Tips for the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival in Cary (Updated for 2022-2023)

The Chinese Lantern Festival in Cary, North Carolina is an awesome event that brings day-trippers and spectators from throughout the southern United States and across the state. It is one of the most unique things to do during winter in North Carolina and is definitely a festival that should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Ticket Info.

They stay in Cary during the festival and prepare to produce acrobatic performances and traditional Chinese lanterns with the help of 25 Chinese artisans from Tianyu-based Chicago, who will hand-craft each beautiful lantern.

Since we have visited the Amphitheatre Booth Koka multiple times, we are going to share some helpful information and tips so that you can be prepared for your trip to the Chinese lantern festival beyond this year.

Here is the way we have structured this guide for you:

  • Regarding the Chinese Lantern Festival in North Carolina.
  • Dates.
  • Comprehensive Ticket Information.
  • Before You Go: Important Information to be Aware of (Parking, Dining, and Clear Bag Policy).
  • You can skip ahead to read about the history of Chinese Lantern Festival in specific sections or continue reading about the overall history of North Carolina.

    Learn More: November and December in North Carolina.

    Festivals near Raleigh NC Chinese Lantern Festival Cary Image
    Chinese Lantern Festival History Explanation Here

    The North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival in Central North Carolina has been bringing both great luck and wealth, and Chinese lanterns have a historical background that dates back thousands of years and are believed to symbolize.

    Over 100,000 people flock to Cary each year to experience the beautiful LED lantern displays. Most of the lanterns at the festival in Zigong, the capital city of Sichuan Province in China, are hand-made lanterns.

    We reached out to officials behind the festival and shared his thoughts, Traversari Taylor, General Manager of the Amphitheatre Booth, explaining how the festival brings families together and energizes older adults while delighting youngsters.

    “Traversari further stated, “Additionally, it offers an insight into the Chinese heritage and contributes to the captivating variety of attractions that North Carolina has in store.”

    Discover More: Family-Friendly Activities in North Carolina.

    Comprehensive Ticket Information.

    The starting price for the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival tickets is $11, and children who are under the age of 3 can enter for free. The cost may differ depending on whether you choose to purchase in advance or decide to go for the flexible Any Night Ticket option.

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    This is great for those who are flexible and plan their day based on the impacts of weather. Any night is likeable for you to choose the date you’d like to attend, and tickets are $25.

    If you and your loved ones are looking to plan ahead, you can opt for date-specific tickets for the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival.

    If you have bought a ticket for this specific date, make sure to pack an umbrella or a raincoat, as the event will take place rain or shine.

    If you would like to purchase a ticket in advance for the Office Box, which is open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, and from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, online ticket purchases will help you skip the busy lines that form on busy nights. Please take note of this.

    Here’s a brief overview of the location, dates, and ticket prices for the Chinese Lantern Festival in North Carolina.

  • Date: November 18 to January 8, 2023, from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
  • Location: The Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary (8003 Regency Parkway, Cary, NC 27518).
  • Ticket Prices for children aged 2 and below: FREE.
  • Every evening: ($25).
  • Tickets for specific dates: Beginning at $13.
  • Twilight Ticket Price: $15 to $25.
  • VIP (Very Important Panda) Tours: $20 to $35.
  • Additional information can be found here.
  • Contact: 800-514-3849 or visit boothamphitheatre.Com for more information.
  • Ready for the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival?

    If you have visited this festival before, we would love to know what you thought of this unique event. We hope to keep it as a yearly tradition for our family and we love the Chinese Lantern Festival in North Carolina.

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    If you have never attended the Chinese Lantern Festival in North Carolina, please share more about your first time experience with us via email.

    Before You Go: Things to Know


    Parking is free, so it is recommended to arrive at Booth Amphitheatre as early as possible, especially if you need to buy tickets before entering.

    Explore More: Over 50 Convenient Day Trips from Fayetteville (Fantastic Escapes!).

    Clear Bag Policy

    All that is permitted inside is everything that a transparent bag is except for a wallet or small clutch measuring 6.5″ x 4.5″, which you can still bring. The Chinese Lantern Festival in North Carolina has increased its safety practices by implementing a clear bag policy to ensure a safe experience for both staff and guests.

    Permitted sizes include 1-gallon ziplock bags and bags measuring 12″ x 12″ x 9″.

    Wait Times

    The Lantern Fest in Cary NC Image

    During this event at the Amphitheatre Booth, over 100,000 people can gather to enjoy the festival. Especially on busy weekends and holidays, the festival can get very crowded, and long queues can form. The festival is particularly popular during warm and clear nights in the “winter” season in North Carolina.

    If you buy your ticket ahead of time, you can easily pass through the queues and swiftly reach the lanterns!

    Seating Info (for Performances)

    Cary Chinese Lantern Images

    If you want to watch the cultural performances at the Chinese Lantern Festival, we recommend finding a cozy spot to cuddle up with your loved ones. However, please note that there are limited mats and chairs available outside for seating.

    There are numerous heat lamps scattered throughout the premises in case it’s a colder evening.

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    Food and Drink

    The concession stands are located at the top of the Crescent Deck. Exclusive celebratory treats will be accessible for buying during the occasion.

    On certain evenings, mobile food vendors will be ready to offer you something warm and delectable!

    Accessibility Info

    The issue of navigating the festival should not exist as the walkways are paved and suitable for both wheelchairs and strollers. The Main Gate and Office Box, which are situated across from each other, provide accessible parking. Additionally, the Koka Amphitheatre Booth is also accessible.

    When is the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival?

    North Carolina Lanterns in Cary Image
    Chinese Lantern Festival NC Image

    The festival of Chinese Lanterns takes place from November 18, 2022, until January 8, 2023.

    Learn More: January in North Carolina.

    Plan to open the doors at 6:00 pm and take a leisurely stroll around the half-mile loop filled with colorful lanterns. It will give you plenty of time to wander around and enjoy the experience. You can sip on a boozy hot chocolate, take selfies, and make plenty of stops along the way.

    As spectators gather closely together under the warmth of heat lamps, they can witness the acrobats’ impressive feats of balance, jumps, and performances at 6:30 pm, 7:30 pm, and 8:30 pm.

    Things to Do in Cary Beyond the Chinese Lantern Festival

    In Cary, there are a few activities we enjoy, whether you’re visiting from a distant location or arriving from a nearby area.

    Learn More: The Mayton in Cary (+ 7 Aspects We Adore About Staying Here!).

    Bond Park

    Additionally, you have the opportunity to examine the watercrafts available at Bond Park and enjoy a day engaging in fishing and sailing. The expansive 310-acre Fred H Bond Metro Park offers pathways for strolling, ample open area for picnics, and a stunning lake.

    Bond Park also offers baseball fields, a playground, and a ropes challenge course!

    Learn More: Activities to Experience in Raleigh.

    Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve

    If you’re in Cary before the sun goes down, we definitely recommend taking a stroll through the 140 acres of wooded trails dedicated to protecting a unique collection of wildlife and Eastern Hemlock trees in the Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve.

    Learn More: Trekking in the vicinity of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.

    Bond Brothers Beer Company

    After or before attending the Beer Brothers Bond festival, you can enjoy a flight or, even better, a pint of their 14 beers on tap, which feature IPAs, excellent stouts, and barrel sours.

    Learn More: Breweries in North Carolina.

    More Things to Do in Cary (and Raleigh)

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