Nestled right on the North and South Carolina borders, Charlotte is an incredible city to visit. Not only is there a heap of the best things to do in Charlotte that are dotted all across the city, but it’s also within easy reach of some totally stunning spots. All just outside the city boundaries and well worth visiting for a day trip.
Not only that, Charlotte is a great port-of-call on a wider USA road trip. A perfect spot to include alongside; Knoxville, Nashville and onwards towards Memphis (in Tennessee), it’s a totally great drive (around 10-hours) which is amazing to explore over a few weeks.
So, to help you plan your trip (and get the most outta your time on the ground), I wanted to share some treasures you have to see in Charlotte. This way, you can really hunker down, chill with the planning and just enjoy the best places in the city.
Take a look, below, at the best things to do in Charlotte, North Carolina. Have an epic trip!
1.) Freedom Park
Exploring Freedom park is easily one of the best things to do in Charlotte if you’re looking for a nice chilled day. Not only that, it’s a great spot to visit, regardless of age or activities you’re looking to do.
Of course, you’ve got spaces for; tennis, basketball, volleyball and footy (to name a few) – but there’s also a heap of trails to follow around the lake, too.
It’s properly chilled and quite easy to forget you’re in the city itself.
Oh, and if you’re heading across with family, head over to Discovery Place Nature that’s totally interactive and fun for the kids.
Afterwards, pop into Rocksalt for the yummiest oysters and shellfish. So good.
2.) Lake Norman
Around a 30-minute drive from the city, exploring Lake Norman is one of the best things to do in Charlotte if you fancy a break for the city itself.
Here, you’ll be able to explore the lake whilst you jet ski (I’m terrible at this) or follow the hiking trails around the lake itself. It’s totally peaceful and a beautiful spot at sunset.
3.) NoDa Arts District
If you want to have some artistic fun then head to NoDa Arts District in North Davidson, Charlotte. Here, there’s a heap of beautiful murals, art pieces and structures which have been changed into exhibitions that are too good to miss.
A lively place to explore, and take pics and gorge. Haberdish conjures up some of the best-smoked chicken in North Carlina.
4.) Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
For nature lovers, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is a gorgeous gem of a place to visit and one of the best things to do in Charlotte on a sunny day. The Garden Trails and Lost Hollow areas of the garden are just incredible to stroll.
Plus, don’t miss the totally stunning Orchid Conservatory that’s a whopping five stories high!
5.) Mint Museum & Harvey B Gantt Center
If you’re a fan of American and European art then you’ll easily find a visit to Mint Museum to be one of the very best things to do in Charlotte.
Being North Carolina’s first art museum, it contains thousands of pieces of work and countless exhibitions arranged over five floors.
Once here, you can find the cultural collections of decorative arts, modern art, Native American art, European paintings, crafts, and textile and fashion designs. Plus, don’t forget, they offer free admissions on a Wednesday evening.
After a morning at Mint Museum, be sure to visit the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts that’s a few minutes away.
Here, you’ll be able to take in the incredible exhibitions and learn more about the rich cultural histories that are celebrated here. We loved it!
After spending a good few hours within the Mint Museum, be sure to explore the wider Uptown area of Charlotte. It is one of the bustling and energetic places and is totally easy to visit when you’re downtown in the city.
Here you can go shopping and eat a variety of foods from restaurants and local vendors or top off at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Though, you might wanna give the latter a miss if you’re not into your cars.
If it’s that ravenous hunger that brings you to Uptown, head over to Fahrenheit Charlotte for their tasty Asian-fusion dishes. Their bao buns are so yummy.
Alternatively, for a totally cool speakeasy, pop into The Cellar at Duckworth’s for their butter-basted scallops and campfire smores for pudding! So good.
7.) Charlotte Museum of History
Inside the Charlotte Museum of History, you can see programs and exhibits and information on the city and surrounding areas that date back centuries.
With mountains of displays, antique furniture, and artefacts; it’s a treasure-trove of rooms to explore that’s perfect for anyone that loves a good museum.
Not only that, but you can also tour the beautifully re-established buildings which incorporate the Hezekiah Alexander House, the Kitchen, and the Springhouse. Just gorgeous.
Carowinds is a pretty popular spot and needs little introduction if you’re from North Carolina!
Filled with fun, screams and enough candy floss to send anyone into a sugar high, Carowinds is one of the best things to do in Charlotte if you love the fair!
With a full-fledged amusement park, water park, roller coasters it’s a place where you can spend days with all the family or friends.
Be sure to ride Fury325 – it’s the fastest and tallest Giga coaster in all the US! Just make sure to pack those troat losengers, you’ll have screamed your voice away!
9.) Discovery Place Science
Discovery Place Science is a science museum that’s perched right within the Uptown area of Charlotte. Here, you can get hands-on exhibits, labs and really spend a good few hours inside, which is great if you get caught out by the rain.
They also host a heap of live shows from everything since and animal-related which are great for kids (and big kids, too).
Afterwards, stop by the McGlohon Theater that hosts some incredible plays in the most gorgeous theatre in Charlotte. Just be sure to book tickets before you arrive, they can sell out fast.
10.) Billy Graham Library
Not too far from the airport, the Billy Graham Library is well worth a little visit if you’re driving towards Lake Wylie, which is also great for a visit.
A large library dedicated to religious leader Billy Graham, here you can explore the Graham family home that’s pretty great to see. There is also a bookstore, dairy bar, a cafe, and many old pictures of Billy Graham that you can see.
Afterwards, head across the Billy Graham Parkway and head into Charlotte Regional Farmers Market. Literally, this point sells every kind of food and treat you can imagine and is great to visit when hunger beckons.
11.) South End
For a night on the town, head over to the South End neighbourhood of Charlotte. With heaps of funky bars and cool dining spots, it’s a totally great place to go on a weekend.
12.) Carolinas Aviation Museum
At the Carolinas Aviation Museum, you can see lots of exhibits covering the history, technology, and evolution of, you guessed it, everything aviation.
Now, if you’re into your planes and flying, you’re going to totally love this spot, especially as you can get behind the controls of some epic aircraft without having to take your feet off the ground.
That being said, if you couldn’t care less about planes and their history, you might find this place a bit of a bore. If that’s you, steer well clear and stay within downtown Charlotte itself.