26 Special & Fun Things to Do in Charlotte, NC | 2024 (with Photos)

Marvellous Oyebanjo

Marvellous Oyebanjo - Travel Writer

Last Updated: March 8, 2024

Hey there! I'm Marvellous, and I'm thrilled to share with you a collection of the most special and fun activities to explore in Charlotte, NC. From my personal adventures, I've discovered countless amazing things to do in this vibrant city, ensuring you have a memorable time. Enjoy planning ahead and have an incredible experience!

Charlotte, NC

With so many things to do in Charlotte, NC, it can be tough to decide where to go in this vibrant city. There is ample opportunity for family-friendly fun in Charlotte, NC.

There are activities for children and adults alike, from Discovery Place to the modern art museum and live music. Nature lovers can enjoy nature trails and lakes in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Suffice it to say, there is something in Charlotte for everyone. So, let's dive into this list of 26 things to do in Charlotte, NC by the Travel-Lingual team, so you can start planning your trip.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Visit The NASCAR Hall of Fame

Top Choice Hotel

Ritz-Carlton Charlotte

Our Top Choice Restaurant

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

Best Time to Visit

Spring and fall offer mild weather for exploring.

Average Temperature

Charlotte, United States: Generally warm with mild winters.

Transportation Options

Car, bus, light rail, bike, scooter, walking, rideshare.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

Stroll through the bustling streets of the vibrant Uptown area, where you can indulge in delicious Southern cuisine and experience the city's rich history by visiting the Mint Museum or the Levine Museum of the New South. For a peaceful escape, take a leisurely walk along the tranquil paths at Freedom Park, admiring the blooming flowers and serene lake.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene that Charlotte has to offer, by catching a live performance at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center or exploring the fascinating exhibits at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Comfortable walking shoes
  2. Lightweight clothing for warm weather
  3. Sunscreen and sunglasses

What Not to Miss

  1. The NASCAR Hall of Fame
  2. Discovery Place Science
  3. Freedom Park
  4. Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
  5. Carowinds amusement park

What to Avoid

  1. Rush hour traffic
  2. High crime areas
  3. Overpriced tourist traps

1. Have a Relaxing Day at Freedom Park

Freedom Park, Charlotte

North Carolina's Freedom Park is the perfect place to take kids or as a fun date spot on a sunny day. With all the paved trails and grass fields, it's the perfect place for a picnic

Freedom Park has the Discovery Place Museum, a 7-acre lake, and a big old steam engine right in the middle of the park.

Children can even get in the steam engine and pretend to drive it. Unfortunately, children can no longer climb on top of the steam engine, but it is still one the best Charlotte attractions for children.

2. Take the Children to Discovery Place Museum

Discovery Place Museum, Charlotte

The Discovery Place museums feature interactive exhibits for all ages. There are a few Discovery Place museums in Charlotte, each with a different theme.

Discovery Place Uptown focuses on science and technology. The museum was built at the height of the space race, so it has many exhibits relating to rockets and space.

Discovery Place Nature (formerly known as Charlotte Nature Museum) is right next to Freedom Park. As the name suggests this museum focuses more on the natural world. This is the perfect place to go right after a day in Freedom Park.

3. Smell the Flowers at Wing Haven Garden and Bird Sanctuary

Wing Haven Garden and Bird Sanctuary

Welcome to the most beautiful flower gardens in the Carolinas.

The Wing Haven Garden and Bird Sanctuary is home to many different kinds of wildlife. The most common types of birds at the sanctuary are songbirds, making the Wing Haven Gardens a natural music center in Charlotte.

The Elizabeth Lawrence House now has such a variety of plants that something is in bloom at every time of the year. This garden attracts many different kinds of butterflies as well.

Don't forget to take a peek at the Children's Garden nearby as well. Wing Haven Gardens provides educational programs with information about birds and backyard gardening. Children's Garden has many edible plants as a part of the educational programs.

