101 Fun Things to Do in Charlotte
Experience Charlotte like a local with our list of 101 (or maybe a few more) fun things to do in and around the Queen City.
by Kristen Moore
Food & Drink
1. From bubble tea shops to Korean barbecue restaurants and everything in between, get a taste of Asian culture and cuisine in Charlotte at spots like Lang Van, JINYA Ramen Bar, Yume and more.
2. Taste test North Carolina’s varied barbecue styles at institutions like Bar-B-Q King, Midwood Smokehouse, Sweet Lew's BBQ and Mac’s Speed Shop.
3. Savor Southern brunch specialties and a.m.-approved cocktails at Charlotte restaurants that have earned a following for their popular mid-morning meals like 300 East, The Artisan's Palate and Famous Toastery.
4. Plan a fancy date night at one of Charlotte's most sought-after fine dining establishments including The Fig Tree, McNinch House or Stagioni, which is housed in a picturesque Tuscan-style villa.
5. Track down popular Charlotte food trucks cooking up delicious and photo-worthy dishes on the go like Tin Kitchen, Tacos Rick-O, Yummi Banh Mi and Another!? Food Truck.
6. Get a sweet treat in a cup or cone from beloved ice cream shops in Charlotte such as Two Scoops Creamery, Golden Cow Creamery or Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, all with multiple locations throughout the city.
7. Enjoy community vibes and culinary craftsmanship at Optimist Hall, Charlotte’s largest food hall.
8. No matter your preferred pizza style, Charlotte's got plenty of pies for you to sink your teeth into. Try local beer and wood-fired pizza at Salud Cerveceria, "giant" pizza slices at Benny Pennello's or classic handmade pizzas at Intermezzo Pizzeria.
9. From classic meat-and-threes to modern interpretations of Southern dishes, Charlotte has top chefs serving up tried-and-true soul food. Don't miss the unique take on Southern classics at spots including Cuzzo's Cuisine, Leah & Louise and Haberdish.
10. No matter how you roll, you're sure to discover your new favorite sushi roll in the Queen City. Favorite spots like New Zealand Cafe, Ohana Poke and Ru-San's have gained loyal followings.
11. Discover the distinct styles and bold flavors of authentic Thai cuisine at Queen City establishments including Thai Taste, Xiao Bao, Basil Thai and more.
12. Discover the diverse food culture of the Carolinas while supporting local food artisans at The Market at 7th Street, the oldest food hall in North Carolina.
13. Veg out at one of a dozen of Charlotte's vegan and veggie-forward eateries such as VelTree, Oh My Soul, Living Kitchen and Fern, Flavors From The Garden.
14. North Carolina's wine country is full of must-try wineries near Charlotte. Escape to Italy at Raffaldini Vineyards, try wines perfected by a NASCAR legend at Childress Vineyards or sip local vino in a treehouse at Treehouse Vineyards.
Nightlife & Entertainment
15. Plan a night out at AvidXchange Music Factory, a nightlife and entertainment complex with restaurants, bars, clubs and concert venues.
16. Find a spot under the water tower at Camp North End to enjoy live music and community. Then explore more than a dozen food and drink vendors, shops and art collectives, 50+ murals and hangout spots across the 76-acre campus.
17. Sharpen your skills in the kitchen while learning from a local chef during a group cooking class at Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen.
18. Dance the night away at one of the Queen City's most popular night clubs to see and be seen like '80s/'90s throwback hot spot Roxbury Nightclub or South End late-night favorites Broken Promises and Lost & Found.
19. Immerse yourself in a post-apocalyptic-themed adventure at District 57, an entertainment complex with games, challenges and drinks to help its “citizens” refuel and test their survival skills.
20. See how many concerts you can experience in Charlotte. From intimate music halls to large amphitheaters and arenas, Charlotte's diverse live music venues offer music lovers concert experiences of every kind.
