45 of the Coolest Things to Do This Fall
As we say goodbye to summer, the whispers of pumpkin spice can be heard around the city.
by Amanda Lea Aug 21, 2020
Camp North End
This post is brought to you in partnership with Camp North End, Charlotte's hub for creativity and innovation.
As we say goodbye to another sticky Southern summer, locals and visitors alike will ‘fall’ in love with the Queen City’s autumn offerings. From outdoor yoga to feel-good apple picking, we have your ultimate checklist of Charlotte activities for the whole family.
All events and activities are subject to change.
3. Set your intention and head to the U.S. National Whitewater Center’s Flow Fest to find a variety of yoga practices and workshops that will invigorate any practice.
4. Choose your own biking adventure at Sustain Charlotte’s Biketoberfest. There will be new twists and turns this year to safely accommodate crowds but Sustain Charlotte will still be partnering with local businesses for a scavenger hunt and a chance to win raffle prizes.
5. Take a walk through the tranquil Botanical Gardens at UNC Charlotte, which dates back to 1966. You can pack a picnic, bring a book or just enjoy the sights and sounds in these 10 acres of outdoor beauty.
6. The Hola Charlotte Festival, the largest Hispanic Heritage event organized in Charlotte, highlights Latin American culture and all its richness. Get in the spirit of the festival with virtual salsa lessons from Rumbao Latin Dance Company, or order some fare with flair from Latin American favorites like Sabor Latin Street Grill or Los Paisas.
7. Get all the fall feels with festive events at Historic Rural Hill. The Amazing Maize Maze and annual Sheepdog Trials are local legends.
8. Host your own exclusive wine and cheese tasting with a little help from FEAST Food Tours. Livestream workshops lead guests through classic combinations and perfect pairings. Or get a “City Box” delivered from Taste Carolina Food Tours, a box filled with dishes and treats from five Uptown restaurants and shops.
9. Costume party or fun run? Why not both? Sign up for the Running Scared 5 Miler and Monster Mile and enjoy a scenic 5-mile race around Uptown Charlotte.
10. Lace up your running (or walking) shoes for the Novant Health Charlotte Marathon. There will be various race options to allow people to participate safely. Check the webpage for the latest race updates.
11. Keep the momentum going with other run and race options in Charlotte, like the OrthoCarolina 10k Classic or the U.S. National Whitewater Center Tread Nightly and Tread Brightly trail race.
12. Learn a new skill from literally anywhere. Sign up for virtual, expert-led sessions thanks to Skillpop Anywhere and master handlettering, bread baking, social media marketing and more.
13. Scope out the fall fashions at Charlotte Premium Outlets, the upscale outlet center that features a collection of fashion designers, luxury brands and name brand manufacturers. Refuel after a day of scoring deals and grab some takeout from one of the many nearby restaurants like 37 Sol or MOD Pizza.
14. The 26th annual Festival of India would typically be held in Uptown Charlotte with food vendors lining the streets offering popular Indian delicacies while music and performances captivate visitors of all ages and backgrounds. This year celebrate virtually by viewing an online exhibitwhich guides you through key facets of the Indian culture.
15. UNC Charlotte’s Annual International Festival is postponed until 2021, but you can still taste your way around the world without leaving town. Try Pio Pio for an array of Peruvian, Colombian and Spanish-inspired dishes. Or Mama Gee’s for fare that hails from West Africa. The 2021 UNC Charlotte International Festival will mark the 45th anniversary of this annual campus tradition.
16. You’ll have to hold off until 2021 to cruise through the Charlotte Auto Show at the Charlotte Convention Center. But new vehicle enthusiasts and shoppers can still check out Charlotte Auto Dealers online to view and shop for the car of your dreams.
17. Show your pup some love at Charlotte’s newest dog bar and park. Skiptown is a retreat for dogs and a hangout for their humans. With 24,000-square-feet of indoor space and 15,000-square-feet of outdoor space, there’s plenty of room to romp, roam and run.
18. Stroll along Charlotte’s vibrant Rail Trail, which winds through South End and Uptown Charlotte. Or take a seat on a bench along the trail to watch the city come alive around you. (Bonus points if you get a 1/4 Chicken Dinner from Price’s Chicken Coop for a picnic lunch.)
19. Create your own entertainment adventure with a variety of live events at one of Charlotte’s many venues. Although some events have been rescheduled for venues like Spectrum Center and Bojangles Entertainment Complex, keep an eye on the Music Yard and Hound's Drive-In Theatre. These spots have been hosting weekly drive-in concerts and movies that make it easy to social distance.
