Airport Guide: Best Places to Shop, Dine & Relax
With a plethora of shopping and dining options, Charlotte Douglas International Airport makes it easy to make the most of your time between flights.
by Lauren Levine Corriher
If you think you’re going to be stuck eating a mediocre sandwich during your time at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, think again. The seventh busiest airport in the world, which sees more than 700 flights daily and offers nonstop service to 170 international destinations, has gotten a major facelift during Destination CLT, a multi-phase project with efforts continuing into 2026. Destination CLT is specifically designed to seamlessly handle the airport’s growing number of visitors as it enhances travelers’ experience during their visit. The project has already significantly boosted the offerings found at the airport, which is the largest and most accessible hub between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.
So what should you do while you wait at CLT? If you’re able to fully sit and relax during a layover, head to wine bar Beaudevin and choose from three, six or nine-ounce pours or flights. If you find your new favorite pick, grab a to-go bottle to take with you to your destination. The elegant spot also serves small plates to munch on as you sip.
Beer buffs will be excited to find that they can expand their hoppy horizons while waiting to board. Charlotte favorite NoDa Brewing Company now has a taproom in Concourse A where patrons can sample 11 different pours. This includes ever-popular picks like Hop, Drop ‘n Roll and Jam Session. You’ll also be able to try small batch and seasonal releases, like the Gordgeous Pumpkin Ale.
The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, another Charlotte craft beer staple, has unveiled Captain Jack’s Tavern in Concourse E. Visitors can choose from four of the brewery’s most popular picks, including the namesake Captain Jack, of course, and seasonals like Mecktoberfest. The Tavern also serves food.
Asheville favorite Wicked Weed has arrived at the airport, making it the first Charlotte-based location of the highly popular brewery. Wicked Weed’s debut was part of the massive 51,000-square-foot East Terminal Expansion project. With these renovations also came the addition of popular spots like Shake Shack, Potbelly Sandwich Shop and Minute Suites.
The latter is a welcome sight for weary travelers looking for a cozy spot to work, nap or shower before a connecting flight. Speaking of freshening up, if you’ve forgotten any cosmetics during your packing efforts, no problem. You’ll find a Kiehl’s store, a MAC Cosmetics store and The Body Shop all conveniently located in the airport so you can re-stock.
Even if you don’t have time to get out and explore the city of Charlotte itself, you can still sample some of the city’s famous food offerings during your time at the airport. At Concourse E you’ll find Dale Jr’s Whisky River, founded by NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. It’s a great pick when you’re looking for elevated bar food. Think wings, burgers, sandwiches and apps to share, plus a diverse menu of creative cocktails.
When only the perfect burger will do, Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar it is. Head to Concourse C and pore over a selection of gourmet burgers, sandwiches and salads. Can’t decide which flavor combination looks the most mouthwatering? Skip the pre-designed choices and just build your own burger. If you want to experience barbeque during your time in the Tar Heel State, head over to Brookwood Farms. All meats are smoked on-site, and you’ll find tasty choices like brisket and chicken, plus must-have sides like hush puppies and mac and cheese. You can decide whether you’re a fan of Carolina-style barbeque sauce, in all its vinegary glory.
If you could use a little guidance about where to start once you’ve officially touched down in the Queen City, the Visitor Info Center located in baggage claim is packed with resources and friendly faces to make your trip a smooth one. Stop by and say hello as you wait for your luggage.
The Charlotte Douglas International Airport is about as convenient as it gets, regardless of whether your travel plans include domestic or international destinations. Whether you’re coming to visit or having a hard time saying goodbye, CLT is a comfortable place to relax and grab a bite to eat or drink.