Leonard Bearstein’s Animatronic Symphony Orchestra

The Founders' Hall Bearstein Bears holiday schedule

Charlotte's Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra
••• Coutesy of the Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra

Just walking around the Uptown Charlotte area is a holiday tradition for many families, taking in the larger than life Christmas decorations, lights, and ornaments scattered throughout the area. Visiting Uptown Charlotte during Christmas truly is a special time, and one of the highlights of a trip Uptown during the Christmas season is an attraction that's been around for many years now.

The Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra, or just the the 'Bearstein Bears' as they're known to locals, have become one of Uptown Charlotte's favorite Christmas time traditions (or, least favorite perhaps for people that work nearby).

The beloved bears will be back again this year, providing the same songs visitors have come to love each year. The bear musicians are surrounded by a beautiful landscape of Christmas trees and snow, so if a show like this doesn't get you into the holiday spirit, then I'm not sure there's a whole lot that will.

If you think you know the name Leonard Bearstein is a take on the New York Philharmonic Orchestra's legendary conductor, Leonard Bernstein. There are lots of other bear puns throughout the show, so make sure you're listening closely or you'll miss a few.

If you are not familiar with the bear orchestra, it's a full orchestra of animatronic bears that sing and play Christmas favorites in a 45 minute playlist repeated several times throughout the day. Visitors can expect to hear classics like Have a Holly Jolly Christmas.” “Jingle Bells,” “Feliz Navidad,” "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," “We Wish You A Merry Christmas,” and more.

Of course, the bears really don't take requests, so you don't be able to ask for your favorite tune on the spot. Whether you're Uptown for a show, passing through Founders Hall on your lunch break, or visiting for a special Christmas visit, take the time to drop in on these bears. It's worth the time!

The bears are actually beginning their concerts a little earlier in the season this year, giving you even more time to check them out, starting during Thanksgiving weekend. Maestro Leonard Bearstein will tirelessly lead his orchestra from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, with a few small breaks throughout the day.

Not that those times are subject to change!

If you want to get a glimpse of the bears in action so you can know what to expect (or to see if your young child will be interested at all), you can find some videos on YouTube. There's one here and one here.

Even if the bears aren't singing when you find them, it's still a beautiful spot to grab a photo with the family.


Founders' Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28202

Dates and Hours:
Dec. 1 - 31, 2016

Monday through Friday, shows start at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m., and 6 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday, there are shows every hour from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Occasionally, there will be no performance because of a scheduled event in the hall. But it's usually announced in advance via signs if there's not a show slated for a certain time period.