This 25 Christmas Things To Do In Fayetteville, NC is updated for 2021!
We basically consider Fayetteville, NC our home away from home. Pete and I love to drive over there for the weekend. Two years ago we went during the Christmas season, which is such a great time to go because there’s so much to do there. I narrowed it down to 25 Christmas things to do in Fayetteville, NC because, really, you can’t do everything.
This would be, more or less, our exact itinerary if I was planning a trip to Fayetteville at Christmas for 2021.
Before you read the list, keep in mind that this (pretty much) all the Christmas things to do in Fayetteville. It’s also not all offered in one day. I tried to mention a lot of things going on all season (like coffee, cookies, and cocktails), but there are a few events that are only happening on certain dates. Be sure to confirm those dates/times before you go.
And, a second note: Drugstore Divas has no association with any of these shops, events, etc. And actually, none know about this post beforehand. So none of this is sponsored and no one paid to be in my guide. It’s honestly all stuff I would do, places we love in Fayetteville, and events that just sound like fun.
25 Christmas Things To Do In Fayetteville, NC
This list is a little different than previous years. Many Christmas events aren’t happening due to the state of the world. But we did find 25 ways that you can celebrate Christmas in Fayetteville and Hope Mills.
Visit Holiday Lights in the Garden at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden.
I’ve been to the Cape Fear Botanical Garden (536 North Eastern Boulevard) twice, and it was beautiful both times. Each time, we spent the entire afternoon walking around, checking out the gardens, spinning Pokestops, and checking out the museum houses. I can only imagine it’s more beautiful lit up for Christmas, so definitely check it out.
This year, you need to reserve tickets ahead of time here. Tickets for members are $8 for adults and $5 for children (ages 2 to 12); tickets for non-members are $12 for adults, $11 for seniors, $10 for military, and $7 for children (ages 2 to 12).
Dates are December 3 to 5, 10 to 12, and 17 to 23 from 5:30 pm to 9 pm. December 2 is a members only night.
Visit the Sweet Valley Ranch Festival Of Lights
The Festival of Lights at Sweet Valley Ranch (990 Sunnyside School Road) started in 2020 and continues into 2021. It’s a drive through event where you’ll see the farm, animals, a nativity scene, and thousands of sparkling lights.
Even better, you can park to visit with Santa, check out vendors and the gift shop, ride on amusement rides, and more.
Dates will be announced on November 9 and tickets will go on sale on November 26.
Mail a letter to Santa from Holiday Alley
Last year, in front of the Cool Spring Downtown District office (222 Hay Street) is a drop-office site for letters to Santa. There was a 5-foot tall red mailbox in “Holiday Alley” ready for your (child’s) wishes.
We’re hoping its back for 2021.
Check out the holiday tree at the Arts Counsel
In front of the Arts Counsel of Fayetteville/Cumberland County building (301 Hay St) there is usually a holiday tree decorated in all its glory. It has balls, lights, and a star on top.
It’s pretty during the daytime, but at night is when you get all the pretty Instagram-worthy photos (as long as you have a phone that shoots well in nightmode, anyway).
Fly through fall foliage at ZipQuest.
I was driving around earlier this week, and I was just taken aback by all the reds and oranges of the foliage. It’s finally fall around here. Now, imagine seeing those reds and oranges from a zipline. You can!
ZipQuest (533 Carver Falls Rd) is actually still open — and may still be offering holiday deals. Our morning there was an unforgettable experience, even if I was so incredibly scared on the first zipline.
Learn about Jesus the Christmas Drive Through At The Village
Put me down for this one. At Village Baptist Church (906 South McPherson Church Road), you’ll drive through the sights and sounds of the events leading up to the birth of Jesus. And since Jesus is the reason for Christmas season altogether, this sounds like the perfect way to remember that.
Live actors and animals pair with custom-made sets and period-accurate scenery. There’s pre-recorded Christmas music and narration to listen to as well.
The event is happening on December 10, 11, and 12 from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm.
Have brunch with Santa
King’s Grant Golf & Country Club (347 Shawcroft Rd) is hosted brunch with Santa last year and we are waiting for details about the event this year.
Join The Green Grump Who Stole Foo-Ville scavenger hunt
On Saturday, December 11, there will be a self-guided Green Grump Who Stole Foo-Ville scavenger hunt in downtown Fayetteville. The scavenger hunt will take you around a bunch of the downtown stores and restaurants, and you’ll have time to check them out and buy some Christmas gifts either before, during, or after the hunt.
It’ll officially take place from 1 pm to 4 pm, but you don’t have to be there at the start or the entire time. You also don’t have to wear an ugly sweater or Grinch-themed clothes, but it’s encouraged. Find more details here.
Purchase your personalized ornament at Pressed.
Every time I bump into a blogger from Fayetteville (in real life or when I’m
stalking searching their social media), they always seem to be sporting a top from Pressed (120 Hay St).
All the items from Pressed are either super cute, super funny, or super practical.
You can pick up notepads and cards and totes, too, but I would suggest going with an ornament hand lettered by shop owner Angela Santos. At least, this has been available in the past; I’m hoping they’re selling them for 2021.
