Things to Do in Charlotte – 20 Unique Ideas

Immerse yourself in the charm of the Queen City as you explore our guide to unique things to do in Charlotte, NC. Discover a different side of this vibrant city, from adrenaline-fueled NASCAR races to serene botanical gardens, and everything in between!

Charlotte, North Carolina, is a vibrant city where the charm of the South meets urban sophistication. There are dozens of attractions to explore! Throughout your stay, you will not run out of things to do.

Sports enthusiasts will revel in the NASCAR thrills and professional football and basketball games. While art lovers can immerse themselves in hundreds of amazing exhibits found in museums and galleries.

Planning a trip for the family? Charlotte isn’t just a playground for adults. Families will find an array of child-friendly attractions, from interactive museums to expansive parks. Follow along as we share some of the best things to do in Charlotte North Carolina. From unique attractions to awesome events that will make your trip a fun, memorable experience.

20 Unique Charlotte Attractions

NASCAR Hall of Fame

Wondering what to do in Charlotte today? The NASCAR Hall of Fame is undoubtedly high on the must-visit list for travelers. Even those who aren’t sports fanatics will enjoy the immersive experiences that this popular attraction offers. Enjoy interactive exhibits, realistic full-size racing simulators, and a chance to explore legendary race cars and tracks!

Make sure to try the Pit Crew Challenge where you can experience the speed and teamwork of a real pit stop. And if you visit at the right time, you can join annual events such as Induction Ceremonies and special exhibitions at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Given the popularity of this attraction, we recommend purchasing tickets online ahead of your visit. NASCAR Hall of Fame tours are limited daily to give visitors the best experience.

A loop of nascar vehicles inside the nascar hall of fame in Charlotte
Photo Credit: NASCAR Hall of Fame via Facebook

National Whitewater Center

If you’re searching for things to do in Charlotte this weekend, look no further than the National Whitewater Center, located at 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy Charlotte NC. This popular attraction is a hub for outdoor adventures and a testament to Charlotte’s love for nature and sports.

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The center is renowned for its man-made whitewater rafting river, but there are more activities to do in this active, outdoor lifestyle-promoting attraction. From mountain biking and zip-lining to paddleboarding and rock climbing, the range of activities caters to every age and skill level, making it a family-friendly destination.

The Center also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including the popular River Jam music series and outdoor film screenings. This, combined with its commitment to environmental stewardship, makes it a must-visit attraction in Charlotte.


Looking for things to do in Charlotte with kids? Carowinds, a 400-acre amusement park, is a popular Charlotte attraction that offers excitement for both adults and families with children.

Adrenaline-seekers should not miss rides like the “Fury 325,” one of the world’s tallest and fastest roller coasters, and the “Afterburn,” a high-flying inverted coaster.

For the little ones, Camp Snoopy offers tamer rides and kid-friendly shows. Beyond roller coasters, Carowinds also offers live entertainment, waterpark fun at Carolina Harbor, and seasonal events like SCarowinds’ Halloween celebration.

View looking up at a roller coaster as people ride it at Carowinds
Photo Credit: Carowinds via Facebook

Discovery Place Science

Among the fun things to do in Charlotte NC, visiting Discovery Place Science at 301 N Tryon St Charlotte NC is a must. This popular attraction offers interactive exhibits that both kids and adults will enjoy, as everything about this place sparks curiosity and ignites a love for science.

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From exploring the intricate wonders of the human body in the World Alive exhibit to watching jaw-dropping IMAX films on the largest IMAX screen in the Carolinas, there’s no end to fun learning outside the four walls of the classroom.

For those wanting to get even more hands-on, the Thinker Space offers guided workshops where you can build and experiment. Don’t forget to visit Creature Caverns, where you can get nose-to-nose with animals native to the Carolinas!

Freedom Park

If you’re looking for things to do in Charlotte today, Freedom Park offers an ideal escape. Often likened to New York’s Central Park, Freedom Park’s sprawling landscape brims with charm and activity. Its unique features include a beautiful lake, scenic walking trails, and sports facilities, attracting both locals and visitors alike.

