Charlotte for Couples
Whether you’re planning a date night or a longer city escape, Charlotte has plenty to do for two.
by Rosa Sprinkle
From first dates to anniversaries and everything in between, no matter what occasion you’re celebrating or the type of couple you are, Charlotte has what it takes to entertain you and your favorite person.
Dinner & Drinks
Sweet and savory, local and international, small plates and 10 course meals, Charlotte’s dining scene is booming with options for everyone’s tastes.
You and your significant other will receive the special treatment you deserve at these intimate establishments
1. For fine dining, it’s tough to top the royal treatment you’ll experience at McNinch House Restaurant located in a charming turn-of-the-century home and regularly voted as Charlotte’s most romantic restaurant.
3. For a fully immersive and sensory experience make reservations at Counter- and enjoy a 10-course tasting menu by chef Sam Hart, with wine and non-alcohol pairings adding fun to the flavors.
For couples who like to taste the world and experience food in new ways, options abound.
1. For an elegant setting, try Copper for Indian cuisine, BAKU for Japanese fare or Deejai Thai for authentic Thai dishes. Deluxe Fun Dining brings American and international flavors to the table presented as art on a plate.
2. If you're keen on Southern food, the modern approach at Leah & Louise, led by James Beard-nominated chef Greg Collier will leave both your and your partner’s taste buds thanking you.
There’s no better aphrodisiac than a sweet treat from Charlotte’s local dessert shops. Pop in for the main event on your date night or make it an after-dinner treat.
1. As local favorites, The Batch House serves up a diverse range of sweets from cookies and brownies to pies and cakes while BW Sweets Bakery features a daily dessert bar for perusing along with custom cake creations. And for your local donut fix, Charlotte has excellent offerings not to be missed.
2. International flavors aren’t limited to the main course. Manolo’s Bakery has the best tres leche cake in town, Hong Kong Bakery serves yummy fresh Asian pastries and Villani’s Bakery is that New York Italian style bakery you’ve been searching for.
3. Desserts can also be works of art. Wentworth & Fenn at Camp North End celebrates the art of baking with its custom cakes and pastries. Amélie’s French Bakery crafts its creations at multiple cafés, including the NoDa location, which is open 24 hours a day. Or for a twist on conventional desserts, you and your sweetie will enjoy the creative drink and dessert menu at Crave Dessert Bar.
Whether your couple vibe includes cocktails, wine, kombucha or seltzer, Charlotte has experts to craft the perfect drink for you both.
1. For an atmosphere of exclusivity, slip into the intimate spaces of Dot Dot Dot for an out-of-world cocktail experience or Idlewild, which has no menu; instead, the expert cocktail crafters will create a unique drink for you based on your personal preferences and flavor profile, guaranteeing a different experience each time you visit.
2. QC Social Lounge offers a trendy and elevated after-dinner cocktail spot with live entertainment. Or, add some glamor and scenery to your evening as you sip unique cocktails perched on one of Uptown's most beloved rooftops like Merchant & Trade, Nuvole Rooftop TwentyTwo or Fahrenheit.
3. Alcohol-free options are more prevalent than ever. Kombucha lovers can sample Charlotte-based brands SumBucha, Lenny Boy or UpDog Kombucha at breweries and restaurants around town. For a dinner menu based on non-alcoholic wine pairings, visit new wine bar Biblio, recently opened by the team behind Counter-. And check out the high-end spirit-free craft cocktails at Supperland, Church and Union, Elsewhere, Dilworth Tasting Room, Stroke, The Vintage and Haberdish.
Brews & Breweries
Breweries offer a more casual date night setting with plenty to choose from. Save time for sipping with your sweetie by using this guide.
2. Play some games and give back to the community at the award-winning woman-owned Pilot Brewing, which chooses a different charity to support each month with sales from a chosen beer. Continue to support your community by enjoying local brews at Weathered Souls through their Black Is Beautiful Initiative.
3. Narrow down your choices to any of the award-winning craft beers the Queen City is home to, such as Devil's Logic Brewing’s 2022 World Beer Cup Silver Award Winner Komunity Kolsch and NoDa Brewing Company’s 2021 U.S. Open Beer Championship Gold Medal Winner Hop Drop n’ Roll American IPA. Or, have fun marking these 20 Must Try Beers off your bucket list with your partner.
When you and your honey are out on the town and get that late-night second wind, here are some ideas for where to go and what to do.
Put on your dancing shoes, grab your partner and head out to any of these venues to get your bodies moving.
1. Choose from one of several clubs to be found at AvidXchange Music Factory – La Unica for Latin dance; World Nightclub for EDM, hip-hop and pop music; and Bazal with its lounge feel upstairs and dark mysterious nightclub downstairs.
2. If you and your honey rock a retro vibe, check out Roxbury Nightclub uptown, Charlotte’s best 80s and 90s dance club.
3. For those who love country music, Coyote Joe’s offers a boot stomping, line dancing, rocking good time.
When you have a song in your heart and just need to belt it out to your special someone, here are some spots that’ll hand you the mike.