21. Sip cocktails and savor the views at the most popular rooftop bars in Charlotte like Aura Rooftop Bar, Cloud Bar by David Burke and Búho Bar.
22. Whether you're a professional-level baker or a novice, take a class at Sweet Spot Studio to level up your baking, pastry and dessert decorating skills in a fun and engaging environment.
23. If spooky is your speed, go on the Beyond the Grave tour with Carolina History & Haunts and discover how the city's ghostly past has shaped the Charlotte of today.
24. Learn the ins and outs of Charlotte history on a daily van tour offered by C-Charlotte Tours.
25. Follow Uptown’s Charlotte Liberty Walk, a series of bronze plaques and monuments that detail the city’s vital importance during the American Revolution.
26. Tour Uptown and neighboring historic districts by foot, bike or Segway led by expert guides with Charlotte NC Tours.
27. Laugh your way through several of Charlotte's central neighborhoods during the BYOB Funny Bus Comedy City Tour's stand-up routine.
28. Ride through the Charlotte's central districts via an electric golf cart or 13-passenger van and learn all about the city's storied past and vibrant present with Queen City Rides.
29. Take a deep dive into Charlotte's craft beer scene on a tour with City Brew Tours, where you'll go behind-the-scenes at some of Charlotte's best breweries.
30. Get the VIP treatment on a Brew Ha-Ha Tour, which includes souvenir pint glasses, a tour and tastings at four breweries, and more.
31. Download the KnowCLT app and take a stroll around Charlotte, discovering the history of the city’s people, places and promises.
32. Grab your friends, drinks and playlist and load up on the BYOB Trolley Pub for a pedal-powered party through Charlotte.
33. Pedal your way from brewery to brewery aboard a Dutch party bike with Pedal Pub Charlotte.
34. Discover the history, architecture and culinary stories of Charlotte on a guided walking and tasting tour with Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.
35. Explore Charlotte's public art, murals and street art on more than a dozen free, self-guided art tours curated by ArtWalks CLT.
36. Enjoy discounted prices at more than 100 stores at Charlotte Premium Outlets, an outdoor outlet mall featuring favorites like Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Nike, Old Navy, Polo Ralph Lauren, Vera Bradley and more.
37. Experience the flavors of the region’s bounty at popular area farmers markets like the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market, Uptown Farmers Market, North End Farmers Market, Kings Drive Farmers Market and more.
38. Shop till you drop at popular tourist attraction Concord Mills, which features hundreds of outlet stores with deep discounts.
39. Spruce up your digs after a trip to North Carolina’s only IKEA, home of modern décor with Swedish ingenuity.
40. Find some of the most sought-after, luxurious brands around at SouthPark Mall. Anchored by Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, the mall carries cult favorites like Lululemon, Burberry, Tory Burch, American Girl and more.
41. Discover vintage wonders and reclaimed relics at Sleepy Poet Antique Mall on South Boulevard.
42. Explore shops, eateries and activities at popular retail destinations in the region like Atherton Mill and Birkdale Village.
43. Take a journey into the educational gateway to the area’s preserved natural communities at Quest at Latta Nature Preserve, the largest nature preserve in the county at 1,460 acres.
44. Get close to nature across 2,100 acres at Anne Springs Close Greenway, which features 36 miles of trails for running, hiking or biking and multiple lakes for kayaking, paddle boarding and fishing.
45. Feel the wind in your hair as you explore Charlotte's urban districts on a Charlotte Joy Rides e-assist bike.
46. Stop for a photo on the Magic Carpet mural on the Rail Trail, an urban linear park that runs parallel to the LYNX Blue Line light rail and features public art, community spaces and access to popular restaurants, bars and breweries in South End.
47. Get a glimpse of the Charlotte skyline from the top of Crowders Mountain State Park. The breathtaking 25-mile view is your reward for traversing the park’s extensive trails.
