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20 Must-Visit Attractions in Charlotte, North Carolina

hof2 | © Nick Ledford/Flickr
hof2 | © Nick Ledford/Flickr
Charlotte, still known as one of the largest banking hubs in the country, is one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. With a renewed focus on green, urban planning and rock solid cultural scene, the Queen City offers a diverse array of activities and venues to explore. Here are 20 must-visit attractions in Charlotte.

NASCAR Hall of Fame

History Museum, Sports Center
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NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte, North Carolina | © Nick Ledford / Flickr
Even if you’ve never watched a NASCAR race, the NASCAR Hall of Fame strives to be a destination for racing and non-racing fans alike. Located right downtown, visitors will appreciate the high-tech displays, and behind-the-scenes information about the day in the life of race crews during race week, plus a display of more than a dozen actual race cars. Or, take in a race at the historic Charlotte Motor Speedway as the track hosts many premier NASCAR events each year.
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Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly, Kid Friendly


Indoors, Instagrammable, Photo Opportunity

Billy Graham Library

Library, Museum
Part of the reason the Billy Graham Library ranks so highly on Charlotte’s list of attractions is because the religious icon grew up just a few miles down the street. Graham was born in 1918, and today this destination has become a pilgrimage for many to pay their respects, while others enjoy walking the 1.5-hour Journey of Faith, a mix of photos and interactive stops.
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Right off the bat, Uptown is unique because it’s technically the city’s downtown. This bustling city center has excellent shopping and serves as the nation’s second-largest financial hub, with towering skyscrapers glinting in the sun. An overhead mall even weaves through Uptown connected by skywalks.

Uptown, Charlotte City Center, Charlotte NC, USA


Go here to soak in a piece of the city’s history as the Dilworth neighborhood was the first streetcar suburb, which helped define Charlotte’s growth going forward. Now, the sprawling city – the 16th-largest in America – has a unique layout as walkable neighborhoods continued to pop up around the downtown area. Keep your eyes peeled for the adorable historic bungalows!

Dilworth, Charlotte, NC, USA


Carowinds amusement park actually spans the cities of Charlotte and Fort Mill, South Carolina. The park covers nearly 400 acres and the price of admission includes access to their waterpark, Carolina Harbor. The 13 roller coasters around two million visitors each year.

Carowinds Amusement Park, 300 Carowinds Blvd, Charlotte, NC, USA +1 704 588 2600

#SundayFunday 💯

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Discovery Place

This museum aims to be cutting edge in both its interactive exhibits and through its events, such as the unique Science on the Rocks events geared toward adults with themed activities or experiments each month.

Discovery Place, 240 West 6th Street, Charlotte, NC, USA +1 704 619 0800

Lake Norman

This enormous lake sits just outside of the city and has attracted NASCAR superstars to buy homes along its 520 miles of shoreline. All types of watersports take over the waves during warm months, with fishing charters, brightly colored kayaks, and boats of all sizes zipping atop the surface.

Lake Norman, North Carolina, USA


Sunset @ Lake Norman, NC | © lawepw/Flickr

Mint Museum

Charlotte has a number of specialty museums, and the Mint has the distinction of being North Carolina’s oldest and, as a result, it has gathered one of the largest art collections in the Southeast. The building itself is an architectural gem at 145,000 square feet. The museum’s counterpart, Mint Museum Randolph, actually took over one of the original United States Mint branches.

Mint Museum, 500 South Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC, USA +1 704 337 2000

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

Another museum that should be on your radar, the Bechtler houses art from some of the world’s most renowned artists including Picasso, Warhol, and Giacometti. And since many of these works were held in private collections for generations, they are often are being viewed by the public for the first time. And like Mint, the building itself has architectural significance as a work by the great Swiss architect Mario Botta.

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, 420 South Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC, USA +1 704 353 9200

Good Food on Montford

Considered one of, if not the best, restaurants in Charlotte, Good Food on Montford was a contender for James Beard’s best new restaurant during its first year. Since then, it has earned accolades for best chef nominations. The wait can be long during peak times since this dinner-only restaurant doesn’t take reservations, but they do utilize the Nowait app.

Good Food on Montford, 1701 Montford Drive, Charlotte, NC, USA +1 704 525 0881

NC Music Factory

Charlotte has a music venue to fit any type of evening you’re looking for, and the NC Music Factory contains nearly all of them. From nightclubs to an outdoor amphitheater and dive bars, this complex houses 12 different music and comedy experiences including the iconic Filmore, which has hosted some of the most famous bands in the world like The Grateful Dead, The Doors, and Jimi Hendrix.

AvidXchange Music Factory, 1000 North Carolina Music Factory Blvd, Charlotte, NC, USA +1 704 987 0612

South End Brewery District

Each Charlotte neighborhood has a personality worth getting to know, but for beer lovers, the hip South End neighborhood can’t be beaten. A walkable string of breweries and two cideries reside here, and food trucks, live music, while many cute shops offer plenty of options for non-drinkers, too.
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NoDa Arts District

To tap into the local art scene, a visit to NoDa is a must. Charlotte’s quirkiest neighborhood has colorful murals and buildings that make for a pleasant walk between stops at more breweries, tattoo shops, and galleries.

NoDa, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden
And for a bit of beauty to balance out Charlotte’s towering skyscrapers, the beautiful Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden has a lake, more than a dozen amazing gardens, and manicured paths that make visitors feel miles away from the city. A full calendar of fun events and lots of plans for future growth will keep people looking for a bit of peace and relaxation coming back again and again.
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Carolina Raptor Center

Arguably the largest raptor treatment facility in the world, this center rehabilitates raptors and also has 36 other birds on-site including eagles, hawks, and owls. Nearly 400,000 annual visitors come through each year, with a large number of those being field trips.

Carolina Raptor Center, 6000 Sample Road, Huntersville, NC, USA +1 704 875 6521

Charlotte Douglas Airport Overlook

Lastly, check out the overlook at Charlotte’s international airport as it’s one of the only airports in America with a public viewing area. And as the sixth-busiest airport in the world, you can watch the non-stop takeoffs and landings day or night.

Charlotte Airport Overlook, 7300 Airport Overlook Drive, Charlotte, NC, USA +1 704 359 4000


Charlotte Airport | @ Nicola/Flickr

These recommendations were updated on February 12, 2018 to keep your travel plans fresh.