In a beautiful and exciting city like Charlotte, it’s hard to narrow down your itinerary to just 48 hours. With so much to do here, you could easily spend a week seeing all the sites and visiting all the spots. But, if you’ve only got a couple days in your schedule to enjoy the Queen City, here are a few things you’ll definitely want to do during your visit.

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Explore "Uptown" (Nearby Hotels)

The first thing you’ll want to do in Charlotte is explore its beautiful, thriving downtown that is affectionately known as “uptown” to the locals. In the city center, there are lots of restaurants, shops and attractions that are all within walking distance of one another, so grab a map from the Visitor’s Center or just wander wherever your heart desires. Make sure to stop in at the local favorite, Amelie’s French Bakery on South College Street and grab yourself an espresso and a fresh pastry or one of their famous salted caramel brownies (they’ve sold over 1 million!)

Learn about science at Discovery Place (Nearby Hotels)

Whether you’re traveling with kids or just want to let the kid inside of you out to play, you’ll want to stop in at Discovery Place while you’re uptown. This unique museum features a wide variety of exhibits that teach guests about dinosaurs, health and anatomy, bugs and the laws of physics. You can even try out lying on a bed of nails! The museum is also home to the city’s only indoor rainforest, as well as a three-story IMAX theater.

Visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame The
The "Glory Road" exhibit features a simulated banked-ramp of a racetrack.

Visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame (Nearby Hotels)

If you’re a racing fan (or even if you’re not), you’ll want to check out the NASCAR Hall of Fame, also located in uptown, that celebrates the long and colorful history of this local sport. In addition to viewing exhibits with interactive displays and video presentations, you’ll also have the chance to see real stock cars up close, check out a banked ramp that simulates NASCAR racetracks and watch a movie in the High Octane Theater.

Eat Dinner in NODA (Nearby Hotels)

After a long day of exploring uptown, you’ll be ready to relax and enjoy a delicious dinner and there’s no better place for that than the artsy, eclectic neighborhood of “NODA.” Named for the main street that runs through it – North Davidson – this area is home to many of the city’s funkiest shops, galleries, breweries and restaurants. You can enjoy savory crepes at the Crepe Cellar, some authentic Latin-American food at Sabor Latin Street Grill or SoCal-style Mexican food at the popular Cabo Fish Taco. After dinner, head back to the hotel and make sure you get some rest because Day 2 brings a whole lot of adventure as you visit the U.S. National Whitewater Center.

Have an adventure at the U.S. National Whitewater Center U.S. National Whitewater Center
Credit: usnwc.org
U.S. National Whitewater Center

Have an adventure at the U.S. National Whitewater Center (Nearby Hotels)

Although this place will probably take up your whole second day in Charlotte, it will be well worth it. There’s tons to do at the Whitewater Center including ropes courses, rock climbing, mountain biking and of course, whitewater rafting. If you’ve never rafted before, no worries. You can choose from a gentle ride or a more adventurous ride and all rafts have a certified instructor onboard. There are also several eateries on-site where you can grab lunch and a gift/gear shop where you can pick up a souvenir to let your friends back home know how brave you are!

See Lake Wylie (Nearby Hotels)

If you’re not too tired from your day of adventuring, make a stop on your way out at nearby Lake Wylie and enjoy the beautiful views of this massive man-made lake that borders both North and South Carolina. While you’re there, you can enjoy a waterfront meal at one of the area restaurants like J. Peters Grill and Bar or T-Bones on the Lake.

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