Celebrate the Holidays on the Outer Banks

Christmas and New Year’s events happening throughout the Outer Banks

Planning a holiday trip to the Outer Banks? You may think the OBX completely closes down after Labor Day, but you are mistaken. While it is true that a lot of the restaurants and shops do close their doors and shutters for the winter months, there is still a large local, year-round crowd which means activities and events for Christmas and New Year’s!

An Outer Banks Christmas

Not only is the Outer Banks famous for oysters in the winter, but there are also some key Christmas celebrations you won’t want to miss. If you like to do your holiday shopping while avoiding crowds, the OBX is the place to be. Celebrate the season on the Outer Banks at one of the following events.

Manteo Holiday Parade

Christmas in Downtown Manteo

When: The first Friday and Saturday in December

Where: Downtown Manteo

The town of Manteo, on Roanoke Island, starts the holiday season in the evening on the first Friday in December with their tree-lighting and a visit from Santa. The town tree is located downtown on Queen Elizabeth Street, in front of Dare County Arts Council. On the first Saturday of December, the Town of Manteo’s annual Christmas parade kicks off mid-morning. A local favorite, the parade features marching bands, decorated floats, and lots of charming, small-town holiday fun.

Duck Crab Pot Tree

Duck Yuletide Celebration

When: The first Saturday afternoon in December

Where: Duck Town Park

The Town of Duck’s annual Yuletide Celebration includes live music, carolers, yummy treats, and Santa Claus, of course! Warm up with coffee, hot chocolate, hot soup, and sweet treats provided by local businesses. Highlights of the celebration include the lighting of the town’s impressive crab pot Christmas tree and Santa’s arrival on a Duck fire truck.

Manteo Holiday Homes Tour

Manteo Tour of Holiday Homes

When: The first Saturday afternoon in December

Where: Town of Manteo

The Manteo Preservation Trust hosts the event each year as a fundraiser to raise awareness for historic preservation in Manteo. Tour locations are walking and biking-friendly. Experience the charm and culture of this coastal town.

Jockey's Ridge Kites with lights

Hangin’ with Santa & Kites With Lights

When: The Friday and Saturday immediately after Thanksgiving 

Where: Jockey’s Ridge Crossing, Nags Head

In the morning and early afternoon, Hangin’ With Santa offers kids the opportunity to kick off the holiday season by visiting Santa at Kitty Hawk Kites across the street from Jockey’s Ridge. After the sun sets, see a holiday light display like no other at Kites with Lights! Large kites are decorated with lights and flown at the top of Jockey’s Ridge State Park (weather permitting). Attendees are encouraged to bring flashlights and glow sticks to join in on the fun. The Jockey’s Ridge State Park solar Christmas tree that sits atop the dunes will also be lit for the first time in the year during this event.

Elizabethan Gardens Winter Lights

Winter Lights at the Elizabethan Gardens

When: Tuesdays through Sundays, November – December, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, weather permitting

Where: The Elizabethan Gardens, Manteo

The Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo, NC transforms into a winter wonderland for the holidays. Stretch your legs and enjoy a leisurely stroll through the Winter Lights at the Elizabethan Gardens. The park has a fire pit for warming up on chilly evenings. There is even a seasonal gift shop with plants available for gift-giving!

corolla christmas village santa

Corolla Christmas Village

When: Friday and Saturday nights, November 25th through December 30th, 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Where: Historic Corolla Village

This free event highlights the magic of the holiday season in Historic Corolla Village. Food trucks, tasty beverages, and shopping opportunities will be available each weekend. Special events, such as live music and storytime with Santa are planned for specific evenings throughout the event.


Christmas Shopping on the OBX

For those of us that just can not get enough Christmas, there are a few shops on the Outer Banks that are open year-round for your holiday pleasure! The Christmas Shop & General Store is located in Manteo and The Christmas Mouse is located in both Duck and Nags Head. Even if you are not able to join us during the holiday season, we hope you take home a holiday keepsake that will evoke the wonderful memories of your time on the Outer Banks!

