Charlotte, NC offers more than just NASCAR thanks to the Charlotte Symphony and historic homes. Get away from it all by exploring one of the many parks or trying a French pastry.
Here are 15 things everyone should experience while visiting Charlotte.
1. Get your adrenaline pumping by whitewater rafting at the U.S National Whitewater Center!
This outdoor center offers a plethora of adventurous activities to embark on, including whitewater rafting and rappelling off the side of a mountain. With 1,300 acres to explore, you’re sure to find something that interests you. If you time your visit right, you may even catch one of the center’s events. These include a film series, competitive races, various festivals and river jams featuring musicians performing on the world’s largest man-made whitewater river.
2. See a performance at the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra
If you’re looking for a night out with some good music, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra is the perfect place. They offer a wide range of performances, from classical concerts and Broadway shows to an outdoor movie series in the summer. The core set of performances run between May and September, but there are also solo performances throughout the year. If you can’t get tickets to an event at their concert hall, don’t worry – they often play at local parks and breweries too.
3. Stay at the Duke Mansion
Situated in Meyer Park, Duke Mansion was erected in 1915 and is now a working bed-and-breakfast. Once the property of famed American industrialist James Buchanan Duke, the mansion features 20 guest rooms, an excellent breakfast spread, and idyllic grounds. Plus, it’s only a stone’s throw from downtown Charlotte at just two miles away!
4. Snap a picture at “Metalmorphosis”
“Metalmorphosis” is a 23-foot tall sculpture made out of steel plates shaped into a human head, which can be found at the center of a public fountain in an office complex. oversized sculpture was commissioned by Czech artist David Cerny from Count Riprand Arco, the developer behind many of Prague’s commercial buildings.
5. Come out and explore nature at McDowell Nature Preserve today!
With 1,132 acres of land to explore, this wildlife preserve has something for everyone who loves spending time outdoors. If you enjoy fishing, hiking, swimming, camping or cycling (just to name a few activities), this is the place for you! There are also plenty of animals to see – 119 species of birds, 14 amphibians, 21 reptiles and 21 mammals call this park home. This is also one of the best places in the area to see pileated woodpeckers in their natural habitat if you’re a birder.
6. Shop for souvenirs at the Market at 7th Street
The Market at 7th Street is an indoor marketplace with a variety of counter-serve eateries, bakeries, and bars. It’s the perfect place to enjoy some pizza, Belgian waffles, dumplings, and more with friends or family. The local shops featuring flowers, wine, gifts add extra charm to this unique space. Don’t forget to stop by Assorted Table Wine & Shop for varietals from local vineyards or CLT Find for Charlotte-themed souvenirs!
7. Try a delicious beer brewed in-house at Lenny Boy Brewing Company.
A local favorite, Lenny Boy Brewing Co. offers Charlotte’s best organic craft beers and kombuchas. After a long day of exploring the city, stop by for a refreshing glass of wild ale and some snacks from the in-house menu (including sandwiches, pretzels, charcuterie, etc.).
8.Cheer on the home team at B&T BallPark
The BB&T ballpark, home to the Charlotte Knights—a minor league team with a Major League Baseball partner team being the Chicago White Sox— is one of the most beloved places to visit in Charlotte. You can enjoy picturesque views of downtown Charlotte while you experience an American pastime – making it the perfect activity for any summer night.
9. Carowinds is a great place to take the kids!
This theme/water park is a fan favorite for its 60+ rides, 13 roller coasters (two of which are among the top 10 tallest in the world), and annual Halloween event, SCarowinds. During SCarowinds, guests can enjoy live entertainment, navigate a “haunted” corn maze, and explore the spookily decoratedpark.
10. Join us at the Charlotte Motor Speedway
Fans of high-octane racing can immerse themselves in the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a world-renowned motorsports complex home to some of the biggest events in racing. Not only does it host annual NASCAR races like the Sprint All-Star Race, but visitors can also choose from speedway and race shop tours or even get behind the wheel of an 800-horsepower stock car.
11. Get to the NASCAR Hall of Fame before everyone else!
Add the NASCAR Hall of Fame to your list of places to visit. The museum not only honors the legends of races past, but also offers plenty of interactive experiences—like simulator rides—that the whole family can enjoy.
12. Amelia’s is the place to go for a delicious meal.
Amelia’s French Bakery & Cafe is a treasured spot in Charlotte, with three locations across the city. This beloved bakery opened its doors in 2008 and has since been serving up deliciousness to locals and tourists alike. Some of the most popular menu items include tantalizing macarons, buttery croissants, and chocolate eclairs.
13. Bike the Little Sugar Creek Greenway
If you’re looking for a peaceful place to walk or bike near Charlotte, look no further than Little Sugar Creek Greenway. The trails are all paved, so they’re suitable for people of all fitness levels. Plus, you’ll get views of the creek as you explore the 4.5-mile path!
14. Discover all that Crowders Mountain State Park has to offer
If you’re looking for a fun weekend activity or just an afternoon of exploring, Crowders Mountain State Park is perfect. Reviewers say that the trails are well cared-for and easy to follow. With over 16 different hikes available, there’s something suitable for birdwatchers, experienced hikers, and those who want a leisurely walk alike.
15. Settle into the speakeasy vibes
If you’re in the mood for a delicious cocktail and some interesting people watching, Dot Dot Dot is the place for you. This upscale cocktail lounge has an excellent food menu with options ranging from elote corn fritters to cha soba noodles. For the best experience, sit at the bar and ask one of the bartenders for their drink recommendation.