Charlotte, the most populous city in the U.S. state of North Carolina and the 16th-most populous city in the United States, is regarded as a business and financial hub with the country’s second-largest banking center.
Charlotte, nicknamed the “Queen City,” hosts a number of annual festivals and events where you can have a fun-filled day with your family. Several museums with interactive exhibitions and exciting activities are accessible for tourists of all ages to enjoy.
15. Explore The Hiking Trails At The Reedy Creek Nature Park
(image via Reedy Creek Park and Nature Center)
Reedy Creek Nature Park is a 125-acre urban park with indoor and outdoor activities, as well as playgrounds, a disc golf course, a dog park, and many fishing ponds. Over 10 miles of hiking trails are accessible, with stunning views of small lakes, forests, and wildlife.
In addition, one of the park’s walkways leads through the nature preserve, where you can see the ruins of the revolutionary-era John Robinson Rockhouse and plantation. The park is free for tourists.
14. Shop At Charlotte Premium Outlets
Charlotte Premium Outlets is home to 100 luxury retailers including important collections from well-known brands such as Michael Kors, Nike, Puma, and others. The outlet mall, which is Charlotte’s second-largest outlet shopping center, also has hotels and a food court. The center is accessible to tourists of all ages for free.
13. Explore The Scenery At UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
The University of North Carolina (UNC) Charlotte Botanical Gardens is the permanent resting place of Bonnie Cone, the founder of UNC Charlotte. Carnivorous plants, orchids, American and African deserts, and many other collections can be found in the gardens.
The 3-acre Susie Harwood Garden and the Dinosaur’s Garden, which has ancient plants circling a Deinonychus skeleton sculpture, are two other attractions of the gardens. Admission to the gardens is free.
12. Enjoy Sports Entertainment and Theatre at the Spectrum Center
Spectrum Center is an indoor arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, that hosts the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets and a number of college basketball games. Non-sports events such as musical acts, family productions, concerts, and even professional wrestling are held at the arena.
11. Catch A Game At Bank Of America Stadium
Bank of America Stadium is the home stadium and headquarters of the National Football League’s Carolina Panthers. The stadium has three massive main gates that are bordered on both sides by two giant bronze snarling panther statues with green eyes, which are among the largest sculptures ever commissioned in the United States.
Another remarkable feature of the stadium is its six light domes, which project blue light daily in a number of different ways. Admission is obtained at the ticket windows or online. Visit the stadium website to learn more about the upcoming events.
10. Open Your Mind At METALmorphosis
METALmorphosis is a huge mirrored sculpture of a human head that is considered one of Charlotte’s seven wonders. The sculpture was created by Czech artist David Cerny and is located in the Whitehall Corporate Center’s wide reflecting pool.
It is made up of 40 layers linked into seven pieces that can simultaneously rotate 360 degrees. You can learn more by visiting their website.
9. Explore The Outdoors At Freedom Park
Freedom Park is a 98-acre park with paved walkways, tennis and volleyball courts, children’s play equipment, and sports fields. The huge array of Canadian geese that flock year-round on the central lake is a favorite tourist attraction.
Throughout the summer, you can also enjoy free movies and live performances in the park pavilion. Tourists of all ages are welcome to visit the park, which is free. Dogs are permitted inside but must be leashed and supervised.
8. Learn About The Influential Billy Graham Library
The Billy Graham Library is a renowned attraction in Charlotte where you can learn about Billy Graham’s life and work as a Christian evangelist. Graham grew up on a farm, and so the library is designed to look like a dairy farm.
Several presentations, photographs, music, artifacts, and voices from throughout Graham’s ministry are on display in the library’s main galleries. Ruth Bell Graham, Billy Graham’s wife, is honored in one of the galleries. A Prayer Garden is found on the library grounds, where Graham and his wife were buried side by side. Admission to the library is free for tourists of all ages.