48. Rent a paddle boat from Dave’s Paddle Boats and paddle alongside the ducks in the lake at The Shoppes at University Place.
49. Enjoy the expansive green space, fountains and play structures at First Ward Park, located between the 7th Street and 9th Street LYNX Blue Line light rail stations in Uptown.
50. Grab a cozy blanket, prepare a yummy lunch and pack up the family for a picnic at Freedom Park, a 98-acre green space surrounding a 7-acre lake.
51. Get out of town and into nature at the top hiking locations just a short drive from Charlotte.
52. Walk, run or bike along the urban section of the Little Sugar Creek Greenway in Midtown. Explore the statues on the Trail of History along the path, which highlight the key people who've contributed to the area’s growth.
53. Go camping at McDowell Nature Center and Preserve, the oldest preserve in the county, which is located on the banks of Lake Wylie and features more than 1,100 acres of native plants and animals.
54. Grab a drink from Rosie's Coffee & Wine and enjoy a variety of plants, roses of all shades and hidden paths as you explore McGill Rose Garden. Snap a selfie in front of the Seaboard train car that is stationed in the middle of the garden.
55. Walk around the 11-acre lake at Park Road Park before or after exploring the trails and playground or playing on the tennis, volleyball or basketball courts.
56. Take in the city’s protected wilderness at Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve, home to more than 730 acres of natural habitat for flora, fauna and native species.
57. Take a picture in front of the colorful waterfall feature and skyline backdrop at the 5.4-acre Romare Bearden Park in Uptown.
58. Play in the Fish Fountains at The Green, a 1.5-acre interactive, literary-themed park in Uptown.
59. Pick your path and follow along one of the six curated outdoor experiences along 22 miles of trails in Charlotte using the mobile-friendly Charlotte Trail Guide.
60. Stroll through the tranquil grounds at the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens. Engage your senses in the Polly Rogers Sensory Garden, featuring colorful, whimsical and fun plantings and interactive elements that are magical for any age or ability.
61. Walk the trails at Marion Diehl Park, home to the Queen University of Charlotte sports complex. The park also features the Braille Trail, a paved quarter-mile loop with a cable that guides those who are visually impaired. Read more about accessible adventures here.
62. Watch the USL Charlotte Independence dominate the pitch at American Legion Memorial Stadium.
63. Catch an action-packed Carolina Panthers NFL game or MLS Charlotte FC soccer match at Bank of America Stadium.
64. Retrace Charlotte native and evangelist Billy Graham’s dynamic journey from a North Carolina dairy farm to stadiums across the globe at The Billy Graham Library.
65. Experience a nationally touring artist or an AHL Charlotte Checkers hockey game at the historic Bojangles Coliseum, which opened in 1955 as the largest unsupported steel dome coliseum in the world and the first free-spanning dome in the U.S.
66. Learn about the conservation and rehabilitation of nearly 40 birds of prey, like eagles, hawks, owls, falcons and vultures, at the Carolina Raptor Center, one of the largest raptor medical centers in the country.
67. Careen down the tracks of one of Carowinds' adrenaline-pumping roller coasters like Fury 325, the fastest and tallest giga coaster in the world. Then stop by Carolina Harbor, the largest waterpark in the Carolinas.
68. Grab a seat on the lawn and enjoy an outdoor concert with skyline views at Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre.
69. Explore the region’s auto racing roots at Charlotte Motor Speedway, home of the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR’s only 600-mile race, as well as the Bank of America ROVAL 400.
70. Reconnect with nature at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden's 380 acres on the banks of Lake Wylie. Discover gorgeous gardens, relaxing fountains, a tropical plant and orchid conservatory, nature trails and more.
71. Let your imagination come to life at Discovery Place Kids-Huntersville, where young minds are encouraged to create, explore, play and learn through hands-on experiences.
72. Discover insects and animal friends at Discovery Place Nature, where people of all ages are invited to connect with nature.
