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How to Plan a Fun Weekend Getaway to Charlotte, NC

How to Plan a Fun Weekend Getaway to Charlotte, NC

Charlotte, also called “Queen City,” is a city in the South that promises to tickle your taste buds and ignite your sense of adventure. Whether you are planning a girls’ trip or fun weekend getaway to Charlotte, NC, it is the perfect place to visit.


Wondering how to spend your time in Charlotte? I’ve got you covered! Check out my guide for top-notch hotels, mouthwatering restaurants, and exciting activities. From tasty Southern eats to fun and thrilling attractions, you won’t be bored in Charlotte.

Grab your travel companions and get ready for a memorable trip to this lively and charming North Carolina city. Let’s explore Charlotte!


How to Get There

Charlotte is located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina and is accessible by car, plane, and even train. If you’re traveling by car, Charlotte is conveniently located on Interstate 85 and Interstate 77. If you’re flying, Charlotte Douglas International Airport is the primary airport in the region and is located just 7 miles west of Uptown Charlotte.

Amtrak also offers train service to Charlotte’s historic train station, which is located in Uptown Charlotte.


Where to Eat in Charlotte, NC 

Looking for a delicious breakfast spot? The Famous Toastery is a top pick with mouth-watering Eggs Benedict and creative waffle creations. Plus, don’t miss the flight of mini mimosas for a fun pick-me-up.

If you’re in the mood for something lighter, a stop at Manolo’s Bakery is a must. Grab some coffee and enjoy their delicious pastries for a quick and tasty breakfast.

Photo from Manolo’s website.

For lunch, head over to Jim Noble’s King’s Kitchen – a Charlotte favorite from one of the town’s most beloved chefs of over 25 years. Kick off your meal with their addictive pimento cheese and baguette slices before diving into a BBQ or Fried Chicken plate with classic southern sides like green beans and Mac & cheese. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!


Ready for some Mexican goodness to spice up your day? Look no further than Three Amigos Mexican Grill and Cantina, where classic dishes and great margaritas abound. You can’t go wrong with their Queso Dip, chips, and salsa, but if you’re feeling hungrier, the Beef Gorditas hit the spot. They are also a great price point.

Decadent Dinners

Need to unwind after a long day of sightseeing or traveling? Head over to The Cellar at Duckworth’s for a solid meal and top-notch service. This speakeasy-style spot serves up prohibition-style cocktails, and I highly recommend the Blackberry Mezcal Mule.

Don’t miss the filet mignon–it’s charred to perfection and bursting with bold flavor.

Photo from The Cellar at Duckworth’s IG page.

Fenwick’s is my happy little go-to place, not to be cliche, but a hidden gem in Charlotte that the locals like to keep that way. For over 30 years, I’ve eaten so many amazing dishes at Fenwick’s, but my faves will always be quiche with the signature tomato bisque or the Carolina Chicken with pimento cheese.

Ballantyne Village’s Blue Taj is another favorite, with impeccable upscale Indian food and tagline-cooked meats in a stunning setting. While Chicken Tikka Masala is my usual Indian order, here I really like the Spicy Sirka Chicken that has the perfect mix of vinegar and garlic.

A great standby restaurant, or one for a special celebration, to satisfy a craving, or impress your date, is the Melting Pot. Spend a couple of hours sharing a pot of cheese, cooking broth (for meats and veggies) and chocolate as you indulge in the ultimate fun dining experience.


Cool Things to Do in Charlotte

Discover the best way to explore Charlotte’s vibrant neighborhoods with the Funny Bus, a unique 90-minute comedy bus tour led by a talented comedian. Laugh your way through the city while enjoying affordable tickets and the freedom to bring your own snacks and drinks on board.

During the tour, the Funny Bus takes a 15-minute break for you to stretch your legs, grab a drink, and refresh yourself in the bathroom. Ladies, make sure to bring a ponytail holder to keep your hair in check while enjoying the open-air bus ride.

Levine Museum of the New South

For a fascinating and informative experience, stop by the Levine Museum of the New South. This museum offers an eye-opening account of the Southern history while showcasing how drastically life has changed over the years.

