Referred to as the “Queen City” (named for King George III of Great Britain’s wife, Queen Charlotte in 1768), Charlotte is an explorer’s paradise. If you’re looking for a weekend full of adventure, a Charlotte, road trip is the place for you. Come check out one of America’s fastest-growing cities and a North Carolina gem.
“Charlottes got a lot” is the city’s tagline, and that could not be more accurate. Charlotte is full of one-of-a-kind attractions and unique opportunities.
US National Whitewater Center
The U.S. National Whitewater Center is the world’s premier outdoor center, with 1,300 acres of land to explore,. Here, you can whitewater raft on the world’s largest human-made whitewater river, kayak, zip line, rock climb, mountain bike, ice skate, do yoga, and more. There is a fee for all activities and parking, but it’s free to come walk around.
Popular Charlotte, NC, Attractions
Spend some time shopping at SouthPark Mall, Charlotte’s premier shopping destination on your Charlotte road trip. The mall features luxury stores like Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co., along with American Girl, Vineyard Vines, Fabletics, Kendra Scott, and Nordstrom, to name a few.
Explore the legacies of NASCAR legends while immersing yourself in the excitement, passion, and history of the sport a the NASCAR Hall of Fame. This high-tech venue has artifacts, hands-on exhibits, and a state-of-the-art theater. If that’s not close enough to the action, you can attend a NASCAR race down the road at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium is a great place to see a sporting event. It’s home to the Carolina Panthers NFL team September through December, the Charlotte FC Major League Soccer team February through October, and the College Football Duke’s Mayo Bowl at the end of December. Bank of America Stadium also hosts concerts from time to time.
2022 was a special year when Quail Hollow Club hosted the Presidents Cup, bringing in some of the best golfers in the world. Be on the lookout for special events like this in Queen City.
The Puttery offers adults the chance to play mini golf in a really swanky setting. Choose from the Library or Conservatory course, grab a craft cocktail from the bar, and have a fun night out. All guest must be 21+ years old. Reservations are recommended at this indoor golf hotspot with a modern twist.
The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is an attraction for all seasons. Reconnect with nature through its 110 acres of spectacular grounds, including a beautiful conservatory full of tropical plants and orchids. Don’t miss the gift shop. It is a bit of a drive outside the Charlotte uptown area, but well worth it.
We’ve got even more suggestions for a fun getaway to Charlotte in this post.
Charlotte’s Best Restaurants
Charlotte has over 2,000 restaurants. No matter what your taste, there are plenty to choose from.
Southern steakhouse meets church potluck at Supperland, inside a restored mid-century Plaza Midwood church. The menu is whimsical and fun, and the food absolutely delicious. For starters, you can’t go wrong with the Hot Sweet Potato Dip, whipped with sour cream and gorgonzola. The Baked Brie Bites were impressive, too.
This restaurants get a thumbs up for the kitschy custom-made dishes by London artist, Lou Rota. Supperland was just named one of the ten best new restaurants in the country by Bon Appétit Magazine.
Amélie’s is a French bakery and cafe with three quick service locations in the Charlotte area. Amazing breakfast items, decadent sandwiches, soups, and salads are on the menu here, but first and foremost, the pastries are the really big deal. Macarons, tarts, eclairs, and brownies are a few of the tantalizing sweet offerings. Salted caramel brownies are the most desirable item—or so my palate would suggest.
Mizu Wood-Fired Seafood combines the tradition of ancient Japanese cooking with Southern influences and Asian flavors in wood-fired Robata grills. The result is live fire cooking, and a menu full of wood-fired seafood offerings.
Need suggestions? The Hamachi Tartare, Spicy Gyu Buns, and Chicken Katsu Sando are all excellent. Mizu is inside the Hyatt Centric Charlotte SouthPark, with a nice outdoor patio and excellent city views.
A great quick serve restaurant is Velvet Taco. This clever concept serves premium food in a fun and funky setting. Pair your meal with one of Velvet Taco’s boozy libations, such as a margarita or ranch water.
A kaleidoscope of ingredients come together to craft one-of-a-kind fresh sushi and burger dishes at The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar. Can’t decide between the two? Try the Burgushi—sounds like an odd combination, but it tastes really good.
We are also fans of the Fusion Specialty Bento Box, pictured below.
Where to On Your Charlotte Road Trip
For unique lodging, check in the Duke Mansion B&B. Each guest room is specially curated and incorporates a blend of Southern charm and elegance. Built in 1915, the Duke Mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Hyatt Centric Charlotte SouthPark is in Charlotte’s premier retail district. Guest rooms have large windows, walk-in waterfall showers, and beautiful modern decor. This chic hotel offers complimentary Wifi and self-parking, as well as a fitness center, coffee bar, and restaurant.
Traveling with kids? Check out Great Wolf Lodge, on the outskirts of Charlotte in Concord. All of the rooms are spacious suites, which can even be decorated for the holidays for a nominal fee.
The Great Wolf Lodge has an indoor water park with 11 waterslides and four pools. Other features are the interactive adventure game MagiQuest, a bowling alley, arcade, mini golf course, and daily activities. This lodging choice isn’t just for kids.