Twelve months may have come and gone, but good ol' Oak City never runs out of reasons to get lit at year's end. Raleigh has seen much change in 2017 with old traditions going away and new ones that have come to stay, but this beloved city is better than ever. Make December in Raleigh the best time of the year with these holiday favorites!
Get Merry and Bright at Miracle - The Haymaker Pop-up Christmas Bar
This downtown cocktail bar has been transformed once again into 'Miracle', the holiday pop-up bar seen around the world this season. With upside down Christmas trees, stockings, tinsel, and a real life moose head, The Haymaker has exchanged its hip hop speakeasy vibes for a winter wonderland. The drink menu puts a boozy spin on holiday nostalgia faves with clever cocktails including the 'Run, Run, Rudolph' – an iced hot chocolate with tequila and coffee liqueur – and the 'Bad Santa', mulled red wine with orange liqueur and spices. Stay tuned to their calendar for themed events like 'Fleece Navidad', your favorite ugly sweater party, and their shitty gift exchange. 555 Fayetteville Street #115
Slip or Skate at Raleigh IcePlex
The downtown skating rink in City Plaza is gone this season due to surrounding construction, but you can always have an ice day every day at Raleigh IcePlex. North Carolina's only Olympic sized rink is a full-service facility with a game room and rock wall and has a variety of programs for all ages and abilities. There are Learn to Skate classes for new skaters and adult hockey leagues for upcoming NHL all-stars. Stop by for an early week treat with $4 admission on Tuesdays. 2601 North Raleigh Boulevard
Make Yourself at Home for the Holidays at the Holiday Open House at the Executive Mansion
North Carolina's Executive Mansion will open its doors once again to the Christmas spirit and the masses for the annual Holiday Open House from Wednesday, December 6 to Saturday, December 9. Free and open to the public, visitors will get to tour this fine Victorian home in all its seasonal splendor. The first floor will be decked with North Carolina-grown Christmas trees, floral arrangements, and ornately decorated mantles. Between the twinkling lights and the sounds of the Raleigh Concert Band and Oak City Voices, the executive mansion will be a festive feast for the eyes and ears. 109 East Jones Street
Check off Your Shopping List at the 10th Annual St. Nicholas European Christmas Market
Indulge yourself in the spirit of an old world European Christmas and check off those wish lists at the annual St. Nicholas European Christmas Market. Treat yourself to delicious baked goods, pierogis, and kielbasa while you shop for treasures and handmade gifts. Shoppers can visit Poland, Ukraine, Slovakia, Germany, Scandinavia, Italy, and Ireland and return with souvenirs like Matroyshka dolls, Polish pottery, and Czech crystal. Listen to the Little German Band and watch the Irish Step Dancers as you await the arrival of St. Nicholas. December 8 - 9, Holhouser Building 1025 Blue Ridge Road
Ring in the New Year at First Night in City Plaza
Kiss 2017 goodbye with First Night Raleigh in City Plaza. All of Fayetteville Street will be turn into a festival with music, art, comedy, and dance. During the day, the DIY festival will teach visitors a new craft or skill to take into the New Year. Early bird tickets are $11 and $15 day of which will get you into premium position to watch Birds of Avalon play and count you down to the acorn drop into 2018.
Written by Renee Baker
Renee is a sit-down comedienne and event photographer when she's not at her day job. While it doesn't pay the bills, her talents are an excuse to day drink craft brews on rooftops, get into festivals on Fayetteville Street, and general gallivanting. Outdoors she's usually seen with her default date: her dog Max, scoping out a spot to people watch and heckle passersby. Her mother says the two worst things you can give her indoors are a drink and a mic.