Fun Things to do in Charlotte



Charlotte, North Carolina is a city that has been rapidly changing over the last decade. In addition to all of the new growth in the city, Charlotte has attracted a variety of new residents, young, creative residents who have big plans for the future. I lived around Charlotte for over a decade and watched the city transform before my eyes. It has become one of the top banking capitals in the United States, which has heavily influenced the city’s identity. I am thrilled to share this Charlotte North Carolina Travel Itinerary with you, so you can step into the culture this city has to offer, as well as other beautiful cities in North Carolina.

 A four day Charlotte NC Travel Itinerary


 A four day Charlotte NC Travel Itinerary

Day 1 in Charlotte NC: Soak up the city views


My favorite way to get acclimated to a new city is to grab some coffee and take a walk around. Charlotte has several different neighborhoods, all of them are different and have qualities that make them worth visiting. A popular area to walk, explore, and grab a bite to eat is South End. This area has a 3 mile walking trail named ‘The Rail Trail’.


a 3 mile walking trail named ‘The Rail Trail’.

Start your walk and grab a coffee from Stable Hand and hop on the trail. This trail is located right next to the light rail, which is one of the most efficient (and cheap) ways to get around the city. After you’ve finished your walk, grab lunch from The Rhino Market and head over to the White Water Center. The white water center is one of the most popular attractions in Charlotte as it’s the biggest man made white water river in the world! If you’re the outdoorsy type you can easily spend an entire day here with kayaking, rock climbing, zip lining, white water rafting and more! The White Water Center also has bike and walking trails you can explore. If you are visiting Charlotte during the warmer months (May- September) the White Water Center has events every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday called River Jam with live music, local beer on tap, and food trucks.

After a long day of activity, have a beer at OMB (Old Mecklenburg Brewery) and dinner at Kindred for some of the best pasta I’ve ever had. There are tons of bars and clubs to check out while you’re out if you want to get a taste of the Charlotte nightlife. One of the most popular clubs in the city is The Roxbury, which is two stories and has music from the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s playing all night long. If you enjoy craft cocktails check out the Goodyear House in NODA.



Charlotte NC Itinerary Day 2: Exploring the mountains

Charlotte NC Itinerary Day 2: Exploring the mountains


After a full day in Charlotte, it’s time to explore some of the beautiful cities around Charlotte. During the fall season, Asheville, North Carolina is one of the most popular cities for fall foliage. If you’re looking to get out of the city for a day, Asheville is only 2 hours away from Charlotte. It’s tucked in the Appalachian mountain range and has a variety of hiking trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Even if you aren’t a hiker, take a drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway and pull over at any of the overlooks for some incredible views.

Downtown Asheville has tons of breweries, restaurants, and cocktail bars to keep you entertained on a night out. Try out Curate for dinner and enjoy tapas style dishes. Enjoy cocktails at Antidote at Chemist Spirits, which has a prohibition design style and elevated artisan cocktails. Asheville is also known for its local farmers markets and art shows that showcase the work of local artists.

If you aren’t interested in lingering around downtown Asheville for too long, hit the trails and drive around the area and enjoy the views or enjoy a hike! For hikes, my favorite areas are Craggy gardens, Mt. Pigsah, and Graveyard Fields. All of these hikes are under 3.5 miles total and are all either on the Blue Ridge Parkway or within close proximity to Asheville itself.


Charlotte NC Itinerary Day 3: More mountains, Carowinds, and lake views


Charlotte NC Itinerary Day 3: More mountains, Carowinds, and lake views


If you’re still craving time away from the city, you’ll have to take a drive to Crowders Mountain, which is only 40 minutes from Charlotte NC so it’s the perfect way to spend a couple of hours. After parking, you’ll walk the short distance to the top of Crowders Mountain where you’ll be met with incredible views of the surrounding area, you may even see Charlotte in the distance! It’s a favorite fall time activity because of all of the beautiful colors.

If you’re looking for more outdoorsy activities, a popular area to visit around Charlotte is Lake Norman. It’s home to the popular farm to table restaurant Hello, Sailor. Lake Norman is awesome if you are looking to catch a tan, rent a boat for the day or even rent jet skis! It’s a short 30 minutes drive from Charlotte in case you aren’t looking to spend the night.

Meanwhile, if you are seeking out some adrenaline, 20 minutes from Charlotte is Carowinds, a theme park that is exciting for visitors of all ages. Experience spending a few hours screaming your lungs out riding some of the tallest roller coasters in the country.




Charlotte NC Itinerary Day 4: Art, Music, Beer


After spending time away enjoying the mountains, lets hop back into the city life. Start your day grabbing a coffee at Smelly Cat, which is my all-time favorite coffee spot in the city. This gives you time to explore the NODA neighborhood, which is known for being the artistic part of Charlotte. Here you’ll find murals made by local artists, local musicians playing music, and small boutiques for shopping local. Be sure to have brunch at Haberdish as it specializes in southern cuisine. The light rail travels through here making transportation seamless and stress free.

Once you’re caffeinated, hop on the light rail and head over to any of the many museums Charlotte has to offer. The Levine is a museum that is dedicated to sharing Charlotte’s history around the Civil War, and how people of color were impacted during that time. The Nascar Museum is an interactive way to hop in the driver’s seat and see what it’s like to be a Nascar driver while learning about its history.

