Charlottes got a lot is an aptly named slogan for this city of Art, Culture, History, Family, Recreation, and Food. Charlotte, N.C. does “got a lot” to offer and is a big reason I consider it a must place to visit when in North Carolina. Nicknamed “the International Gateway to the South,” getting to Charlotte is accessible from anywhere in the world with an average of 655 flights daily with 11 major airlines and 14 regional carriers flying into and out of Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
Though 72 hours or 3 days & 2 nights in Charlottes got a lot town is not enough to see everything Charlotte has and I secretly wonder if a lifetime is enough, to see everything this beautiful city has to offer. Having spent 72 hours in Charlotte, I can personally attest that you can understand why Charlottes got a lot to offer by experiencing these 8 things to do in Charlotte, N.C.
Charlottes got a lot of Places to Stay
According to the Trivago.com website, there are 151 hotels within 10 miles of the Charlotte city center, and this does not include B&B, AirB&B, Couch surfing, or House sitting opportunities. Whew! I don’t think locating a place to stay will be much of an issue when it comes time to visit.
Springhill Suites Charlotte Uptown
My recommendation comes from the two nights I spent at the Springhill Suites Charlotte Uptown , centrally located right next to the Spectrum Center and one block from the Epicentre in Charlotte. You have easy access to Charlotte’s LYNX Blue Line light rail and a host of other locations to visit all within walking distance of your hotel.
Being a recently opened hotel, Springhill Suites offers a host of amenities including a new fresh design feel:
- Spacious guest suites
- Free WiFi
- Free hot buffet breakfast
- Full-service bar offering local craft beers and light bites
- Cardiovascular equipment
- Free Weights
- Meeting rooms
- Lounge areas
- A market where you can shop your favorite snacks and drinks
- Rooftop Patio
The rooms are very spacious with a coffee station, desk area, sitting area, comfortable beds, and large bathrooms with huge walk-in showers. With up to 444 sq ft to enjoy, you will feel rested and relaxed after your stay.
311 East 5th Street
Charlotte, North Carolina 28202
Charlottes got a lot of Places to Eat
Who is counting? A quick search on Yelp shows over 4000 restaurants in and near Charlotte, N.C., but who is counting …
Here are a couple of recommendations:
5Church Charlotte Restaurant
Just up the street from the Springhill Suites is the modernly hip 5Church restaurant, named appropriately after its prime location on the Corner of 5th & Church St, in downtown Charlotte’s financial district. With its industrial-chic design, large spacious feel, makes it’s a very popular place in Charlotte.
They have a noteworthy menu created by the talented Chef Jaime Lynch that embodies the flavors of Charlotte though its varied offerings. From lunch, brunch, dinner, drinks, and late night snacks, 5Church has a lot to offer! Well know for their Lamb Burgers, Steaks and Seafood dishes, Chef Jaime Lynch delivers a menu that will appeal to everyone.
127 N Tryon Street, Suite 8
Corner of 5th & Church St
Charlotte, NC 28202
Located on the 21st floor of the Skye Condos is Chef Rocco Whalen’s spectacular Fahrenheit Restaurant. With breathtaking views of downtown Charlotte, you won’t find a better location for dining, drinks, social atmosphere and sunsets anywhere.
Start your meal off with a designer cocktail or a bottle of wine from an impressive selection, then take a stroll out to the patio to enjoy the views, seasonal herb garden, and linear fire pits, while your appetizers are prepared. Having enjoyed the Wood Grilled Avocados, Charlotte “Nachos,” and the Warm Buttered Maine Lobster Rolls, I can recommend these as a great place to start.
Chef Rocco Whalen’s “New American Regional Cuisine” is on full display when you review his signature entreés. Slow Braised American Wagyu Short Ribs, Roasted Scottish Salmon (my choice for the evening), and a mouth-watering 21-Day Dry Aged Bone-In Strip Steak for those beef consumers of fine taste. Wonderful salads and Pizzas round out the regional cuisine offerings.
Open for dinner 7 days a week plus Sunday brunch with reservations highly recommended
222 South Caldwell St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
Charlottes got a lot of Things To Do
With a geographic area the size of Charlotte, you can spend a lot of time pursuing various activities to make anyone envious of your adventures. Events happen on a continual basis, nature beckons you at every turn, and history demands you to remember with Charlotte’s historical southern past.
Among Charlotte’s many notable attractions, some of the most popular include the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League (NFL), the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Charlotte Independence of the United Soccer League (USL), the Charlotte Hounds of Major League Lacrosse, two NASCAR Cup Series races and the NASCAR All-Star Race, the Wells Fargo Championship, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the Charlotte Ballet, Carowinds amusement park, and the U.S. National Whitewater Center.
Take a Food Tour
One of my favorite ways to discover a new city is taking a food tour. It’s a great way to learn about the popular food styles currently raging in the area, exploring the hidden gems only the locals know, enjoying a group sampling experience and so much more. Nothing gets me more excited about a trip than eating like a local!
With several culinary food tours available, you can’t go wrong with Feast Food Tours of Charlotte. I was fortunate enough to experience the Historic South End Tour, which picked us up a few blocks from the LYNX Blue Line light rail Station. With several stops over the course of a couple of hours, we visited Fidelli Kitchen, Sycamore Brewing, Papi Queso food truck, Bonterra Dining & Wine Room, Tupelo Honey Café and Roots Cafe.
Our tour consisted of historical tidbits of the area, unique food sampling and quenching brews, wine and coffee. Kristi Marten owner/founder has put together amazing tour experiences for her guests, including a tour driving around town with a chef, that will give you an up close and personal look into the foods and beverages of Charlotte.
