If you’re looking for a wonderful place to visit, travel to Charlotte, North Carolina. This lovely city has something for everyone, from outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs to nightlife fans. We’ve compiled a list of our top 12 fun things to do in Charlotte so that you can have an idea of what’s available before visiting.
Known as the Queen City, Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina, and it offers so many things to do that you will be busy for days. So let’s list the best things to do in Charlotte that are a must for first-time visitors, and for sure, you’ll come back to this exciting city for more.
Fun activities in Charlotte
1. Explore the outdoor activities in Charlotte
If you’re looking for a nature escape, there are many things to do in Charlotte for you. The city is home to plenty of lush green parks and nature trails, perfect for a relaxing stroll or an adventurous hike. And the best part is that you can enjoy the great outdoors all year round thanks to Charlotte’s mild climate.
So whether you’re looking for a place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life or you’re looking to explore Charlotte’s natural beauty, there’s sure to be a spot that’s just right for you.
We recommend checking out Freedom Park, Reedy Creek Nature Preserve, and the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens.
If you have time, you can also visit the largest man-made lake in North Carolina. Lake Norman is half an hour away from the city and worth visiting. Talking about lakes, on the border of North and South Carolinas is Lake Wylie, which you can also see when in Charlotte. The Crowders Mountain State Park is not far as well, and you might want to check out its challenging hikes.
They all offer unique experiences and are great for spending a day (or more!) outdoors.
2. Check out Charlotte’s nightlife scene
Charlotte’s nightlife is truly diverse, offering something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to relax with a drink or two or let loose on the dance floor, you’ll find plenty of options in Uptown Charlotte.
Many of the city’s most popular bars and clubs are located in this vibrant district, making it the perfect place to start your night out. If live music is your thing, be sure to check out some of the local venues.
They regularly host up-and-coming and well-established acts, so there’s always something new to enjoy.
For those who prefer to dance the night away, there are plenty of clubs where you can do just that.
We recommend Suite- located in the Epic Center – and Label, both popular spots for locals and visitors alike.
If you are looking for a good laugh, Charlotte’s comedy clubs are sure to deliver. They feature a variety of local and touring comedians, so you’re sure to find someone who will make you laugh. We recommend the Comedy Club, a Charlotte staple for over 25 years.
Another great idea is to book a Ghost and Grim History walking tour for a spooky night in Charlotte. This family-friendly ghost tour will take you to the most haunted places in Charlotte, and you can choose between two starting times, 8 or 10 pm. The ghost tour is not on everyone’s list of what to do in Charlotte, but it can be great fun.
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3. Shop till you drop
Charlotte is a shopper’s paradise, with plenty of malls, boutiques, and outlets to explore. Whether you’re looking for designer labels or vintage finds, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for in Charlotte premium outlets or shops.
We recommend checking out Concord Outlets for great name-brand clothing and accessories deals. There are also a variety of malls located throughout the city, but shopping local is key.
You can find great deals at Charlotte’s many boutiques and independent retailers such as Boem and J.T Posh.
4. Sample Charlotte’s cuisine
Charlotte is a food lover’s paradise. Whether you’re in the mood for some home-cooked Southern comfort food or looking to try something new, you’ll be able to find it here. You can plan your meals like food tours across the city.
The city is known for its delicious fried chicken, and no trip to Charlotte would be complete without trying a plate of it.
If you’re looking for something a little different, check out the city’s diverse selection of restaurants serving cuisines from all over the world, including Italian, Chinese, and Indian. No matter your taste, you’re sure to find something to your liking in Charlotte.
We recommend Barcelona Wine bar, Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen, and 300 East for some great local eats.
Another interesting place to visit in Charlotte is Camp North End, a former military depot and car factory turned into a eat & play complex with food trucks, arts, and cool events.
5. Attend a sporting event
One of the most fun things to do in Charlotte is going to a sports event. The city is home to several professional sports teams, including the Carolina Panthers (NFL), the Charlotte Hornets (NBA), and the Charlotte Knights (minor league baseball).
If you’re a sports fan, catch a game while you’re in town. The atmosphere in the stadium is electric, and you’re sure to have a great time, whether you’re a diehard fan or just looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon. Charlotte’s most famous arenas and stadiums are BB&T Ballpark, The Bank of America Stadium, and Spectrum Center.
Also read: Fun things to do in Baltimore, Maryland.
