An urban center in the heart of scenic, rural North Carolina, the Queen City has emerged as one of the South’s most fascinating metropolises. Simultaneously a center of international banking and a destination for art and design, Charlotte embraces its multi-layered history.
The engines roar and the stock cars are off, zipping around the track as they have for nearly half a century. In Charlotte, racing is part of the culture, and there is no better place to witness a car race than at the legendary Charlotte Motor Speedway, where some of NASCAR’s biggest races are held.
Stroll, picnic, paint, and soak up the sun among these botanical gardens’ 450 acres of fragrant meadows and cool woodlands filled with a comprehensive collection of indigeous and international plants. Among native trees like the Big Leaf Maple, plants from around the world thrive, winding around planks of romantic pergolas, and clinging to the bases of refined sculptures.
Set in the heart of Charlotte’s historic Dilworth neighborhood, this industrial building from the early 20th century has been rehabilitated as an arts and culture center. After stints as a furniture factory, textile factory, and military storage, the three-story structure now houses more than 25 artists’ studios and offers shopping, art classes, and a gallery.
While the area outside Charlotte is full of historic plantations, many of which now house museums, the Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture offers a broader picture of the history of African-American culture both in the region and in the rest of the US. Exhibitions and events cover theather, music, food, painting, sculpture, cinema, and more, attracting luminaries from around the country.
Once a district of textile factories and mills, NoDa has become one of Charlotte’s coolest neighborhoods, attracting artists and creative type. Historic mills, boarding houses, movie theaters, and the state's first pharmacy are now filled with artists’ studios, galleries, restaurants, bakeries, boutiques, and craft breweries. Every first and third Friday of the month, shops and galleries fling open their doors for the neighborhood’s popular Gallery Crawl.
When planning a trip to Charlotte, check the schedule for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Observatory. The academic institution regularly holds “Star Parties,” open-to-the-public events for viewing the stars and the night sky using the powerful telescopes and equipment.
A training ground for U.S. Olympic athletes, this 307-acre adventure sport facility along the Catawba River offers a wide variety of outdoor activities for all ages and skill levels. Enjoy whitewater rafting and kayaking, flatwater kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, rock climbing, zip lines, ropes courses, a canopy tour, and mountain biking on a 25-mile trail system. As of 2016, the center opened a new zipline and a climbing wall over the water.
Named for the Tuckaseegee Ford and Trail, Tuck Fest is a three day gathering of outdoor enthusiasts. Enter a Stand Up Paddle Board competition, drop in for a yoga class or hang out and listen to live music and snack on healthy fare.Learn More
For two decades now fans have kicked off the May races at the Charlotte Motor Speedway with a rocking three-day festival of live music, appearances from drivers and races both on foot and behind the wheel.
Established in 1999, this three day festival is the ideal way to try tasty bites from over 100 local restaurants. Come for the food and stay for the cooking demonstrations, live performances, family activities and shopping at the pop-up boutique.Learn More
Listen to live big band music and stroll the stalls showcasing work from local artisans at this festival at the Little Sugar Creek Greenway.Learn More
Drift through the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens in the evening to see it transformed by more than 800 handmade Chinese lanterns. Marvel at the illuminated silk and paper lamps shaped like pandas, peacocks and flowers from around the world.Learn More
Join other cycling lovers at the East Coast’s largest outdoor cycling demo and festival. Try out new bikes about to hit the market, cycle 25-miles of world-class local trails and enjoy craft beer, good food and live music.Learn More
Designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta and opened in 2010, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art has an impressive collection of mid 20th century work. Catch In Focus/Enfoque, an exhibit of contemporary Mexican photography from over 50 artists from the United States and Mexico.Learn More
Get in the spirit of the holiday season as the Carowinds Amusement Park becomes a winter wonderland. Enjoy live Christmas shows, strolling performers, hands-on activities and a holiday food market.
The Gallery Restaurant doubles as an art gallery, with a rotating collection curated by the Shain Gallery, one of Charlotte's premiere contemporary art providers.Learn More
Golf like a pro at the Golf Club at Ballantyne, a PGA golf course that's also home to the the renowned Dana Rader Golf School, a Golf Channel Academy.Learn More
Swim year-round in the indoor, grotto-inspired pool and two indoor resistance pools. In warmer months, nab a lounger, order a refreshing drink, and soak up the sun at the larger outdoor pool.Learn More