Things to do in Charlotte, NC!
For the past five years, Charlotte, NC has been my home. After living in Raleigh my entire life, only 10 minutes way from my family, my husband and I moved to Charlotte for his job. I’d just finished graduate school, so it was the perfect time – nothing was holding me back! And honestly, I was ready for a change. While I was initially nervous, moving to Charlotte has been the best adventure. The reason I love Charlotte is because it has quickly become our home. We bought our first home here, we had our child here.
Of course, Charlotte wouldn’t be so special without all of the exciting activities to do, delicious places to eat, and festive places for having fun. Lately, I’ve noticed many people heading to Charlotte for a fun weekend trip, so I wanted to share the best that the Queen City has to offer so you can enjoy it as much as I do. I’ll be adding to this post as new restaurants/activities/shops/etc. open, so make sure to check back occasionally!
Things to do in Charlotte, NC
First, make sure to check out the climate in Charlotte so you can decide the best time to visit! Below, I’ve broken down my favorites into five categories: Eat, Drink, Stay, Do, and Shop!
- Sabor Latin Street Grill: We get takeout from here at least once a week. It’s one of the most popular quick bites in Charlotte because the food is inexpensive, fresh, and authentic.
- Lebowski’s Neighborhood Grill: Our favorite neighborhood place to eat in Charlotte. We’ve been eating here weekly since moving, and love seeing familiar faces every time we go.
- Bang Bang Burgers: If you want a bangin’ burger, this is your place. The ingredients are fresh and local, and the burger combos are unique and flavorful. My personal favorite is the hangover burger, and my husband always gets the Korean burger.
- Luna’s Living Kitchen: For those of you who want a healthy option, Luna’s is your place. Everything is organic and plant-based, and SO delicious. They also have the best and healthiest smoothies if you want a quick pick-me-up. There are two locations in Charlotte, so you’re bound to be close to one.
- Midwood Smokehouse: The place to go if you want BBQ. Everything here is amazing, and I recommend saving room for dessert. Delicious and perfectly southern.
In the Middle
- Good Food on Montford: One of my favorite places for a date night with my husband or with my girls. You can get really great seasonal cocktails and lots of small plates to share. If you get anything, you have to get the gnocchi!
- Bistro la Bon: Over in Plaza Midwood, this unassuming restaurant has small plates, so it is perfect for sharing. There are dishes from all around the world but with local ingredients. My favorite dish is the mussels.
- O-Ku: Hands down the best sushi in Charlotte. They have traditional sushi as well as unique rolls that you must try. The decor is beautiful and the staff is the best. I dined here while pregnant and they made me a delicious mock-tail!
- 300 East: We used to live a block away from this restaurant and would eat here often. It is a historic home converted into a cozy dining space. It is also perfect for patio dining so you can watch everything going on out on East Blvd. Also, you have to get the sweet potato ravioli!
- Fig Tree: We go here every year for our anniversary dinner! It is located in a historic home with a cozy atmosphere. I recommend getting the scallops as an appetizer and the beignets for dessert! Their menu is seasonal, but these two items are always available.
- Barrington’s: My husband takes me here for my birthday every year! This menu is also seasonal, which means everything is fresh and innovative. Definitely make a reservation because the dining space is small and intimate.
- 5Church: A super hip and fun dining experience. If you’re staying in uptown, it is a must! My husband recommends the 60 second steak – it is an event in and of itself!
- Stoke: We have yet to dine here, but it was voted the restaurant you must visit in 2018. If that isn’t reason enough, the menu boasts the most decadent cheese plates and hand crafted cocktails.
- Common market: The best of both worlds! You can get coffee, wine, beer, and food all in one laid back place.
- Not just coffee: There are a few locations around Charlotte, and NJC is one of the coolest coffee joints around. Get your phone ready for some very instagrammable scenery.
- Lincoln’s Haberdashery: Full of unique and authentic creations, and located in a 1920’s old Lance Factory in Southend. There is delicious food (think fresh baked bread and homemade soup), wine, and local retailers.
- The Suffolk Punch: Coffee bar, tap house, cafe and fermentation lab. Honestly, this place has it all, and it is incredibly gorgeous. There are vines hanging from the ceiling, a twinkle light patio, and all with a beautiful rustic flare.
- Dot Dot Dot: A members-only, prohibition style bar with a delicious culinary experience. The cocktails are innovative and make sure to check out the rules before going!
- Dilworth Tasting Room: Give me a pretty cheese plate and glass of wine, and I’m good to go. That’s what DTR is! If the weather is nice, make sure to sit on the cozy patio.
- City Light’s Rooftop: You take an elevator to the top floor of Le Meridien hotel, and at the top, you will see beautiful Uptown Charlotte. This is a fun place to visit in the summer, and make sure to get their specialty drink – popsicles in wine!
The brewery scene in Charlotte can be a little overwhelming, but there are SO many wonderful choices. Each brewery listed here has delicious beer, a fun atmosphere, and is great for families. There is a not-so-secret code in Charlotte that all kids and dogs are always welcome at breweries, so don’t be shy! I’ve listed some of my favorites below!
- Old Mecklenberg
- Sycamore Brewing
- Resident Culture
- Lenny Boy Brewing
- Sugar Creek Brewing
- NoDa Brewing
- Legion Brewing
- Mint Museum: I always make a point to go to art museums on my trip, and the Mint Museum has a stunning and vast collection.
- Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen: The best cooking class in Charlotte! My husband has done this, but I have yet to try it! The classes fill up quickly, so plan in advance!
- Blumenthal Performing Arts: Make sure to check out a show while you’re here. Going to the theatre is one of my favorite date nights with my husband.
- US National Whitewater Center: There are tons of outdoor activities, like hiking and biking as well as areas to relax and listen to live music.
- Freedom Park: A beautiful outdoor area. Therefore, it’s great for kids and families, and definitely great for pictures!
- Uptown Charlotte: Another thing I love to do when visiting a city is taking a day to explore the city. Uptown Charlotte has grown exponentially over the last decade, and there is so much to explore!
- Panther’s Game: Although I’m not a huge sports fan, I’ve been to a few Panther’s games since moving to Charlotte. The energy is so exciting and I love to feel the sense of community with all of the fans.
- Knight’s Game: If I have to go to a sporting event, I want it to be baseball. There is always a fun activity to do and great socializing to take part in!
- Nascar Hall of Fame: My husband loves NASCAR, and the hall of fame is a huge draw for the fans!
The best of the best
- Capitol: Welcome to my dream closet. Everything here is upscale, designer, fashion-forward. This is a boutique that is known around the country as having the best, hand-selected pieces.
- Poole Shop: Located just above Capitol, and owned by the same company, Poole Shop is like Capitol’s super chic, trendy, and boho younger sister. I also want everything in this store.
- Southpark Mall: Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Stuart Weitzman, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, David Yurman, Tiffany’s, just to name a few of my favorite shops!
- Le Meridien: A sophisticated hotel with the most gorgeous decor, a pretty pool, and fabulous rooftop!
- Aloft: Perfect for staying in the heart of uptown – the Epicenter. You are close to bars and lots of of exploring in the city.
- Omni: An upscale hotel in the heart of Charlotte. Close to the best restaurants and the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.
- Hampton Inn & Suites at Phillips Place: You can walk to the surrounding shops and restaurants! And you are minutes away from Southpark Mall.
- Charlotte Charlotte Southpark: Newly redesigned, chic, and so close to shopping and restaurants.
- The Ballantyne: This is for a special occasion! So prepare for luxury at the Ballantyne Hotel.