Enjoy a day here by picnicking, paddle-boating, or simply relaxing amid nature’s beauty. If you have downtime in Charlotte or if you simply want to enjoy the city without spending too much to pay for attractions, this is the place to be.

The park is also home to various events, including the highly anticipated Festival in the Park, a multi-day arts and music festival. The park transforms into an energetic hub of creativity and camaraderie, a sight and experience you won’t want to miss.

Stone bridge over a lake with fall foliage in the background
Photo Credit: Rox Arnillas via Facebook

The Mint Museum

Located at 2730 Randolph Rd Charlotte NC, The Mint Museum is a cornerstone of Charlotte’s cultural district, offering an extensive collection that includes American and European art, contemporary works, and a renowned Craft + Design collection. The museum itself is a piece of history, as it’s housed in what was the first branch of the United States Mint.

As you traverse its galleries, you’ll encounter masterpieces from around the world, showcasing diverse cultures and periods. To make the most of your visit, consider joining a guided tour for expert insights, or participate in their workshops and talks.

The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Charlotte area is also filled with outdoor attractions that are a stunning testament to the beauty of mother nature. For instance, The Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens is a natural paradise that invites visitors to discover the beauty of horticulture.

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Aside from being home to one of the region’s largest collections of water plants, this popular attraction is also a living, breathing canvas of stunning landscaped displays, manicured gardens, and natural woodland.

Visitors can explore the beautiful Orchid Conservatory, take a peaceful walk through the Four Seasons Garden (a year-long enjoyable garden), or simply relax beside the garden’s serene fountains and waterfalls. To truly enjoy this place, take your time to soak in the diverse plant life, join a guided tour, or even participate in a gardening workshop.

View of plants and flowers at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Charlotte North Carolina
Photo Credit: Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden / Facebook

Bechtler Museum of Modert Art

The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, a unique gem in Charlotte’s thriving cultural scene, is well worth a visit. Housed in a striking building designed by acclaimed Swiss architect Mario Botta, the museum is home to an impressive collection of 20th-century modern art.

Its collection, amassed by the Bechtler family of Zurich, Switzerland, features works from some of the most influential artists, such as Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Alberto Giacometti, to name a few.

In addition, what makes the Bechtler truly special is its intimate atmosphere that allows for a more personal engagement with the artwork. Whether you’re an avid art lover or a novice, the museum’s thoughtfully curated exhibits, guided tours, and educational programs provide an enriching and accessible exploration of modern art.

A word to the wise–some people search for “Bechtler Museum of the New South.” However, please note that the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is different from the Levine Museum of the New South!

Crowders Mountain State Park

While not technically within the city limits, Crowders Mountain State Park is an easily accessible natural escape just an hour’s drive from uptown Charlotte. Its proximity makes it an honorary Charlotte attraction and a favorite amongst locals.

The park is best known for its towering peaks offering breathtaking views and miles of hiking trails suitable for all skill levels. Activities you can do include rock climbing, bird watching, fishing, and picnicking. The best times to visit are spring and fall when the weather is mild, and the foliage is vibrant.

The park is open year-round and admission is free, making it a cost-effective day trip. To save up while enjoying the park, consider packing a picnic and planning a hike that culminates with a rewarding view from the mountain’s summit.

Trail through a green woods
Photo Credit: Renee Close via Facebook

Levine Museum of the New South

Art and history enthusiasts will find the Levine Museum of the New South to be an unparalleled journey into experiencing the authentic New South, through its triumphant successes, its challenging moments, and its hopes for the future.

The museum’s centerpiece, “Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers,” blends interactive displays with over 1,000 artifacts to paint a vibrant picture of the South’s 300-year-old journey. The thought-provoking “K(NO)W Justice K(NO)W Peace” exhibit, another highlight, delves into the complex issue of community-police relations, offering a nuanced perspective.

