7 Chances To Hang Out With Santa In Wilmington Before Christmas​​

by Nov 2, 2015Festivals, Greater Cape Fear, Wilmington

’Tis the season to be jolly, and there is no better place to be jolly than in Wilmington, NC! Wilmington lights up with Christmas cheer this time of year, so if you want to celebrate, put on your warm socks and set out to spend some quality time with loved ones (and Santa too) before Christmas.

We’ve collected a number of seasonal events to warm your heart when the weather’s chilly. Young or old, there’s a Christmas tradition in Wilmington for everyone. Here are some of our favorites.

Cruise The Cape Fear River with Santa—Donate and Cruise for Free!

Dec. 12, 2015, 9:30-am and 12:30pm


To get in the holiday spirit, there’s nothing like helping others. And there’s nothing like seeing Santa! You can combine these warm Christmas traditions while cruising the Cape Fear River aboard the Henrietta III – the cruise is free if you bring 6 non -perishable food items per person to be donated to the Salvation Army.

Bring the Whole Fam to the Christmas Tree Lighting and Movie Night at Greenfield Lake

Dec. 3, 2015, 6 p.m. 

The official City of Wilmington Christmas Tree lights up at 6 p.m. Santa is expected immediately afterward and he’ll have presents for the first 500 children he sees. At 6:45, the Elf Costume Contest is judged; prizes are awarded in divisions from infant to adult. And at 7 p.m., watch “Elf—The Movie” at the amphitheater. All events are free, so bring the kids to this fun holiday event!

Experience the Wonder at Enchanted Airlie

Nov. 27-28; Dec. 4-6, 10-13, 16-22, 2015, 5-7 and 7-9 p.m.


Christmas lights are creatively displayed on a sparkling half-mile walk through Airlie Gardens. Santa is available for the kids. If it’s chilly, enjoy coffee and hot chocolate, and snacks. Tickets for Enchanted Airlie often sell out in advance, so get your tickets for this Wilmington, NC Christmas tradition early.

Breakfast with Santa at Mayfaire

Dec. 5, 2015, 9:30-11 a.m.

source: mayfairetown.com

source: mayfairetown.com

Visit Santa’s Village and have breakfast with Santa in the building formerly Main Street Sports Café across from Belk. Enjoy breakfast, kid crafts, and a visit with Santa. Tickets are $10; proceeds benefit the Big Buddy Program. Be sure to reserve your spot! **As of 11/12/15 this event is sold out. Check back to see if new dates are added. 

If you can’t make the breakfast, you can meet Santa in his village other times too: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays (Santa breaks from 3 to 4 p.m.) and Sundays noon-5 p.m., Nov. 28 through Dec. 24, 2015. Ho ho ho!

Another fun Mayfaire event to hang out with Santa will be at “Santa Fest” at Belk, Saturday, November 14th from Noon – 3:00pm.

Fun for Kids at Santa by the Sea at the NC Aquarium

Dec. 12 and Dec. 19, 2015, 5 to 8 p.m.


source: Facebook.com/NCAquariumFF

Join the Jolly Ole Elf for an evening of games, crafts, stories, and more. Santa goes diving with the sharks and each child receives a complimentary photo with Santa.

Sip, Shop & See Santa at the Cotton Exchange

Nov. 27, 2015, 11 a.m.


Kids who want to tell Santa Claus their Christmas wishes should know he arrives at the Cotton Exchange in downtown Wilmington at 11 a.m., Nov. 27, 2015, the Friday after Thanksgiving. Elves will accompany him to the Santa Station, where he will greet children. Expect Santa every weekend up until Christmas Eve from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays.

There are too many holiday adventures to count, but at Wilmington Today, we hope you’ll seek them out and have fun celebrating the season! Merry Christmas, Wilmington!

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