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
NASCAR Hall of Fame
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.
NASCAR Hall of Fame, 400 E M.L.K. Jr Blvd, Charlotte, NC, USA +1 704 654 4400
hof2 | © Nick Ledford/Flickr
Billy Graham Library
Billy Graham Library
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.
Billy Graham Library, 4330 Westmont Dr, Charlotte, NC, USA +1 704 401 3200
U.S. National Whitewater Center
Not very many major cities can boast – just 10 minutes away – world-class whitewater rafting with many other outdoor activities available to enjoy at a 1,300-acre complex. So, have a blast swinging between trees, biking across 30+ trails, or take to the water to experience Class II-IV rapids where U.S. Olympic teams train.
U.S. National Whitewater Center, 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy, Charlotte, NC, USA +1 704 391 3900
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
Amelie's French Bakery
Bakery, Pastry Shop, French, Pastries, Dessert, $$$
Go here to soak in a piece of the city’s history as the Dilworth neighborhood was the first streetcar suburb, which helped define Charlotte’s growth going forward. Now, the sprawling city – the 16th-largest in America – has a unique layout as walkable neighborhoods continued to pop up around the downtown area. Keep your eyes peeled for the adorable historic bungalows!
Dilworth, Charlotte, NC, USA
Charlotte has a lot of goals when it comes to keeping its urban sprawl in check with the help of urban forests and parks like Freedom Park. At 98 acres, Freedom Park features a seven-acre lake and several ballfields used by recreation leagues and weekend warriors regularly.
Freedom Park, Charlotte, NC, USA
h Street Public Market
Farm Shop, Farmers' Market, Market, American, Vegetarian, $$$
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
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.
South End, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
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
Daniel Stowe 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.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, 6500 South New Hope Rd, Belmont, NC, USA +1 704 825 4490
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