4. Explore Uptown Charlotte

Uptown Charlotte

Uptown Charlotte is actually downtown Charlotte, and the cultural heart of Charlotte, North Carolina. You can have a bite to eat at one of the many food trucks of Charlotte, NC, visit the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art or

From the Levine Museum to the Mint Museum Uptown, you will never run out of modern and contemporary art to see. Most of the most popular Charlotte attractions are found in this area.

Uptown Charlotte is where anyone visiting Charlotte will spend most of their time. So, you might want to book a hotel in this area.

5. The Levine Museum of the New South

The Levine Museum of the New South

The Levine Museum of the New South is great for any history nuts out there. The “New South” refers to a promise of a reformed South following the events of the American Civil War.

While the subject matter can be difficult at times, it is important to remember history and appreciate the African American arts.

You can also marvel at the antique furniture on display and how Charlotte, NC, has changed since the war from a land of cotton to a more cosmopolitan area.

6. Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts and Culture

Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts and Culture

Just a short walk from the Levine Museum of the New South lies the Levine Center, which is home to the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts and Culture, among other museums and art galleries.

The Center for African American Arts and Culture is a must-see for any Charlotte museum-goers. You can marvel at galleries of contemporary art by African American artists from the area through the years.

7. The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is next on the tour of the Levine Center of the Arts. The Bechtler Museum features modern art from famous artists like Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso.

While the different art styles are fascinating, the museum's true beauty lies in its architecture. This museum was designed by the world-famous architect, Mario Botta.

Mario Botta's design makes the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art easy to find because the fourth floor extends out from the rest of the structure.

8. View Contemporary Art at Mint Museum Uptown

Mint Museum Uptown

The Mint Museum is North Carolina's first art museum and now has two locations. The Mint Museum Uptown is in the Levine Center, making it an easy transition from the Bechtler Museum. This art museum holds different styles of art from Picasso to modern fashion.

The Mint Museum's uptown location also holds the Lewis Family Gallery, an interactive art experience for all ages.

The Mint Museum Randolph has a bit more space to breathe and is a quick trip from Randolph Road Park. This makes it a prime location for any more outdoorsy among you. Visit either Mint Museum, or both, to check out a history of art and design.

9. The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center

Blumenthal Performing Arts Center

Located on Tryon St in downtown Charlotte, this is the perfect central location to celebrate the arts in Charlotte, NC. The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center is home to three theaters.

The Belk Theater is the place to go for our more musically inclined tourists. From live music to operas and plays, the Belk theater does it all. Explore the other two theaters at the center as well; the Stage Door Theater and Booth Playhouse.

Tourists looking for cultural things to do in Charlotte, NC will be delighted by the range of shows and the huge amount of talent at this performing arts center.

10. Visit Charlotte, North Carolina's NASCAR Hall of Fame

NASCAR Hall of Fame

Back in uptown Charlotte you can see the famous North Carolina NASCAR Hall of Fame. It is perfect for car lovers. This NASCAR Hall of Fame only opened up in 2010.

The Glory Road on the second floor shows 19 different cars that reflect the past 75 years of racing history.

Charlotte is home to many NASCAR teams and commentators making it the ideal location for the Hall of Fame. As a recently built structure, it houses modern technology like racing simulators.

11. Feel the Speed at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Charlotte Motor Speedway

When you are done with the NASCAR Hall of Fame, consider going directly where all the racing magic happens in Charlotte, the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The Charlotte Motor Speedway has it all: NASCAR, drag races, and endurance series. Even if you have never seen a race, it is worth experiencing it at least once to feel the pavement rumble under your feet.

Make sure to catch the live music and food trucks before the races start. Also, be sure to bring some earplugs because those cars are loud.

12. See the Carolina Panthers at America Stadium

America Stadium, Charlotte

Both North and South Carolina lay claim to the football team the Carolina Panthers football team. Their home field, America Stadium, is worth seeing even if there isn't a game happening.

