Why You Need To Take A Trip To Apex, North Carolina, This Holiday Season

Spend some time soaking up small-town Christmas at its best!

Apex, North Carolina
Courtesy of Apex Downtown Business Asssociation.

A historic downtown, vintage train station, and lots and lots of Christmas lights—what else could you need for a magical holiday escape? When it comes to small-town Christmas charm, Apex, North Carolina, has all its bases covered. Founded in the 1860s, Apex is considered one of the most intact turn-of-the-century railroad towns in the area. Located just 20 minutes west of Raleigh, the town of just over 60,000 is filled to the brim with Yuletide spirit. From a legendary single-family-home light display to a town-wide Christmas parade, tree lighting ceremony, and plenty of seasonal shopping, here’s why you should visit Apex this holiday season.

Downtown Apex, North Carolina
Courtesy of Apex Downtown Business Association.

A Darling Downtown

We’ll set the scene for you. You’re strolling down a twinkle-lit street with a warm cup of hot cocoa in hand as a light dusting of snow begins to fall. Every store window you pass is lined in garland, each more beautifully decorated in bright red and green than the last. The old-school awnings overhead advertise everything from antiques and local food to art and apparel. That’s all just part of the magic in the downtown Apex historic district. Be sure to stop in for a bite to eat at Anna’s Pizzeria and cup of joe at Common Grounds Coffee House. Spend hours perusing the aisles of décor and antiques at The Rusty Bucket, then stick around for a show at Halle Cultural Arts Center. Seasonal shows this year include “Deck the Stage,” a musical inspired by classic Christmas carols and “Secret Santa: The Musical”. Don’t leave downtown with a visit to The Apex Union Depot, the town’s historic railroad station that now houses the town’s chamber of commerce and is open to the public for tours.

Downtown Apex, North Carolina
Photo by John Kozicki.

Festive Events

Apex is certainly no stranger to a good party. And during the holiday season, the regular schedule of live music performances and pop-up festivals goes into overdrive with special events and gatherings taking place nearly nightly.

Celebrate the season on Salem Street, downtown’s main street, with a number of holiday sales, open houses, pop-up markets, live music performances, and kid’s activities happening throughout the season. Check out the incredible entries for the annual Sparkle on Salem window decorating competition, and don’t miss the chance to see Santa, who tends to make his visits on select Saturdays in December.

Other special events include a wreath auction, tree ceremony lighting at the Apex Union Depot, and an annual Christmas parade complete with food, performances, vendors, and kids’ activities. Apex also hosts an annual Chanukah Festival where festivities include a kosher food truck, fire show, kids’ crafts, and a grand Menorah lighting.  

MG Vision & Lights
Photo by Travis Jay Khristian Hansen.

An Out-of-This-World Light Display

Folks travel to Apex from all over to see the over-the-top Christmas lights on Holt Road. Dubbed MG’s Vision & Light, local Apex couple MG and Dawnna have been putting up the next-level display for more than 10 years, adding new lights and features to the set up each year. On the long, light-lined driveway to their home, you’ll pass nearly every Christmas creature known to man, from reindeer and snowmen to nutcrackers and elves. Once you get to the house itself, complete with a small pond and gazebo out front, prepare to stand in awe at the thousands upon thousands of lights lining every window, pitch of the roof, and bush. The best part of the display? It’s completely free to visit. The homeowners don’t accept donations or tips, but they are leading an effort to help bring Ukrainian families to safety in the U.S., so if you have any frequent flyer miles to donate to the effort, you can do so via their Facebook page.

In Apex, the holiday season is truly something special. Don't believe us? Pack up the car and see it for yourself.

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