20. Step outside the beer scene and give your taste buds something new. Try “Across the Pond” cider at GoodRoad CiderWorks or “Queen City Common” cider at Red Clay Ciderworks. Or savor the flavors of fall with the “Sweet Potato Pie” kombucha at Lenny Boy Brewing Co.
23. BYOM (bring your own mat) to Good Karma Ranch and practice yoga in a peaceful pasture among alpacas. (Yes, you read that right – alpacas.) The 50-minute session will help you find your inner peace… or at least a sheepish smile. (Bonus: They also offer farm tours for the whole family.)
24. Take a walk on the wild side and explore 30 different species of live birds of prey at the Carolina Raptor Center.
25. Head to VBGB Beer Hall and Garden, one of the largest patios in Charlotte.
26. Host an Italian-inspired dinner date in your own cucina (Italian word for kitchen). Set the scene with a playlist featuring the swoon-worthy Dean Martin and serve up some fresh ravioli and a gourmet sauce from Pasta & Provisions. The final touch? A slice of tiramisu from Little Mama’s Italian. Buono!
27. Explore the city on two wheels with Charlotte NC Bike Tours. Pedal around Uptown and surrounding neighborhoods while learning about Charlotte’s rich history.
28. Walk, bike or stroller-jog on one of the city’s many greenways. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
29. Enjoy some fresh air with your fur pal while you quench your thirst at any of these dog-friendly bars and restaurants.
31. Hike to the top of Crowders Mountain State Park. The 25-mile views of the surrounding Piedmont and the breathtaking fall foliage will make the destination as memorable as the journey.
32. Pack a picnic and venture out to one of Charlotte’s gorgeous parks. Freedom Park in Myers Park and Romare Bearden Park in Uptown Charlotte each offer space to spread out and enjoy some fresh air. (link to Picnic blog)
33. Visit the largest known exposed boulders in Mecklenburg County at Big Rock Nature Preserve. This hidden South Charlotte gem also offers unique hiking trails and lots of space to explore.
34. Cruise up to Charlotte Motor Speedway for an unforgettable drive-in movie experience. Park in the infield in front of the 16,000 square foot high-definition television and watch a favorite flick come alive.
35. Put a spark back in science lessons with some virtual fun from Discovery Place Science. Activities and videos on the Stay-at-Home Science page continue to stoke curiosity and imagination even if kids can’t visit the museum in person.
36. Scare yourself silly. SCarowinds will return in 2021, but you can still get your spook on by making a haunted house of your own. Mix up a cauldron of witch’s brew and stream a spooky movie on Charlotte Film Society’s virtual screening room.
37. Kick off your holiday with floats and fun by watching the Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade in Uptown Charlotte. Bonus points if you curl up on the couch with a few hot chocolates from Amelie’s French Bakery & Café.
38. Take apple picking to the next level with Windy Hill Orchard & Cidery’s hard cider flight and apple cider doughnuts. They even have fire pits to keep you cozy when the evenings get a little crisp.
39. It’s not fall unless you mark several hayrides, corn mazes and pumpkin patches off your list. Not sure where to start? Try Hunter Farm, Hall Family Farm, Wise Acres Organic Farm and Aw Shucks for all the picking, playing and hay riding you can handle.
40. Whether you’re a football fan or just enjoy the mimosas, watching a Carolina Panthers game should definitely be on your fall to-do list. Be the real MVP and plan the perfect Panthers tailgate.
41. Keep your mental engine revving with hands-on exhibits through online education. The NASCAR Hall of Fame has combined educational experiences with SPARK! Education to provide STE(A)M-driven activities to give students from elementary school to high school the chance to apply lessons to real-world problem solving.
42. Become a member and spend the day exploring Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, Belmont’s 380-acre paradise. You’ll find spectacular blooms, sparkling fountains and a conservatory dedicated to displays of tropical plants and orchids.
43. Put your library card to use. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library offers virtual classes that cover everything from career development to family storytime. (Bonus: You can also use your card to borrow E-books and audiobooks so you don’t even have to leave your couch to knock out that reading list.)
44. Spend a day exploring the city while supporting Charlotte’s Black-owned businesses along the way. Be sure to try “the best crab cake in Charlotte” at LuLu’s Maryland Syle Chicken & Seafood and spoil yourself with a manicure at Top Coat Charlotte.
45. You don’t have to fly away to escape the daily grind. Pack your overnight bag for a decadent staycation in the Queen City. Escape reality the moment you walk into the Grand Bohemian Hotel Charlotte or Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel in Uptown Charlotte. Both offer breathtaking views of the city.