6 Fun Things to Do in Charlotte
Planning a trip or moving to Charlotte, NC? This North Carolina city has grown steadily from a small southern town into a city of nearly 1 million people, effectively becoming the 15th largest city in the country. In that time, the Queen City has also become a hub for art, entertainment, and delicious cuisine.
Today, Charlotte is a humming metropolis made up of 199 neighborhoods, spread across 300 miles, with nearly limitless opportunities for anyone looking to make a fresh start in a unique American city.
This is your guide for fun things to do in Charlotte, NC, pared down to a few favorites that most Charlotte locals agree make the city shine:
1. Visit the numerous parks in Charlotte
Spend a day in Freedom Park
As one of several Mecklenburg County parks, Freedom Park is 98 acres of public land, known by some as Charlotte’s Central Park. This beautiful locale boasts a handful of fun things to do in Charlotte, including:
- Four baseball fields
- Twelve tennis courts
- A seven-acre lake
- Four soccer fields
- Several walking trails and paths
The park is the perfect place to spend a morning or afternoon amongst nature. One of Freedom Park’s most notable features is its Master Gardener Demonstration Garden, a distinctly planted and unique fixture of Mother Nature. Gorgeous colors, native plants, and shady spaces make the Demonstration Garden a sight to appreciate for any nature lover.
Explore the Crowders Mountain State Park
Looking for an exciting outdoor adventure in the Charlotte area? The Crowders Mountain State Park is home to towering cliffs, rugged terrain, and amazing views of the Crowders Mountain. What’s more, this tourist attraction also features a visitor center with exhibits and interpretive programs. Other family fun activities you can do include:
- Rock climbing
- Guided tours
What’s more, exploring the mountain is free as long as you have your climbing permit. Plus, if you aren’t too keen on hiking or rock climbing, you can still get your blood pumping and enjoy the rides of Carowinds Amusement Park.
2. Get a taste of culture at the Mint Museum
With their slogan, “Art is for everyone,” there’s no reason to be intimidated by the world-class art at the Mint Museum. Charlotte is home to two separate locations for the Mint, each housing unique art pieces and hosting site-specific programming.
Mint Museum Randolf
As North Carolina’s first art museum, the Mint Museum Randolf was opened in 1936 in the former U.S. Mint building. Today, this Charlotte museum itself pays homage to its history by housing gold coins and assemblage pieces made during the Mint’s operations.
When visiting the Mint Museum Randolf, you can check out:
- The Reference Library: 18,000 volumes of books are housed in the Mint Randolf. As part of a special collection, some of the books date back to the 17th century and include historical texts, art books, and first editions, which are all exhibited on a rotating basis.
- Art of the Ancient Americas: With work spanning 4,300 years, the Art of the Ancient Americas collection is a massive undertaking that includes two galleries within the Mint Randolf. The collection explores the societies that created them through an anthropological and archeological lens.
- The Mint Park: With a front lawn covered in green grass, manicured shrubbery, and local botany, the park adjacent to the museum is the perfect spot to rest after a day at the museum.
The Mint Uptown
This five-story monolith in the heart of North Carolina is a spectacle of modern architecture, designed by Machado and Silvetti Associates. With multiple galleries, studios, theatres, and an auditorium, the Mint Uptown is a vast cultural complex.
Some of this Charlotte museum’s most notable exhibits include:
- Modern and contemporary: Paintings, sculptures, installations, and digital art are just some of the mediums featured in this collection of 20th- and 21st-century masterpieces. A diverse range of artists are represented and exhibited, with a focus on global significance.
- Craft and design: If you’re interested in textiles, jewelry, furniture, or other crafts, the Mint Uptown offers an unprecedented selection that has been exhibited for more than 20 years. Now focused on collecting craft and design work from the 21st century, this collection could be particularly intriguing to the amateur or professional designer.
- American art: A collection of work spanning the Colonial Era to the end of World War II, you can find landscapes, portraits, sculptures, and photographs created by American masters. The collection is a must-see for those interested in taking a step back in time and exploring an epoch in American history.
With a single ticket, you’ll have access to both museums for two days, so you don’t have to feel rushed while you experience some of the best art in the country. They also offer guided tours around the museum.