7. Explore Art From Around The World At The Mint Museum
The Mint Museum is Charlotte’s leading visual arts institution and home to the world’s finest public collection of Romare Bearden’s work. It is because it consists of two museums, The Mint Museum Randolph and The Mint Museum Uptown, the museum is known as The Mint Museums. American art, North Carolina pottery, African, and Asian art are all displayed at the Mint Museum Randolph.
Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for college students, and for seniors older than 65 years. $6 for children ages 5 to 17 and free for children under the age of 4.
6. See Live Entertainment At The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
(image via The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center)
The Booth Playhouse, Stage Door Theatre, Knight Theatre, McGlohon Theatre, Duke Energy, and the main venue within the facility, Belk Theatre, are all managed by the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.
The facility has hosted everything from musical performances to Broadway shows since it launched in 1992. To learn more about the season’s special events, visit their website.
5. Explore The Noble History Of Aviation At Carolinas Aviation Museum
The Carolinas Aviation Museum has over 50 aircraft on display, the majority of which are historic jet aircraft from the 1950s and 1960s. The museum’s major feature is the Airbus A320 famous for the “Miracle on the Hudson”, where pilots Charles Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles successfully crash-landed a plane into a Hudson after a total engine failure, saving all on board. The Carolinas Aviation Museum received the entire airframe from the insurance company that donated the aircraft to the museum after it was recovered from the river.
Captain Sullenberger and First Officer Skiles have dedicated their uniforms to the museum’s 1549 exhibits in addition to the preserved aircraft.
Admission is $12.87 for adults, $10.73 for seniors older than 60 years, $8.58 for children ages 6 to 18 and active-duty military personnel, and $9.65 for retired military personnel. It is free for children under the age of 5.
4. Learn And Explore The World Of The Game At The NASCAR Hall of Fame
The NASCAR Hall of Fame has interesting exhibits that will educate and delight both stock car racing enthusiasts and visitors. Within the facility, you will find participatory exhibitions such as a race simulation where you can sit in a car and race other drivers. From all-time top drivers to broadcasters, the museum is dedicated to honoring the major contributors to the NASCAR racing competition.
So far, 58 people have been recognized in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, including Joe Gibbs, Buddy Baker, and Leonard Wood.
Admission is $25 for adults, $18 for children ages 4 to 12, $8 for military personnel, and $2 for seniors.
3. Enjoy Outdoor Recreation At The U.S National Whitewater Center
The U.S National Whitewater Center is home to the world’s largest man-made whitewater river, where you can go kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and whitewater rafting.
If you prefer to keep dry, land sports like rock climbing, ice skating, and over 50 miles of running and walking trails are available.
Adult admission is $64 and children’s admission is $54.
2. Experience The Natural World At Discovery Place Science
(images via Wikipedia)
Discovery Place Science is a science and technology museum that welcomes tourists of all ages and includes hands-on activities. The museum has a Discovery Place Kids area for children, where they can engage in active learning through imagination and play.
A variety of native North Carolina animals are on display in the museum’s nature exhibits. In addition, the gigantic IMAX Dome Theatre presents the most realistic movie experience.
Admission ranges between $19-$23 for adults, $15-$18 for children, $17-$20 for seniors, and free for children younger than 2 years old.
1. Explore Exciting Thrill Rides At Carowinds
Carowinds is a 407-acre amusement park that includes Carolina Harbor, the city’s largest water park, featuring high water slides, wave pools, and a 2-acre children’s zone. Carowinds is a beautiful location to go with the family to ride a variety of roller coasters, including the world’s best steel coaster, Fury 325, and many more thrill rides.
Daily admission is $38.99, while children under the age of 2 are allowed for free. Also included in the price of admission to Carowinds is access to Carolina Harbor. To learn more, visit their website.
As you can see, Charlotte has a lot to offer everyone. If you are looking to do more in the surrounding area, check out other weekend trips from nearby Charlotte, North Carolina.
These areas are perfect for a quick day trip or a long weekend getaway. Explore our favorite things to do or peruse some pre-built itineraries.