Additionally, you can’t visit Charlotte without experiencing the beer scene it has to offer. There are tons of beer tours you can join that will drive you around and give you a behind the scenes view of each brewery, get to know the owners and what inspires them and enjoy their tastiest beers. Some of the top breweries in the city are Sycamore brewing, Suffolk Punch Brewery, NODA Brewing, Heist Brewing, and Legion Brewing.


Charlotte NC Itinerary: Additional day trips and activities


Divine Llama’s Vineyard: If you like Llama’s, and wine you should experience this one-of-a-kind vineyard located 1 hour and 45 minutes outside the city. They offer llama ‘hikes’ where you can trek into the woods with a llama as your sidekick!


Boone NC: If you’re the kind of person that can’t get enough of windy mountain roads, you’ll have to take a trip up to Boone NC. Boone NC has a small town vibe with beautiful hiking trails, local restaurants with delicious options, and friendly faces. It’s a 2-hour drive from Charlotte NC.


Panthers Game: The residents of Charlotte know how to get hype for Panthers football. Sundays are usually reserved for watching games in bars like The Workman’s Friend, or heading over to the stadium and enjoying it in person.


Mac Tabby Cat Cafe: One of my favorite places to go if I am looking for strong coffee or wine, and some animal love. Smack dab in the middle of NODA this cat sanctuary is the purrrfect place to meet new furry friends and donate to an important paws, I mean cause.


The Music Factory: The Music factory is an area with multiple breweries, bars, and music venues. During the warmer months there are outdoor concerts so be sure to look in advance to see if anyone you like will be in town! The Fillmore is also a music venue with an indoor venue and year around events ranging from concerts to beer festivals.




Where to Eat in Charlotte NC

Where to Eat in Charlotte NC

 Charlotte NC has built quite a reputation for its cuisine. The beauty of the Charlotte food scene is that the owners are transplants from other cities, and countries. I am providing a locals perspective in terms of my favorite restaurants, many of which aren’t what you may expect. They aren’t instagram worthy, they are hole in the wall restaurants run by people from all walks of life. I will provide you the favorite breakfast, brunch, and dinner spots but I have to include my top secret favorite spots.


Breakfast and Brunch

Zada Janes Corner Cafe:Fresh, Homestyle breakfast that could nurse any hangover

Sunflower Baking Company: The best breakfast sandwiches (or biscuit)



Pinkys Westside Grill: Some of the best burgers and fries in the city. Don’t skip on the pimento cheese.

Anita’s Mexican Grill: Traditional Mexican cuisine served fast, and with a low price tag.



The Haymaker: Farm to table style restaurant that incorporates sustainable cuisine with seasonal food.

The Trolley Barn: A two story food court with multiple bars and restaurants. If you like artistan cocktails, experimental beers, and a variety of food choices this is for you.

Cedars Specialty Grocers & Restaurant: My #1 favorite spot in Charlotte. Middle Eastern cuisine in a gas station style set up. There is also a small grocery store with specialty food items you can’t find at your typical grocery store. Order the Chicken Kabob and Baklava.



Pins Mechanical: Beer, wine, cocktails, and bowling.

Thirsty Beaver: It’s a tradition to pay a visit to this small biker style bar. It has defied all odds by standing up to the massive influx of investors buying up land for apartments in the city. They have stood their ground and remain a staple to the Charlotte community.


Vegan Cuisine

Oh! My Soul: My number 1 pick for vegan food in Charlotte, and potentially anywhere! They also have incredible cocktails.


When to Visit Charlotte NC

 Planning a trip anywhere means you have to decide what time of year to visit. Charlotte is very popular during the warmer months (May- September) because of the outdoor concerts, hiking, water activities, and weekly farmers markets. Charlotte is a lively city which means you’ll enjoy yourself any time of the year! Bars and restaurants adapt to colder weather with indoor concerts and events each week. Fall is a popular time to visit due to the colorful leaves changing in and around the city.


   Best Neighborhoods in Charlotte NC


Best Neighborhoods in Charlotte NC

 Plaza Midwood: This neighborhood is still holding on to Charlotte’s historical past with Vintage homes, and beautiful oak trees. It has become modernized while tying in an artistic side with street art, and local boutiques. Going out in Plaza Midwood feels like you’re already part of the neighborhood, locals are friendly.

Uptown: The heart of the city. You’ll be surrounded by skyscrapers, restaurants, bars, and stadiums. Has less of a warm neighborhood feel and more of a busy  city vibe.

NODA: My favorite neighborhood. Almost every home has a special artistic style from stained glass  to architecture. It feels like home. It’s close to the light rail so it allows you to explore other neighborhoods easily. If you like art, this is the neighborhood for you.

South End: Full of young, energetic, wealthy residents. New businesses are popping up constantly. This area is pet friendly and full of bars and cafes with events going on almost daily. Also, right next to the light rail. There is plenty of shopping here, making it a convenient place to stay if you want to have everything within walking distance from you.




Charlotte skyline view

Author Bio

Sam is short, sassy and has always dreamed of stepping outside the 9-5 life. She feeds every street animal she comes across. during her travels. Her and her wife are currently renovating a campervan so they can hit the road with their three furry friends and travel across North America.

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