Whether you are looking for outdoor adventure, sports, shopping, brewery experiences, unique culinary, or just family fun, Charlotte’s got it going on. I listed some of the best things to do in Charlotte, North Carolina with kids. When we decided to visit North Carolina, I was truly surprised (pleasantly) with all there is to do, especially in Charlotte, definitely one of the most underrated places to visit in the United Sates.
The Huffington Post called Charlotte “the new Atlanta.” News & World Report named it among the “Twenty Best Places to Live in the USA.” And just recently, the Thrillist named it the top city “you should visit before they’re too popular.”
There’s no doubt that Charlotte has a lot to offer. Check out our ultimate list of favorite things to do in Charlotte with your family.
Things To Do Charlotte with Kids
Watch some animals
Find exotic animals at Bird Brain Ostrich Ranch in Sherills Ford, Carolina Raptor Center in Huntersville, Zootastic Park of Lake Norma in Troutman, Tiger World in Rockwell, or Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville.
“The thrill capital of the Southeast,” amusement park is packed with fun for all ages. For the biggest adrenaline rush, ride the Intimidator – the tallest, fastest, and longest roller coaster in the region, a hidden gem in North Caroline– and take a spin on the new 301-foot-tall Windseeker, the park’s tallest ride.
Ray’s Splash Planet
Beat the heat (or cold) at the 29,000-square-foot indoor water park and fitness facility. The water park is loaded with fun features: a double figure-eight waterslide, water squirters, a lazy river, and tumble buckets.
Carolinas Aviation Museum
Let your imagination soar. Relive the country’s proudest moments with exhibits featuring aircraft from war and peacetime.
One of the Carolinas’ most visited attractions. It features interactive science lab stations, deep-sea aquariums, a digital 3-D theater, and other wonder-inspiring elements.
Find innovative ways to interact with science: see stars, try hands-on experiments at Discovery Place Kids-Huntersville and cross a daring rope bridge at Discovery Place Science.
ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center
Journey to fairy tale lands during storytime at The Joe & Joan Martin Center or at the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte.
Education meets imagination. A LEED-certified facility geared especially for families. Journey to fairytale lands during a Children’s Theatre of Charlotte production, or embark on a teen-approved mp3 scavenger hunt.
Related Read: Top Historic Hotels to Stay at in North Carolina
Things to Do in Charlotte by Categories
Festivals & Events
- Celebrate the various international cultures in Charlotte with its art festivals throughout the year. For example, the Festa Italian, Latin American Festival, Hola Festival, and the Yiasou Greek Festival. You could also explore the heritage, traditions, and cuisine of more than fifty different nations at the UNC Charlotte International Festival held each fall.
- Celebrate Independence Day in Charlotte with a July 4 festival at the US National Whitewater Center. Watch the fireworks and performances at Charlotte Symphony and BB&T Ballpark.
Arts & Culture
- Discover the passion of performance when the Charlotte Ballet takes the stage at Patricia McBride & Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux Center for Dance.
- Admire awe-inspiring exhibits that fill the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts & Culture, Mint Museum Uptown, and Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.
Shopping & Spas
- Treat yourself to a day of pampering at the Spa Botanica, The Spar at Ballantyne, or Spa & Wellness Center.
- Discover antiques at Plaza Midwood’s Classic Attic and South End’s Sleepy Poet. Find consignment goods at Dilworth’s Sweet Repeats and J.T. Posh.
- Whatever your pleasure – used, new, traditional or contemporary – find it at stores like High Cotton Home Company, The Furniture Connector, and LaDonna Antiques & Interiors.
- Explore designer boutiques and or a consignment store along the vibrant East Boulevard in Dilworth. Offerings include Paper Skyscrapper, Abode, McKenzie Claire, Vestique, Revolution Clothiers & Co., Handpicked, Petal, and more.
- Explore hundreds of outlet stores with deep discounts at budget-friendly Charlotte Premium Outlets and Concord Mills.
Outdoors & Adventure
- Roam the Charlotte Rail Trail. Here, impromptu concerts, artists at work, galleries, bars, cafés, and restaurants breathe life to the streets cape.
- Go for a picnic at Park Road Park or Freedom Park.
- Take in the city’s protected wilderness at Anne Springs Close Greenway, Latta Plantation Nature Center and Preserve McDowell Nature Center and Preserve or Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve.
- Take a dip in The Quarry at Carrigan Farms. Or make a splash at Lake Wylie, Lake Norman or Catawba River.
- Stroll through the tranquil grounds at Charlotte’s many gardens like UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens, Wing Haven Gardens & Bird Sanctuary, McGill Rose Garden, or Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden.
- Feel the rush of adrenaline during high-speed driving experiences with the NASCAR Racing Experience at the Speedway or the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
- Tee off at one of Charlotte’s recognized golf courses and ride a golf cart: the private Quail Hollow Club, the championship course at The Golf Club at Ballantyne, or the wetland-shrouded 15th hole of Rocky River Golf Club.
- Support the city’s major league teams. The USL Charlotte Independence hits the field at The Sportsplex at Matthews, the Charlotte Knights defend the diamond at BB&T Ballpark in Uptown and the AHL Charlotte Checkers take to the ice at Bojangles’ Coliseum.
- Catch an action-packed major league game. The MLL Charlotte Hounds play at American Legion Memorial Stadium. The NBA’s Charlotte Hornets call the Spectrum their “hive.” And the NFL’s Carolina Panthers offer a family-friendly sporting experience at Bank of America Stadium.
Food & Drink
- Celebrate a special occasion at a beloved Charlotte treasure like The Fig Tree Restaurant, McNinch House Restaurant or Beef ‘N Bottle.
- Try North Carolina’s varied barbecue styles at institutions like Mac’s Speed Shop, City Smoke, Sauceman’s, Midwood Smokehouse, Queen City Q, Bill Spoon’s Barbeque or Bar-B-Q King.
Related Read: A Visit To Pikes Soda Shop Restaurant
There is never a shortage of things to do in Charlotte, NC.
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