Charlotte has something for everyone!
Sometimes, while living in Charlotte, it’s easy to forget all of the attractions this city has to offer. Instead of going somewhere else for vacation this year, consider staying home and enjoying your own city. With Charlotte’s eclectic mix of activities, the Queen City is sure to have something for everyone. To help you plan your stay-cation, here is a list of 15 top Charlotte area attractions. They are listed in no particular order:
1. Charlotte Knights Baseball:
Baseball is America’s Pastime. Where better to watch than the field dubbed the best ballpark in minor league baseball? Even if you aren’t a big baseball fan, the city view, southern food and craft beer might be enough to attract you. Not to mention, there are fireworks after every Friday night home game.
Once you get over looking like a complete nerd, you will have a blast on a Segway city tour. Depending on which tour company you choose, you‘ll spend about 90 minutes cruising the sidewalks of uptown and learning about Charlotte’s rich and eventful history. Even though I was born and raised in the Queen City, I was surprised by all of the charms and quirks of this city and her intricate past.
3. Billy Graham Library:
This attraction reflects the life and legacy of Billy Graham; from his humble beginnings on a farm in Charlotte, to becoming America’s Pastor. This complex includes A Journey of Faith, The Graham Family Homeplace, Ruth’s Attic Bookstore, The Graham Brothers Dairy Barn and The Memorial Prayer Garden. This beautiful, family-friendly attraction is well worth the visit. Plus, admission and parking are free.
Who doesn’t love a good rollercoaster? With the addition of Fury 325, along with rides like Intimidator and Nighthawk, even the adrenaline junkies will enjoy this attraction. For the younger members of your family, Carowinds offers a number of children’s rides at Planet Snoopy. Also, if you are looking for a family-friendly way to cool down, Carowind’s Carolina Harbor is an ideal spot.
5. Mint Museum:
The Mint Museum is the oldest museum in North Carolina and houses one of the largest visual arts collections in the southeast. This art museum has two locations, Randolph and Uptown. Both locations offer various collections and exhibits throughout the year. General admission is free every Wednesday evening.
6. Comedy Zone:
Laughing is a great way to relax, which should be a priority during your stay-cation. Charlotte’s Comedy Zone has something funny going on every day of the week.
7. Food Tour:
Tour De Food is a local company that provides walking tours to some of the best locally owned and operated restaurants in the area. During the tour, you’ll learn about the area’s history and have the opportunity to experience fresh cuisine at each location. Plus, a portion of every ticket sold goes to the North Carolina Food Bank to end hunger in our community.
This museum connects visitors to science, nature and technology through exploration and entertainment. It is also home to the largest movie screen in the Carolinas, the IMAX Dome. Discovery Place has something exciting for every age. One tip: if you have younger kids, be sure to check out the Huntersville location.
9. Charlotte Helicopter Tour:
See your city from a new angle. Queen City Helicopters offers tours of both Uptown Charlotte and Lake Norman. Tours last about 20 minutes and provide a spectacular view of the area’s landmarks.
You can’t live in Charlotte without knowing a little something about NASCAR. Why not embrace the heart of NASCAR country by taking a ride at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Depending on how much you want to experience, you can either ride along in a NASCAR race car or get in the driver’s seat for a few laps. Either way, it is sure to be an adrenaline filled experience.
Summer vacation wouldn’t be complete without spending some time on the water. Luckily, Charlotte is surrounded by several bodies of water, including Lake Norman, Mountain Island Lake, Lake Hickory and Lake Wylie, just to name a few. Every lake has public access and parks for fishing and swimming. If you want to get out on the water but don’t own a boat or jet ski, there are several companies in the area that will rent them to you. I have used Jet Ski Rentals at Lake Norman in the past and I was very impressed with their pricing and customer service (they rent jet skis and pontoon boats).
This beautiful park offers 16 miles of hiking and horseback riding trails along the shores of Mountain Island Lake. It is home to the Carolina Raptor Center, Latta Plantation Equestrian Center, Latta Nature Center and the historic Latta Plantation.
13: Romare Bearden Park
Located in the heart of Uptown Charlotte, Romare Bearden Park is a perfect spot to enjoy the outdoors. Large greenspaces allow space for pick-up field games and water features provide a perfect location for kids to cool off. On Wednesday evenings, the venue hosts Party in the Park with free music provided by the Uptown Sound Series. Each week a different band plays anything from jazz to Carolina beach music.
Have you ever thought it might be fun to be a member of a NASCAR pit crew? The NASCAR Hall of Fame gives you the opportunity to try out the tools of the trade. The focus of this museum is to showcase the rich history of NASCAR racing, as well as the sport’s most acclaimed drivers. Also, I haven’t tried it yet, but my friends say that the race simulator is a must!
15. Cooking Classes:
Want to brush up on your culinary skills on your stay-cation? Charlotte is just the spot! There are numerous classes held throughout Charlotte on topics from grilling the perfect burger to sushi preparation to baking to paring food with the perfect wine. Classes are hosted by Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen, Mimosa Grill and Whole Foods Market.