By Chrissie Nelson Rotko
Sip on inventive local suds. Get a behind-the-scenes peek at the city’s most popular restaurants and chat with the chefs at their helms. Learn about Charlotte’s fierce role in the American Revolution. Put a little spook in your step on an excursion that trails Charlotte’s haunting legends. Spend an afternoon laughing with a ride on the Funny Bus Comedy City Tour. Or glide through Uptown on a Segway. Charlotte’s certainly got a lot, and the best way to explore everything the Queen City has to offer is on a guided tour with an expert.
Whether you’re a seasoned Charlotte resident or are just visiting for a few days, these tours offer high-level highlights of the city’s character and charm in an intimate, friendly fashion—leaving you feeling right at home.
If you find yourself here for only a few days or are just looking for a quick summary of our shining Southern city, grab a map to the Charlotte Walking Tour on charlottesgotalot.com. On this self-guided stroll through the streets of Charlotte, you’ll find a city on the move, with modern skyscrapers standing tall among treasured landmarks. Your perfectly plotted foray through Uptown includes some of the best-known and most beloved Charlotte sites, like The Green, Romare Bearden Park, Spirit Square and the Queen Charlotte Statue. You’ll even make a pit stop at Uptown’s oldest eatery, Green’s Lunch.
Catch a lift on the Funny Bus Comedy City Tour for a satirical spin on the sights and sounds of the Queen City. The 90-minute tour offers both a PG-13 and R-rated version and takes you through some of Charlotte’s most interesting enclaves, highlighting history and architecture and cracking jokes along the way. Added bonus: The Funny Bus allows you to bring your own alcohol on board.
C-Charlotte Tours specializes in daily driving tours of the Queen City and its surrounding suburbs led by guides who are all Charlotte natives. Discover Charlotte’s interesting background, celebrated dining locales, entertainment venues, galleries, museums and much more, all while admiring the city’s distinctive architecture on this two-hour tour.
To enjoy Charlotte’s beauty at a slower pace—to the backdrop of a soothing clip-clop—cozy up on a 20-minute to one-hour horse-drawn carriage ride through Uptown with Charlotte Center City Carriage Tours.
Finally, Charlotte Crown Guides’ two-hour Uptown Walking Tour offers an intimate view of the heart of Charlotte, covering 15 blocks that showcase everything from history to public art and architecture. For something tailored specifically to your interests, consult Charlotte Crown Guides’ customized tours for groups of six or more. Visit the website for regular monthly schedules.
In case you haven’t caught the buzz, Charlotte’s a booming brewery town, and we recommend soaking it up properly. Here are our favorite ways to tap into some of the city’s best craft beer offerings. Get a behind-the-scenes look at three local breweries with Charlotte Brews Cruise. Leave your car at home and spend three and a half hours cruising around the Queen City, sampling local cold ones and learning about the creation process at Charlotte’s craft beer mainstays. Tours start and end in NoDa.
Embark on a pedal-powered pub crawl with 13 friends via Trolley Pub. Cruise your way through Uptown or NoDa on the two-hour tour, where the Trolley Pub will make stops at two to three of Charlotte’s breweries, bars and restaurants. The best part? You’ll burn a few calories along the way.
If single-person cycling is more your thing, explore historic South End on two wheels with a Bikes & Brews tour with Charlotte NC Tours. With stops at popular neighborhood spots, like Wooden Robot Brewery, Sycamore Brewing, Triple C Brewing Co. and The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, this three-hour tour covers both beer and history. Charlotte NC Tours also offers a Haunted Bicycle Pub Crawl with stops at destinations that carry spooky folklore.
Food & Drink
Sip and savor your way through the Queen City on a local culinary tour.
With FEAST Food Tours, get an all-access pass to a collection of Charlotte restaurants that regularly garner rave reviews. These walking food tours explore Charlotte’s diverse neighborhoods, introducing the culinary artisans who lead their dining scenes. You’ll meet some of Charlotte’s finest chefs while nibbling on their delicious creations.
Get a taste of Charlotte’s neighborhoods on a walking tour with Tour De Food. Learn about Charlotte’s robust history as you delight in bites from five local restaurants on one of these three-and-a-half-hour gastronomical excursions.
Craving the wind in your hair along with amazing city fare? Travel Charlotte by Segway, indulging in tasty treats along the way. On Charlotte NC Tours’ Taste and Glide Segway Tour, which lasts two and a half hours, learn about Charlotte’s history while sampling famed city fare at three beloved local eateries—each chosen specifically for your tour (tastings are included in the cost of the tour). Popular stops include Price’s Chicken Coop, Alexander Michael’s, Mert’s Heart and Soul and more.
Cover more ground and visit Uptown and the surrounding neighborhoods on Charlotte NC Tours’ three-hour Southern Food Bicycle Tour. From sprawling parks to tree-lined streets, historic architecture to trendy neighborhoods, you’ll see a wide variety of what the Queen City has to offer with stops for local bites at institutions like Mac’s Speed Shop, Midnight Diner, 7th Street Public Market and other culinary mainstays.
History & Culture
Learn about Charlotte’s colorful past and how it has shaped our city today or get a little creative with a tour that spotlights Charlotte’s unique art and culture.
Glide through Uptown on a Segway, taking in the city’s sights, sounds and history via Charlotte NC Tours’ 90-minute Historic Uptown Tour. For an extra $10, you’ll enjoy an extended two-hour tour, which transports you to some of Charlotte’s popular museums. You can also opt for the company’s Segway tour of the beautiful, tree-lined streets, stately homes and other breathtaking landscapes in Dilworth and Myers Park. The two-hour excursion makes stops at Latta Park, Freedom Park, The Duke Mansion and much more.
If you’d prefer two feet to two wheels, opt for Charlotte NC Tours’ two-hour Center City Walking Tour. The adventure starts at the Levine Center for the Arts, and as you take a stroll through Uptown to places like Fourth Ward and 7th Street Public Market, you’ll learn about Charlotte’s history from the 1700s to present day.
Add a little spook to your step during Carolina History and Haunts’ Beyond the Grave Tour. Offered year round, this ghostly walking tour guides you by lantern through storied Uptown haunts that carry spine-tingling tales of allegedly eerie pasts.
For a deeper dive into the Queen City’s riveting role in the Revolutionary War, book time with Walkin’ Talkin’ Tours. You’ll get a personalized, guided tour of the ½-mile Charlotte Liberty Walk, which features significant city landmarks that help trace Mecklenburg County’s role in the American Revolution.
For a taste of Charlotte art, take a free 30-minute guided tour through some of the most noted museums, which are nestled in Center City’s Levine Center for the Arts. ArtBreaks, as they’re called, are offered on the third Thursday of the month during the lunchtime hour and give participants access to the Mint Museum Uptown, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture.
This article ran in the March 2017 issue of Charlotte Happenings.