Signature Sights Visitors Won't Want to Miss
Dozens of people move to Charlotte every day because it’s a great place to live and visit. Whether you’re here for a few days, a week or longer, we’re highlighting some of the city’s crown jewels that are a must-see while you’re in town.
by Michelle Boudin Jan 27, 2020
Discovery Place is one of the top hands-on science museums in the country and features Charlotte’s only indoor rain forest, multiple aquariums with live species and the biggest IMAX screen in the state. Get messy in the makerspace, figure out how things work in the Think It Up exhibit and unleash your inner architect in the Project Build exhibit. Discover something new here.
NASCAR Hall of Fame’s signature exhibit Glory Road was recently updated and carefully curated by Dale Jr. himself. The legendary driver hand-picked 18 premier series championship cars you’ll see on display. Once you’re done oohing and ahhing over the iconic cars, you can build your own race car at the virtual painting booth, try your hand at calling a race and learn about your favorite inductees through an interactive touchscreen at the Hall of Honor Directory. Your high-octane adventure starts here.
Tryon Street in Uptown is home to not one, not two, but three of the region’s most revered art museums – all just feet apart. The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art features mid-20th-century modern art – from notables like Warhol and Hepworth. (Don’t forget to take an Instagram-worthy pic of the massive mirrored Firebird sculpture at the museum’s plaza.) Right next door, you’ll find the Mint Museum Uptown, which is home to contemporary American and European collections. Across the street, visit the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+ Culture, which celebrates the art, culture and history of African Americans. Pro tip: You can purchase a $20 Access Ticket, which grants you 48-hour access to all three museums.
Neighborhood: South Charlotte
This popular amusement park – situated in both North and South Carolina – is just a 20-minute drive from Uptown Charlotte. (Look out for the drawn line inside the park where you can snap a quick picture standing in both states at once.) The park is home to 14 world-class roller coasters including the Fury 325 (the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster) and the Copperhead Strike (a double-launch coaster meaning you “take off” twice during the ride). Be sure to save plenty of time for the 6-acre water park – the perfect way to cool off during the summer. Explore all of the endless options here.
Neighborhood: West Charlotte
The U.S. National Whitewater Center is home to the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Adventure seekers will love the chance to ride the rapids (where Olympic athletes actually train), go ziplining, kayaking, rock climbing or hit the ropes course. But even people who prefer the calm of the outdoors will find plenty to love here. Check out the miles of trails for walking, hiking or bike riding, or take in the sights and sounds of the outdoor facility at River Jam, a free outdoor concert series. Start your outdoor adventure here.
Over the last decade, the Queen City has become home to more than 60 breweries in the area. Some of the first breweries that opened in Charlotte include Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and NoDa Brewing Company. Newer breweries that have popped up recently include Charlotte Beer Garden and Fonta Flora.
Once voted the number one tourist attraction in the state, Concord Mills mall offers 200 outlet and retail stores and an added bonus: a mini aquarium. Another popular outlet mall is Charlotte Premium Outlets, which features 100 fashion brands. For upscale shopping, head to SouthPark Mall, which is home to high-end retailers like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. When it comes to locally owned boutiques, check out Paper Skyscraper, an award-winning gift shop a few miles from Uptown, or grab a locally handcrafted and curated goods from CLT Find in 7th Street Public Market.