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30+ Wonderful Things to Do in North Carolina in November (Updated for 2023)

Published by Christina Riley. Last Updated on February 26, 2024.

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November in North Carolina is the last full month of fall and sets up the festive winter season. There are tons of local holiday and Christmas events kicking off, leaving plenty of things to do in North Carolina in November.

With years of help from readers, social media followers, and members of North Carolina Travel Facebook Group, we’ve come up with more than 30 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:

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

Also, 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!

Read More: Winter Things to Do in North Carolina

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

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

  • Christmas at Biltmore in Asheville
  • The Polar Express Train Ride in the Smokies in Bryson City
  • Ashe County Christmas Tree Farms Choose & Cut Season in West Jefferson
  • Merry Merry Market in Greensboro
  • Festival of Trees in Pinehurst
  • Mike’s Farm Holiday Events in Beulaville
  • Meadow Lights in Benson
  • North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival in Cary
  • Speedway Christmas in Concord
  • Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum in Asheville
  • Christmas on Main in Andrews
  • Christmas Parades
  • National Gingerbread House Competition in Asheville
  • Downtown Lights Up! – Holiday Lighting in Goldsboro
  • Tweetsie Christmas in Blowing Rock
  • Christmas in the Park and Lighting of the Town in Blowing Rock
  • Enchanted Airlie in Wilmington
  • Hangin’ with Santa & Kites with Lights in Nags Head
  • Korner’s Folly Victorian Candlelight Tours
  • Santa on the Green & Cashiers Christmas Tree Lighting in Cashiers
  • Light Up Cornelius
  • Winter Wonderland in Franklin
  • Winterlights in Manteo
  • NC Holiday Flotilla at Wrightsville Beach
  • Choose & Cut Christmas Tree Season in Boone
  • Christmas in the Country in Rocky Point

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

Read More: Christmas in North Carolina

Christmas at Biltmore in Asheville

Dates: November 3, 2023-January 6, 2024
Ticket Info

Christmas in North Carolina Biltmore

While it’s largely associated with December, Christmas at Biltmore is also one of the most popular activities during November in NC. It’s one of the largest displays of Christmas lights in North Carolina.

During its Candlelight Christmas Evenings, you’ll see a massive and lit-up Norway Spruce on the front lawn and pathway luminaries to guide your walk.

Inside Biltmore House, decorated Christmas trees and 135,000 LED and mini lights twinkle around the property. A visit to Antler Hill Village and Winery (one of the best in NC!) is included with your admission, with more Christmas lights displays and wine tastings waiting.

Read More: The Best Breweries in Asheville

The Polar Express Train Ride in the Smokies in Bryson City

Dates: November 9, 2023-January 1, 2024
Ticket Info

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 and reenacts the classic story, and rumor has it that Santa himself makes an appearance!

Read More: Nantahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City (10 Essential Things to Do)

Ashe County Christmas Tree Farms Choose & Cut Season in West Jefferson

Dates: Mid-to-Late November-December, 2023
List of Ashe County Christmas Tree Farms

Things to Do in North Carolina in November Christmas Tree Farms

Choosing and cutting your own Christmas tree is a popular family tradition. For those getting ready to celebrate the holiday season, it’s one of the best things to do in North Carolina in November.

We love Christmas tree farms and there are dozens of them in Ashe County! 12 farms in Ashe County offer Choose and Cut.

Read More: January in North Carolina

Merry Merry Market in Greensboro (November 15)

Date: November 15, 2023
Ticket Info

The best artisans from the Triad assemble in Greensboro during the Merry Merry Market. This exclusive boutique holiday shopping market guarantees that you’ll find the perfect gift for everyone on your list! It costs $5 to enter and parking is free.

Check it out at the Revolution Mill Colonnade Events Center.

Read More: 25 Best Restaurants in Greensboro, North Carolina

Festival of Trees in Pinehurst

Dates: November 15-18, 2023
Event Info

Stand in a sea of holiday delight at the annual Festival of Trees in Pinehurst! The Carolina Hall at the Carolina Hotel will be filled with loads of trees of various sizes decorated in a unique way.

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

Read More: Things to Do in Southern Pines

Mike’s Farm Holiday Events in Beulaville

Dates: November 16-December 23 and December 26-30, 2023
Events and Ticket Info

Winter in North Carolina Mikes Farm Ho Ho Christmas Show
Mike’s Farm.

Mike’s Farm (near the Duplin and Onslow County line) goes all out for the holiday season and offers a packed event page of family activities on its own. Tickets include a Festival of Lights Hayride.

