Charlotte, the biggest city in North Carolina, is also known as the Queen City. Why? It’s because “Charlotte’s Got a Lot.”
Home to some of the big corporations in the US, such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and NASCAR, Charlotte is also a cultural hub with no shortage of good food, quality beer, excellent museums, and trendy music scene.
Charlotte is also a very green city, and there are lots of spaces where you can get back to nature, both within the city, or just a short drive away.
The biggest problem with Charlotte is that there is so much to do; you may find it difficult to know where to start. That’s precisely why we compiled this mini-guide to visiting Charlotte, featuring things to do, places to visit and where to eat and drink. We hope it helps you plan your next holiday in North Carolina!
Places to Visit & Things to Do
Probably the top place to visit in Charlotte is the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which celebrates the sport and its connection with the city. Charlotte has NASCAR’s secondary headquarters after Daytona, Florida.
After you thoroughly dive into the history, go to the Charlotte Motor Speedway for a race. There are also lots of great activities and attractions on the ground if you just want to explore.
Charlotte is also full of fascinating museums. Check out the Carolinas Aviation Museum, which celebrates the fact that North Carolina was the location of the very first flight. Learn about the area’s darker side at the Levine Museum of the New South, which looks at the region’s post-Civil War story.
For art, head to the Mint Museum and Bechtler Museum, or walk around the North of Davidson district, also known as NoDa, which is full of galleries and boutiques.
If you prefer performance arts, see what is happening at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, which always brings top shows to the city.
If you prefer to spend your time in nature, there is no shortage of options right in the city. Head to the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, or the McGill Rose Garden, which looks and smells delicious.
For a bit more adventure, you can visit the U.S. National Whitewater Center for some outdoor activities. You’ll find hiking, mountain biking, and, of course, whitewater rafting. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights from May through September, there are also River Jam outdoor concerts to enjoy.
If you have time to leave the city, Crowders Mountain is only a 45-minute drive, and it offers excellent hiking. Carowinds amusement park is also just outside the city and has 12 rollercoasters and a separate water park.
Finally, if shopping is on your list, there is no shortage of malls in Charlotte. Among the best are the Southpark Mall and Ballantyne Village, where you will find both big-name brands and boutiques. Antique hunters should head to the Waxhaw Historic District.
Where to Eat, Drink & Dance
Eating your way through Charlotte should always start with brunch, one of the city’s favorite meals. You won’t go wrong if you head to the Rhino Market, Common Market, or Earl’s Grocery.
Fenwick’s in Myers Park also does a great brunch, but it is a great place to visit any time of day. Foodies might also want to lunch at the 7th Street Public Market, where there are more than 40 stalls with delicacies to sample. Vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores alike will appreciate the very hearty plant-based dishes available at Fern, Flavor’s from the Garden.
For dinner, meat lovers will enjoy affordable steak and truffle chips at The Dunavant, or the array of perfectly smoked meats available at Sweet Lew’s BBQ. For a lighter meal, get wine and tapas at the Barcelona Wine Bar.
For a bit of celebrity dining, try Nellie’s Southern Kitchen in Downtown Belmont, which is owned by Kevin Jonas and his wife, Denise. Go for the novelty and stay for the food. For views, head to Hello, Sailor on the banks of Lake Norman, where you can dine with spectacular views.
Lovers of fine beer will also love Charlotte, as it is peppered with breweries making quality micro-brews. The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and Sycamore Brewing are both must-visits. If you are looking for something a bit trendier, try the Resident Culture Brewing Company and Divine Barrel Brewing.
If you prefer cocktails, try Soul Gastrolounge, Dot Dot Dot, or Crunkleton, a prohibition-era style speakeasy that serves cocktails inspired by the liquors of the era, including North Carolina brandy, which was prolific during the prohibition period.
Music & Dancing
When pre-drinks are done, and you are looking to dance, there is no shortage of options in Charlotte. For the trendy music scene, check out what is happening at the Spectrum Center, which often hosts big international acts. For a more local vibe, try Evening Muse, the Fillmore at the AvidxChange Music Factory, and the Neighborhood Theater.
If you just want to dance the night away, try The Forum, which has one of the best dance floors in the city but is less rowdy than a lot of venues. If you prefer it rowdy, then head over to Grand Central, a favorite for bachelor and bachelorette parties.
Where to Stay in Charlotte
One of the essential things to watch out for is where you want to stay when visiting Charlotte. The city boasts a wide range of accommodation options, from cozy bed and breakfasts, luxury hotels to modern self-catering apartments.
If you’re in the city on business or leisure vacation, you can stay in a beautiful apartment equipped with a wide range of amenities in Charlotte’s most accessible locations.
Need accommodation? You can book a memorable stay in one of our Charlotte apartments.
Getting Around Charlotte
It is easy to get around Charlotte as a visitor, even if you don’t have a car.
Light rail lines connect the city center with the surrounding suburbs. The LYNX Blue line connects with the southern suburbs and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the north. The Gold line then runs east to west.
There are bus services that can run you around the city center, but considering it rarely rains and the temperatures are comfortable most of the year, consider using one of the half a dozen bike-sharing services scattered throughout the city. Charlotte B-Cycle has more than 20 bike docks in the city, and there are also several dockless rental options.
For transfer to Charlotte Douglas International Airport, use the Sprinter Bus Service, which runs every 20 minutes and will only set you back $2.20.
You will also find the city well serviced by Uber, Lift, and many cab companies.