Published by Christina Riley. Last Updated on February 15, 2024.
We’ve found quite a few things to do in Charlotte, otherwise known as North Carolina‘s “Queen City.” Now, the city’s skyline may seem intimidating at first, but once you settle in, you’ll find that Charlotte has something for everyone.
Even if you’ve been before, let’s take a look at why you need to spend a weekend in Charlotte, to at least get a feel for North Carolina’s largest city.
There are plenty of fun things to do in Charlotte, and we thought we’d break it down to appeal to people in search of something specific.
- Fun Facts About Charlotte
- When to Visit
- Where to Stay
- Seasonal Things to Do in Charlotte
- Things to Do in Charlotte
- Things to Do in Charlotte’s Surroundings
Fun Facts About Charlotte
Charlotte’s backstory is pretty cool and here are a few things you need to know. Before it was a massive city, the area was inhabited by Catawba Indians. Today’s Tryon and Trade Streets are two remnants of a prominent Native American path.
More recently, the city was part of America’s first gold rush, and Charlotte is still a place of wealth and commerce. Many financial institutions use Charlotte as their headquarters, so the capital that once flowed in and out of Charlotte is still very much here!
It is one of the country’s largest banking centers, with Wells Fargo and Bank of America headquarters in Charlotte.
When to Visit Charlotte
While some of the top Charlotte attractions do extend their hours during summer, this tends to be the busiest and hottest time of the year.
Heading to Queen City in the winter? No worries! It’s mild and snow is rare, but don’t count it out. Regardless, there are many winter days when Charlotte temps hit between 50–60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Where to Stay
Hilton Charlotte Center City
Uptown is really the best place to stay when visiting. One more reason to book at the Hilton is for their Stay in the City Package, which is a fantastic way to enjoy Uptown Charlotte!
The Dunhill Hotel
Not too far from the Hilton is the Dunhill Hotel, a charming boutique hotel packed with history and modern amenities. Check in to one of their 60 beautiful rooms, enjoy a meal at the Asbury, and revel in the luxury at Charlotte’s only historic boutique hotel.
Seasonal Things to Do in Charlotte
We love Charlotte throughout the year, but these are some fun attractions that are open or take place at specific times of the year:
- Green River Revival (March): We will cover the US Whitewater Center shortly (Spoiler Alert!) but one big event happening there that we must mention is the Green River Revival. This St. Patrick’s Day-themed event is a coloring of the river, a race, and party at the same time.
- Carowinds (March through January): Carowinds Amusement Park is the place to be when its gates open in March.
- Charlotte Knights (Spring and Summer): The Charlotte Knights of Triple-A Minor League Baseball play at Truist Ballpark, also in uptown. They get started in the spring and play through the end of summer.
- Carolina Panthers (Fall and Winter): The NFL’s Carolina Panthers home games may impact travel during the fall, but a trip to see them is another reason to visit Charlotte!
- Charlotte Hornets (Fall, Winter, and Spring): The Charlotte Hornets (NBA) play in the Spectrum Center in Uptown from October through April for the regular season. Hopefully, they’ll extend the season into the playoffs and make a run into summer!
- Charlotte Checkers (Fall, Winter, and Spring): The AHL’s Checkers play Minor League Hockey in Bojangles Coliseum, typically from October through April.
Year-Round Things to Do in Charlotte
Explore Family-Friendly Museums
Looking for fun weekend things to do in Charlotte with kids? ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center has two state-of-the-art theaters, a dedicated library space for kids 11 and under, four multi-use classrooms, a teen-only library, a multimedia production studio, and an interactive exhibit space.
It’s hard to mention things to do in Charlotte for families without mentioning Discovery Place Science. It’s one of multiple Discovery Place locations, but we wanted to focus on it because it appeals to the young and even the young at heart.
Just think about what fun you can have at an interactive science museum with an indoor rainforest!
The NASCAR Hall of Fame is also in Uptown and an excellent tribute to the history of stock car auto racing. NASCAR isn’t done here, as we’ll mention the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord and Cabarrus County in a bit.
We included Discovery Place Science and other Charlotte museums among the best in the state here.
The Arts: Get Your Culture Fix!
There are so many things to name for art lovers coming to Charlotte. You have to check out The Levine Center for the Arts, which includes the Gantt. It’s one amazing spot and an important place to learn about Black history in North Carolina, not just Charlotte.
Don’t forget about the street art and art galleries in NoDa, and join a Gallery Crawl in South End, for starters.
As you can see, the arts are alive and thriving in Queen City. Want to catch a show? Dress your best and catch a Broadway performance at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center or jam your night away at the Neighborhood Theatre.
Investigating the city’s paranormal scene is certainly one of the spookiest things to do in Charlotte. Join a Carolina History and Haunts tour and you’ll see just why.
One example is the Old Settlers’ Cemetery, which has some of the biggest scares on the Beyond the Grave Tour.
Charlotte Restaurants to Dig Into
The 7th Street Public Market is a perfect place to grab some lunch. Vendors change, so every visit to the market will be a new one! We even mentioned a couple of places there (Hazelnuts and Rico’s Acai) in our guide that covers restaurants in Charlotte.
Grab Dessert in Style
Sample Queen City’s Finest Dishes
And if you want to sample the Queen City’s (and North Carolina’s) finest cuisine in an afternoon? You can do that by joining a Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tour, which is one of the best things to do in Charlotte any weekend throughout the year!
NoDa and More: Charlotte Breweries
Craving a brew with your food? The kitchen and beer at NoDa’s Heist Brewery can quench that craving! Innovative beer and a menu that serves more than just your typical bar food, (Hello, Duck Confit Flatbread!) you’ll leave more than satisfied.
US National Whitewater Center
Another must-see outside of the city is the US National Whitewater Center, home to the world’s largest recirculating artificial whitewater river. The center is located on the raging Catawba River and has whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing, mountain biking, zip-lining, and hiking.
Got another favorite outdoor thing to do near Charlotte that you’d like to share? We’d love to know about it!
Ready to Enjoy these Things to Do in Charlotte?
Queen City really is a place for everyone. There are tons of fun weekend things to do in Charlotte and learn about while hanging out there.
Honestly, a couple of days simply isn’t enough, but It’s a great start and we hope you can enjoy your time there.
No matter how much you dedicate to this awesome city, have a great time and we look forward to hearing about what you did. If there’s something we should go back and explore more. We’re always itching for a return trip to Charlotte, so you may see us there!
Things to Do in Charlotte’s Surroundings
Get around Charlotte and explore even more ways to make the most out of your trip! Here are a few that we recommend.
Cabarrus County: Zoom Into It
If you’re wanting to get out of the city and explore the surrounding area, we recommend heading to Cabarrus County. There is always something going on at Charlotte Motor Speedway, so bring your cooler for tailgating before catching a race or a car show.
Are you visiting Charlotte with your family? An entire day of family fun can be found at the Great Wolf Lodge from the water park, spa, arcade, and bowling alley.
Uwharrie National Forest Hiking and More!
There’s also undisturbed evidence of early American Indians and settlers, but we come for the hiking and scenery, too. It’s also popular for ATVs, boating, and more fun throughout the year!
Morrow Mountain and Crowders Mountain State Parks
Nearby Morrow Mountain State Park is also fun, albeit much smaller than Uwharrie. You can hike or drive to the top for a nice view of the surrounding areas on clear days. Crowders Mountain State Park is a close 40-minute drive from uptown and also boasts 11 trails for you to explore.