer Banks Marathon & Half Marathon brings runners from across the state to complete in an athlete event of stamina! With beautiful scenery all around you during your run, it’s no wonder this event is incredibly popular!
US Quidditch Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship, Goldsboro (November 9-10)
Prepare your broomsticks and get ready for the best Quidditch in the region! The annual US Quidditch Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship is held in Goldsboro and is a free event for muggles to attend.
Cucalorus Festival, Wilmington (November 13-17)
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.
Festival of the Hunt, Mill Spring (November 14-16)
Mount your horses and fall in love with this beloved fall tradition! The Festival of the Hunt combines the history of fox hunting and working field hunters over three days at the beautiful Tryon Resort.
Hunt with local hunt clubs, mock hunts, and congratulate the TIEC Field Hunter Champion and Carolina Performance class winners at this equestrian event!
Enter in the chili cook-off or just come to enjoy the band, either way, this event is loads of fun!
Moores Creek Candlelight Tour, Currie (November 16)
Travel back to 1776 and reenact the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge during the Moores Creek Candlelight Tour. With over 600 candles lighting the 3/4 mile path and the sounds of bagpipes filling the air, you’re brought back in time during this special event every November.
Speedway Christmas (November 22- January 5)
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 23)
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!
For more to do in Asheboro and Randolph County, check out our weekend guide!
Piedmont Craftsmen’s Fair, Winston-Salem (November 23-24)
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.
Garden to Hearth: Heritage Cooking and Food Preservation, Manteo (November 29-30)
Held at Island Farm, Garden to Hearth: Heritage Cooking and Food Preservation is an event following Thanksgiving that focuses on fall food traditions.
It takes a look at how families on Roanoke Island prepared for winter through demonstrations including hearth cooking, food preservations in the 1800s, candle making, and more.
Activities are included in admission price but visitors are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item for the Roanoke Island Food Pantry.
Small Business Saturday, Statewide (November 30)
There are several Shop Small Saturday events happening throughout the state. One example is happening in Downtown Durham. At Durty Bull Brewing (206 Broadway St #104) from 1 to 8 pm, vendors of all types will join live music and the brewery’s own food truck for small business fun.
If your city has anything exciting going on during this special day, please let us know about it!
Holiday and Christmas Events in North Carolina in November
The Polar Express Train Ride in the Smokies, Bryson City (November 8-December 31)
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 reenacts the classic story and rumor has it that Santa himself makes an appearance!
Ashe County Christmas Tree Farms Choose & Cut Season, West Jefferson (November 16-December 20)
Make choosing and cutting your own Christmas tree a yearly tradition! With 12 farms participating in the Ashe County Choose and Cut, head out to West Jefferson and search for the best one!
Merry Merry Market, Greensboro (November 20)
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 list of must-eat Greensboro restaurants!
Festival of Trees, Pinehurst (November 20-23)
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 22-December 31)
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 22-23 & 29-30)
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!
Chinese Lantern Festival, Cary (November 22-January 12, 2020)
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!
Read more about the Chinese Lantern Festival here!
Vintage Market Day: “Vintage Holiday,” Summerfield (November 22-24)
Celebrate Christmas at the farm with Vintage Market Days in Summerfield, NC. This upscale vintage indoor/outdoor market includes vendors with original art, antiques, clothing, jewelry, and so much more! Join Summerfield Farms for this special holiday market.
Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting, Hickory (November 22)
Take in the holiday glow in Downtown Hickory! The annual Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting by Santa will take place to 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!
Brushstrokes Holiday Show & Sale, Greenville (November 23)
Brushstrokes in Greenville is a community of artists of mixed media who convene for the betterment of their craft. The Brushstrokes Holiday Show & Sale is a display of this community’s work and the perfect way to meet the artists while browsing for your next piece to add to your collection!
Light Up the Holidays, Thomasville (November 23)
Enjoy this free November event in downtown Thomasville as the community celebrates the annual Light up the Holidays. With train rides around downtown, an outdoor showing of The Polar Express, and live music, this is a great November thing to do in North Carolina!
Christmas on Main, Andrews (November 23)
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!
Christmas at the Museum, Bryson City (November 23, 30 and December 7)
Write a letter to Santa and make sure he gets your wish list! The Swain County Visitor Center welcomes those who are young at heart to Christmas at the Museum. Santa will be in attendance with cookies and hot cocoa being served in the lobby!
Downtown Lenoir Christmas Festival, Lenoir (November 23)
Downtown Lenoir becomes all lit up with festive joy at the annual Lenoir Christmas Festival! Profits from the festival go to the Caldwell County Rotary Clubs college scholarship fund. The family-friendly event includes inflatables, balloon artists, face painting, and live music!
Downtown Lights Up! – Holiday Lighting, Goldsboro (November 26)
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!
North Carolina Symphony’s Annual Holiday Pops Concert, Goldsboro (November 26)
Kicking off in Goldsboro on November 26, the North Carolina Symphony performs holiday classics across the state. This year’s performance will include music from The Polar Express and The Nutcracker along with a sing-along celebration!
Mooresville Christmas Parade, Mooresville (November 26)
Celebrating together as a community since 1944, the Mooresville Christmas Parade features fantastic floats, marching bands, and plenty of family fun!
Thanksgiving, Lake Junaluska (November 27-29)
Want to get out of the kitchen this year for Thanksgiving? Why not do it at the beautiful Lake Junaluska! At the Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center, they have popular all packages including lodging and Thanksgiving dinner! Check this link for pricing info.
Christmas in the Country, Rocky Point (November 28-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 29)
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!
For more things to do in Blowing Rock, check out our travel guide!
Choose & Cut Christmas Tree Season, Boone (November 29-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 29)
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!
Hangin’ with Santa & Kites with Lights, Nags Head (November 29-30)
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!
Christmas Market, West Jefferson (November 29-30)
Known for the famous Fraser Firs, West Jefferson is also renowned for their arts community! Featuring local fine artists, crafters, and artisans the Christmas Market at Florence Thomas Art School is the perfect way to pick up all the holiday gifts for the season.
Christmas Train & Light Spectacular, Wilmington (November 29-30, December 13-14, December 20-21, December 27-28)
Head to the Wilmington Railroad Museum for some magical lights as it turns into a winter wonderland! The Christmas Train & Light Spectacular shimmers with 25,00 lights, musical animations, and twilight model train displays. Only $5/person
Enchanted Airlie, Wilmington (November 29-December 21)
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 30)
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 30)
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 30 and December 7)
Watch as the Town of Franklin transform 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.
Winterlights, Manteo (November 30-January 19, 2020)
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!
NC Holiday Flotilla at Wrightsville Beach, Wrightsville Beach (November 30)
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!
Got Something to Add?
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?
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