We promise you will enjoy a narrative journey while exploring this museum, where every artifact tells a story and every exhibit sparks a conversation.

Billy Graham Library

The Billy Graham Library, located at 4330 Westmont Dr Charlotte NC, offers a fascinating glimpse into the life and legacy of one of America’s most influential religious leaders. The library resembles a dairy barn, reflecting Graham’s humble farm upbringing.

It features engaging multimedia exhibits, personal memorabilia, and poignant photos that capture his impactful ministry and personal journey.

Of particular interest is the “Journey of Faith” tour, which gives an intimate look into Billy Graham’s life story. Visitors can also pay respects at the gravesites of Billy Graham and his wife, Ruth.

More than a library, this attraction provides a powerful testament to Graham’s extraordinary life of faith and his global influence. It’s an enlightening visit, whether you’re a person of faith or simply interested in American history.

Wide shot of the Billy Graham Library decorated for Christmas at night in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
photo credit: Billy Graham Library

Truist Field (BB&T Ballpark)

Truist Field, previously known as the BB&T Ballpark, is the home of the Charlotte Knights minor league baseball team and offers one of the most exhilarating sports experiences in the city. Whether it’s the crack of the bat or the crowd’s roar, there’s always an electric atmosphere during game season, typically from April through September.

Even where there’s no game, Truist Field remains an attraction. The facility hosts guided tours, allowing visitors to explore the dugouts, luxury suites, and press box, giving an insider’s perspective on baseball operations. Even non-sports fans can appreciate the architectural design, the breathtaking views of the Charlotte skyline, and the lively atmosphere of this unique venue.

The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture

The Harvey B Gantt Center for African American Arts+Culture is a vibrant cultural hub in Charlotte, highlighting the contributions of Africans and African Americans to American culture.

Named after Harvey Gantt, the first African-American mayor of Charlotte and a prominent civil rights figure, this popular attraction offers visitors a rich array of exhibits featuring art, history, and culture.

The center targets a diverse audience, appealing to anyone interested in exploring the influence and evolution of African-American culture. If that’s you, you will enjoy attending special events, from community discussions and film screenings to artist talks and cultural festivals. These events not only entertain but also foster dialogue about the ongoing narrative of the African diaspora.

Exterior view of the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture in Charlotte
Photo Credit: Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture via Facebook

Bank of America Stadium

Home to the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, the Bank of America Stadium is a beacon for sports fans visiting Charlotte. Exploring this impressive venue provides an unforgettable slice of Charlotte’s sporting life.

While it is known for hosting thrilling football games and electrifying crowds with its intense atmosphere, you can also visit even if there’s no game.

The stadium offers behind-the-scenes tours that take you to the places usually reserved for players and staff. You can explore the field, visit the team locker room, and even step into the broadcast booth.

Of course, if you can, go when there’s a game! While game schedules vary, fall and winter are the prime times to catch a Panthers game.

SEA Life Charlotte-Concord

SEA Life Charlotte-Concord, a top destination for those looking for things to do in Charlotte NC with kids, offers an enchanting deep-sea journey without leaving the city. This space is home to over 5,000 sea creatures, including sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles.

There are engaging exhibits to keep the young ones busy while learning about marine life, like the Interactive Touchpool where kids can touch a variety of sea creatures, or the 180-degree Ocean Tunnel, which offers panoramic views of underwater life.

Special events such as feeding demonstrations and educational talks by the aquarium’s staff are also top hits among kids. If you have time and budget, consider participating in a behind-the-scenes tour, which offers insights into how the aquarium cares for its inhabitants.

A family with young kids playing in the touch pool at SEA LIFE Aquarium in Orlando, Florida, USA
photo credit: SEA LIFE Aquarium (Orlando) via Facebook

ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center

ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center is an imaginative world where literature, technology, and theatre collide to create a unique, interactive experience for kids and teens. Located in the heart of Charlotte, this one-of-a-kind facility is a collaborative venture between the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte.

