Charlotte offers many things to see and do in this throbbing part of North Carolina, from cool parks in the hub to outdoorsy fun in the outskirts. In the downtown area, which is called Uptown, you’re spoilt for choices with the many beautiful public parks where you can enjoy a picnic, relax, or get active.

    Whether it’s fishing from a lakeside beach, spending a day shopping and dining inside North Carolina’s biggest mall, walking down a hall honouring NASCAR greats, or even enjoying a local pastime of watching planes take off and land, Charlotte – the ‘Queen City’ – promises days filled with pleasure and inspiration.

    What are the best things to do in Charlotte?


    Amusement parks in Charlotte

    Enjoy more than a day of thrills

    • Families

    Charlotte’s amusement parks are all within only a half-hour drive of the town’s centre. There’s the major Carowinds, established back in 1973. The 407-acre theme park has different themed areas and includes numerous rollercoasters and family rides, as well as its huge Carolina Harbor waterpark.

    Other spots in Charlotte for family fun include the Mecklenburg County-run Ray's Splash Planet and the Funtasticks Charlotte aquatic complex, which has mini-golf and go-karts. For some bouncy indoor thrills, there are several trampoline parks around Charlotte such as Sky Zone, Big Air, and Adventure Air Sports.

    photo by nannersaurus (CC0 1.0) modified


    Ramsey Creek Park

    Swim and play at a lakeside beach

    • Families
    • Photo
    • Budget

    Head to Ramsey Creek Park for a fun day out on a lakeside beach that’s within a 30-minute drive north from Charlotte. This well-maintained recreational spot on the south-eastern shore of Lake Norman is a great place to swim, boat, fish, picnic, and play. When you’re done with your bait and tackle at the pier or volleying at the lakeside court, you can follow nature trails to further explore the lush surroundings.

    Ramsey Creek Park's admission applies for cars and walk-ins, and you might need to book in advance if you wish to use the lakeside picnic shelters. Lifeguards are on duty throughout the summer. It’s best to bring your own parasols since shaded areas on the beach can be limited. Also, weekdays and early mornings see lesser crowds.

    Location: 18441 Nantz Rd, Cornelius, NC 28031, USA

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 7.30 pm


    Mint Museum Uptown

    Admire the architecture and exhibits within

    • Families
    • History

    Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts in Charlotte is a top spot in town, where you can admire various international art exhibits and scheduled live performances. The museum is striking from the outside with its modern, polygonal architectural styling. Inside, there’s a total of 5 floors, with exhibits displayed on 4.

    Mint Museum Uptown also displays works of art collectives and contemporary art installations. Sometimes they’re accompanied by a film with mesmerising performance pieces. You can check out the museum’s free Wednesday nights, which usually includes lectures and live art performances. Mint Museum has 2 locations, with the other being the original building on Randolph Road.

    Location: Levine Center for the Arts, 500 South Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202, USA

    Open: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm, Wednesday and Friday from 11 am to 9 pm, Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 704-337-2000


    photo by Bz3rk (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    NASCAR Hall of Fame

    See legends of American auto racing history

    • Families
    • History
    • Photo

    NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte is a must-visit for fans of American stock-car racing, where the thrill of the race lives on through exhibits and rides. Even those not too acquainted to the sport can easily learn about the fandom and legacy of the drivers through action-packed docufilms shown in the 278-seater High Octane Theater. The 64-ft projection screen and surround sound system help immerse you in the heat of race day.

    The exhibition hall displays past and present-day stock cars while younger fans will love racing on the simulators. Head to the NASCAR themed café whenever you’re feeling peckish and check out the cool merch at the gift shop for that chequered flag-themed corner of your room back home.

    Location: 400 E M.L.K. Jr Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28202, USA

    Open: Monday and Wednesday–Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (closed on Tuesdays)

    Phone: +1 704-654-4400


    photo by James Willamor (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    SouthPark Mall

    Charlotte’s upscale shopping spot

    • Shoppers
    • Food

    SouthPark Mall is one of the go-to shopping destinations in Charlotte, located in the neighbourhood of the same name, about 15 minutes’ drive south of Uptown. The mall has many high-end brand stores among its tenants, the likes of Neiman Marcus, Louis Vuitton, and Tiffany, along with JCPenney.