If there is a game on, make sure to get there early for all the tailgating fun. This is one of the most authentic and local things to do in Charlotte, NC.

It is easy to arrange a tour any day of the week and if it's during football season, there are even local food vendors sometimes.

13. Visit the Billy Graham Library

The Billy Graham Library

The Billy Graham Library is perfect for learning the religious history of Charlotte, North Carolina. The library explores the life and ministry of Evangelist Billy Graham.

Regardless of your personal belief system, this is a fascinating place to visit. Moreover, the architecture and beauty of the Billy Graham Library are worth seeing in their own right.

On a hot summer's day, this is one of the better things to do in Charlotte, NC to escape the midday heat.

14. See the Sleepy Poet Antique Mall

Sleepy Poet Antique Mall

This is one for antique lovers. There is no better place in Charlotte, NC than the Sleepy Poet Antique Mall for finding antique gems. If you want to expand your record collection or find a good souvenir to bring back home, check out this antique hall.

This sprawling mall boasts numerous treasures, various nooks and crannies, and a host of hidden gems to discover.

15. River Activities at the National Whitewater Center

National Whitewater Center

If you are looking for more outdoor fun, the National Whitewater Center is the place to go for any adrenaline seeker.

The center is a great place for river activities like rafting and kayaking. And if you are not into water sports, the National Whitewater Center has equipment for rock climbing and more on-land fun.

The National Whitewater Center even has a ropes course. So whether you are on the water, climbing, or hiking, you are sure to have a great time at this adventurer’s paradise.

16. Go Fishing in Lake Wylie

Lake Wylie

To the South of the Charlotte Airport, right on the South Carolina and North Carolina border, lies Lake Wylie.

This is the perfect place to go boating or fishing. If you need a boat rental or fishing equipment there are plenty of places along the coast.

Also, feel free to relax on the sand. The lake is suitable for swimming so bring those swimsuits with you. This is one of the most popular things to do in Charlotte, NC for families with kids.

17. Boating Fun in Lake Norman

Lake Norman

There is another beautiful big lake in the area, Lake Norman. East of Lake Wylie, this lake has many of the same activities, along with loads of hiking and biking.

Rent yourself a boat for the day and leisurely have some drinks or spend the day water skiing and wakeboarding on Lake Norman.

With so much to do at Lake Norman, you will never grow bored. Just make sure to check a weather report beforehand.

18. Smell the Flowers in the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

If you are looking for more things to do in Charlotte, NC, that put you in touch with nature, you should check out the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. This botanical garden is on the North Carolina lakefront property.

The garden features plants and flowers native to the North Carolina Piedmont area, as well as hiking trails and fountains. Perhaps the most beautiful part of it all is the Orchid Conservatory.

19. Camping, Hiking, and Fishing in the Mcdowell Nature Center

Mcdowell Nature Center

The McDowell Nature Center is the best place to see more underdeveloped nature. Sporting a campground, a beautiful lake, and loads of trails, this is the best place to stay for an overnight adventure.

Unfortunately, swimming is not allowed in the water preserves at the McDowell Nature Center, but you can still do some kayaking and fishing. If you must swim, McDowell Nature Preserve is only a short way away from Lake Wylie.

20. See the Revolutionary Times during the Charlotte Liberty Walk

Charlotte Liberty Walk

The Charlotte Liberty Walk will take you past some of the most historic buildings from Revolutionary times. There are 15 markers throughout the Charlotte Liberty Walk that explain some of Charlotte's history.

This is a fascinating way to learn Revolutionary War history because you will be standing right where events transpired. Just imagine standing next to Washington himself.

21. A Long Walk on Little Sugar Creek Greenway

Little Sugar Creek Greenway

The Little Sugar Creek Greenway is a 19-mile walk from Cordelia Park in North Charlotte to the South and North Carolina border.

Choose which section of the walk you want to experience and don't forget your water bottles. This path makes for a great walking tour of Charlotte, NC.