Have pancakes with Santa at Huske Hardware House
Huske Hardware House, Fayetteville’s oldest brewery, is hosting a pancake breakfast with Santa on December 11.
There is a session from 8 am to 9:15 am and another from 9:30 am to 10:45 am. Seating occurs during the first 15 minutes of the session only.
Breakfast is pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs, hot chocolate or milk, and coffee for adults.
Tickets are $12 and must be purchased in advance here.
Shop the Holiday Pop Up at Fayetteville Pie Company
I like pop up events because they just, well, pop up. The shopping event just … happens. And as quickly as it’s there, it’s gone. That was the case with the Holiday Pop Up at Fayetteville Pie Company (253 Westwood Shopping Center) last year.
We are waiting to see if the event will be back this year.
Visit Santa at the Cross Creek Mall
You can still visit Santa at the Cross Creek Mall (419 Cross Creek Mall) from November 19 until December 24.
You can see Santa from Monday to Thursday: 11 am to 7 pm; Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 8 pm; and Sunday from noon to 6 pm. Santa is off on Thanksgiving. His hours on Christmas Eve are 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm.
Santa does take a daily break to feed his reindeer.
Santa will also visit with your pets on November 22, November 29, December 6, and December 13 from 4 pm to 7 pm.
You do have to reserve a time to see Santa, and you can do that here.
Drink a Peppermint Latte at The Coffee Scene.
Pete discovered The Coffee Scene (3818 Morganton Rd) on one of our trips to Fayetteville and we instantly fell in love. It’s such a cute, cozy place where we could have spent the day sipping coffee and snuggling on a couch in the loft.
The mocha there is my absolute favorite, so we have to make a point to stop in and grab one when we’re in town. If you’re there and looking for something fall and festive, The Coffee Scene can make you a peppermint latte. Actually, even though that’s not on the menu, The Coffee Scene can make you any version of a peppermint beverage.
Sounds like I should take a ride and try a peppermint mocha.
Shine on the Hope Mills Twinkle Trail
The Hope Mills Twinkle Trail at Hope Mills Municipal Park (5770 Rockfish Road, Hope Mills), which was new for 2020 is back for 2021. There will be over 100 trees and 12,000 lights on the trail — and maybe Santa.
This is a walking, not drive through activity, so be sure to bundle up. It’s happening nightly from December 13 until January 3, 2022. There’s no specific time listed on the flier, but I wouldn’t go before nightfall because then you miss all the lights.
Find some Holiday Popcorn from Hot Sugar Pop.
Hot Sugar Pop is a Fayetteville based popcorn company, which has a lot of seasonal flavors during the holiday season.
Also, huge kudos to Hot Sugar Pop. When I originally wrote this list, the popcorn was only found at the botanical gardens at at the Dickens Christmas festival, and now it has a full shop. Talk about growth.
Drive through Christmas in the Park at Arnette Park
We’ve been to a lot of parks in Fayetteville, but somehow, we’ve never made it to Arnette Park (2165 Wilmington Hwy). If you love disc golf, there’s a course there (we have a course at one of our local parks here, too, so I would be curious to compare them). It’s not disc golf weather now. But it is the perfect weather for Christmas in the Park.
Admission is free for 2021 (which is great because it was $10 per car in 2017). You’ll have to stay in your car for the entirety of the event this year, but you’ll still be able to check out the sights and sounds of Christmas.
Dates: December 5 to 9, 12 to 16, and 19 to 21 from 6 pm to 9 pm.
Watch the tree lighting in Hope Mills
The town of Hope Mills is holding its tree lighting at Hope Mills Municipal Park (5770 Rockfish Road, Hope Mills) on December 6. It will be lit until January 3, which is the same day the aforementioned Twinkle Trail ends.
There will be s’mores stations, hot cocoa, and outdoor movie (which starts at 6pm), and Santa in a snow globe.
Drink gleuhwine at the German Christmas Market at Dirtbag Ales.
Two years ago, we packed a friend’s very large car and introduced a bunch of friends to the German Christmas market at Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom (5435 Corporation Dr., Hope Mills).
It was amazing. There was be craft and food vendors, Dirtbag Ales beers to drink, plus the German hot wine offering gleuhwine, Santa Claus was there, and a barbershop quartet (with way more than four).
Plus, Napkins, one of our favorite Fayetteville restaurants, was serving schnitzel.
This year’s Fayetteville Christmas festival will be Friday, December 10th from 5 pm to 10 pm; Saturday, December 11 from 10 am to 10 pm; and Sunday, December 12 from 10 am to 2 pm. Details here.
Vote for your decorations in “Light Up the City”
To dress up downtown this year, the Cool Spring Downtown District is held “Light Up the City,” a decorating contest for the businesses downtown last year.
Over 35 businesses, restaurants, and museums are decorating their storefronts, creating a beautiful path to walkthrough while you’re either window shopping or actual shopping. There are participating storefronts on Hay Street, Person Street, Maxwell Street, and more around town.
We are waiting for information about 2021.