The Christmas Shop

The Christmas Shop & General Store

Where: Manteo, NC

For over 50 years, The Christmas Shop & General Store has provided Christmas cheer to the Outer Banks all year long. The store began as a shop for ornaments but has evolved into an OBX shopping destination.

The Christmas Mouse ornament

The Christmas Mouse

Where: Duck, NC & Nags Head, NC

Thousands of Christmas ornaments and decorations are available for purchase. Find that special Outer Banks ornament to adorn your tree and remind you of your fantastic OBX vacation.

New Year’s Eve on the Outer Banks

If you find yourself here celebrating New Year’s Eve Outer Banks style, you will have a variety of Outer Banks New Year’s Eve Events and Celebrations to choose from.

new years fireworks

Midnight Magic in Downtown Manteo

When: December 31st

Where: Downtown Manteo

Midnight Magic in Downtown Manteo is an afternoon festival and street fair in Manteo, NC, on Roanoke Island. Downtown Manteo is closing the streets for this fair and celebration. There will be live music, an early “ball drop” for the kids, and the most extensive midnight New Year’s Eve firework display in all of North Carolina! The restaurants and bars downtown are also staying open late for the event. Free parking is available at Roanoke Island Festival Park.

The Jolly Roger

The Jolly Roger New Year’s Eve Party

When: December 31st

Where: The Jolly Roger, 1836 N Virginia Dare Trail, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

The Jolly Roger, a local restaurant and favorite for late-night entertainment is having a New Year’s Eve special event starting at 4 pm. They will have dinner specials and will also be serving their full menu, which will include seafood, steaks, Italian dishes, prime rib, and many delicious, homemade desserts.

The event is free and no cover charge or minimum amount of people is required. There will be karaoke, dancing, party favors and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight! Additionally, a traditional “good luck” meal of kielbasa, black-eyed peas, and sauerkraut will be served after midnight to ensure prosperity! Come and celebrate with the locals to see how we ring in the new year!

Outer Banks Brewing Station

New Year’s Eve Bash at Outer Banks Brewing Station

When: December 31st

Where: Outer Banks Brewing Station, 600 S Croatan Hwy, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

Come out to the biggest New Year’s Eve celebration on the Outer Banks! Start your evening with dinner, as there will be a special NYE menu in addition to the regular menu. Join the party at The Outer Banks Brewing Station, which runs from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am. The biggest balloon drop on the Outer Banks and a champagne toast at midnight. This event is for adults 21 or older only.

New Year’s Eve Dinner Out

If looking for something a little more intimate and low key, there are loads of restaurants to choose from. Here’s a list of our favorites.

1587 restaurant

1587 Restaurant

405 Queen Elizabeth Ave., Manteo, NC

Located right inside the Tranquil Inn, this restaurant boasts an elegant atmosphere with large windows that overlook Shallowbag Bay.

Owens' Restaurant

Owens’ Restaurant

7114 S. Virginia Dare Trail in Nags Head, NC  

Owens’ Restaurant is an Outer Banks legend. In business since 1946, fresh local seafood and steaks are on the menu. A “must try” is the lobster bisque – it is delightful! Lots of beautiful art decorates this restaurant, making it easy on the eyes.

Aqua Spa

Aqua Restaurant and Spa

1174 Duck Rd in Duck, NC

Aqua is a new age-y restaurant and spa concept offering locally sourced fare and a soundfront venue with a deck.

JK’s Restaurant

1106 S Croatan Hwy in Kill Devil Hills, NC

JK’s Restaurant is a classy spot serving premium, wood-fired land and sea fare in a cozy, wood-finished beach house.

If you are looking for everyday things to do in December, there’s plenty to do and see on the Outer Banks. The Outer Banks has lots to choose from no matter what your holiday style! Whether you want to go celebrate all day in Downtown Manteo with live music and good eats, see extraordinary fireworks on New Year’s Eve, go out to a romantic dinner, get your shop on, or mix and match these activities, the OBX can accommodate you. Whatever you choose, we’re just happy you’re here to celebrate with us, Outer Banks style!


Happy New Year

Twiddy & Company

Twiddy & Company

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