  • Ho! Ho! Ho! Christmas Show (Wednesday-Saturday from November 24-December 23 and December 26)
  • Wilmington Show Choir (November 16-18)
  • Supper with Santa (Sunday-Tuesday from November 19-December 19)

Dinner & Hayride Reservations are required to eat at their family-style restaurant during this season.

You can also reserve a time for a private romp in the hayride, which can accommodate up to 8 people.

Meadow Lights in Benson

Dates: November 17-December 31, 2023
Event Info

Meadow Lights in Benson is the largest and oldest Christmas event in Eastern North Carolina. The 30-acre land is decorated with a stunning display of lights, 10 acres of which can be viewed from a train ride.

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

Read More: Interview with Redneck BBQ Lab Owner Jerry Stephenson

North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival in Cary

Dates: November 17, 2023-January 14, 2024
Ticket Info

Cary NC Chinese Lantern Festival Image

Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary lights up again when the Chinese Lantern Festival returns. The cultural festival is heading into its 8th year with larger-than-life displays and evenings filled with cultural performances, music, hot cocoa, and more fun.

Read More: The Mayton in Cary (+ 7 Things We Love About Staying Here!)

Speedway Christmas in Concord

Dates: November 17, 2023-January 7, 2024
Ticket Info

Things to Do in North Carolina in November Speedway Christmas Charlotte Motor Speedway NC

With more than 4 million lights twinkling around the 3.75-mile course that includes the oval and the ROVAL, Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord 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 foot slide, carousel, Ferris wheel, and fun for the whole family.

Read More: The Best Restaurants and Awesome Breweries in Concord and Cabarrus County

Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum in Asheville

Dates: November 17-December 31, 2023
Ticket Info

Winter Lights at NC Arboretum tree

Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum is one of the best things to do in Asheville in winter. Light displays, new and old, will greet both Arboretum members and guests. The traditional 50-foot tall lighted tree and Quilt Garden make an appearance again as well.

In addition, two locations will have food and drinks for purchase: The Cocoa Shack, located in the Gardener’s Shed, and The Bent Creek Bistro, located in the Educational Center.

Snacks, alcoholic beverages, hot cocoa, treats, and s’mores kits will be available for purchase.

Read More: 15 of the Most Beautiful Botanical Gardens in North Carolina

Christmas on Main in Andrews

Date: Nov 18
Event Info

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!

Read More: 100+ Places to Visit in Western North Carolina

Christmas Parades

Dates: Weekends in Late November/Early December 2023

Starting November 19, Christmas parades kick off in North Carolina. Here are a few of them:

More NC Christmas parades will take place in December.

Read More: Visiting the Henry River Mill Village

National Gingerbread House Competition in Asheville

Date: November 21, 2023
Event Info

Omni Grove Park Inn Asheville NC National Gingerbread Competition

One of the most exciting things to do in North Carolina in November is to see the Omni Grove Park Inn National Gingerbread House Competition. The winner of this interesting event in Asheville receives a monetary prize and their creation is displayed throughout the following year in the Vanderbilt Wing.

During the Gingerbread House Competition season, the Omni Grove Park Inn donates a portion of parking proceeds to the local community and nonprofits.

Read More: 80+ Great Things to Do in Asheville (The Asheville Bucket List)

Downtown Lights Up! – Holiday Lighting in Goldsboro

Date: November 21st at 5p

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. Keep an eye on Goldsboro’s Official Facebook Page for more details.

Read More: 13+ Restaurants in Goldsboro and Wayne County for Foodies

Tweetsie Christmas in Blowing Rock

Dates: November 24-26, December 1-3, 8-10, 15-17, 20-23, 27-30, 2023
Ticket Info

Tweetsie Railroad, 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 snow globes!

If you’re hungry after riding the train at Tweetsie Railroad, check out these restaurants in Blowing Rock and Boone!

Tickets are limited for this High Country event, so grab yours today before the train takes off.

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

Christmas in the Park and Lighting of the Tree in Blowing Rock

Date: November 24-25 2023
Event Info

Every Friday after Thanksgiving, Blowing Rock’s downtown thrums 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.

The action carries on through the weekend with the Blowing Rock Christmas parade Saturday morning. This weekend also marks the official start of choose and cut Christmas tree season, so be sure to pack the roof straps and enjoy a three-day holiday itinerary.

Read More: Chetola Resort at Blowing Rock (17 Things We Love About It!)

