15 Best Things To Do In Charlotte, North Carolina - Updated 2022

things to do in charlotte

The wonderful city of Charlotte in North Carolina is one of the most populated as well as popular cities in the US. The city has a number of attractions for locals as well as international visitors - from family-friendly attractions like Carowinds Theme Park and Discovery Place Science to sporting attractions like the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the U.S National Whitewater Centre. There are also fantastic museums like the Levine Museum of the New South, Mint Museum Uptown, Carolinas Aviation Museum, and Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, as well as several nature centers and reserves that protect wildlife. Charlotte NC has all the trappings of a perfect vacation destination. With so much to see and do, take a look at our recommendations of the things to do in Charlotte, North Carolina.

1. Spend a peaceful afternoon at Freedom Park

Source: Photo by Flickr user Grant Baldwin used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Do you enjoy outdoor activities? Perhaps you want to curl up with a book, take a stroll with a significant other, and have a picnic with family and friends? These are just some of the things you can do at the beautiful and peaceful Freedom Park in Charlotte. Nestled just a few minutes away from downtown, this vast, green park is filled with paved pathways, playgrounds, and sports fields and courts. From time to time, especially during the summer, free outdoor films and musicals are held at the pavilion. Yearly events like the Festival in the Park are hosted here as well.

Freedom Park

Address: 1908 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203, United States

Website: Freedom Park

Opening hours: 7am - 7pm (daily)

2. Be amazed by art and nature at Romare Bearden Park

Source: Photo by Flickr user Grant Baldwin used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Located in Uptown Charlotte and just 10 minutes from Plaza Midwood, Romare Bearden Park is a relaxing spot in the midst of a busy city. The park is named after artist Romare Bearden, whose works served as the inspiration for the design and installations at the park. Featured here are beautiful gardens, a space for al fresco dining, an events field, and a playground with interactive displays like waterfalls and dance chimes. Throughout the year, you’ll chance upon events like fitness sessions and cultural programs at Romare Bearden Park.

Romare Bearden Park

Address: 300 S Church St, Charlotte, NC 28202, United States

Website: Romare Bearden Park

Opening hours: 7am - 7pm (daily)

3. Experience whitewater rafting at U.S. National Whitewater Center

Charlotte Whitewater 01
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user HowardMorland used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

If you enjoy water sports and activities, a visit to U.S. National Whitewater Center should be in order! At this attraction, some of the fun adventures waiting for you are whitewater rafting, kayaking, and canoeing. Rappelling and rock climbing are two of the non-water sports that are popular amongst visitors here. This outdoor recreation center has the largest recirculating artificial whitewater river in the world which was created by Scott Shipley, an Olympian canoeist and an engineer.

U.S. National Whitewater Center

Address: 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy, Charlotte NC 28214, United States

Website: U.S. National Whitewater Center

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

4. Explore Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

While spring is the most popular season for many gardeners, creating a four-season garden brings outdoor interest all...

Posted by Wing Haven on Monday, December 28, 2020

If you enjoy being in the outdoors, one of the best attractions to see in Charlotte is Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary. Housed in the area are three public gardens. There’s also the Elizabeth Lawrence House & Garden, which is a living laboratory of the well-known garden writer of the same name. Take the little ones to SEED Wildlife & Children’s Garden where they can learn about the blooms and the great outdoors.

This lovely respite for birds, wildlife, and Southern horticulture is a place you shouldn’t miss.

Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary

Address: 248 Ridgewood Ave, Charlotte, NC 28209, United States

Website: Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary

Opening hours: Wed - Sat: 10am - 5pm (closed on Sun - Tue)

5. Pay a visit to The Charlotte Museum of History

Charlotte Museum of History reception
Source: Photo by Flickr user Emily Lapish used under CC BY-ND 2.0

If you’re going on a museum trip in the city, you simply cannot miss what The Charlotte Museum of History has to offer. The museum was initially established to manage the famous 1774 Alexander Rock House which is the only Revolutionary period structure that remains in the city. The institution eventually became a museum exhibiting Charlotte’s history, including military experiences, music, and civic events. It’s a great place to get the kids (and all of the family) curious and engaged!