From cotton fields to skyscrapers, you’ll explore the different phases in the South’s development. Marvel at video clips, oral histories, and hands-on exhibits while you witness a comparison of Charlotte’s Main Street from the 1920s to the present day.

The museum also features a barbershop and soda fountain, perfectly suited for family visits. With so much to see and learn, the Levine Museum of the New South is an excellent addition to any Charlotte itinerary.


NASCAR Hall of Fame

Charlotte has something for everyone, even if you’re not a NASCAR fan. The NASCAR Hall of Fame is an interesting and well-done experience with hundreds of cool things to look at and learn, including hands-on activities like the NASCAR Pit Crew Challenge, simulator to win the Sprint Cup, and High Octane Theater.

My personal favorite thing at the incredible museum is Glory Road, a ramp that showcases 20 or so historic cars and highlights from previous races. You can also check out the Hall of Honor inductees to the Hall of Fame, complete with photos, vehicles, and racing attire.


Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

If you’re looking to escape the concrete jungles and immerse yourself in nature, the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is a must-visit destination. The garden spans hundreds of acres and is home to over 10 unique gardens, a conservatory, the Orchid Conservatory, and Lost Hollow Children’s Garden.

Stroll through the gardens and take in the vibrant colors and fragrances of exotic blooms, or take a leisurely walk through the Four Seasons Garden, a crowd favorite. My favorite was the Crape Myrtle Grove.

Grab a snack or adult beverage in the Garden Store, though food trucks are often available for garden events.

The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is open year-round and is the perfect place to unwind and relax. Admission is $14.95 for adults, $7.95 for children 2 through 12. It is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.


U.S. National Whitewater Center

If you’re an adventure seeker, the U.S. National Whitewater Center is a must-visit destination. Located just 12 miles west of Charlotte, the center is the world’s premier outdoor recreation and environmental education facility. It has something for everyone —from rafting and kayaking to zip-lining and rock climbing.

The U.S. National Whitewater Center also features a trail system perfect for hiking and mountain biking. The best part? There are daily passes that give you unlimited access to all of the center’s activities, so you can experience it all. When you’re ready to relax, grab a bite to eat (or three course meal) at the River’s Edge Bar and Grill and enjoy the stunning views of the Catawba River.


Feast Food Tours

But if you’re more of a foodie, the NoDa food tour with Feast Food Tours is a fantastic way to get to know the area. I picked one to get me up close and personal with the North Davidson Arts District. You’ll eat your way around town, learn about the area, and see some amusing things along the way. It’s a wonderful way to spend around three hours.

Tour stops may vary depending on availability, but you can expect to visit around five unique restaurants on this immersive venture. My expert guide, Jon, offered an abundance of knowledge about NoDa and its culinary history throughout the tour.


Heist Brewery

The first food tour stop was to the trendy Heist Brewery, where we sampled delectable flatbreads and handcrafted beers. Sweet treats were passed around from Charlotte’s very own Amélie’s French Bakery, just the right amount of sugar to get us ready for the upcoming adventures.

Then came a refreshing Southern popsicle from King of Pops, perfect for cooling down from the intense Charlotte heat and humidity, and just in time for a scenic neighborhood walk.

Our gastronomical journey continued as we indulged in a variety of mouth-watering dishes like ravioli, bruschetta, chicken & waffles, and cajun carbonara pasta at select restaurants along our two-mile route. But don’t worry, even after our tour ends, you won’t forget a single thing. The guide handed out a handy list of all our stops and delicious bites we had enjoyed.


Optimist Hall

Optimist Hall is a stunningly beautiful food hall that is a foodie’s heaven. The amazing selection of food options will leave you mesmerized, from savory ramen and bao buns to an array of tasty empanadas. With so many options available, you might have a difficult time deciding where to grab a bite!

In addition to the pristine culinary experiences, Optimist Hall also boasts a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of seating, both indoor and outdoor. This amazing spot is perfect for catching up with friends over a meal or come solo with your laptop and enjoy a cup of coffee (Undercurrent Coffee) or a cocktail (Billy Sunday) while engaging in some work.

