Venture to Charlotte and come across many unique things to see and do
Home to the corporate headquarters of Bank of America and the East Coast operations of Wells Fargo, Charlotte is the second-largest banking center in the United States and the nation’s third fastest-growing major city.
Also known as North Carolina’s “Queen City,” Charlotte is the melting pot of the Carolina states filled with unique sites, trendy new restaurants to try, and fun events that attract people from all over the country.
As the largest city in the state, Charlotte is the birthplace of celebrated sports teams, including the Carolina Panthers (NFL) and the Charlotte Hornets (NBA), and important sporting events, such as the NASCAR All-Star Race and the Wells Fargo Championship.
Over the past decade, Charlotte’s old-fashioned Southern charm together with its high-energy cosmopolitan bustle has made it a family-friendly metro area on the rise with a growing nightlife, shopping, and music scene.
- Children's Theatre of Charlotte: One of the city’s top family-friendly attractions, this theater hosts imaginative productions to nearly 300,000 families every year.
- Carowinds: Located next to Interstate 77, this 407-acre amusement park is the birthplace of some of Charlotte’s most beloved seasonal events, Scarowinds during Halloween and WinterFest during Christmas. Though Carowinds operates seasonally from late March through December, its admission also includes entry to its neighboring 27-acre (81,000 sq m) water park, Carolina Harbor.
- NASCAR Hall of Fame: As the roots of NASCAR run deep in Charlotte, attending races is a common local pastime. While in town, you can explore the NASCAR Hall of Fame, its high-octane theater, great hall, Glory Road, and Heritage Speedway.
- Discovery Place: As one of the leading science centers in the country, you can visit this family-friendly museum to gain a greater understanding of science, technology, and engineering through fun and interactive exhibits and educational programs.
- Freedom Park: Located about 3 miles (4.8 km) from Charlotte’s downtown area, this park offers plenty of outdoor activities. It features a 7-acre lake, a playground, and several paved trails, tennis/volleyball courts, and sports fields.
- US National Whitewater Center: This outdoor facility is the perfect spot to enjoy some of Charlotte’s best recreational and athletic activities, including live music events, whitewater rafting, biking, zip lining, and more.
A city full of fun and unique things to do, here are some tips on a few hidden gems worth checking out while in Charlotte:
- North of Davidson: Also known as NoDa, this neighborhood is one of the city’s most artistic sectors. It’s home to a handful of up-and-coming art galleries, chic boutiques, and trendy performance venues. NoDa is the city’s neighborhood with the second-highest concentration of craft breweries, alongside its counterpart South End.
- Carolina Raptor Center: This educational nonprofit center focuses on rehabilitating injured raptors and the conservation of birds of prey including hawks, vultures, falcons, and owls. It features outdoor trails with live raptors as well as educational flight shows and indoor exhibits.
- Carrigan Farms: Located just 45 minutes away from Charlotte, this family-owned farm in Mooresville, North Carolina is the perfect spot for a family weekend. Here, you can enjoy hayrides, swim at the quarry, hike up to the falls (in October), and pick out your own produce.
- The lakes: Located near Charlotte are the two smaller man-made lakes in North Carolina: Lake Wylie and Mountain Island Lake. The city is also several miles southeast of Lake Norman, the largest man-made lake in the state.
- Mac’s Speed Shop: This joint is a local favorite for delicious barbecue. At this restaurant, you can get a taste of Southern comfort food and good beer, including grits and mac ‘n’ cheese.
- Coffee Crawl: Both locals and visitors often take part in this popular beer trail. The crawl features 10 local cafes, including Boquete Mountain Coffee, Smelly Cat Coffeehouse, The Daily Press, Ozpresso, Kenilworth Espresso, Crown Station, Pure Intentions Coffee, Not Just Coffee Uptown, Eagle Speak Coffee, and Mugs Coffee. In order to participate, you must obtain a crawl “passport” and mark off the locations as you go.
- Common Market: At this backyard eatery, you can taste some of the best local brands, hang out on the patio, enjoy regular live music, and become part of the local community.
When to visit
As a result of Charlotte’s humid subtropical climate, the best time to visit it is from March through May or from September through November. During these periods, though temperatures are much colder, the city is much less crowded and hotels are less expensive.
How to get around
If you are looking to get around Charlotte in a fast and efficient way but don’t have a car, navigating Charlotte and its surrounding area is relatively easy with public transportation. You can take advantage of its speedy light rail system, multiple bike-sharing and ride-sharing services, and bus routes.
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