Things to Do

Must-Try Experiences Creating Buzz in Charlotte

Impress your family and friends with these popular Charlotte hot spots that are getting national attention.

The Queen City is constantly evolving and expanding, which makes it no surprise that it’s the 15th largest city in the nation. Charlotte is getting more national attention and always adding fun, new attractions that bring transplants into the city every day. Whether you have family coming into town or want to flex on your friends, get ready to be labeled as the ultimate tour guide when you take those closest to you to these buzz-worthy spots.

Things to Do

Camp North End - Photography by Leandra Creative LLC

Camp North End

Area: North End

What used to be a manufacturing site for Model T cars and assembling Hercules missiles, has now been transformed into a hub for some of the city’s most innovative businesses. Deemed one of the trendiest hangouts in Charlotte, Camp North End is home to murals, local retailers and artisans, and an array of diverse food businesses.

Bowling at Pinhouse - Photography by Kate Magee

Pinhouse

Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood

Two words: duckpin bowling. This variation on the popular sport and pastime will bring hours of fun and friendly competition. Pinhouseis also home to iPourIt dispense technology, which allows you to control the in-house taps through a wristband linked to your debit or credit card. The entertainment venue won the “Best Indoor Mini Golf” spot in Charlotte in the 2021 BOB Awards by Charlotte Magazine.

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Stroke

Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood

This retro cocktail and mini golf loungeis one your friends and family will be talking about for weeks. From the swanky decor to the 9-hole jungle-themed mini golf course, it’s a noteworthy and award-winning spot to show off.

Take a tour of notable murals in the city

Charlotte is home to several amazing muralists, like Nick Napoletano, who really bring life to the city with their work. In nearly every neighborhood — from NoDa to University City — you can spot these stunning public art attractions worthy of a photo or two. From murals that tell the story of Charlotte’s Black history to the colorful Confetti Hearts Wall in South End, the city’s mural scene is on the rise. There’s even a festival called Talking Walls dedicated to commissioning brand new murals across the city.

Photo courtesy of Whitewater Center

U.S. National Whitewater Center

Area: West Charlotte

When Charlotte was tapped to become home of this national training center, you could feel the sense of pride sweep across the city. Now, nearly 15-years later, it’s still a popular hangout spot for families, couples or anyone looking for a little adventure.

During the warmer months, you can catch live music and food trucks on the weekends. But all year-round, you can experience adrenaline-pumping activities like whitewater rafting, kayaking, ziplining and more. One of the most unique activities is the Deep Water Solo, a set of climbing walls that reaches heights of 25 to 40 feet, with a 20-foot-deep pool to catch you when you fall.

Food & Drink

The Sushi Tots at 5Church - Photography by Kate Magee

5Church

Neighborhood: Uptown

If you want to eat where the stars hang out, this is your spot. Bravo’s “Top Chef” alum Jamie Lynch and his team served as host to VIP parties during the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend in the Queen City. For first-time guests, don’t leave without ordering the sushi tots. You’re welcome.

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Day & Night Exotic Cereal Bar

Neighborhood: Uptown

As the only-known cereal bar in North Carolina, this hot spot features cereal choices from countries around the globe. Whether you build-your-own bowl with Fruity Pebbles, Lucky Charms, sprinkles and whipped cream—or opt for a cereal shake—this new Uptown Charlotte location is sure to bring nostalgia.

Haberdish - Photography by Jamey Price

Haberdish

Neighborhood: NoDa

Another concept from the power couple (Jamie Brown and Jeff Tonidandel), Haberdishis said to have some of the best fried chicken in the city. The patio is just as remarkable and is perfect for a few hours of people watching on one of NoDa’s more walkable streets.

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Kindred

Area: Davidson, NC

James Beard semifinalist Chef Joe Kindred and his family have taken their experiences around the world and turned them into dishes that keep patrons coming back for more. If you don’t try the milk bread, did you even really go to Kindred? As one of Davidson’s only fine dining establishments, you’ll certainly want to make a reservation before going.

Leah & Louise - Photography by Jamey Price

Leah & Louise

Area: North End

James Beard semifinalist Chef Greg Collier and his wife, Subrina, received the nod of the “No. 2 Best New Restaurant” by Esquire magazine. Not only can you dine at this nationally recognized concept, but in-house mixologist Justin Hazelton also mixes up amazing craft cocktails— including his popular zodiac punch.

Optimist Hall - Photography by Jamey Price

Optimist Hall

Neighborhood: Optimist Park

As one of the most popular food halls in the city, this spot is a foodie’s paradise. The former textile mill has plenty of seating and several outdoor areas to enjoy your meal. Inside, you’ll find The Dumpling Lady, which has received multiple award-winning nods from local media outlets for the “Best Dumplings in Charlotte.” Outside, discover Fonta Flora, which received a gold medal by the Great American Beer Festival. Check out our guide on Optimist Hall here.

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Restoration Hardware Rooftop

Neighborhood: SouthPark

Not even a year since opening, this Phillips Place restaurant is already one of the most Instagrammable concepts in Charlotte. The three-story building is one of a handful of “design gallery” stores that houses both the upscale furniture store and a chic rooftop restaurant. Your guests will be stunned by the elegant chandeliers, marble tabletops and fountains throughout the luxurious restaurant setting.

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Supperland

Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood

One of the many culinary brainchildren of owners Jamie Brown and husband, Jeff Tonidandel, this popular Southern steakhouse is located inside a former mid-century church. The menu features dishes like Wagyu pot roast, sausage gravy croquettes and miso mac and cheese. Don’t forget the delicious cocktails, too.

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What The Fries

Area: South Charlotte

Chefs Jamie Barnes and Greg Williams started What The Fries initially as a food truck business and even received accolades from Travel and Noire as “Charlotte’s Hottest Black-Owned Food Truck.” The duo opened their first brick-and-mortar in 2021. Deemed as one of Charlotte’s favorite food trucks, WTF brings the creative culinary genius of Barnes and Williams in the form of loaded fries, bread pudding tots, and now over-the-top milkshakes at the physical location.

Shop

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Captivate

Neighborhood: SouthPark

Specializing in unique and quality pieces for women, owner Charity Washington (the only Black woman who owns a storefront at SouthPark Mall) has been captivating the fashion industry for over 20 years. You never know who you may run into at Captivate, as it attracts prominent clients and celebrities alike.

Concord Mills

Area: Concord, NC

You can literally eat, play and shop at this 1.4-million-square-foot outlet mall. Get in a little retail therapy at this top attraction at stores like Off Saks Fifth or Ralph Lauren. Then, take the kids over to Sea Life Aquarium for a few hours of exploring marine life. Finally, head to one of the area’s many eateries including Ace No. 3 or Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar— both just across the street from the mall.

Gibson Mill

Area: Concord, NC

With “the largest antique mall in the South," dine, shop and drink at this 700,000-square-foot facility complete with a food hall, breweries and all the antiques your heart desires. This community-driven gathering spot is a great place for groups to explore and stay awhile.

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PlantHouse

Neighborhood: Dilworth

Taking care of plants became one of the trendiest hobbies to have during the pandemic. Turn your love for plants into a reality at PlantBar, a plant workshop and bar. Not only can you pick up new greenery for your home or office but you can also build a terrarium or enjoy a glass of wine as you shop. Guests can even enjoy events for gardening along with other activities like yoga classes.

For more distinct getaways in the Queen City, check out these other Charlotte area hotels.

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