73. Immerse yourself in science, technology and the natural world at Discovery Place Science, an interactive hands-on science museum that’s home to the largest IMAX Dome Theatre in the state.
74. Beat the heat (or cold) at Great Wolf Lodge, a resort with an indoor water park that features a huge water fort tree house, a 1,000-gallon tipping bucket and more.
75. Splish and splash at Ray’s Splash Planet, an indoor water park with slides, a lazy river and interactive water fun.
76. Bring stories to life through extraordinary experiences that challenge, inspire and excite young minds at ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center, one of the top children's libraries in the country.
77. Take a safari-style ride through Lazy 5 Ranch, where you'll meet domestic and exotic animals from more than six continents.
78. In Uptown, the NASCAR Hall of Fame clinches the fan experience with racing simulators, pit crew experiences and tributes to NASCAR’s legends.
79. Pan for gold at Reed Gold Mine, the location of the nation’s first gold discovery in 1799.
80. Tee off at Rocky River Golf Club, one of most popular public golf courses in the Charlotte region, known for its beautifully manicured greens situated amidst natural wetlands.
81. Get a tee time at Emerald Lake Golf Club and show your competition what it takes to hit the ball over the lake at the par 5 14th hole.
82. See more than 5,000 sea creatures at SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord aquarium in Concord.
83. Feel the “buzz” at Spectrum Center while cheering on the NBA Charlotte Hornets (owned by basketball legend Michael Jordan) or singing along to your favorite artists on tour.
84. Jump in feet first at The Quarry at Carrigan Farms, a 25-foot deep natural spring oasis.
85. Take a walk on the wild side Tiger World, an endangered wildlife preserve dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and preservation of exotic animals.
86. Stand up for the seventh-inning stretch at Truist Field in Uptown as the AAA Charlotte Knights defend the diamond.
87. Take on the class II-IV rapids by raft or kayak at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, home of the largest man-made whitewater river in the world.
88. Go bird watching while finding respite in the tranquil gardens at Wing Haven.
Arts & Culture
89. Visit the city's top museums with a Levine Center for the Arts Access Ticket, which includes 48-hour admission to the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and both Mint Museum locations, Uptown and Randolph.
90. Experience the world's best shows and artists at a Blumenthal Performing Arts' venue: Belk Theater, Booth Playhouse, Stage Door Theater, Knight Theater and Ovens Auditorium.
91. Discover the passion of performance when professional dancers from Charlotte Ballet bring awe-inspiring choreography to the stage.
92. Enjoy the magical melodies of the Charlotte Symphony, led by nationally acclaimed conductor Christopher Warren-Green and resident conductor Christopher James Lees.
93. Crowd surf to your favorite touring musician at The Fillmore, one of the city's hottest music venues designed with inspiration from its San Francisco namesake.
94. Experience an intimate concert at the historic Visulite Theatre, which originally opened as a movie theater in 1938.
95. Deepen your understanding of critical contemporary issues through the lens of Southern history at the Levine Museum of the New South.
96. Enjoy a themed dinner and Broadway-style Christian musical, featuring live animals and inspiring music, at NarroWay Theater.
97. Cheer “Bravo!” at a performance by Opera Carolina, the largest professional opera company in the Carolinas.
98. Sit in the same theater where icons like Louis Armstrong, Diana Ross, Ray Charles and Bob Dylan performed at Ovens Auditorium, a Charlotte landmark since 1955 and the largest performing arts theater in the city.
99. Learn about the nation’s 11th U.S. president on a tour of his birthplace, the President James K. Polk State Historic Site in Pineville.
100. Take in a live show at one of NoDa’s independent music venues like The Evening Muse or Neighborhood Theatre, which feature original artists from a wide variety of genres.
101. Take a photography class at The Light Factory, which offers everything from beginner to intermediate classes as well as inspiring photography exhibits.
Save up to 44% on top attractions and museums with the CLT Explore Pass.