You can also shop at Optimist Hall — check out Paradiso Plant Shop, Collier Candy Company, and Archer Paper Goods.

Explore Uptown Charlotte

Uptown Charlotte, Charlotte’s downtown core, offers a mix of history, culture, and entertainment. Take a stroll down Tryon Street, Charlotte’s main thoroughfare, and take in the city’s stunning skyline. Stop by the Bank of America Stadium, home to the Carolina Panthers, or the Spectrum Center, home to the Charlotte Hornets.

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in culture, visit the Mint Museum Uptown, which features American Art and world-renowned Craft and Design exhibits. Many of Uptown Charlotte’s attractions are within walking distance, making it easy to explore the city.

Where To Stay in Charlotte

When staying in Charlotte, there are three accommodations that top my list: Le Méridien and Hampton Inn & Suites.

The Hyatt Centric Charlotte SouthPark is a fresh and chic hotel in the city’s premier retail and business district. Designed with an inviting, modern ambiance and distinctly local flavor, the Hyatt Centric’s close proximity to all that Charlotte has to offer allows you to experience the city like a local.


Le Méridien’s location in Uptown Charlotte couldn’t be more perfect if you’re looking to explore the city. And the rooftop bar is simply amazing with its 360° skyline view. As for the rooms, they’re spacious and luxurious with top-notch amenities, including Illy coffee and marble bathrooms.


As for the Hampton Inn & Suites Charlotte South Park at Phillips Place, it feels more like a luxury resort than a typical hotel chain. The furnishings are stunning, the linens are gorgeous, and the service is impeccable. Room highlights are the marble desk and hardwood floors. I also appreciated having a mini-fridge and microwave in my room.

And to top it all off, there’s even a baby grand piano in the lobby. Both options offer something special for any traveler looking for upscale accommodations.


Plan Your Fun Weekend Getaway to Charlotte Today

Charlotte, North Carolina, is more than just a banking hub and a NASCAR capital. It offers a unique mix of outdoor adventure, culture, and entertainment that’s perfect for a weekend getaway. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or a culture vulture, Charlotte is a perfect fit.

From the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden to the U.S. National Whitewater Center and the trendy neighborhoods of Uptown Charlotte, Charlotte is waiting to be explored.

So, pack your bags, hit the road, and discover all that Charlotte has to offer. As the tagline says, Charlotte’s Got A Lot.

Thanks to the Charlotte Regional  Visitors Authority for hosting us on our visit. As with all of my posts, opinions and reviews are 100% mine.

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Check out more of our North Carolina posts:

Things to Do in Winston Salem

7 Awesome Things to Do in Asheville

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Danielle Des

Saturday 17th of September 2016

I'm big fan of brunch and haven't visited a restaurant yet that has everyone sitting in a large dining hall. That's really unique and brings out a communal atmosphere - I like it!

Arthur in the Garden!

Friday 16th of September 2016

Welcome to my State!


Saturday 17th of September 2016

Awesome! Got any other Charlotte suggestions?

carrie @ frugal foodie mama

Thursday 15th of September 2016

Ummmmmm.... so I totally want to eat my through Charlotte now! Wow! :) Can you believe I still haven't been there yet? But it is totally on my travel list!


Thursday 15th of September 2016

I know you would love it! ;)


Thursday 15th of September 2016

Levine museum does sound like a good deal. And your accommodation looks really amazing...comfortable and elegant. Your food shots always make me salivate and considering I have not yet had any food, I am off for some now :)


Thursday 15th of September 2016

The Le Meridien was really nice! ;) Thanks so much. I take that as a very good compliment.

Mindi Hirsch

Thursday 15th of September 2016

I can't believe how much Charlotte since I was last there. Wow! I can't wait to visit again and check out some of these restaurants.


Thursday 15th of September 2016

A whole new area for me, and I thought I knew a lot about the city. LOL When do you guys come back to the states?

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