Enchanted Airlie in Wilmington

Dates: November 24-25 and December 1-21, 2023
Ticket Info

Since 2005, lights have sparkled at Airlie Gardens for Enchanted Airlie, bringing guests from all across the world. This Hanover County staple will be shimmering with holiday lights, music, and special displays!

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

Read More: Family-Friendly Activities in Wilmington

Hangin’ with Santa & Kites with Lights in Nags Head

Dates: November 24-25, 2023
Event Info

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 and fly large kites decorated for the holiday season for Hangin’ with Santa & Kites with Lights.

Read More: Things to Do in the Outer Banks

Korner’s Folly Victorian Candlelight Tours in Kernersville

Dates: November 24, 2023-January 3, 2024
Ticket Info

Christmas in North Carolina Korners Folly

Korner’s Folly in Kernersville (near Winston-Salem) is a unique historical home built and owned by interior designer Jule Gilmore Korner. This home was a display to show potential clients an in-person portfolio of his work.

You can visit throughout the year, but the site’s volunteers begin decorating for their Candlelight tours in November. Starting November 25, you can see and be taken you back to the Victorian Era, with lights and magical sights all around!

Read More: How to Enjoy Tanglewood Festival of Lights near Winston-Salem (+ 10 Pro Tips)

Santa on the Green & Cashiers Christmas Tree Lighting in Cashiers

Dates: November 24, 2023
Reservation Info

Get to know Santa a little more intimately at The Village Green, a 13-acre park in the heart of Cashiers. With glistening lights and decorations, the park becomes a winter wonderland for Christmas on the Green! Reservations are required to make sure you maximize the kid’s quality time with Santa.

Both Santa on the Green and the tree lighting are on November 24. Santa will be sat out on the green starting at 2:00 pm, and the tree lighting caps things off at 5:30 pm. There will also be an all-day Mistletoe market.

Read More: Silver Run Falls near Cashiers

Light Up Cornelius

Date: November 25, 2023
Event Info

Bring your camera and get ready for a rocking good time celebrating Christmas at Light Up Cornelius.

With entertainment by local performers, carriage rides, food and craft vendors, and plenty of children’s activities, this Lake Norman-area event is a beautiful holiday tradition in North Carolina.

Read More: Lake Norman State Park (8 Great Things to Do!)

Winter Wonderland in Franklin

Dates: November 25 and December 2, 2023
Event Info

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 shops, 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.

Read More: Wayah Bald Tower and the Best Views in Franklin

Winterlights in Manteo

Dates: November 17-22, 24-30​
December 1-3, 5-10, 12-17, 19-23, 26-30
Ticket Info

Grab your sweetie and stroll through one of the most romantic displays in the South. Winterlights at The Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo 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!

Read More: 30 Amazing Outer Banks Restaurants for Your Next Beach Trip!

NC Holiday Flotilla at Wrightsville Beach

Date: November 25, 2023
Event Info

How about a holiday parade, but on the water? The NC Holiday Flotilla has been an annual event since 1983 and adds a beachy twist on the traditional holiday twist.

This year marks the flotilla’s 40th anniversary, so expect nothing less than beautiful boats decorated with festive lights to glide over the coast. The festival accompanies the boats with live music and good food for a great experience.

Read More: The Best Beaches in North Carolina

Choose & Cut Christmas Tree Season in Boone

Dates: Late November-December 24, 2022
List of Boone Christmas Tree Farms

Take home the perfect Fraser Fir from the High Country and the awesome mountain town of Boone. Multiple tree farms are participating in the Choose & Cut Christmas Tree Season as well as several participating in special lodging packages!

Read More: Hiking Roan Mountain for Beautiful Appalachian Trail Views

Christmas in the Country in Rocky Point

2022 Dates: Late November-December 31
Ticket Info

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!

Read More: December in North Carolina

Non-Holiday-Themed Things to Do in North Carolina in November

Note that many November events in NC may decide 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.

  • NGK NTK World of Outlaws World Finals in Concord
  • Carolina Renaissance Festival in Huntersville
  • Veterans Tribute in Jacksonville
  • Southport Wooden Boat Show
  • WNC Pottery Festival in Sylva
  • NC Pecan Harvest Festival in Whiteville
  • Whirligig Festival in Wilson
  • Outer Banks Marathon in Nags Head
  • Cucalorus Festival in Wilmington
  • Piedmont Craftsmen’s Fair in Winston-Salem
  • Pottery Festival in Seagrove
  • Small Business Saturday Statewide

NGK NTK World of Outlaws World Finals in Concord

Dates: November 1-4
Ticket Info

Of all the things to do in North Carolina in November, this is one of the loudest!

