22 Things to Look Forward to in 2022 in Charlotte
From new-to-the-scene cuisine and cultural experiences to top festivals, concerts and sporting events, add these 22 Charlotte experiences to your must-do list for 2022 in the Queen City.
by Kristen Moore Dec 13, 2021
1. Riding on the CityLYNX Gold Line
Hop on the city’s recently extended east-to-west hybrid streetcar system that runs 4 miles with 17 stops from Elizabeth through Uptown to Historic West End. The Gold Line picks up every 20 minutes from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. and the fare is $2.20 each way. Download the CATS Art in Transit app to discover the story behind the artwork at many of the stations along the line.
2. Savoring a pint at one of Charlotte’s newest breweries
More than 70 breweries, approximately 20% of breweries in the state, call the Charlotte region home—and several more are joining the ranks in 2022. Check out what’s on tap at “hop spots” like Resident Culture Brewing Co.’s second taproom in South End, Legion Brewing’s fourth brewery on West Morehead Street and West Coast-style Midnight Mulligan Brewery in Wesley Heights. Pro tip: Earn rewards while drinking at your favorite local breweries when you download the Hopp Charlotte app.
Other breweries opening this year include Gilde 1546, Weathered Souls Brewing, Hi-Wire Brewing, Burial Beer Co. and Sycamore Brewing’s new location on the ground floor of The Line building in South End.
3. Supporting Black businesses and culture at the NC Black Heritage Festival
Celebrate Black History Month at the 2022 NC Black Heritage Festival honoring the past, present, and future of Black culture and excellence. Taking place at the Cabarrus Arena & Events Center on Feb. 19, the free festival will feature 40 Black-owned vendors, performances, arts and crafts, kid-friendly activities, giveaways and more.
4. Exploring the new home of the arts in Uptown at the VAPA Center
This former Sears department store in Uptown is finding a new life as the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Center. Owned by Mecklenburg County and known as the Hal Marshall Building, VAPA Center is home to dozens of artists and arts organizations and also features art galleries, studios, theaters and classrooms. The building is open to the public during business hours and special events like live performances, art exhibitions, artists markets and more.
5. Attending the Hercules Tires Big South Basketball Championship
The Hercules Tires Big South Basketball Championship is a major collegiate tournament featuring all 12 Big South men’s and women’s basketball teams. Head to historic Bojangles Coliseum March 1-6 for an action-packed 22 games over six days as top teams go head-to-head to win the title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The experience is sure to be a slam dunk.
6. Feeling the energy as female jazz musicians bring the swing at The Jazz Room
In honor of Women’s History Month, celebrate the unsung heroes of jazz at Stage Door Theater at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center March 17-19. The Jazz Room Presents Women in Jazz is an ode to the female trailblazers who influenced the development and growth of the genre. This special performance will feature a full ensemble of all-star female musicians and celebrate both the women who came before them and the top jazz performers of today.
7. Going to a Charlotte FC soccer match during the inaugural season
Be a part of city history by attending a match during Charlotte FC’s inaugural season at Bank of America Stadium. With 17 home games from March to September, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to cheer on Charlotte’s newest home team as they take the pitch. Charlotte FC is the MLS’ 28th expansion team and part of the league’s Eastern Conference.
8. Jamming out at a concert at Bank of America Stadium
After nearly a decade without concerts at Bank of America Stadium, 2022 will offer more opportunities for music lovers to experience the thrill of outdoor mega concerts, beginning with Billy Joel on April 23 and Kenny Chesney on April 30. Other 2022 concerts scheduled at the Uptown stadium include Def Leppard with Mötley Crüe, Poison, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts on June 28, the Red Hot Chili Peppers on Sept. 1 and Elton John on Sept. 18.
9. Hitting the mountain bike trails at the new Mountain Creek Park
On the shores of Lake Norman in Sherrills Ford, the planned 606-acre Mountain Creek Park features an impressive 18-mile trail network for hiking, biking and running, with mountain biking at the heart of the design. In addition to the trails, phase one of the park also features an adventure playground, a pickleball court, a dog park, kayak and canoe access, a fishing pier, picnic shelters and an outdoor classroom.
