45 of the Hottest Things to Do This Spring
Like the dogwoods and daffodils, Charlotte is emerging from another Carolina winter. From park picnics and outdoor concerts to spring markets and Circle K Speed Street, the Queen City is blooming with events and experiences you won’t want to miss.
by Amanda Lea Mar 02, 2020
Note: Events are listed in the order they occur. Dates are subject to change, so be sure to check their websites for more details.
1. 2020 St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Charlotte Goes Green Festival
Be Irish for a day with the parade that has grown to be one of Charlotte’s biggest and best events. Festive floats and Irish dance performances are sure to make you feel lucky. Just be sure to wear green so you don’t get pinched.
When: March 14, 2020
2. Sesame Street Live! Make Your Magic
Join Elmo and his Sesame Street friends on this fantastic adventure as they learn a lesson of perseverance while discovering magical moments in everyday life. In the end, Elmo learns that you can do anything you set your mind to if you just keep trying!
When: March 14-15, 2020
3. An Evening With Michael Buble In Concert
International singing sensation Michael Buble has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide and just released his newest album, Love. This must-see performance will no doubt have you “Feeling Good.”
When: March 18, 2020
4. Spring Market at Lenny Boy
Spring is just around the corner in South End! Shop your favorite vendors at Lenny Boy’s outside spring market. The outdoor area is pet friendly, so your four-legged friends are welcome to join as well.
When: March 21, 2020
5. Monster Jam Thunder Alley™
Carowinds' all-new Monster Jam Thunder Alley™ drives home a full-throttle immersion into the world of Monster Jam® trucks. Check out Thunder Alley or take an adrenaline-charged ride in your favorite truck. Bonus: Monster Jam Thunder Alley™ is free with Carowinds park admission.
When: March 21-April 19, 2020
6. The Color Purple at Ovens Auditorium
Based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple is a riveting look at early 20th century life as an African American woman in rural America. Experience the exhilarating power of this Tony-winning triumph that New York Magazine calls “one of the greatest revivals ever.”
When: March 23-26, 2020
7. Mexico National Team 2020 U.S. Tour
The 2020 #MexTour kicks off at Bank of America Stadium as Czech Republic faces Mexican National Team. The City of Charlotte and Bank of America Stadium have hosted Mexico on several occasions since 2010, including previous #MexTour stops and Concacaf Gold Cup matches. They last played in North Carolina in 2019, defeating Martinique 3-2 in a first round Gold Cup match in front of nearly 60,000 fans.
When: March 26, 2020
8. Girl Tribe Spring Pop Up
Girl Tribe Pop Up boasts an incredible line-up of businesses to shop from as well as the opportunity to network with fellow women. Premiere boutiques, jewelers, artists and makers come together to bring you the ultimate day of shopping, one-of-a-kind activations, fun photo moments and cocktails.
When: March 28, 2020
9. Queen Charlotte Fair
This major semi-annual event is hosted in Charlotte every spring and fall, offering family-friendly entertainment, carnival rides, food and shows. Bring on the Ferris wheel and funnel cake!
When: April 2-19, 2020
10. 8th Annual Paws in the Park
Charlotte Black Dogs and Pineville Parks and Recreation presents one of the largest dog events in the Charlotte area. Come for the food trucks and family-friendly entertainment, then stay for the audience-judged dog contest. With categories like “Best Dog Trick” and “Best Themed Group of Dogs,” it’s sure to be a howl.
When: April 4, 2020
11. Easter Egg Hunts
Join in on one of many ‘egg-stravaganzas’ in the Charlotte area. Queen City Easter Festival at Funtasticks, Easter Bunny Egg Hunt and Brunch at The Arthouse and Annual Easter Egg Hunt at Historic Latta Plantation are just a few that are sure to be fun for the whole family.
When: April 11, 2020
12. Anne Springs Close Greenway’s 20th Anniversary Earth Day Celebration
Celebrate with wagon rides, face painting and live music. Little nature lovers can lace up and sprint it out in the Earthshaker for Kids in Nature 5K Trail Run.
When: April 18, 2020
13. Earth Optimism 2020 CLT by Carolina Raptor Center
Kick off Earth Day with a healthy serving of hope and optimism. This event celebrates local success stories for saving the planet. An expo features environmental solutions from Charlotte-area organizations and six TED-style speakers who will inspire participants to take action on climate change.
When: April 22, 2020
14. Charlotte Wine & Food Week
This culinary event brings together leading winemakers and chefs from around the world to celebrate and advance public knowledge and appreciation for great wine and food. The event also makes significant contributions to charitable organizations that benefit children and their families in the Charlotte community.
