When people think of North Carolina, they probably think of a few things: Tarheels (or Blue Devils), good barbecue and maybe a few classic country songs. However, Charlotte — and other cities in the state — is a hub of culture. There are so many things to do around the city, from popular tourist attractions to hole-in-the-wall restaurants and venues. Here are 5 categories of attractions for both locals and tourists to visit.
- Carowinds and Ray’s Splash Planet
If you are in Charlotte in the warmer months, Carowinds is a must-visit. This amusement park is packed with Carolina culture, live entertainment and, of course, rollercoasters and other rides. In fact, Carowinds is home to the world’s tallest and fastest Giga coaster: The Fury 325. It rises 325 feet into the air and has a top speed of 95 miles per hour. This coaster will take your breath away, especially since it’s over 6,000 feet in length.
If water parks are more your style, check out Ray’s Splash Planet. This indoor water park has lots of great features that can be visited any time of year. With 29,000 square feet to explore, you can visit all day without getting bored. So of the most fun attractions include a double figure-eight water slide, lazy river and dump buckets.
- Local Museums
For those who are looking for relaxing day in the city, Charlotte has a variety of museums and similar attractions to visit. One of the most popular is Discovery Place. This interactive science museum is great for families. It features a digital 3-D theater, interactive science lab stations, deep sea aquariums and other elements. For locals, there are also summer camps and other programs to inspire a love of science in your children.
Race fans should take the opportunity to visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame. This
150,000 square-foot center has interactive attractions and other exhibits that preserve the history and the heritage of the sport. There are thousands of artifacts to explore, plus a movie theater to relive some of the best — and worst — moments in NASCAR history. Other areas like the Crown Ballroom can be rented out for different events.
- Best Restaurants
Located just a few hours from the Atlantic Coast, Charlotte is a great place to get fresh seafood. Whatever local eatery you visit, you will likely find this fresh flavor infused into the flavor. One of the most popular restaurants in the cities is Barrington’s. Be sure to grab your formalwear before going! This restaurant is known for its fresh, perfectly prepared seafood and other dishes. They also have a wide alcohol selection and decadent desserts, plus a rich atmosphere that makes it a hotspot for locals.
For lighter fare, be sure to visit Good Food on Montford, featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post and Southern Living Magazine. This local restaurant has a great selection of soups, both chilled and hot. In addition, the pasta selection is made with homemade ingredients. If you are in the mood for pasture-raised meat or food fresh from the ocean, you can find it on the menu. Top off your visit with great desserts and after-dinner drinks.
- Bars and Pub
Visiting local bars and pubs is the best way to truly experience the culture of a city. Charlotte is full of bars for every taste, from big game-day ones to little dive bars. For a taste of the local brewery scene, stop by VBGB Beer Hall and Garden. This small bar specializes in serving beers from all across the state. The patio is the largest in the city, and there are always 30 craft beers and imports on tap. VBGB has won multiple awards for its service and atmosphere. This is one stop you don’t want
If you want to relive the fun of college, without dealing with the college-aged crowd, check out Selwyn Avenue Pub. Often described as an “adult frat party,” you can catch the latest game or simply have a good time at this pub. This is a favorite for locals thanks to cheap drinks and tree-shaded deck. If you are looking for a nightly party full of loud, fun people, Selwyn Avenue Pub is the place to be.
- Local Entertainment
Of course, one thing Charlotte is known for is their sports teams. The city is home to the Carolina Panthers, one of the most dynamic teams in the National Football League. In addition, during basketball season you can catch the Charlotte Hornets take on some of the toughest teams in the National Basketball Association. You can also catch minor league baseball and other sporting events throughout the year.
Charlotte is also home to a huge variety of music and entertainment venues. For big shows, be sure to visit Uptown Amphitheatre Charlotte. Some of the nation’s most popular bands frequent this venue. For a more intimate setting, The Evening Muse is a local favorite. Many up-and-coming acts have found their platform in this small bar, and local bands perform here almost daily.
Charlotte is a huge city, and this is only a taste of what it has to offer. Whether you are a local or a visitor, take time to explore the city — you never know what you’ll find!