The walk goes right through many of the other attractions on this list such as the Uptown area and Freedom Park. If you are in the mood for some exercise as you tour Charlotte, this is the way to do it.

22. Escape the Sun at Carolina Harbor Water Park

Carolina Harbor Water Park

Every good city needs a great theme park and Charlotte, North Carolina is no exception. The Carolina Harbor Water Park is a great place to bring children and get out of the sun.

With some great family attractions like the Boogie Board Racer and the three-acre kid's area, this water park is a great place for the whole family.

23. Channel Ghosts on a Haunted Walking Tour

Haunted Walking Tour

If you're in the mood for spooky fun, Charlotte's haunted walking tours can take you on a grisly adventure. There are many different tours that explore some old revolutionary sites.

These tours can be a great way to see many of the historic sites at night. Many Charlotte attractions have a different feel in the dark than in the light of day.

One of these tours will take you to explore the haunted building in Queen City. Just be careful you don't meet any ghosts.

24. Go See the Polk State Historic Site

Polk State Historic Site

President James K. Polk, the 11th president of the United States, has a museum of his life in the form of the Polk State Historic Site.

More than just exploring the life of President Polk, this site also provides insight into the lifestyles of people living in early 19th-century North Carolina.

25. UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens and Dinosaurs

UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens and Dinosaurs

While the University of North Carolina is worth seeing in its own right, the true gem is its botanical gardens.

These gardens feature American and African desert plants and even some Carnivorous plants. Not to mention there are many different kinds of Orchids featured throughout the garden.

If you find yourself at the University of North Carolina, you should definitely swing by the botanical gardens there and see what they have to offer.

26. Visit the Sullenberger Aviation Center

Sullenberger Aviation Center

Finally, the Sullenberger Aviation Museum, formerly the Carolinas Aviation Museum, was renamed to honor Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger, the man who landed his plane on the Hudson River.

This museum is on the grounds of the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. This museum houses over 50 aircraft related to North Carolina's history.

With the museum so close to the airport, it is a great last stop before flying out of Charlotte.

FAQs Relating to Charlotte, NC

Let's look at some frequently asked questions about things to do in Charlotte, NC.

Is there anything fun to do in Charlotte, NC?

Yes, there are plenty of fun activities in Charlotte, North Carolina. From water sports to live car races and ghost tours, the opportunities for fun in this North Carolina hub are endless.

What is Charlotte, NC famous for?

Charlotte, NC is famous for the Charlotte Hornets NBA team and the Carolina Panthers NFL team, as well as the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

How do people spend 3 days in Charlotte, NC?

It is easy to spend 3 days in Charlotte, North Carolina. On day one, you can acquaint yourself with the downtown area, hit a Charlotte museum or two, and try some local cuisine. On day two, you can visit one of the lakes for some fishing and explore a botanical garden. Day three is for a Charlotte sports team and a day of tailgating fun.

Is Charlotte, NC worth visiting?

Yes, Charlotte, NC is worth visiting. This city is rich in attractions, beautiful nature spots, and sunny days. It is a great place for a family holiday in North Carolina.

Is Charlotte or Raleigh Better for Visiting?

There are many fun things to do in Raleigh if you prefer a slightly more laid-back atmosphere with a strong emphasis on arts and culture. On the other hand, if you enjoy a larger city with a vibrant downtown, sports culture, and a bustling business scene, Charlotte may be more appealing.

Summing Up: 26 Special & Fun Things to Do in Charlotte, NC

Charlotte, North Carolina is a beautiful place with a lot of historical significance to the US. It also serves as a hub for North Carolina, so you can meet all kinds of people there.

Uptown Charlotte is home to such delights as the Mint Museum, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and the Charlotte Nature Museum.

As well as the museums, visitors can try out various water sports, see a football match, and discover the beautiful nature on the outskirts of Charlotte.

So book your hotels, camping grounds, and paddle boards today, and head out to Charlotte, North Carolina.