NCMA Winter Lantern Walk

Shine your light at our annual lantern walk! Bundle up and come together as we honor the quiet beauty of the approaching winter season with a magical handmade paper lantern walk through the Museum Park. Bring your own homemade lantern (no flames) or come early to make one while supplies last. The lantern procession begins at 5:30 pm from the Ellipse. See this map for more details and where to park. Information on the event and about making a paper lantern follows.

Registration is greatly appreciated so we know how many people to expect and can communicate important information on how to prepare as well as any weather updates. However, tickets are not required and will not be checked upon entry to the event.

How it works
You create the light for the procession, so be sure to have your own paper lantern to carry! This community-driven celebration is inspired by the Hillsborough Arts Council’s annual Solstice Lantern Walk on December 21. Here are some options for preparing a handmade paper lantern:

  1. You can make your own lantern at home in advance to bring with you (read on for guidelines and inspiration for using your own materials at home).

  2. Reserve a free paper-mâché lantern kit and pick it up on November 18 to make at home in advance. Learn more and reserve yours. Supplies are limited.

  3. Attend one of our lantern-making workshops on November 18, either the Advanced Handmade Paper Lantern Workshop: Pyramid Lights or All-Level Handmade Paper Lantern Open Studio. We provide all the materials and guidance, just bring your imagination!

  4. Come early to the NCMA Winter Lantern Walk on December 9 between 4:30 and 5:30 pm to assemble and decorate a simple premade accordion paper lantern (free of charge; first come, first served while limited supplies last).

Event schedule

  • 4:30 pm: Lantern-making*, music, and socializing on the Ellipse.

  • 5:30 pm: Lantern procession assembles on the Ellipse. Please do not begin walking before 6 pm. We will gather everyone to walk at the same time and take our time to have a peaceful walk.

  • 6:30: Festivities conclude on the Ellipse.

*Free of charge; first come, first served while limited supplies last

Homemade lantern guidelines

  • No candles or flames. If you want to illuminate your lantern, use battery-operated lights.

  • Use white paper/material; limit additional colors to blues, creams, silvers, and golden hues. Get creative!

  • Cut out your own unique design or layer paper designs on top. You can even purchase a premade paper lantern and modify that.

  • Lanterns can be any shape or size. Bells, chimes, and other embellishments can also be added. We encourage you to make it your own!

  • See more resources and videos for inspiration.

More information on how to prepare

  • Leave pets at home.

  • No glass containers or alcohol allowed.

  • This event is entirely outside; dress appropriately for the weather and walking.

  • Restrooms are available at the Welcome Center by the smokestack.

  • The lantern procession is along a paved trail; the total route distance is three-quarters of a mile with some slight inclines/declines.

Photo: Ellen Sabin


Dec 09, 2023


4:30 PM - 6:30 PM


Free with registration


Museum Park, Ellipse

View the map

For More Information:
(919) 715-5923
Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 am to 5 pm
For More Information:
(919) 715-5923
Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 am to 5 pm
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