When: April 22-25, 2020
15. U.S. National Whitewater Center’s Tuck Fest
If you’re a fan of all things outdoorsy, this is the place to be. Music, races, competitions, and yoga make this multi-day festival one of the U.S. National Whitewater Center’s biggest events of the year. Be sure to explore the Vendor Villages to see new products and demo top-of-the-line outdoor gear.
When: April 24-26, 2020
16. Queen’s Cup Steeplechase
Dress to the nine’s at this sporting and social event just 45 minutes outside of Uptown Charlotte. Activities during the day range from horse racing to a hat contest to a tailgating contest.
When: April 25, 2020
17. Wells Fargo Championship
Celebrating its 18th year, the Wells Fargo Championship is one of the largest, most prestigious golfing events in the state. Practice your golf clap as legends like Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler make history at the Quail Hollow Club.
When: April 27-May 3, 2020
18. 2020 Cinco de Mayo Festival
This festival, hosted by Norsan Media, honors the Spanish holiday that commemorates the date of the Mexican army 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. Cultural dance presentations and regional Mexican live music give this free festival a fun flare.
When: May 17, 2020
19. 2020 ACC Baseball Championship
For the first time since 2001, the ACC Baseball Championship will return to the Charlotte region. BB&T Ballpark, home of the Charlotte Knights, will host a full week of exciting games and fans from around the country.
When: May 19-24, 2020
20. Circle K Speed Street and 600 Festival
Each day starting at noon, the Circle K Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola will be rocking the streets of Charlotte with live entertainment, access to racing’s brightest stars, kid-friendly activities and fast-paced fun for the whole family. Pack up your crew and see the exciting updates for this year’s 26th season.
When: May 21-23
21. Water Lantern Festival at Symphony Park
Join family, friends and fellow community members for this magical night of light. Check out local vendors, grab a bite at one of the food trucks and customize your own floating lantern. Then snag a spot to watch the water reflecting thousands of lanterns illuminated with messages of life and love.
When: May 23, 2020
22. Memorial Day Oyster Fest at NoDa Company Store
Kick off the holiday weekend with a good time. Oysters Carolina will have the grill cranked up on the back patio for $2 signature chargrilled oysters. Even better, there’s no limit. So come hungry!
When: May 23, 2020
23. Around the Crown 10K
Feel like royalty as you run your way around the Queen City. The course consists of a 5K on Charlotte’s major inner loop I-277 and a 5K through Uptown. The views are breathtaking, and the route offers a unique perspective of the city that will keep you pounding the pavement from the start line to the after party.
When: May 31, 2020
24. Taste of Charlotte
Enjoy more than 100 samples from local tastemakers during this three-day festival in the heart of Uptown. Taste of Charlotte is held along Tryon Street from Stonewall to 5th Street with six blocks of food and fun. During the weekend, there’s even a Race to the Taste 5K and 1 Mile Cupcake Fun Run. It’s all about balance, right?
When: June 5-7, 2020
25. Sing along to “Hey Ho” with the Lumineers on May 29, have a “Cheeseburger in Paradise” with Jimmy Buffett on April 25 or get a little “Chicken Fried” with the Zac Brown Band on June 5 at PNC Music Pavilion’s world-class outdoor music venue.
26. Plan the perfect picnic by packing up a basket with provisions from Earl’s Grocery, The People’s Market or Rhino Market & Deli, throwing out a blanket and enjoying your feast at one of Charlotte's beautiful parks.
27. For more outdoor explorations, conquer this bucket list of “Best Places to Enjoy the Outdoors in Charlotte.” From play dates and people watching to making waves on the waterfront, these Queen City parks and preserves are a breath of fresh air for everyone.
28. Spring into action and learn something new at a Skillpop class. Topics range from hand lettering and hip hop to meditation and marketing. These pop-up classes taught by local professionals present bite-sized info to help you kickstart your passion.
29. Take in the thrills of the region’s premier amusement park, just a 20-minute drive from Uptown Charlotte. Carowinds straddles the borders of North and South Carolinas and is home to some record-breaking coasters such as Fury 325 (the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster) or Copperhead Strike (the Carolinas’ first double-launch roller coaster.)
30. Shop local and eat fresh by visiting one of Charlotte’s community farmers markets. The Charlotte Regional Farmers Market is one of four markets owned by the state of North Carolina and operated by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The NoDa Farmers Market is located in NoDa Company Store and encourages a “growers only” approach, meaning there’s a direct connection between the consumer and the farmer. For live bands, local coffee and unique baked goods, visit the Matthews Community Farmers Market. You may catch some of Charlotte’s well-known chefs and food bloggers if you go early.
