The holidays can be hectic. Between hosting family, decorating, shopping and cooking the perfect spread, December starts to seem like a whirlwind. Suddenly, the joy of the season and making memories with your loved ones is taking a back seat to the rush.
TAKE BACK THE HOLIDAYS by planning a night out to remember. Make it extra special, get a little dressed up and get in the spirit. With Nutcracker at the center of it all, you’re sure to have a spectacular evening. Whether a date night, a girls’ night or any special evening, pair the performance with food, festivities and libations to kick off your Nutcracker experience in a fun, unique way.
Step 1: Get your Nutcracker tickets today! The earlier you purchase tickets the better seats and pricing you’ll find.
Step 2: Check out a few of our favorite things in Uptown to make it a full day or evening.
Take a cue from Nutcracker’s re-envisioned sets and costumes, and try one of uptown’s newest establishments for dinner, drinks, coffee or dessert.
- Stoke Restaurant and Stoke Bar at Marriott Center City is among uptown’s freshest new additions. Stoke features a sleek interior, open kitchen and creative menu, but the creativity isn’t limited to the food. Stoke Bar features a hard-to-resist selection of craft cocktails, plus local beers on tap.
- Coco and the Director is Stoke’s Marriott City Center neighbor, but more casual and equally as cool offering lighter fare, pastries and coffee. The coffee shop, bar and restaurant, which opened in August, has quickly become a favorite with locals. On December 15, you can even take in A Christmas Story (plus free popcorn!) before heading to Nutcracker.
- Essex Bar & Bistro is just steps away from the theater with views of the square at Trade and Tryon. The internationally-inspired, bistro-style menu and extensive cocktail list makes it a great place to get a taste of the uptown experience before or after the ballet. Pro tip: check out the selfie-worthy holiday lights just across the street at Thomas Polk Park.
There’s no shortage of fantastic restaurants in uptown Charlotte, and many have mastered pre and post-show service.
- Aria Tuscan Grille in Founders Hall is accessible at the corner of Trade and College with views of uptown’s vibrant nightlife. Present your ticket to the show for 10% off your total bill, then exit directly into Founders Hall to reach the Belk Theater lobby without braving the cold.
- Spanish restaurant Malabar, just a block from the theater on Tryon Street features intimate dining and an interesting menu with a variety of tapas dishes and Spanish wines.
- To wrap your Nutcracker outing in upscale holiday glitz and glamour, cross College Street to the Ritz-Carlton either before or after the show. The Ritz-Carlton is decked out with dazzling holiday decor inside and out, along with its swanky settings for dinner at BLT Steak, desserts at Bar Cocoa and drinks in the Lobby Lounge or The Punch Room on the 15th floor.
Give yourself time to enjoy uptown’s festive ambiance and energy. From lights to street musicians, you’ll find holiday cheer around every corner.
- Take a walk down Tryon Street or, better yet, grab a hot beverage and snuggle up under a blanket on a carriage ride. Charlotte Center City Carriage Tours picks up at the intersection of Trade and Tryon and, while you don’t need a reservation, call for a weekly schedule, which they leave on their voicemail – 704.301.5111.
- Do a little shopping for a loved one (or yourself!) as you stroll around The Charlotte Christmas Village at Romare Bearden Park. The European-inspired market features Christmas and local merchandise, arts & crafts, food, drinks and entertainment. We recommend the Glühwein, a hot spiced mulled wine, paired with a classic Austrian strudel.
- North Carolina’s only outdoor skating rink is right in Uptown Charlotte for the holidays. At Holiday on Ice, enjoy beautiful views of the city skyline while sliding across the ice bundled up in your favorite hat and mittens.
Your night out and the holidays will be over before you know it. Don’t forget to take photos! Look for the Nutcracker-themed backdrops in the lobby for photos at intermission or after the show. There will even be a Snapchat geo-filter at the theater!
Ready to plan your date? Snag your Nutcracker tickets now!
This post was originally published on December 9, 2016 and has been updated.