One of the biggest light festivals in the Southeast is Speedway Christmas at the Charlotte Motor Speedway racetrack. It’s also one of the most unique experiences.
Over 4 million lights decorate the 4-mile driving course. You get to drive your personal vehicle on the racetrack. It’s a pretty cool experience to weave your way around the course (albeit very, very slowly), infield, then under the grandstands as you look at the holiday lights.
Here’s everything you need to know and a quick peek at what you’ll experience at Speedway Christmas.
Lights on: November 19, 2021 – January 16, 2022 | 6 pm – 10 pm nightly
Closed: December 7, 8, & 24
Pricing: $30 – $40 per car up to 15 people | Price dependent on day
**Express Lane Pass is Extra
Purchase tickets onsite or online directly from Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Getting to Speedway Christmas
Speedway Christmas is located at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, about 20 minutes from uptown Charlotte.
There are two entrances, so use the right entrance for the tickets you’ve purchased.
- General Admission Entrance: 555 Concord Parkway S, Concord, NC 28027
- Express Lane Entrance: 5197 Morehead Rd, Concord, NC 28027
Where to Stay for Speedway Christmas
Other than Speedway Christmas and the outlet mall, there’s not a lot going on in Concord. As Charlotte has several large Christmas light events, we recommend staying in uptown Charlotte or south of the airport.
- Hilton Charlotte Uptown – Offers great value in the heart of Charlotte’s uptown. It’s within walking distance of the smaller holiday attractions, like the holiday market. However, parking in the city center is expensive in general, and parking at the Hilton is no exception.
- Aloft Charlotte Airport – If you don’t mind staying near the airport, this area of Charlotte offers really good value, easy transportation routes, and free parking. Plus, it’s just around the corner from the Billy Graham Library, which also has a lovely Christmas lights display with horse drawn carriages.
Viewing the Lights at Speedway Christmas
First Part of the Racetrack Course
We would say the Speedway course is divided into three sections, plus a pit stop.
The first part of the racetrack course is mostly cute and quirky animated light displays. As the track circles around a giant holiday tree of lights, Santa and his animal friends enjoy pool parties, jeep tours, and other fun adventures.
**Don’t forget to turn off your main lights so you don’t ruin everyone’s experience. Most vehicles opt to use side-lights only.**
The Christmas Village is at the mid-way point and makes a nice pit stop. Though, it’s typically only open on Thursdays through Sundays.
Park the car and head indoors for holiday shopping. Or maybe you want to grab a sweet treat. You’ll find most of your fair favorites, like funnel cakes, deep fried Oreos, and smoked turkey legs.
You can eat inside, but if it’s a nice evening most guests head out back to enjoy the mini-bonfires. There are a few spinning rides, bumper cars, and a small Ferris Wheel.
Fox Charlotte also runs movie nights. Set up like an old drive-in movie theater, old Christmas movies play on the big screen. Here’s the 2021 schedule:
- Nov. 19 – 21: “Home Alone 2” presented by United Site Services
- Nov. 25 – 28: “Christmas Vacation” presented by Cook Out
- Dec. 2 – 5: “The Grinch” presented by Food Lion
- Dec. 9 – 12: “Christmas with the Kranks” presented by Lidl
- Dec. 16 – 26: “Elf” presented by Autobell
- Dec. 30 – Jan. 2: “A Christmas Story” presented by Cook Out
Second Part of the Racetrack Course
The second part of the racetrack course is our favorite. This is where the Christmas lights dance to music on the radio. Keep a lookout as you leave the Christmas Market for the radio channel they are using this year.
The displays on this section of the course are also much bigger.
At the end of the racetrack, it will look like you are exiting the attraction as you pass through the tunnel, but you have one more section to go.
Under the Grandstand
After the tunnel, there are some more lights as you drive around the outside of the racetrack.
Next, the course heads under the grandstands. We really loved this section. Not just for the lights, but we found it pretty cool to drive through this area of the racetrack. How often are you able to drive in locations like this?
Anyway, the grandstand gives a long tunnel effect. However, it can get quite backed up on busy nights. If you can, try to give yourself a little space between the car in front of you. You’ll enjoy the experience a lot more.
Before heading under the grandstand, look for a small parking area on the left. From this parking area you get a great view over all the lights across the racetrack.
As always, our posts are NOT sponsored. We have no affiliation with Speedway Christmas or Charlotte Motor Speedway, we just enjoyed the attraction and thought you would too.
Leave us a comment on your experience, or do you have a favorite holiday display near you we should check out?
Looking for more Christmas fun in Charlotte?