45 of the Hottest Things to Do this Summer
Summer is coming in hot. (It is the South, after all.) Make the most of the longer days and dive into all that the Queen City has to offer. From “Mint to Be” milkshakes to wicked wakeboarding, you won’t want to miss these Southern summer offerings.
by Amanda Lea Jun 14, 2021
Camp North End
Discover Camp North End, where the mix of activity is what makes it amazing.
Due to COVID-19, events may be cancelled or postponed. Please check individual event details for recent information.
1. Visit Camp North End Any Day of the Week
Check out the North End Farmers Market every Wednesday from 4-8 p.m., live music every Friday from 6-9 p.m., Immersive Van Gogh seven days a week through September, and look out for a few surprise pop-ups like Camp North Beach. While you’re there, enjoy 14 food and drink spots, 11 shops and art collectives, 50+ murals, and a total of 76 acres to explore.
2. The Charlotte Knights Annual WBT Skyshow at Truist Field
The largest fireworks show of the season returns. The Charlotte Knights light up the Queen City skyline after their game against Norfolk. The Knights will also be wearing military jerseys and the celebration will include recognition of those who have served or are currently serving.
When: July 4
From fried turkey legs and funnel cakes to caramel apples and carnival rides, there’s something for the whole family at this annual summer event.
When: July 1-11
Run and rally for the cancer community at the twentieth year of this annual event. You and your crew can do the Myers Park Booty Loop in person or participate in the “UnLooped” virtual experience.
When: July 30-31
On the last Sunday of each month, enjoy free admission to the Mint Museum Randolph – food trucks, live music and a cash bar on the front terrace top off the fun.
6. River Jam at the U.S. National Whitewater Center
Bands perform live in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river Thursday-Saturday evenings through September and at each of the Whitewater Center’s festivals. (Upcoming festivals include: the Fourth of July Celebration, the Labor Day Celebration and Flow Fest.)
Charlotte Pride invites the community to a citywide weekend of service and solidarity. The event is intended to highlight the community’s passion for giving back and supporting our neighbors. Be sure to check out the full list of 2021 Charlotte Pride events, including the Charlotte Pride Parade in October.
When: Aug. 21-22
Bank of America Stadium hosts The Duke’s Mayo Classic Doubleheader, featuring East Carolina University taking on Appalachian State University on Sept. 2, and University of Georgia facing #1 Clemson University on Sept. 4.
The festival features Hellenic cultural exhibits, authentic Greek cuisine and homemade pastries, entertainment, live music and dancing, wine tastings, art, shopping and more.
When: Sept. 9-12
The Matthews Alive Festival is a Labor Day weekend celebration dedicated to the support of local non-profit organizations. Have a full day of fun with the family by enjoying 20+ street food vendors, 160+ local artisans, carnival rides and concerts. All proceeds benefit local nonprofit organizations in the Matthews community.
When: Sept. 3-6
11. Catch a concert at one of Charlotte’s world-class music venues. Sway to Chris Stapleton at PNC Music Pavilion. Enjoy An Evening with Michael Buble in Concert at Spectrum Center. Or sing along with Brothers Osborne at Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre.
12. Summertime isn’t always sunny. If the weather has you down, brighten your day with some rainy day activities in Charlotte.
13. Check out the beautiful blooms at one of the Charlotte-area sunflower fields, like Bush-n-Vine Farm, Wise Acres Organic Farm or Carrigan Farms. (Note: Some farms offer “u-pick” weekends, but otherwise it’s best to leave the flowers on their stems so others can enjoy them throughout the season.)
14. Reflect and recharge with “Wellness Wednesdays” at Wing Haven. (8:00-10:00 a.m.; $5 for non-members.) The garden is especially peaceful in the morning hours which makes it the ideal setting for taking a quiet stroll or observing the wildlife from one of the garden’s benches. A self-guided meditation walk is also available.
16. Cultivate your creativity with some of Charlotte’s artsy offerings. Here are a few to get you started: Reasons to be Cheerful at SOCO Gallery (through August 7); Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition at The Paper Warehouse at Savona Mill (through July 31); Immersive Van Gogh at Camp North End (through Sept. 12).
17. Relax on the Catawba River by the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Take on stand-up paddle-boarding or flatwater kayaking with one of your friends. Then treat yourself to a cold brew while overlooking the world’s largest man-made whitewater river at the center.
18. Explore all that the Rail Trail has to offer. Start your morning off by devouring the Chicken N’ Biscuit from The Suffolk Punch. Continue the day by perusing the shops at Atherton Mill and Market. Snap a pic in front of the Instagram-worthy Confetti Hearts Wall, and wrap up with a tasty treat from Pepperbox Doughnuts.