3. Reserve a private session in one of Seoul Food Meat Company's several themed karaoke rooms.
Whether you and your love want to get wild and dance or sit back and relax, the Queen City has an LGBTQ-friendly bar for you.
3. Check out the newly expanded outdoor area of The Woodshed Lounge. Stop in and buy some gear at the in-house leather shop. Chasers Nightclub has had a facelift with updates to the bar, dance floor, sound system and lighting. Make sure you and your sweetie check out the new VIP room.
Music & Art
Charlotte has infinite ways for couples to indulge in their love of the arts. Take your pick from any of the many museums, venues and hands-on classes for a cultured night out.
Intimate Music Venues
Although Charlotte has no shortage of venues and arenas that host the hottest national acts, couples shouldn’t miss the smaller, more intimate settings.
2. For the jazz aficionados, enjoy small plates, cocktails and live performances at Middle C Jazz in Uptown.
Stimulate the senses with a stroll through some of Charlotte’s most artsy and eclectic neighborhoods and museums.
2. Pick your path with ArtWalksCLT, providing free, self-guided tours through the city connecting you with public artworks, murals and artists.
3. Explore some of the art collectives that call Charlotte home, such as The Visual and Performing Arts Center (VAPA), which provides space for artists to create, practice, exhibit, and perform. The McColl Center is a contemporary arts hub and artist residency in Uptown. The Art Gallery at Brooklyn Collective and Studio 229 on Brevard offer rotating exhibits and special events.
1. If strolling through museums is more your speed, head to the Levine Center for the Arts campus and explore the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, the Mint Museum and the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Stop in the newly reopened Levine Museum of the New South beside The Green in Uptown.
2. For a very different and wholly immersive museum experience, make sure to get tickets to Museum of Illusions and be prepared to get some mind-blowing pictures with your significant other.
3. After a three-year hiatus, Discovery Place Science has brought back its wildly popular “Science on the Rocks.” This is an adults-only event that takes place once a month and provides full access to the museum’s exhibits, live shows, hands-on lab activities, music, and a cash bar. Tickets sell out fast, so be sure to get tickets for you and your lab partner in advance.
For art lovers who are looking to unleash their collective creativity, try one of Charlotte’s art classes ranging in all manner of experiments.
2. If painting isn't your thing, fire up your imagination at Paddywax Candle Bar or AR Workshop. If you don’t mind a little dirt or danger, build your own terrarium at PlantHouse or make your own glass piece at Hot Glass Alley.
3. For the culinary couple, take a night to learn a new favorite dish at a cooking class with Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen, Cooking with Joya (a Cooking for Love couples class is available), The Foodie School or Santhoshi’s Kitchen (specializing in Indian cuisine). Those who prefer to try their hand at something sweeter should look no further than Sweet Spot Studio. And for the aspiring mixologist, The Cocktailery has you covered.
Theater & Comedy
The passion of live theater, the thrill of risque comedy, the intimacy of small film houses and the boisterous energy of drag shows are all available throughout our fair city.
Large and small stages abound, ready to fulfill your and your love’s desire for unique stage experiences.
1. Step out on the town together and see exciting performances by Charlotte Ballet, Opera Carolina and the Charlotte Symphony. Several theaters, including Booth Playhouse, Belk Theater and Knight Theater, are part of Blumenthal Performing Arts, providing just the right setting for any production.
2. Take a seat at small theater companies like Theatre Charlotte who stage bold, innovative shows.
Head over to one of these small film houses for first- and second-run movies that are hard to find elsewhere or catch a movie under the stars.
2. VisArt Video is much more than a movie rental store. It is a non-profit dedicated to sharing the joy and love of film with its community. Catch a free matinee movie any day of the week or take your date to a screening of a special cult film at the monthly “Cult Movies in the Cave” event.
3. BYO-chair to Camp North End for the outdoor (or indoor) movie series with Aurora Starlit Cinema screening films like Pretty Woman, Pulp Fiction and other fan favorites, with seasonal favorites thrown in around holiday time.
Nightly shows and pop-up performances happen all over Crown Town. Follow these places and queens for show times and themes.
2. If you’ve never caught one of Buff Faye’s Drag Brunch or Drag Diner shows, it’s time to remedy the situation. Performance takes place in restaurants around Charlotte, Davidson, Rock Hill and Gastonia. Purchase tickets in advance – Buff Faye’s shows sell out.
3. The Diva Royale Drag Queen Show is known as the best celebrity impersonation dinner show in Charlotte. Treat your sweetie to the best!
Thrilling Escapes & Experiences
Put your skills of cooperation and collaboration to the test at one of Charlotte’s escape experiences or get competitive at an arcade and game hall.
1. Combine the art of puzzle- and problem-solving with the thrill of working together to complete your mission before time runs out. Repair your spaceship during the Lost in Space challenge at Exit Strategy, break an Egyptian god’s spell in King Tut’s Curse at Escape Tactic or free the passengers in Runaway Train at Breakout Games.
2. Head to District 57 entertainment complex for an immersive post-apocalyptic-themed adventure. Set in 2085 after a global power outage, District 57 offers up activities to help its “citizens” refuel and test their survival skills. The Grid, its main attraction, has 30 rooms with various physical and mental challenges for teams of up to four to complete as fast as they can – perfect for those double date nights.