The Charlotte Museum of History

Address: 3500 Shamrock Dr, Charlotte, NC 28215, United States

Website: The Charlotte Museum of History

Opening hours: Sat: 11am - 5pm (closed from Sun - Fri)

6. Visit the inspirational Billy Graham Library

Billy Graham Library - Charlotte, North Carolina
Source: Photo by Flickr user David Berkowitz used under CC BY 2.0

This unique Charlotte landmark is a testament to the dedication and work of Christian evangelist, Billy Graham. Designed in the shape of a barn and dairy farm that Graham grew up in, The Billy Graham Library has many displays and exhibits related to the life and works of Billy Graham. Graham’s beautifully restored childhood home can also be visited in the library complex grounds. Visitors can take a one and a half hour long ‘Journey of Faith’ tour or just browse through the books on sale at Ruth’s Attic Bookstore while grabbing a bite at The Graham Brothers Dairy Bar or spend a quiet time at The Memorial Garden.

Billy Graham Library

Address: 4330 Westmont Drive, Charlotte NC 28217

Website: Billy Graham Library

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9:30am - 5pm (closed on Sun)

Price: Free

7. Spend some quality family time at Discovery Place Science

Discovery Place-27527-1
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ken Thomas used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Since its founding in 1946, Discovery Place Science has become a must-visit attraction of Charlotte. There are distinct sections in the museum, each with unique hands-on exhibits like ‘Think It Up’ or ‘Bug Lab’. There is also an IMAX theatre, one of the first ones in the Carolinas, where you can get an immersive educational movie experience. Visitors can enjoy daily live shows, events and other demonstrations on a variety of informative topics. Hands-on experimental labs are something that the whole family can enjoy. Discovery Place Science also has a café and gift shop on the museum premises.

Discovery Place Science

Address: 301 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202

Website: Discovery Place Science

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 4pm; Sat: 9am - 5pm; Sun: 12pm - 5pm

Price: 5 - 24 USD

8. Grab your friends and go clubbing at Prohibition Bar

Step back in time to the Prohibition Era in this nostalgia-inducing watering hole in one of the most happening areas of Charlotte. Made from reclaimed wood and tin of local North Carolina barns, Prohibition Bar offers a massive patio, superb bar and a large dance floor that is filled with people partying the night away. The bar offers live DJs and entertainment, alongside cold beers, awesome cocktails, and even Moonshine! So gather your friends, put on your clubbing attire and have a fantastic night out at Prohibition Bar.

Prohibition Bar

Address: 200 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202

Website: Prohibition Bar

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 4pm - 2am (closed on Mon)

9. Catch a live performance at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center

Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in Charlotte, NC
Source: Photo by Flickr user Broadway Tour used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Blumenthal Performing Arts Center is a nonprofit organization that is popular as Charlotte’s most favored venue for performing arts. The Center has three venues under its roof - Belk Theater which is home to the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Booth Playhouse, and Stage Door Theater. It is most notable for its long Broadway season of almost 18 weeks. Along with Broadway shows, Blumenthal Performing Arts Center also has a vast array of other genres of shows including dance, family, music, comedy, concerts, special events and also features talks from famous personalities. This art theater is also home to the Charlotte Jazz Festival, children’s Blumey Awards, and many more fantastic events.

Blumenthal Performing Arts Center

Address: 130 North Tryon St., Charlotte, NC 28202

Website: Blumenthal Performing Arts Center

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 6pm

Price: Variable [check individual show listings]

10. Treat yourself to a day of pampering at the The Spa At Ballantyne

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

After all the sightseeing, touring and clubbing, you deserve a day at the spa just relaxing and pampering yourself. The Spa At Ballantyne offers you just that and so much more! This luxurious spa has a relaxing lounge, 18 treatment rooms, whirlpools, steam room, saunas, and a spa dining option too. The Spa At Ballantyne offers massage therapies, skin care therapies, spa body therapies as well as premium Salon services in a calming atmosphere. All the treatments at this spa use the best-quality healthy products and traditional methods to provide an optimum soothing treatment experience. You can even indulge in their day or overnight spa packages, couples massages, fitness experiences, and many more custom experiences.

