The Best of Wheelchair Accessible Charlotte
There is no shortage of wheelchair accessible attractions in Charlotte. From immersing myself into the world of NASCAR to eating delicious food, I had an absolutely perfect weekend in Charlotte.
by Cory Lee
Where to Stay
While in Charlotte, I stayed at the impeccable SpringHill Suites Charlotte Uptown. My room was accessible and spacious, so I could easily maneuver around. The bathroom had a roll-in shower, grab bars around the toilet and a pull-under sink.
The accessibility was perfect but what made this hotel really stand out was the location. It was across from the Spectrum Center and within walking/rolling distance of many restaurants and attractions. If you need accessible transportation, Charlotte Transportation Center is only a two minute walk/roll away as well.
Things to Do
NASCAR Hall of Fame
I’m not the biggest NASCAR fan, but was completely in awe. It gave me a whole new appreciation for the sport.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame showcased what goes into getting a car on the track and I learned about racing legends. As my visit began, I watched a short film about NASCAR in the High Octane Theater, making this the perfect introduction. Afterwards, I saw cars on Glory Road, admired the Hall of Honor and saw artifacts in Heritage Speedway.
For the full experience, I tried out the accessible racing simulators! I could actually drive my powered wheelchair into an adapted race car. The accessible car even had hand-controls. Aside from the main racing simulator, the NASCAR qualifying simulator was accessible with hand-controls as well. By the end of your visit, you’ll be a racing pro!
Feel the Thrill Speedway Tour at Charlotte Motor Speedway
If there’s one thing to do in Charlotte, this is it. Racing is the soul of the city and there’s no better place to experience it than Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The “Feel the Thrill Speedway Tour” had an accessible golf cart with a ramp, and our guide drove us from place to place during the hour-long tour. I was thrilled to see that they had this wheelchair accessible option. If you’d like to have this option, just give them a call to book your tour in advance and let them know that you use a wheelchair.
On the tour, I saw zMAX Dragway (where drag races are held) and The Dirt Track. Lastly, we visited the giant Superspeedway and I even got to take a photo in Winner’s Circle.
Levine Museum of the New South
The Levine Museum was unique because not only did it focus on the history of the south, but it focused on the history of the “new south” – from 1865, when the Civil War ended, to present day and even the future. The entire museum was accessible, including the interactive exhibits. There were near life-size recreations of a department store, a barber shop, a church, a tenant farmer’s house, a lunch counter, and more.
Scene@Levine is a special event held three times per year and luckily, it was on the night that I visited. If you coordinate your Charlotte trip correctly, you could experience Scene@Levine also. There was a DJ, a buffet with some of Charlotte’s best foods, and local artists.
Center City Walking Tour with Charlotte NC Tours
To get better oriented with the city, I embarked on a Center City Walking Tour with Charlotte NC Tours. Tours are 7 days per week and with advance notice, they can easily make the route wheelchair accessible.
Over two hours, we visited some of uptown’s best areas. We saw notable buildings, the Fourth Ward, Romare Bearden Park (which ended up being my favorite area) and much more. We also learned some cool facts about the city that I wouldn’t have heard otherwise. Our guide did a phenomenal job of looking for curb cuts and going at a good pace for everyone.
Discovery Place Science
To release my inner kid, I visited Discovery Place Science. The museum is interactive, so be ready to create, observe and explore everything from the human body to a rainforest and more.
The museum was fully accessible and there were all kinds of activities to enjoy. Some of my favorite areas were the rainforest exhibit, the aquarium, the "Thinker Space" and I thought that the human body exhibit was interesting. I learned quite a lot at Discovery Place Science.
Places to Eat
Living Kitchen Serving is the spot! Serving 100% organic raw vegan food, the menu had a variety of healthy vegan options. I loved the BBQ sliders made from oyster mushrooms, and don’t forget the lemon berry cheesecake for dessert!
Fern, Flavors From the Garden
I had brunch at Fern on my last day in Charlotte, and I’m still dreaming about it. Fern is fully vegetarian but there are plenty of vegan options also. The one dish I’d recommend? Definitely the “chicken” and waffles! The “chicken” was made from oyster mushrooms and seitan, and was one of the best brunch items ever.
Mert’s Heart and Soul
Sometimes I just really want some delicious southern food. If you feel the same you should definitely head to Mert’s Heart and Soul. Southern food is Mert’s specialty, and they do it right! Mert’s is easily accessible and the staff was remarkably kind. Be sure to get the fried green tomatoes as an appetizer!
7th Street Public Market
With a variety of places to eat and shop, I devoured a buffalo cauliflower pizza from Pure Pizza and then shopped for a bit. Other options included an Italian restaurant, a cheese shop, an açaí bowl place, and more. If you visit on a Friday night, you might even enjoy live music.
While I did experience a lot of what the city offers, there are many other accessible things to do in Charlotte as well. No matter what you decide to do during your time there, you are sure to have a great time!