3. Jump into Charlotte’s nightlife
No matter how you choose to spend your day, every evening in Charlotte is an opportunity for ample fun. Nightlife in Charlotte can mean dancing at a local club, seeing live music, or even viewing a show. Get to know your entertainment options so you can take full advantage once you’re in the Queen city.
If you’re ready to bust a move in one of Charlotte’s most premier dancing venues, take a peek at these top spots:
- Roxbury: Two-stories of retro fun, Roxbury is an ‘80s/’90s-style retro club playing all the throwback hits you may or may not remember. The club also contains a retro game room, a popular patio, and VIP options to make any night an event to remember.
- Tequila House: If you’re looking for a massive club experience, you can’t go wrong with Tequila House. A Latin-inspired dance club with three floors and five DJs every night, Tequila house is an international party experience with music options catered to many tastes.
- Lynn’s Dance Club: If you’re looking for something a little more old school, check out Lynn’s Dance Club, where you can dance swing or shag style to a number of live bands and DJs. With throw-back dancing lessons, Lynn’s could make for a very interesting night out if you’re looking to get in touch with your inner boogie-woogie.
Are you more interested in stepping back and watching a few folks rock out? Charlotte is home to several live music venues that host local and national acts regularly, including:
- Petra’s Bar: To see some of Charlotte’s talent, swing by Petra’s Bar any day of the week. With a packed calendar of local acts—from jazz to rock to theatre—there’s always entertainment to be had at Petra’s. You can even perform yourself if you show up on their karaoke night—now that’s entertainment.
- The Fillmore: Since 2009, The Filmore has hosted some of the biggest international acts to come through Charlotte. With standing room and stadium seating, you’ll have a great view of the act no matter where you are.
- The Underground: Affiliated with The Fillmore, The Underground is a venue for smaller national acts building their name. The Underground is an intimate venue that hosts a variety of acts in every genre.
4. Explore the culinary scene
Charlotte dining can range from greasy to gourmet—it just depends on what you’re in the mood for. Here are a few local favorites for every occasion:
- The Asbury: Located at the Dunhill Hotel, The Asbury is southern cuisine at its finest. With several menus from brunch to dinner, you can look forward to menu items like pan-roasted salmon and banana pudding pancakes, which can each be enjoyed in an elegant atmosphere.
- Mama Ricotta’s: Mama Ricotta’s has been serving up traditional Italian dishes for metropolitan Charlotte for nearly 30 years. Its menu is loaded with classics like chicken parmesan and veal marsala, plus pizzas, pasta, and mouth-watering desserts.
- The Fig Tree: Since 2005, The Fig Tree has made a name for itself with its creativity and unique culinary choices. French and Italian-inspired, the eatery offers its takes on classic seafood and modern classics like stilton-crusted filet mignon.
Charlotte is the perfect town for a foodie—there’s always a new dish to try, a new restaurant to enjoy, and another savory adventure to embark on. If you have a dog, there are also several dog-friendly restaurants in Charlotte.
5. Take in Charlotte’s best events
Local arts, sidewalk festivals, and city events are a regular occurrence in Charlotte. You may even find yourself stumbling into one without having even known about it. If you’re on the lookout for some fun events to explore, check out the following:
- Charlotte Pride: From August through November, Charlotte celebrates several intersectional pride events throughout the city. Events like the drag pageant, pride concerts, and The Queen City’s Annual LGBTQ Film Festival are fun and free to join in on.
- Oktoberfest: Charlotte celebrates this German holiday with local beers, charity drives, and plenty of unique local vendors. Oktoberfest takes place in September and can be a perfect way to spend a weekend toasting with some of your neighbors.
- Charlotte Jazz Festival: At the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Charlotte celebrates its annual Jazz Festival, with local and international superstars alike. The Charlotte Jazz Festival is a unique event for the community, offering a week of free jazz concerts and special ticketed events.
There are city-wide and neighborhood-specific events happening nearly every week in Charlotte. The best way to stay in the know is by going out and exploring the city to see what it has to offer.
Start exploring Charlotte with Landing
Are you moving to Charlotte, NC? The city has a surplus of fun activities and eateries that are bound to make your stay in Charlotte an exciting one. As you build your itinerary and start packing, you won’t have to worry about where to live in Charlotte, NC. Find your new home with ease and convenience with Landing.
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