Go White Water Rafting
Fancy a bit of white water rafting, kayaking, biking or even zip lining on your next trip to Charlotte? Then a day at the U.S. National Whitewater Center is a must do for a multitude of reasons!
The U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte has these and many more activities covered with over 1,300 acres of woodlands, 30+ miles of mountain-biking and running trails, multiple-channel whitewater river with class III-IV rapids, two multiple-platform canopy tour activities involving zip lines, aerial challenges, and a suspension bridge. Whew! Say that three times really fast …
Admittance to the park is free through the activities do require a paid pass to enjoy, you can still spend a full day just watching, walking and exploring this amazing facility. Plus they offer live music and outdoor festivals, including the River Jam concert series, in addition to 9 unique festivals held throughout the year.
They don’t stop there though! You can also enjoy kayaking, flat water kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, rock climbing, rope courses, and a canopy tour. You will work up an appetite enjoying all of these activities so I recommend a visit to their on-site restaurant the River’s Edge Bar & Grill with its commanding views of the white water rapids.
Segway Tour through Downtown Charlotte
Have you ever wanted to enjoy one of the two-wheel wonders called a Segway? Segways, Invented by Dean Kamen and launched in 2001, has become the rage for sightseeing tours across the U.S. and Charlotte is no exception. Besides being a very enjoyable experience, it is a great way to enjoy Charlotte and some of the fascinating things it has to offer.
Charlotte NC Tours offer a variety of experiences to explore Charlotte, but the best one is (in my opinion) the Segway tour and they offer several itineraries. To be able to experience Charlotte and much of what it has to offer on foot would take hours if not days of walking and search for points of interest. With a tour guide and a Segway from Charlotte NC Tours, you get access to major historical landmarks, unique food destinations, trivia, and the thrill of zipping around on a very enjoyable mode of transportation.
You can read about my Segway tour here: Exploring Charlotte N.C. on a Segway Tour
101 S. Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
Take in a Minor League Ball Game
There is just something special about taking in a local ball game that is sure to deliver a hometown experience unlike any other. Whether it is the Majors or the Minors or even a local school game, the excitement just tugs at your heartstrings. It’s a fun-filled family event that leaves you satisfied with the experience of mingling with the locals, enjoying the food and beverages a ballpark has to offer. Warm fall nights, cheers from the crowd, wonderful food smells tempting your palate, hawkers pushing their offers, it’s just hard to beat.
Having been to BB&T Ballpark in uptown Charlotte, named the “Best Ballpark in Minor League Baseball” in 2016, I can’t imagine going back without a chance to enjoy a game again. The home team Charlotte Knights, a Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, are clearly a favorite in the hearts of Charlottes residents and the ball team takes great pride in delivery a family experience for every game. It’s just wonderful to see how excited the children are when the activities start and the fun begins, not a sad face anywhere.
Experience the Best of NASCAR
Just a block away from the Charlotte LYNX Blue Line light rail lies the sprawling NASCAR Hall of Fame. A must visit destination for any racing fan or non-racing fan such as myself. The 390,000-square-foot, $160 million structure opened on May 11, 2010, with the sole dedication of preserving the history of NASCAR. It’s family first experience is clearly evident with the assortment of displays and activities available.
“The NASCAR Hall of Fame honors drivers who have shown exceptional skill at NASCAR driving, all-time great crew chiefs and owners, and other major contributors to competition within the sanctioning body.”
- First Floor:
- High Octane Theater – A screening room below ground level which shows videos to guests, including a primer video for first-time visitors.
- Second Floor:
- Ceremonial Plaza – An outdoor “patio” with a video screen.
- Glory Road – A 33-degree banked ramp (matching that of Talladega Superspeedway) featuring 18 different cars and saluting 46 past and current tracks.
- The Great Hall – Dubbed as the Times Square of the hall, a 14 feet (4.3 m)-by-18 feet (5.5 m) video screen and rotating exhibits will be staged here.
- “Studio 43” – Named in honor of Richard Petty’s car number – used for television production.
- Third Floor:
- Hall of Honor – A 360-degree wall with the honorees enshrined serves as the centerpiece of the building with each enshrinee with their own exhibit.
- Transporter and Racecar Simulators – Simulators provided by iRacing.com.
- Race Week Experience – Simulates an actual week in a NASCAR team, from race prep through inspection, practice, time trials and the race.
- Fourth Floor:
- Heritage Speedway – The six-decade history of NASCAR is focused here, including a glass-enclosed section with historic artifacts from the history of stock car racing.
Truly a first class museum dedicated to honoring the history and heritage of NASCAR. It is not difficult to spend a half or full day exploring all of the cars, memorabilia, activities, interactive entertainment, (kids can try their skills at being a pit crewman and time themselves changing out a tire) the NASCAR Hall of Fame has a lot to offer at a very reasonable price. You can also grab a bite to eat at the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant or shop till you drop at the NASCAR Hall of Fame Gear Shop.
Open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. seven days a week
(winter hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. from Nov. 1 – March 31)
400 E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlottes got a lot of History
My personal history has a lot to do with my affection towards North Carolina; I am an 8th generation North Carolinian with my family roots in Cabarrus County, just next door to Mecklenburg County, the home of the city of Charlotte. After serving in the Revolutionary War, my grandfather (8 generations back) was a tax collector in Mecklenburg county in 1778. All of this is still difficult for me to get my head wrapped around but I can assure you I am making plans already to return and discover more of my family’s history here and all that Charlotte has to offer.
Full disclosure, Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority hosted Never to Old To Travel for a three-day all expense paid media trip to Charlotte N.C. with no stipulations. All thoughts and opinions in this article are my own.