10. Doing the seventh inning stretch at a Charlotte Knights game or the ACC Baseball Championship at Truist Field
From amazing local food and beer vendors to fireworks and a stunning skyline view behind the outfield, a baseball game at Truist Field in Uptown is like no other. And in 2022, the kings of collegiate baseball will return to the Queen City for the ACC Baseball Championship May 24-26.
11. Catching a summer concert (with a skyline view) at Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre
Located in the AvidXchange Music Factory, this intimate outdoor music venue is a crown jewel in Charlotte’s music scene. Grab a seat on the lawn and enjoy skyline views and live tunes. The concert lineup for summer includes Barenaked Ladies, Russ and Cody Johnson in June; 5 Seconds of Summer in July; and Alicia Keys, David Gray, Goo Goo Dolls and Dispatch with O.A.R. in August.
12. Booking an outdoor summer adventure with Issa Vibe Adventures or planning your own with the CLT Trail Guide
Black-owned adventure company Issa Vibe Adventures wants to make nature a preferred destination for all people by exposing Black people to various outdoor activities. From guided hiking excursions to kayaking instruction to coordinated water balloon fights, book your adventure with Issa Vibe and reconnect with nature. If self-guided is more your style, explore urban and suburban trails throughout the city using the CLT Trail Guide.
13. Experiencing the return of beloved local culinary and entertainment concepts
Over the past several years, some of Charlotte’s most treasured locales were forced to close for various reasons—from the pandemic to redevelopment. But local entrepreneurs and restaurateurs are bringing back some of the fan-favorite spots to new locations.
James Beard-nominated chef Gregory Collier and wife Subrina Collier’s original breakfast concept Uptown Yolk is in its third life on the ground floor of the Vantage building in South End. Just south in LoSo, Phat Burrito returns after a five-year hiatus in a larger space with a new owner but with a similar funky vibe and the popular oversized burritos.
The 24-hour retro-style Mattie’s Diner, which originally moved from New Jersey to Charlotte and operated at the Music Factory from 2010 to 2015, moved again to The Plaza near NoDa to serve favorites like deep-fried hot dogs, fried oreos, crazy French toast and Mattie’s Ma’s meatloaf. In the Belmont neighborhood, Super Abari Game Bar is in its second life offering the community an authentic arcade experience in a larger space with a full bar and a small nostalgic food menu (think hot pockets).
14. Checking out Quest at Latta Nature Preserve (and the new location of the Carolina Raptor Center)
Head to Huntersville to explore Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation’s newest outdoor recreation and nature experience. Quest is a 13,000-square-foot center that serves as the educational gateway to the 1,460-acre Latta Nature Preserve, which is the largest nature preserve in the county and home to a variety of animals and natural habitats. The facility also features a central exhibit hall, a 6,000-gallon aquarium, classrooms, event spaces, a gift shop and the Carolina Raptor Center’s new raptor trail.
15. Exploring one of Charlotte’s continuously evolving adaptive reuse projects
Step back in time as you meander through former mills and factories turned modern-day food halls and shops. Charlotte has become a hub for major adaptive reuse projects that highlight the region’s history while steadily adding new places to eat, drink and play.
Camp North End, a former Ford Model T factory and Army missile plant, is the largest project at 76 acres and has a slew of new food and beverage offerings opening this year. Optimist Hall, a former gingham mill, is the largest food hall in the region, nearing 30 businesses on-site. Housed in Charlotte’s first textile factory, Atherton has brought a resurgence to South End with more than 30 popular retailers and restaurants.
Just outside of the city, Gibson Mill is a former textile mill in Concord that is now a community gathering spot with a food hall, shopping and more. In downtown Belmont, Chronicle Mill, another former textile mill, has been repurposed into retail, restaurant and community spaces. And Savona Mill in West End will join the adaptive reuse roster in 2023.
16. Celebrating the LGBTQ community at the Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade
After taking a hiatus from holding an in-person parade and festival for the past two years, the 2022 Charlotte Pride event is one of the most anticipated celebrations of the year. The weekend events typically attract approximately 200,000 visitors, and it’s the city’s largest parade in terms of the number of entrants. So don your rainbow garb and get ready for the Queen City’s most colorful and empowering celebration.