Designed with families in mind, young visitors can explore two state-of-the-art theatres, a dedicated library space for kids under 11, a teen-only library, multimedia production studios, and an interactive exhibit area.

Little ones can immerse themselves in the magic of storytelling through inventive performances and engaging reading materials. Meanwhile, teens and adults can experiment with cutting-edge technology to create their own stories, whether through film, music, or digital art.

Historic Rosedale Plantation

The Historic Rosedale Plantation opens a window into the early 19th-century life in the South. This charmingly preserved plantation was established in 1815 by a local merchant and tax collector. Today it stands as an important testament to the country’s complex history.

Visiting offers guests the opportunity to explore the elegant Federal-period architecture of the main house. Wander through the serene gardens and take in the carefully preserved outbuildings, each with their own story to tell.

To fully enjoy your visit, join a guided tour that offers profound insights into the lives of the plantation’s inhabitants. Both free and enslaved. You will leave the Plantation with a nuanced understanding of how past events have shaped the present. And an educational experience that you will remember long after your visit.

White plantation house in front of the woods
Photo Credit: Very Allie Images via Facebook

Carolinas Aviation Museum

Carolinas Aviation Museum is an air-bound adventure waiting to happen for both avid aviation enthusiasts and those who simply find the realm of flight fascinating. This museum soars with a collection of aircraft that tells the story of aviation, both civil and military.

Among the iconic aircraft on display is “Miracle on the Hudson,” the Airbus A320 that Captain Sully safely landed on the Hudson River in 2009, preserving the lives of all on board. Other exhibits take visitors on a journey through aviation history, from the Wright Brothers’ first flight to the present day.

Whether you’re a seasoned pilot, an aspiring aviator, or just someone who loves to keep their dreams aloft, you will enjoy exploring the high-flying gems at Carolinas Aviation Museum.

Charlotte Motor Speedway

The Charlotte Motor Speedway is more than just a race track—it’s a monument to the high-octane thrill of motorsports! As one of the most significant NASCAR racing locations in the U.S., this vast complex is a must-visit for speed enthusiasts.

The Speedway, known as “America’s home for racing”, boasts a quad oval track that sees some of the biggest races in the NASCAR calendar.

If there is no race, you can still schedule a visit. Visitors can feel the adrenaline rush of riding along with a professional driver. Or even get behind the wheel themselves with the Richard Petty Driving Experience! The speedway also hosts the yearly Christmas light show, Speedway Christmas, turning the track into a sparkling winter wonderland.

Wide angle of the Charlotte Motor Speedway
Photo Credit: Charlotte Motor Speedway via Facebook

NoDa (North Davidson) Arts District

NoDa, short for North Davidson Arts District, is the vibrant heart of Charlotte’s arts scene. This lively neighborhood is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the city’s creative flair. Wander through eclectic art galleries, savor delicious fare at local restaurants. Or simply soak in the colorful street art that adorns the area.

If you’re looking for free events in Charlotte today, expect NoDa’s diverse and dynamic community to deliver everything under the sun. From lively street festivals to engaging art crawls.

Music lovers will enjoy live performances at venues like the Neighborhood Theatre or The Evening Muse. For shopaholics, take time to explore local boutiques that showcase everything from vintage finds to artisan-made crafts.

Explore Charlotte with a Vacation Package

Come discover the Queen City’s unique attractions and hidden gems!

To make your trip planning easier and more affordable, customize a Charlotte Vacation Package with Tripster. Tailored to your preferences, bundle attraction tickets with your choice of hotel. Whether that’s a comfortable budget-friendly hotel or a luxurious suite in the city’s top establishments.

By planning your trip to Charlotte in one transaction, you can ensure a memorable and hassle-free getaway.

Let your journey begin, for Charlotte, North Carolina is calling.

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Written by Nicole King

There are only two things that make Nicole really happy–books and travel! When her head’s not buried in a book, she’s most likely...

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