The Spa At Ballantyne

Address: 10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway, Charlotte, North Carolina 28277

Website: The Spa At Ballantyne

Opening hours: 8am - 8pm

Price: From 35 USD

11. Visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame (from USD 38.0)

Located in Uptown Charlotte, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is one of the most popular attractions in Charlotte. A must-visit destination not just for NASCAR racing fans but other visitors who can also learn a lot about this quintessentially American auto racing sport. With unique exhibits, artifacts, video interactives, a state-of-the-art theatre, and of course, the Hall of Honor, where all NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees are honored and celebrated, this is one Charlotte destination that you just cannot miss and something the entire family will surely enjoy.

Experience this legendary museum like never before on this unique small-group golf cart tour. While you’re at it, why not visit Charlotte Motor Speedway too?

Charlotte's Historical City Tour

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

446 reviews

12. Peek into Charlotte’s past at the Levine Museum of the New South (from USD 38.0)

Any history buffs out there? Head on to the Levine Museum of the New South for a dose of post-Civil War history! The museum has a vast number of temporary and permanent exhibits on a range of Southern-related topics and it also conducts regular programs to educate the general public about the history and culture of Charlotte and Piedmont region after the end of the American Civil War. Take a peek into the past of the historical city of Charlotte on this small-group tour where a local guide will give you all the inside details about this unique museum.

Charlotte's Historical City Tour

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

446 reviews

13. Feast on southern classics on this unique Segway food tour (from USD 77.0)

On your trip to Charlotte, try a different type of food tour - on a Segway! On this Segway food tour, you get to visit some historic areas like Uptown and South End and enjoy food breaks at impressive locally operated restaurants that serve up awesome Southern fare. The classic Southern fried chicken from Price’s Chicken Coop, the best pulled-pork sandwich from Mac’s Speedshop and an authentic Southern-style meal at Mert’s Heart and Soul are just some of the delicious meals you’ll get to try on this tour. Don’t know how to ride a Segway? No need to worry; your friendly guide will conduct a training session before the start of the tour to ensure that you have a safe and comfortable ride on your Segway.

Taste of Charlotte Segway Tour

14. Ride the world’s fastest giga-coaster at Carowinds Amusement Park (from USD 50.0)

things to do in charlotte | ride the world’s fastest giga-coaster at carowinds amusement park
Source: www.viator.com

Have a fun day out with your family and friends at this 400-acre (162-hectare) amusement park that has over 60 family rides to choose from, including Fury 325 - the world’s tallest giga-rollercoaster! There are 13 thrilling roller coasters at the Carowinds amusement park, including Intimidator and Vortex. Take a break from all the rides and catch a live performance of the entertainers, dancers, and acrobats parading the streets of the park.

Your ticket also entitles you to admission to the Carolina Harbor Waterpark, a water park where wave pools, gigantic water slides, and a three-acre kids’ area await you. So, go on and enjoy some family time at Carowinds Amusement Park.

Carowinds General Admission Ticket

15. Enjoy a brewery-hopping tour with Charlotte Brews Cruise (from USD 52.0)

What better way to spend the afternoon other than enjoying craft beer tastings while learning about the beer-making process? On this three-and-a-half-hour beer tour, you’ll be doing just that! This special small-group beer tour takes you to three local breweries where you can try up to 12 to15 types of beers. At one of the breweries, a special beer guide shows you the complete beer-brewing process – from grain to glass! Your friendly tour guide will also give you some fantastic insights about the Charlotte beer scene on the way.

Public Brews Cruise of Charlotte

Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes

1 review

Endless explorations in Charlotte NC

Charlotte night skyline 2016 02
Source: Photo by user Nan Palmero used under CC BY 2.0

From beer tours to food tours, from NASCAR Hall of Fame to Discovery Science Place, from bars to amusement parks – the wonderful city of Charlotte will leave you spellbound by its many attractions. All you have to do is grab a flight and head on over to the mesmerizing city of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Up for more fun activities? Here are some other attractions to visit in and near Charlotte: Historic Rosedale Plantation, William T. Alexander House, Charlotte Botanical Gardens, Charlotte Premium Outlets, Cordelia Park, and Symphony Park.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Isha is a former corporate nobody. She lives a quiet life of travelling, writing, and minding her own business.

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