    Families can spend a whole day here as it’s not just about shopping. There’s a fun play area that's free, together with a kids’ activities centre. Many dining outlets in SouthPark Mall also cater to families with kids. For moviegoers, Regal Cinemas Stadium 16 screens the latest releases and blockbusters.

    Location: 4400 Sharon Rd, Charlotte, NC 28211, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 10 am to 9 pm, Saturday from 9 am to 9 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +1 704-364-4411


    photo by HangingCurve (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Mint Museum Randolph

    The original location of the United States Mint

    • Families
    • History
    • Photo

    Mint Museum Randolph is the original location of the Mint Museum in Charlotte, once a branch of the United States Mint. It now collects, conserves, and exhibits important works from the world of art and design from all over the world.

    You can tour through numerous galleries and admire various art pieces from the ancient Americas, as well as a vast collection of ceramics and decorative arts from other continents. There’s a theatre where lectures and live art performances are often held. Past events include string quartets, storytelling, dance nights, and even workshops where you can create your own ceramic masterpieces.

    Location: 2730 Randolph Rd, Charlotte, NC 28207, USA

    Open: Tuesday and Thursday–Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm, Wednesday from 11 am to 9 pm, Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 704-337-2000


    photo by Expedia (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Bank of America Stadium

    Home of the Carolina Panthers

    • Families
    • Group

    The Bank of America Stadium is the home stadium of the Carolina Panthers, the American football team and pride of Charlotte. It’s where you can either watch an NFL game or tour the massive sporting facility to learn more about the team.

    Featuring a classic American bowl design,  the stadium was formerly known as Carolinas Stadium in 1994 and then as Ericsson Stadium in 1996. One thing every generation knows and loves about both the home team and stadium is Sir Purr, Carolina Panther’s mascot – when you don’t see him in the field during a game, you can take him home as a souvenir from the Carolina Panthers team store.

    Location: 800 S Mint St, Charlotte, NC 28202, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm (NFL season: Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm)

    Phone: +1 704-358-7000


    photo by HangingCurve (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Independence Park

    A green oasis in the heart of Charlotte

    • Families
    • Photo
    • Budget

    Independence Park offers a cool escape right in the heart of Charlotte with manicured gardens and a variety of areas for sports and recreation. As a family with kids, there are picnic tables available at one side of the park or you can easily choose a spot to lay down your picnic basket and let the little ones run freely.

    There’s ample space for a game of catch and there are basketball and volleyball courts on 2 sides of the park. You can follow a walking trail that leads you to a vast ‘reflecting’ pond, with a fountain in its centre and benches on its side, as well as a flower garden and a tiny waterfall feature. 

    Location: 300 Hawthorne Ln, Charlotte, NC 28204, USA

    Open: Daily from 7.30 am to 10.30 pm


    CLT Airport Overlook

    For the love of aviation

    • Families
    • Photo

    CLT Airport Overlook is one for both aviation enthusiasts and casual sightseers in Charlotte, offering a laidback green space for viewing aeroplanes land and take off. It’s a great alternative for those missing the Carolinas Aviation Museum (closed in 2019), which housed the fabled Miracle on the Hudson, a US Airways Flight 1549 plane.

    The overlook area has a row of benches lining the side of the airport’s runway. You can sit down and wait for the aircraft making their graceful flights. It can also serve as a simple yet pleasurable family outing in Charlotte. You can pack a picnic, drive down to Airport Overlook Drive, park by the roadside to admire the view from your car.

    Location: 7300 Airport Overlook Dr, Charlotte, NC 28208, USA

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 10.30 pm


    AvidXchange Music Factory

    For gigs, drinking, and dancing

    • Nightlife
    • Couples

    AvidXchange Music Factory is Charlotte’s main live entertainment and music complex. It has numerous venues within, alongside a variety of restaurants and bars. Some of the top spots at the complex, which itself was formerly known as the NC Music Factory, include Roc’s Jazz Bar, the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre, The Fillmore, The Underground, and The Comedy Zone.

    With so many different gig venues and dining options, AvidXchange Music Factory caters to different tastes in music. Feel like dancing the night away in Charlotte? There are many different clubs to choose from, too. La Revolucion is a spot for you to get down with Latin grooves and flamenco.

    Location: 1000 North Carolina Music Factory Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28206, USA

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +1 704-916-8970

    Ari Gunadi | Compulsive Traveller

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    Attractions and experiences recommended in our guides may be affected. Please check local guidance before you travel.

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