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!

Read More: Things to Do in Concord and Cabarrus County

Carolina Renaissance Festival in Huntersville

Dates: Saturdays and Sundays Sept 30-Nov 19
Ticket Info

Carolina renaissance Festival jousting

Huntersville’s annual Carolina Renaissance Festival continues from October and takes place every weekend until November 20.

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

Read More: October in North Carolina

Veterans Tribute NC in Jacksonville

Dates: November 3-11
Event Info

Onslow Pow Wow 2023 dancing

With a huge military population living in Jacksonville, it’s fitting that you’ll find a ton of Veterans Day events happening in this Onslow County city. Here’s a breakdown, starting on November 3:

  • Freedom Fountain Observance (November 3)
  • Red White and Salute with Laser Light Show (November 3)
  • Onslow Veterans Pow Wow (November 4-5)
  • Veterans Day Parade (November 4)
  • Military Basketball Association Tournament (November 10-12)
  • Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Veterans Day Observance (November 11)
  • Veterans Walk of Honor (Throughout)
  • Lejeune Memorial Gardens Self-Guided Tours (Throughout)

Read More: 20 Amazing Restaurants in Jacksonville, NC and Onslow County

Southport Wooden Boat Show

Date: November 4
Event Info

Celebrate Southport’s heritage and maritime history at the Southport Wooden Boat Show. Festival-goers can view wooden boat exhibits, hop on a boat ride, or enjoy some of the many hands-on activities for children.

WNC Pottery Festival in Sylva

Date: November 4
Ticket Info

Among all these great things to do in North Carolina in November, the WNC Pottery Festival in Sylva is one that you can’t miss! With over 40 master potters from 16 states, this is one of the top arts events in this part of North Carolina.

Admission is $5 and also includes a raffle ticket to help boost your chances of going home from this hand-spun event with a ceramic souvenir.

Read More: The 11 Best Places to Go Snow Tubing in North Carolina

NC Pecan Harvest Festival in Whiteville

Date: November 3-4
Event Info

Celebrate North Carolina’s pecan growers at the NC Pecan Harvest Festival! The action kicks off Friday night with the First Responder’s burger brawl at the Vineland Station Depot before the festival takes to the streets of downtown Whiteville on Saturday. Starting with a parade at 10 a.m., the festival includes live music, a pecan run, food, and 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!

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

Whirligig Festival in Wilson

Dates: November 4-5
Event Info

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 hundreds of local vendors.

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

Read More: Unique Things to Do in North Carolina

Outer Banks Marathon in Nags Head

Dates: November 10-12
Event Info

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 Marathon brings runners from across the state to compete! The event includes a marathon, half marathon, 5k, 8k, and different race options for all runners.

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

Read More: Off-season On the Outer Banks

Cucalorus Festival in Wilmington

Dates: November 15-19
Event Guide

Film buffs and artists converge in Wilmington for the Cucalorus Festival every November. This is one of the most vibrant things to do in North Carolina in November, with almost 100 international films showcased.

Genres and themes range from social justice, horror, and indie.

Read More: The Best Things to Do in Wilmington

Piedmont Craftsmen’s Fair in Winston-Salem

Dates: November 18-19
Ticket Info

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, and metal, you’ll find some of the best artwork from across the country during this event.

Read More: Delicious Restaurants in Winston-Salem

Celebration of Seagrove Potters Fall Festival and  Studio Tour

Dates: November 18-19
Event Info

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. See it all on display at the Celebration of Seagrove Potters Fall Festival and Studio Tour!

The festival has been bringing people from all over the world since 1982 to celebrate the local area potters. Browse the festival, visit a variety of studios, and speak to the craftspeople responsible for the piece that speaks to you!

Read More: Things to Do in Asheboro and Randolph County

Small Business Saturday, Statewide

Date: November 25

Downtown Asheville shopping

Sleep in on Black Friday and rest up for Small Business Saturday, opening its doors on November 25 this year. To celebrate this holiday, there are several Shop Small Saturday events happening throughout the state.

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

No matter where you live, downtown small businesses 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.

Read More: 40+ North Carolina Gifts from Amazing Local Businesses
Read More: Why and How to Support Local Businesses

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 hear 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 (NC Travel Guides)

Beyond these amazing November events, here are some travel guides that feature even more fun happening around the state!

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