Christmas tree with lights and singular red ball ornament

Celebrate the Holidays with Raleigh Parks

Join us for fun holiday programs to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year!

Browse our upcoming programs below. Register for any program online via RecLink. Prior to registering for any program, please review the Raleigh Parks Know Before You Go.

Flashlight Candy Cane Hunt

Friday, Dec. 17, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Join us for a candy cane hunt! The elves at the North Pole left some of their candy canes for you to find at Powell Drive Park. They are hidden throughout the park, so bring your flashlights! Be on the lookout for some special candy canes—if you find one, you'll receive a special prize. Before the hunt, there will be an arts and crafts opportunity.

Pre-registration is required by Dec. 10 online via RecLink.

Where: Powell Drive Park (740 Powell Drive/Raleigh, NC 27606)
Cost: $7 per participant
Ages: 5–12

Masks will be required while inside the building. Flashlights are not provided. 

Learn more about the Flashlight Candy Cane Hunt

Letters to Santa

Raleigh Parks is assisting the North Pole this holiday season by hosting Letters to Santa at select community centers! Drop off your letter to Santa at North Pole mailboxes at our community centers listed below between Saturday, Nov. 27 and Thursday, Dec. 16.

  • Abbotts Creek Park Community Center
  • Green Road Park Community Center
  • Pullen Park Community Center
  • Sanderford Road Park Community Center

Your responses from the North Pole will be available for pickup on Monday, Dec. 20, at the same North Pole Post Office where you dropped off your letter.

Learn more about Letters to Santa

2021 Christmas Bird Count

Saturday, Dec. 18, 8 to 10 a.m.

The annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count is the world's longest citizen science project! Participants will hike around the wetlands to identify and count as many birds as possible. Those who take part make a significant contribution to conservation as Audubon and other organizations use the data collected to assess the health of bird populations. In years past we have documented nearly 50 different species of birds!

Beginners are welcome. Dress for the weather and bring a pair of binoculars, or borrow a pair of ours. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required online on RecLink.

Ages: 14+
Cost: none

Learn more about the Christmas Bird Count

Holidays with the Popes

Join us at the Pope House Museum for holiday fun on Saturday, Dec. 4, or Sunday, Dec. 5! 

Santa Claus will meet children to ring in the holidays outside. Visits are free, but registration is required. A digital image can be purchased.

Learn more and register online

Merry Moore Market

Celebrate the holiday season at the Merry Moore Market at Moore Square with four weekends of seasonal shopping delights from 5 to 9 p.m. on Fridays & Saturdays!

Shop local from over 50 local vendors each night. This event is free and open to the public. There will be plenty of activities for all ages including kids' activities and crafts from Paper & Stars Studio, carol-oke (Dec. 3 & Dec. 10), live music, carriage rides, visits with Santa, beer, wine, and moore! This event is in partnership with the Raleigh Night Market.


  • November 19 & 20
  • November 26 & 27 
  • December 3 & 4
  • December 10 & 11

Learn more

Winter Play Days at Pullen Park

Join us every day at Pullen Park from 1 to 8 p.m. Dec. 1-22 for fun winter activities, including:

  • Holiday light displays
  • Story walk
  • Holiday traditions caboose
  • Reindeer round-up scavenger hunt
  • and more!

This is free and open to the public. No registration is required.

Snacks with Santa

Saturday, Dec. 11, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Ho, ho, ho and happy holidays to all! Join us at the new John Chavis Memorial Park for lots of exciting activities and fun galore from Santa himself. Join us for story time, crafts, and holiday cheer! This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments (usually doughnuts, cookies, milk, and juice) will be provided.

Ages: 1–12 years

Learn more about Snacks with Santa

Santa Crafts

Tuesday, Dec. 7, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Join Susan Stephenson as she guides you step by step to create some magical Santa crafts. Susan has years of experience in making and selling craft greeting cards, and she is excited to share her knowledge with you. This is a beginner-level craft class; no experience is necessary.

Seats are limited for this class; pre-registration is required at the link above. All craft supplies are provided. Register online.

Ages: 18 years and older
Class fee: $5 per person

Learn more about Santa Crafts

Holiday Paint Night at Brier Creek

Friday, Dec. 10 and Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 6 to 8 p.m.

Join us for Holiday Paint Night! Join us at Brier Creek Park for a fun and laid-back class to take with a friend, partner, or just by yourself! As in a traditional paint-and-sip class, you’re welcome to bring your own non-alcoholic beverages and snacks. Your instructor will show you a step-by-step process to paint your own acrylic masterpiece. Each date's class will have a different painting theme.

Dates: Dec. 10 and 21
Ages: 15+

All paint supplies will be provided. Pre-registration is required online.

Learn more about Holiday Paint Night

Holiday Open House at Mordecai Historic Park

Join us at Mordecai Historic Park for holiday open houses on Saturday, Dec. 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 12 from 1 to 4 p.m. Enjoy décor, crafts, music, and more throughout the park! Call 919-996-4264 for more information.

Santa's Trolley

Santa is lost in Raleigh and Holly the Elf needs your help to find him in time for Christmas! Have you seen him lately? Do you know where he might be? Jump aboard the Raleigh Trolley at Mordecai Historic Park and help Holly track down Santa in time for Christmas! Join us Dec. 10-12 from 5 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and nonrefundable. Tours will follow all local and state COVID-19 guidelines. Call (919) 996-4364 for more information.

Register online

Learn more about Santa's Trolley

Arts Partners Holiday In-Person Events 

From December 3 through New Year’s Eve, head out for some merriment and joy as we celebrate the arts community’s holiday comeback! It’s time to celebrate the holidays – and the return of all of our favorite holiday events! If you missed getting out and about to see live performances last year, the Raleigh Arts Partners will help you make up for that lost time. From December 3 through New Year’s Eve, you can enjoy as many as three holiday treats each week. So head out for some merriment and joy, as we celebrate the arts community’s holiday comeback despite COVID-19.

View all Arts Partners Holiday Events

Poinsettia Art Day

Monday, Dec. 13, 5 to 7 p.m.

Join us for poinsettia art at Chavis Park! Create your own watercolor poinsettia on canvas for National Poinsettia Day. All ages can join in creating beautiful works of art! No registration is necessary. Materials will be provided.

Ages: all
Cost: none

Learn more about Poinsettia Art Day

Gingerbread House Day

Wednesday, Dec. 15, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Help us make a giant gingerbread house! Join us at Chavis Park in designing our own gigantic gingerbread house! We will be working on this house all day, so come in at your leisure to assist in the building process. Our progress depends on all participants, so we need you! This event is for all ages; no registration is necessary.

Ages: all
Cost: none

Learn more about Gingerbread House Day

Ugly Sweater & Karaoke Night

Friday, Dec. 17, 7 to 10 p.m.

Grab your friends and your ugliest sweater and get ready for the Ugly Sweater and Karaoke Party at Chavis Park! Enjoy a night of music, games, and fun. Light refreshments will be served. No registration is necessary.

Ages: 18 and up
Cost: none

Learn more about Ugly Sweater & Karaoke Night