6. Visit Charlotte’s museums
Charlotte is home to several world-class museums, including the Mint Museum, the Levine Museum of the New South, and the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Each offers a unique perspective on the city’s history and culture.
Whether you’re interested in art, history, or culture, you’ll find something to explore in Charlotte, as the city even has an aviation museum.
7. Take a walk on the wild side
Charlotte is home to the country’s largest urban whitewater center. The U.S. National Whitewater Center is perfect for an adrenaline-filled day of rafting and kayaking. It’s a place you can spend all day, with plenty of trails to explore, a ropes course, and zip-lining.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed activity, the Greenway is a beautiful spot for a leisurely stroll or bike ride and is usually a great spot that locals love to visit.
8. Go on a brewery tour
Charlotte is home to several craft breweries, many of which offer tours and tastings. Many are popping up all around Charlotte lately, so there’s sure to be one near you.
If you’re a beer lover, check out some of the city’s best breweries, including NoDa Brewing Company, Triple C Brewing Co., and Old Mecklenburg Brewery, to name a few of the best breweries in Charlotte.
9. Go see a show in Charlotte
Charlotte is home to several performing arts venues, including the Belk Theater and the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. This is your chance to see a show, an opera, or a symphony.
No matter your taste in theater, you’re sure to find a show you’ll enjoy while visiting Charlotte.
10. Learn about Charlotte’s history
Charlotte is rich in history, from its founding as a gold mining town to its role in the Civil Rights Movement. If you love learning about the past, there are several ways to do so in Charlotte.
A guided tour is the easiest way to learn about the city’s history. Joining a Segway tour through the city is one of the fun things to do in Charlotte. However, if you prefer something more comfortable, there is a 90-minute electric cart city tour in Charlotte. Both tours pass by Charlotte’s attractions and landmarks.
If you decide to go by yourself, add to your Charlotte itinerary these historic sites: Levine Museum of the New South or the Charlotte Civil Rights Museum to learn more about Charlotte’s past.
11. Check out the local art scene
Charlotte is home to a thriving arts community, with plenty of galleries and public art to enjoy. It offers something for everyone, whether you’re interested in traditional art or more modern pieces.
If you’re an art lover, check out some of the city’s best art museums. Levine Center for Arts includes the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, the Knight Theater, and the Mint Museum Uptown. Also, you can visit the Mint Museum Randolph opened in 1936 as the first art museum in North Carolina.
12. Visit one of the city’s parks
Charlotte parks are beautiful, perfect for a picnic, a game of frisbee, or a stroll. There are plenty of parks to choose from, and you will see locals enjoying them all year round. The city’s most popular parks include Freedom Park, Independence Park, and Romare Bearden Park.
More about traveling to Charlotte, NC
Charlotte is a great city with plenty of tourist spots and local activities. Our list of what to do in Charlotte, NC, just scratched the surface. For those who love adrenaline, stopping at Charlotte Indoor Skydiving might be a good idea.
If you are traveling with family, there are plenty of things to do with kids in Charlotte, like amusement parks, outdoor and indoor water parks, and many more. Some of these activities might be outside Charlotte or bordering South Carolina, but most of them can be done as a day or half-day trip from Charlotte.
Whether you’re looking for a fun-filled weekend in Charlotte or a weeklong vacation, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy.
To enjoy all the fun things to do in Charlotte, activities in nature, and good food, you will need a good night of sleep and preferably a hotel near all the main spots to visit in Charlotte.
So here are our suggestions for the best places to stay in Charlotte, North Carolina, for all types of budgets.
LUXURY HOTELS IN CHARLOTTE (click on the name of the hotel to see the details)
BUDGET HOTELS IN CHARLOTTE (click on the name of the hotel to see the details)
ROMANTIC HOTELS IN CHARLOTTE (click on the name of the hotel to see the details)
If you are traveling around the state, check out North Carolina’s Get Out Pass, which includes 50 attractions, some of which are famous tourist attractions in Charlotte.
To plan your trip to Charlotte, look at Love and Road’s Travel Planning Guide. You will find on their page trustworthy websites for booking hotels in Charlotte, tours, and transportation.
So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Charlotte trip today.
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Charlotte Unlimited is a site dedicated to showing you the best of what the city of Charlotte has
to offer. We welcome you to take a look around and discover new things to do, places to eat,
and more at www.charlotteunlimited.com.