19. Answer the call of the wild with a day trip to surrounding North Carolina towns, where exotic animals roam. Visit Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville, Tiger World in Rockwell, Zootastic Park of Lake Norman in Troutman or the Carolina Raptor Center in Huntersville.
20. Cool down with a cold treat from one of Charlotte's best ice cream shops. Try the Cookies by the Sea ice cream cone from Two Scoops Creamery, the Salted Oreo from Golden Cow Creamery, a frozen fruit bar from La Michoacana or a Mint to Be milkshake at Ninety’s Ice Cream and Sandwiches.
21. Spend a day out on Lake Norman and take up wakeboarding or wakesurfing lessons with Ride LKN. Whether you've tried either of these sports before or are new to the experience, owner Martin Cagle has been teaching both water sports for more than 12 years, making these personal sessions comfortable for all levels.
22. Become a Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden member and grab an easel to channel your inner Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe or Bob Ross all summer long.
23. Lace up your hiking shoes and climb to the top of Crowders Mountain. On a clear day, you can catch a glimpse of the Charlotte skyline.
28. Leash up your pup and follow along one of the trails in the CLT Trail Guide. Walk through NoDa, Uptown, South End and more. Pro tip: look out for the latest Charlotte street art you can find along your journey.
29. Live out your "Master Chef" fantasy and book a cooking class. Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen is a Queen City culinary staple where you can learn how to make fresh pasta, bake beignets, stir up some gumbo and more.
30. Go on a free public art tour throughout the city. From the Black Lives Matter mural Uptown (between 3rd and 4th Streets) to taking a picture in front of the Firebird
to Matthew Willey’s honey bee mural on the side of Flower Child in South End.
31. Treat yourself to a sweet from one of the delectable bakeries in Charlotte. Pair a salted caramel brownie with a vanilla iced coffee at Amelie’s French Bakery. Try a chocolate croissant with a caramel cold brew at Sunflour Baking Company. Or place an online order for a specialized cookie box delivery from Tiff’s Treats.
34. Spend a day supporting Black-owned businesses in Charlotte. Grab a coffee from Cynthia's Coffee Cup; get a manicure or pedicure at AlphaMale Nail Care; and end the day with Cajun cuisine from Freshwaters.
36. Plan a local getaway and treat yourself to one of Uptown Charlotte’s unique hotel experiences. From The Ivey’s Hotel Parisian-inspired rooms to luxurious pampering at the new Grand Bohemian Hotel Charlotte, these Queen City stays will give you the boost you need to feel refreshed and recharged.
37. Shop ‘til you drop. From outlet malls to chic boutiques, Charlotte’s retail options check all the boxes. Explore the Ultimate Charlotte Shopping Guide for the full run-down.
38. Take a tour of 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.
39. Charlotte is home to one of the most active and passionate disc golf communities in the country, with courses ranging from beginner-friendly to world championship caliber. Get out and play disc golf at any of the city's public parks, and then head to Another Round in NoDa, a disc golf shop and hangout spot that serves local beer.
40. Grab an iced coffee from Hex Coffee and check out the 45 murals on site at Camp North End. Or post up on the little beachy oasis between the Boileryard and Mount districts and pretend you’re in a tropical paradise. (Check the Camp North End Facebook page for updates on weekend offerings.)
41. Spend a day pampering yourself at a spa. Splurge for a full day of relaxation at the Ritz-Carlton in Uptown or find 30 minutes of bliss when you book a facial at Clean Your Dirty Face in SouthPark. Check out our full roundup of spas here.
42. Schedule a private swim party or add open swim days at The Quarry at Carrigan Farms to your calendar. Take a cool dip in the boulder-bordered water or paddle board, canoe or kayak along the currents. After working up an appetite, swing by their new Quarry Kitchen for favorites like the "Quarry Burger" and snow cones.
43. Sign up for a candle making workshop at Paddywax Candle Bar in South End. Choose your fragrance and vessel and let the experts walk you through the steps on pouring your own candle.
44. Dine on a dinner cruise and take on all the views with Queens Landing Sightseeing & Dinner Cruises. Enjoy a three-course chef crafted meal on Lady of the Lake, a 93-foot luxury yacht, or enjoy all the unique views of Lake Norman on the “Catawba Queen.”
45. Whether you’re here for just the weekend, or have been a local for years, anyone will enjoy hopping aboard one of Queen City Rides’ tours. Sign up for a City Tour and take a ride through North Carolina’s largest city on a guided tour of Charlotte’s history. Or sit back and relax on the Brewery Crawl Tour and enjoy three of the best breweries in Charlotte, all in different and unique neighborhoods.