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Nicknamed the “Queen City,” North Carolina’s largest city was named in honor of the wife of King George II, Charlotte of Mecklenburg. NASCAR fans can rally at Lowe’s Motor Speedway or the Hall of Fame, while nature lovers are able to soak in Charlotte’s natural beauty at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Boasting a perfect combination of museums, history, and action-packed attractions, Charlotte is a lively city perfect for both adventure or relaxation. Discover the city’s cosmopolitan flair and unique charm with these top things to do in Charlotte.
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Rev your engine at the NASCAR Hall of Fame
For any true NASCAR fan, Charlotte and the NASCAR Hall of Fame is a must-see destination. Here, visitors can explore 150,000 square feet of NASCAR related everything, from historic race cars to a 64-foot-wide projection screen in the High Octane Theater with surround sound. Ideal for NASCAR fans of any age, this interactive entertainment attraction offers a peek into the history and heritage of the NASCAR racing with over 1,000 artifacts, racing simulators, and four floors filled with high-tech exhibits.
Support local farmers at the 7th Street Public Market
Health conscious foodies will be in heaven at Charlotte’s 7th Street Public Market, where visitors will find an indoor marketplace filled with home-grown produce, fresh baked bread, locally made pizza, deliciously brewed coffee in addition to stalls selling wine, flowers, and gourmet treats. A bustling scene, the mission at this marketplace is to offer high-quality food, support local farmers and celebrate the vibrant food culture in Charlotte. With a convenient location next to the Levine Museum and open seven days a week, it’s easy to make a day trip of the two attractions.
Explore Science at Discovery Place
Charlotte’s premier children’s museum, Discovery Place boasts a family-friendly and hands-on exploration into science, technology, and nature through interactive exhibits. Visitors can browse through learning labs, an aquarium and rainforest, in addition to an IMAX and 3D theater that is sure to fire up imagination and creativity in science lovers of any age. Perfect for the little ones, the museum showcases everything from space travel to bugs and covers scientific concepts like earth science and physics in a fun and entertaining learning environment.
Get on the water at the U.S. National Whitewater Center
Boasting the world’s largest man-made river, the U.S. National Whitewater Center is a non-profit recreation and athletic center that leaves visitors spoiled for choice in outdoor activities. In addition to the river, the Whitewater Center offers a variety land and water activities for all ages and skill levels to choose from in its 1,110-acre facility northwest of downtown Charlotte. Nature lovers and outdoor adventurers will be impressed with the variety of activities to go kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and whitewater rafting in addition to the abundance of trails, mountain biking, rock climbing, and zip-lining opportunities.
Appreciate art at Mint Museum Uptown
One of Charlotte’s most beloved museums dedicated to the city’s vibrant art scene, the Mint Museum Uptown showcases an expansive set of artwork pieces from America and Europe. The five-story 145,000-square-foot facility combines awe-inspiring architecture with unique cultural and educational experiences. Visitors will find contemporary exhibits, a world renown Museum of Craft + Design, and an international collection of jewelry, furniture, and wood and clay art.
Join the action at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Setting the standard for any fan of NASCAR, the Charlotte Motor Speedway is considered the home track of the action-packed sport with over 2,000 acres and 1.5 miles of this awe-inspiring speedway. For an ultimate thrill, immerse yourself in the heart of NASCAR country and join the racing experience by driving one of the real cars on the same tracks as the pros. Catch an adrenaline-fueled live race or take a behind-the-scenes speedway and race shop tour for an unmatched fan experience.
Catch a thrill at Carowinds
One of North Carolina’s most beloved amusement parks, Carowinds is a family-friendly attraction with a variety of rides that will make any thrill-seeker happy. Whether visitors indulge in the Dale Earnhardt-inspired roller coaster, the 20-acre water park at Boomerang Bay, or visit the kiddie rides at Planet Snoopy, families will be spoiled for choice at this “Thrill Capital of the Southeast”. Visit the interactive 3D digital theater, explore the dinosaur exhibit, watch the live acrobatic show, or cross over the North and South Carolina line inside the park.
Learn about history at the Levine Museum of the New South
Perfect for history buffs, the Levine Museum of the New South is an interactive history museum that boasts the most comprehensive post-Civil War history exhibits in the United States. Visitors will be enthralled with the permanent exhibits like the Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers that highlights the history of Charlotte and enjoy exploring temporary exhibits that detail the social and political change in the South. Engaging and hands-on, visitors are presented opportunities for learning and gaining an appreciation of the area’s rich history.
Soak in nature at Freedom Park
A peaceful oasis in the midst of the Uptown hustle and bustle, Freedom Park is over 100 acres of pristine natural beauty and offers activities for outdoor lovers of any age. Considered the “Central Park” of Charlotte, the park surrounds a 7-acre lake and boasts paved trails, tennis and volleyball courts, athletic fields, and a children’s playground. Films and musical performances in the park are common, in addition to locals spending the day enjoying the abundance of picnic, jogging, and dog walking spots.
Learn something new at The Billy Graham Library
The Billy Graham Library takes visitors down a journey of the famous television pastor’s life, from a humble farm boy to an international sensation through a series of displays and multimedia presentations. Set in 40,000 square feet and 20 landscaped acres, visitors can join the 1.5-hour tour of the Graham family home to explore Billy Graham’s personal library, a memorial prayer garden, and other notable memorabilia.
Take a walk on the wild side at Carolina Raptor Center
Located only 14 miles northwest of Charlotte in the city of Huntersville, the Carolina Raptor Center is a perfect place for visitors to take a walk on the wild side in a face to face interaction with an abundance of stunning eagles, hawks, vultures, falcons and owls. Situated in a 57 acre Nature Preserve, the rehabilitation center for injured, sick, and orphaned raptors was designed to provide educational opportunities to the public through live bird presentations and an introduction to over 30 species of birds.