If you are one of the many people with a coveted travel bucket list, I’d bet that Charlotte North Carolina is not on that list. It’s never been on mine either! If it’s anything like mine, your list is more likely to have Chicago, Seattle, or Austin as top wish-list desintations in the US.
Even though Charlotte holds a special place in my heart (my first ‘real’ job was there, it’s where my husband and I met, and where two of our 3 of our kids were born), it took moving across the country to truly appreciate what the Queen City has to offer. And with so many things to do in Charlotte NC, I now find myself planning a weekend to all our favorite spots when we go back to visit friends and family.
If you’ve never really given much thought about what to do in Charotte, here are our top adventure spots and favorite family-friendly activities for this southeastern city:
There are a surprising number of museums in Charlotte that cover history, art, science, and sports.
Discovery Place has hands-on entertainment full of science- and nature-based lessons. Be sure to check the schedule for special events for a more unique experience.
Find works of art at both locations of The Mint Museum (one right in uptown and one just a short drive away). With so many family- and kid-friendly activities, the Mint Musuem is a great place for the kids to experience their first art museum.
Levine Museum of the New South this is one of my favorite museums. Walk this museum to learn about the rich history of the area.
Think you have what it takes to be a NASCAR tire changer? Test your skills at the NASCAR Hall of Fame! See race cars up close and learn about the history of the sport.
Historic Neighborhoods and Afternoons in the Park
Grab a picnic lunch, then head to Romare Bearden or Marshall Park. Or walk along the tree-lined streets of historic Fourth Ward, Elizabeth, NoDa, or Dilworth and stop at one of the many local eateries along the way. Our favorites are Alexander Michael’s in Fourth Ward and Amelie’s in NoDa (we have a weak spot for the salted caramel brownie at Amelie’s!).if you think #Charlotte doesn't have what it takes for a great #family #vacation, think again! Click To Tweet
Ride the Light Rail or the Trolleys
Get around town easily on the trolleys or on the Lynx Light Rail. The trolley is a great way to get around the streets of uptown – and is super fun for the kids. The light rail is an inexpensive option to get you across town quickly. We love to start off at 7th St. Station and head down to the shops and restaurants of South End.
Catch a Game (or a Race)
There is no shortage of sports in Charlotte North Carolina! Home to the Charlotte Hornets (NBA), Carolina Panthers (NFL), and the Charlotte Knights (minor league baseball), it always seems to be gameday in uptown Charlotte.
The Knights aren’t the only local team in town – we also love to watch Charlotte Checkers play minor league hockey.
Or, if you head a little farther out of town, you’ll find the hub of NASCAR in Concord and Mooresville (Race City USA), headquarters to many race teams. Since the big race weekends are only in May and October, make sure to check out other racing events at the track in Concord NC. The zMax Dragway and the Dirt Track at Charlotte both hold some really fun races, especially the World of Outlaws series!
…or a Broadway show
The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center has everything from Broadway shows to music and comedy. The Lion King, Wicked, and other Broadway favorites have all made a stop at the Blumenthal. Check the schedule for the many family-friendly events.sports, art & outdoor adventure - all part of action-packed family getaways in #Charlotte NC! Click To Tweet
Ready to venture out of Uptown?
Spend a Day at the US National Whitewater Center
If you need more ideas for what to do in Charlotte NC, the Whitewater Center just might be your answer. Raft on the man-made whitewater course or hop on for a ride on the zip line. Bike the trails or challengeyourself on the ropes course. There are so many outdoor activities at the Whitewater Center, it’s easy to spend a full day there. End the day with dinner at the on-site restaurant.
… or a day at Carowinds
This is the one we probably miss the most. This amusement park sits right on the NC and SC state line – and is big enough to pack in a lot of rides and activities, but small enough to cover it all in a day. Home to one of the biggest roller coaster drops in the US, the Fury 325 is a can’t miss ride for the bigger kids. Ride this roller coaster and you’ll cross state lines along your ride.
For younger ones, there is an entire Peanuts-themed area. Then take a break from the heat and head over to the water park! Everyone will love the variety at water park that has everything from shallow wading pools to belly-dropping water slides.
Finding adventure in those not-so-obvious spots can be a welcome change from the typical tourist areas. We’d love to add more of these off-the-radar areas to our bucket list – let us know your suggestions in the comments!