3. For a night full of friendly competition, test your arcade skills at Super Abari Game Bar, zoom around in go-karts at Frankie's Fun Park, or tee off and grab a cocktail at Stroke or Puttery. Team up to test your aim at Bad Axe Throwing or get out some aggression together at House of Purge. Share the unforgettable experience of driving real NASCAR race cars around a state-of-the-art speedway with the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
Tours & Journeys
Get to know more about your significant other and the Queen City while cruising around town.
1. Learn more about Uptown with Charlotte NC Tours or Queen City Rides. Kick back and relax after you climb aboard a city-favorite, the Funny Bus Comedy City Tour, or learn more about Charlotte's spooky side during a Carolina History & Haunts walking tour.
3. Create your own self-guided journey at some of Charlotte’s food halls, and repurposed and reinvented historic buildings like Camp North End, Optimist Hall, Atherton Mill and The Market at 7th Street. With several culinary and retail options to experience, you can hop from place to place and see a whole other piece of Charlotte.
The Great Outdoors
On any given day, there’s plenty to do with your number one while appreciating Charlotte's more natural elements.
1. Take a hike at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. In addition to the USNWC’s permanent offerings, like rock climbing, hiking, biking and rafting, it also boasts festivities to match the season. Or diversify your hiking options by exploring any one of the state parks near Charlotte.
2. For a private-led outdoor adventure, book a hike or a kayaking trip with Issa Vibe Adventures. Or build your own adventure by renting kayaks from The Boathouse and paddling down the Catawba River to get a bite at Drift. Find more scenic and urban trails, explore by foot or bike using our interactive Charlotte Trail Guide and renting a Charlotte Joy Rides e-assist bicycle.
3. Spend a day enjoying the views and wine at Treehouse Vineyards in Monroe or Veronét Vineyards & Winery in Kings Mountain, or venture farther to one of the other beautiful vineyards not too far from Charlotte.
Charlotte has seven professional sports teams and dozens of ways for sports lovers to enjoy games in the city whether it’s hand-in-hand in the stands or getting out to play a game.
Places to Watch
Celebrate your team’s win or mourn their loss with fellow enthusiasts at these fan-friendly spots.
1. Just a short walk from Truist Field, Graham Street Pub & Patio is great for football, soccer and baseball game festivities. Share a plate of wings and some ice-cold beer with your special someone on the rooftop bar in the summer or inside when it’s cold.
2. Wide screen TVs hang over the bar, the beer is cheap and the service is friendly at family-owned Lucky Lou’s Tavern. If you’re looking to park yourselves at the bar and watch the game, Duckworth’s Grill & Taphouse should be at the top of your list. Their large craft beer selection and food menu makes them a great destination to enjoy before, during or after the event.
Places to Play
When you’re done watching and want to get in on the action yourself, check out these venues that let you get your game on.
1. No matter your level of sports fandom, you’ll have a ball inside Queen Park Social, an 18,000-square-foot warehouse featuring drinks, food, bowling and games. Or try your hand (or feet) at one of the high energy arcade games at Slingshot Social Game Club, including Connect 4 Hoops, Mario Kart Grand Prix, Guitar Hero or Dance Dance Revolution Extreme.
3. Golf loving couples rejoice. Swing for the green from one of the bays at Topgolf. Each bay features a sofa booth where you can relax, eat, drink and watch the Panthers on a big screen. For the lovers who love disc golf, check out Another Round Disc Golf and pick up some new discs and a pint of NoDa Brewing Company’s Par 4 Session IPA before heading out to any of Charlotte’s fantastic courses.
When you want a long weekend with your sweetie, a staycation is in order. Check out this guide for romantic staycation ideas based on your couple vibe, along with these other possibilities.
Spa Day For Two
Choose from among the many options of Spa Retreats in Charlotte and pamper each other as the professionals pamper you.
1. Book a treatment at The Ritz-Carlton Spa. Arriving early to one of the many luxurious treatments offered will give you and your dearest time to enjoy the salt room, relaxation area, pool or fitness center as well.
2. Visit The Spa at Ballantyne exclusively for massages, facials, manicures and pedicures or combine with an overnight stay at the hotel for the ultimate staycation.
3. Relax in tranquility at Live Well Sauna + Salt in Mooresville, the only dry-salt halotherapy cabins in the area. This spa also offers infrared sauna therapy and helps you navigate the world of CBD oil to treat anxiety, inflammation and to ease sleep.
Dates With Discounts
Dates in Charlotte don’t have to break the budget. There are many ways to save while with your sweetheart.
1. Excursions to Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden and Carolina Raptor Center are made easy and affordable using the Explore CLT Pass. Tickets are delivered instantly to your mobile device or email with a savings of over half off.
2. Grab your bae and choose from any of these 40 Free and Cheap activities, all priced at 10 bucks or less.
3. Hop in the car and take a day trip to one of the intriguing attractions 90 miles or less from the Queen City with plenty to see and do whether wandering through a neighboring Main Street or taking a walk at the water’s edge.