17. Watching the pros tee off at the President’s Cup at Quail Hollow Club or teeing off yourself at Puttery or Topgolf
For the first time, the prestigious President’s Cup golf tournament is coming to the Southeast for play at the world-renowned Quail Hollow Club. Taking place Sept. 19-25, the match-style tournament features the United States Team going head-to-head against the International Team. Charlotte-born professional golfer and World Golf Hall of Famer Davis Love III will lead the U.S. Team as captain. If you rather get in on the action yourself, make a reservation at Puttery, an immersive putting experience paired with a full bar and small plates, or one of Charlotte’s two Topgolf locations for a high-tech golf experience in a private, climate-controlled hitting bay.
18. Cheering on the home team at a Charlotte Hornets, Carolina Panthers or Charlotte Checkers game
Show your team spirit at a home professional sporting event this season. The NBA Charlotte Hornets are poised to be a top contender with an exciting roster of promising young talent. The NFL Carolina Panthers welcomed Cam Newton home mid-season in 2021 and with their solid veteran core and up-and-coming second and third string, maybe 2022 will be the team’s next Super Bowl run. The AHL Charlotte Checkers, affiliate of the NHL Florida Panthers, won the Calder Cup Championship in 2019 and held the title for two years while the playoffs were skipped due to the pandemic. The team is ready to hit the ice and prove themselves once again in 2022.
19. Experiencing a fall festival in the Queen City
Fall in the Carolinas is the perfect weather for festival season, and Charlotte has a solid lineup of autumn events to experience. Returning for the second year, the BayHaven Food & Wine Festival is a three-day culinary celebration of Black foodways. The Carolinas Breakaway Music Festival brings some of music’s biggest names to Charlotte Motor Speedway. 2022 marks the 10th annual Hola Charlotte Festival, the city’s largest Hispanic heritage celebration. The Festival of India and the Yiasou Greek Festival celebrate the unique heritage, food and entertainment of each culture. The Carolina Renaissance Festival is a 16th-century European-style art and entertainment event (period attire encouraged!). And in its 58th year, Festival in the Park at Freedom Park is dedicated to stimulating interest in the arts.
20. Shopping local at one of the city’s newest retail collectives
It’s a win-win: start marking items off your holiday shopping list while supporting small businesses and local creators. Two of the city’s newest shopping collectives include Lokal by Hygge at Camp North End, which is a collaborative retail gift shop featuring local products from area vendors, and Girl Supply at Birkdale Village, which is an immersive retail experience from the creators of Girl Tribe. In addition to a curated collection of inventory from local women entrepreneurs, the store also features interactive experiences like DIY candle making, a balloon bar and more.
Don’t forget about the region’s other retail collectives highlighting local makers and small business vendors like the original Girl Tribe store, Charlotte Collective in Plaza Midwood and South End, Moxie Mercantile, Brown Sugar Collab, CLT Find at The Market at 7th Street and WelcomeCLT Uptown Visitor Info Center.
21. Running in (or cheering on participants) in the Charlotte Marathon
Mark that New Year’s resolution of becoming a runner off your list by racing in the Novant Health Charlotte Marathon (or half marathon, 5k or relay events) on Nov. 12. Kids are also invited to join in the fun by running in the Chick-fil-A Kids’ Dash. Not only will you be honoring your own health by participating, but you’ll also be supporting Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital. If running isn’t your thing, make some signs to hold up along the route to encourage the runners to keep going.
22. Attending one of the city's December college football matchups
The holiday season is even brighter under the stadium lights at Bank of America Stadium, where two major collegiate games take place each December. Following the regular season, the ACC Football Championship pits the champion of the Coastal Division against the champion of the Atlantic Division to crown the kings of the ACC. And the Duke’s Mayo Bowl pairs up a top team from the ACC and SEC or Big Ten Conference.
Discover more to do and see in the Queen City in 2022 at charlottesgotalot.com/events.