Watch “The Carols” At Gilbert Theater
Live theater is still happening in Fayetteville, with all the proper precautions taken, to put on The Carols at Gilbert Theater (116 Green St).
The show is about women who are struggling to put on a production of A Christmas Carol, mostly because the men are off fighting in World War II.
You can check out the show on November 26 to 28, December 3 to 5 and 17 to 19 at 2pm and 8pm. Tickets are not on sale yet.
Grab a pint of Jack’d Up Stout at The Mash House.
One of my favorite bites of food, ever, is the pulled pork potato skins at The Mash House (4150 Sycamore Dairy Rd). Last time we went, I almost ordered the chicken potato skins to change it up, but I went with the pulled pork. My stomach was happy.
Pete’s taste buds are always happy there too because there are so many beers to choose from.
Usually in December 21, The Mash House releases Jack’d Up Stout — which is aged in Jack Daniels oak barrels for seven months. It’s sold on tap or in gift packages.
Tour the 1897 Edgar Allan Poe House
The 1897 Edgar Allan Poe House (801 Arsenal Ave.) is named for Edgar Allan Poe, the Fayetteville-born businessman not the poet of the same name (that Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston). This Poe owned a house turned museum that is decorated for a Victorian Christmas celebration.
We have a home here in Wilmington, NC that is similar, and visiting is one of my favorite things to do during the season. And, last summer, I finally got to tour the 1897 Edgar Allan Poe House one in Fayetteville and I really enjoyed the tour.
The house is decorated for Christmas in December and early January. You can take guided tours on Wednesday through Friday at 11am and 1pm. Saturday tours are offered on the hour from 10am to 2pm. Tours are limited to 10 people.
Enjoy a Griswold Christmas Dinner at Circa 1800
If you’ve seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, you know that Christmas — and Christmas dinner — don’t go exactly as planned. Aunt Bethany says the pledge instead of grace (Grace? She died 30 years ago!), Clark’s holiday bonus ends up being a Jelly of the Month club membership, and Cousin Eddie — bless his heart — ruins and fixes everything.
Last year, the Griswold Christmas Dinner at Circa 1800 (108 Person St) went a lot better. You’ll enjoy Ellen’s Smoked Chopped Salad, Cousin Eddie’s Brunswick Stew (no note of if it contains squirrel — that’s a joke from the movie, if you haven’t seen it), The Griswold’s Family Dinner, and Aunt Bethany’s Bundt Cake.
Also included is a showing of Christmas Vacation at Cameo Art House Theatre.
We are waiting to see if this will be back for 2021.
Meet Krampus at Dirtbag Ales
Last year, when we went to the German Christmas market at Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom (5435 Corporation Dr., Hope Mills), we kept wondering if we would see Krampus, who our German friend described to us as a demonic who follows Santa around and is mean to kids.
Basically, Santa is nice and gives kids presents, and Krampus punishes kids who misbehave.
Since it’s a German tradition, we thought Krampus would be at the German Christmas market, but just regular, nice, present doling out Santa was there. On December 9, from 7 pm to 9 pm, Krampus will be at Dirtbag Ales (taking photos, not pushing children, probably).
We always call Fayetteville our second home and wish we could spend more time there, but this Krampus event really makes me wish we had bought a house in downtown Fay for no real reason.
A Dickens Holiday Carriage Rides
If you’re looking for a horse and carriage ride, you’re in luck. You can ride a Dickens Holiday Carriage ride on November 26 from 1 pm to 8 pm.
Tickets must be purchased ahead of time and are good for a 15 to 17 minute private carriage ride through the district. Carriage Rides will depart from the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum (325 Franklin St).
Private carriage ride tickets are $50 per private carriage ride (which can hold 2 to 6 people).
Looking for other things to do in Fayetteville NC in December?
If you’re looking for things to do in Fayetteville, NC, check out our post here.
And, if you’re looking for places to eat in Fayetteville while you’re there, we have a few restaurant reviews that might help you decide:
Looking for more Christmas things to do in the south?
Christmas things to do in Wilmington, NC
If you’re in the area, check out our list of 25 Christmas Things To Do In Wilmington, NC.
There are holiday parades, holiday cruises, holiday lights, and more.
Christmas things to do in Myrtle Beach, SC
Tree lightings, a double decker bus playing The Polar Express, and tons of opportunities to see Santa are just some of the fun things to do to get ready for Christmas in Myrtle Beach.
Find all the Christmas things to do in Myrtle Beach, SC.
Christmas Things To Do In Charleston, SC
Holiday shopping at local holiday markets and checking out the Christmas village at the botanical garden are just a few of the holiday events in Charleston, SC this time of year.
Find the rest in our Christmas things to do in Charleston, SC post.
Nights of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens (Murrells Inlet, SC)
Brookgreen Gardens, a botanical garden in Murrells Inlet, is filled with countless Christmas lights and over 2,500 hand lit candles. There are holiday treats and carolers as well.
Check out our full Nights of a Thousand Candles review for more.
Which of these things to do for Christmas in Fayetteville, NC are you looking most forward to?