Sports

A Baseball Fan’s Guide to Charlotte

Take me out to the ball game. Take me out with the crowd. Here's your guide to baseball in the Queen City

We may be biased, but we think Charlotte just might have the best minor league baseball stadium in all the land. Nestled in Uptown’s Third Ward, BB&T Ballpark offers gorgeous views of the towering skyscrapers in the city’s skyline. (Pro tip: For the full effect, grab a seat along the third baseline.) And the Charlotte Knights are pretty fun to watch, too.

Homer and Fans

Fans seem to agree. Since opening in 2014, the stadium has been the most-visited in all of minor league baseball, averaging 9,238 fans per game. Whether you’re a baseball junkie excited to see the AAA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox or just enjoy sitting outside with a hot dog and beer, a Knights game is a Charlotte must-do in the spring and summer.

The 2019 season begins April 4, so take me out to the ballgame – then take me out on the town.

Photo courtesy of Kimpton Hotels

Where to stay

This is the easy part – there are plenty of great options within just a few blocks of the stadium. You can’t get any closer than Residence Inn by Marriott Charlotte Uptown, which sits directly across the street from the stadium. Just a short stroll across Romare Bearden Park is the chic new Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel.

You also can’t go wrong with The Westin, Charlotte Marriott City Center and Courtyard by Marriott Charlotte City Center, all just a few blocks from the home of the Knights.

#CharlottesGotALot

What to eat

Looking for a pregame meal? Don’t fill up too much or else you won’t be able to enjoy all of the delicious offerings inside the stadium. (Psst: Latin street food favorite Sabor will be served inside the stadium this season!)

For a quick bite, head to historic Latta Arcade and Brevard Court, just across the park from the stadium. Zablong Peculiar Pizza has build-your-own pies, Queen City Bites and Crafts pairs burgers and chili with cold craft beers, and Valhalla Pub & Eatery serves up pub fare with a Viking flair.

Also nearby, JJ’s Red Hots whips up classic hot dogs and sausages and Rhino Market & Deli offers unique takes on classic deli sandwiches.

(Heads up: Some restaurants in this area other than the ones mentioned here cater to the 9-to-5 crowd and are only open during lunch or on weekdays, so check the hours before heading out.)

For good food with a good mission, grab a fried chicken sandwich from The King’s Kitchen (closed Sundays), a nonprofit restaurant focused on feeding the poor and offering on-site job and life-skills training.

Feeling fancy? Try Fin and Fino (closed Sundays), which specializes in fresh caught or raised seafood.

BB&T Ball Park Photo by Clear Sky Images

Get in the game

You’re here for a baseball game, so let’s make the most of it. Some tips:

● Grab your tickets here and look here to see if the Knights have any fun promotions or giveaways at the game. Pro-tip: The Knights have post-game fireworks most every Friday night and a huge fireworks display on July 4 – you don’t want to miss it.

● If you’re going to a weeknight game, keep in mind that people will be leaving work around the time you’re headed to Uptown. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the stadium and consult this map of parking lots near the stadium. Or avoid traffic altogether and take the LYNX Blue Line light rail – the 3rd Street/Convention Center Station is just four blocks from the ballpark.

● Take a lap. BB&T Ballpark has a wide variety of food and drink offerings sprinkled around the stadium, so explore. That cart a few sections over might have the local craft beer you’ve been looking for. Or head to the area behind centerfield for kid-friendly games and activities. You might even run into Homer the Dragon!

● Prepare for battle at the Armor Shoppe, where you can stock up Knights hats, jerseys, shirts and more.

● Keep your eyes on the dragon in centerfield if the Knights hit a home run. Trust me.

Romare Bearden

What to do

In town for the weekend? Mix some culture in with your sports fun by exploring the Levine Center for the Arts, home to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Mint Museum Uptown and Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts & Culture. History lovers will enjoy Levine Museum of the New South in the First Ward of Uptown and Discovery Place Science on Tryon Street will wow and delight kids and adults alike.

Or if it’s a beautiful spring or summer day, spend some time enjoying Uptown’s parks, from Romare Bearden Park right beside the stadium (named for the famous Charlotte-born artist) to First Ward Park with its splash pad and sweeping views of the skyline to the literary-themed The Green.

#CharlottesGotALot

Where to play

On a warm spring or summer day in Charlotte, there’s nothing better than a cold beverage enjoyed outside. It’s patio season, after all. Graham St. Pub & Patio sits in the shadow of BB&T Ballpark and features a rooftop patio if you still can’t get enough of those skyline views.

Most of Charlotte’s many breweries have great patios too, including nearby Blue Blaze Brewing in Historic Savona Mill with its rocking chairs overlooking the Stewart Creek Greenway.

When the sun goes down, the nightlife heats up at Uptown hotspots like the Epicentre, with three floors packed with entertainment, from bars to nightclubs and even a bowling alley.

Cocktails with a view more your style? Head up 19 floors to Merchant & Trade, a rooftop bar and lounge specializing in classic cocktails made with North Carolina spirits. Bonus: One side of the rooftop offers a bird’s-eye view of BB&T Stadium.

Whether you’re dashing up for a weeknight game or making a weekend out of it, Charlotte offers a wide range of activities for every baseball fan.