31. Run it out and reward yourself with a beer. Charlotte running clubs aren’t all about beer, but it doesn’t hurt to have a little motivation, right? Check out local events to meet up with fellow runners through Work For Your Beer and Charlotte Running Club.
32. Embark on a Queen City Instagram photo hunt. Snap a pic of your Pepperbox Doughnuts by the Confetti Hearts Wall in South End. Take flight on the Magic Carpet Mural on the Charlotte Rail Trail. Pose like royalty under the crown at Queen Park Social. And wrap up your evening by getting a sunset shot of the city’s skyline at a Charlotte Knights game at BB&T Ballpark.
33. Take time to stop and smell the roses at the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens, which dates back to 1966 and features 10 acres of breathtaking outdoor beauty. Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden boasts sparkling fountains, plentiful nature trails and a conservatory that would make any orchid lover swoon.
34. Take a hike to the top of the area’s tallest peak at Crowders Mountain State Park. The 25-mile views of the surrounding Piedmont will make the destination as memorable as the journey.
35. Work on your backstroke at Topgolf, where Dave & Buster’s meets a technology-run golf paradise. With three levels of 102 climate-controlled hitting bays across 65,000 square feet, a chef-driven menu and hand-crafted cocktails, Topgolf is top-notch fun for everyone. Don’t miss their weekly promos like half-price Tuesdays.
36. Honor racing icons and legends of the sport at NASCAR Hall of Fame. Since the doors first opened ten years ago, Glory Road has been the Hall’s main attraction. This year, Dale Earnhardt Jr. worked with the NASCAR Hall of Fame to curate a unique collection celebrating the champions and championship moments of the sport. As you take a stroll down “Dale Jr.: Glory Road Champions,” you’ll relive some of the most memorable races and championship seasons in NASCAR.
37. Create a self-guided beer tour at Charlotte’s best breweries. Enjoy a southern spring evening sipping on a Juicy Jay IPA at Legion Brewing’s stunning SouthPark location. Unwind with your crew in Free Range Brewing’s family-friendly atmosphere. Or head to The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s picturesque Biergarten to brush up on your cornhole and round out your spring nights.
38. Break the ice and explore the world of Antarctic dinosaurs at Discovery Place Science’s latest exhibit. On this icy adventure, you can take a virtual ride in a replica LC-130 aircraft as you fly over Antarctica and meet four new species of dinosaur, all discovered within the last 30 years. The epic expedition is on display through May 25.
39. Stay on pointe with Charlotte Ballet’s 50th anniversary celebration. The “50 Years of Dreaming” season honors past favorites and introduces new works to Charlotte audiences. From “The Most Incredible Thing” to “Cinderella,” you won’t want to miss these magical masterpieces.
40. Create your own custom candle at Paddywax Candle Bar. You and your friends each choose a vessel and fragrance, then go step by step through the candle pouring process. You can BYOB, but beer and wine are also available for purchase. Candles take about three hours to cool. While you wait, try the “Tommy’s Margarita” at Superica, or a scoop of “Gooey Butter Cake” at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.
41. Whip up a culinary creation or sharpen your knife skills with a cooking class at Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen. Their adult classes make cooking at home approachable and fun. Class options are refreshed often and designed to accommodate cooks at every skill level.
42. Put a grownup twist on your childhood memories of secret handshakes and high-up hideaways at Treehouse Vineyards. Three cozy treehouses are available for hourly and overnight rentals. Limited snacks are available for purchase, but you can stop by the nearby grocery store to stock up on your favorite snacks and pack your own picnic. If you’re not up for the full-on treehouse experience, take a day trip for one of their tastings, tours or seasonal events.
43. Opt for some retail therapy options in Charlotte. Grab an iced coffee and discover the latest trends at SouthPark Mall. Brunch with friends at Amelie’s French Bakery & Cafe then meander your way through Park Road Shopping Center. If you’re looking for today’s top deals, check out the stores at Charlotte Premium Outlets. Or explore one of the quaint boutiques at Ballantyne Village.
44. Unlock the wonder of creativity at ImaginOn, the youth destination with interactive experiences that challenge, inspire and excite young minds. This collaborative effort between the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Children’s Theatre of Charlotte is a 102,000-square-foot facility located in Uptown and visited by more than 300,000 people each year.
45. Get your dose of culture at one of Charlotte’s award-winning museums. Check out North Carolina’s oldest museum at The Mint Museum. Learn about the history of Charlotte and the New South at Levine Museum of the New South. Dive into African-American heritage at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. Or explore today’s art trends at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.