Charlotte is one of those Southern cities that awake your senses with food, fun, and recreation. It is an ideal place for a weekend getaway, mini-vacation, or a girls’ trip. Here is how I like to spend a weekend getaway to Charlotte, North Carolina, also known as “Queen City.”
Where to Eat in Charlotte
Breakfast is great at Le Méridien’s onsite restaurant. The house-made granola and berry parfait is a tasty choice. Or, you can go for coffee and a delicious donut from Manolo’s Bakery.
I’m a big fan of Jim Noble’s restaurants (25 years now), so lunch at King’s Kitchen never disappoints. Start your meal with the pimento cheese and baguette slices. You can’t go wrong with the BBQ or Fried Chicken, paired with green beans or collard greens and mac& cheese for your main course. Save room for pie—it’s amazing.
Mexican is always a favorite. Why not add Three Amigos Mexican Grill and Cantina to your “we need a break” or “chips and salsa, please” time of the day. They serve all the classic Mexican dishes, plus great margaritas. The Queso Dip, chips, and salsa are a must, and if you need food of substance, the Beef Gorditas are bangin’.
The Cellar at Duckworth’s always delivers a solid meal and excellent service. Nestled in a 1900s pharmacy turned speakeasy, this eatery serves kick-ass prohibition-style cocktails. I recommend the Blackberry Mezcal Mule. Everything on the menu sounds scrumptious, but I’m rooting for the filet mignon, which is cooked with a perfectly charred exterior and a juicy, flavorful taste.
Another delightful dining option is at Upstream, a Charlotte landmark serving Pacific Rim seafood. Try Upstream’s Omakase (meals selected by the chef) Tasting if you can afford a splurge.
Your meal may include:
- Smoked Hamachi (sashimi yellowtail)
- Angry Crab (with baked King crab Gunkan)
- Seabass wrapped in a banana leaf
- NY Strip slices (cooked on a heated rock at your table)
It is all so tasty, delicate, and full of flavor, plus cooking your own meat is super fun. Dessert is included.
What We Did in Charlotte, North Carolina
For an entertaining offering, board the Funny Bus for a tour around the city hosted by a great comedian. Tickets are affordable, and you can bring your own food and drinks aboard. The bus ride lasts 90 minutes, and you’ll glimpse all of Charlotte’s hottest neighborhoods. The bus stops for a 15-minute break along the way for bathrooms and drinks. This is an open-air bus, so ladies, you may need a ponytail holder.
The Levine Museum of the New South is a fascinating and hard-hitting museum showcasing the drastic changes in Southern life through the years. Here unfolds the story of how the South has evolved from “cotton fields to skyscrapers,” depicting a comprehensive account of post-Civil War Southern history. Expect video clips, oral histories, hands-on exhibits, and a 1920s Main Street of Charlotte then versus now. Kids will like the barbershop and nostalgic soda fountain.
You don’t have to be a NASCAR fan to appreciate Charlotte’s well-done and interesting NASCAR Hall of Fame. You will have hundreds of cool things to look at and learn, but many hands-on activities. A few favorites are the NASCAR Pit Crew Challenge, the simulator to win the Sprint Cup, and the High Octane Theater. My fave is Glory Road, the ramp where you’ll see around 20 historic cars and highlights from previous races.
See Hall of Honor inductees to the Hall of Fame and their photos, vehicles, racing attire, and a few surprises.
NoDa Food Tour
Have you ever taken a food tour? I find it the best way to get to know a town or its neighborhoods in a condensed manner. The NoDa food tour (North Davidson Arts District) with Feast Food Tours is spectacular, and you will eat your way around town, learn about the area, and see some amusing things along the way.
Stops are subject to change, but my tour stopped at five restaurants. My guide, Jon, was incredibly knowledgeable, and there were a total of 12 of us.
At Heist Brewery, we sampled a variety of flatbreads and handcrafted beers. We were then treated to sweet treats from Charlotte’s famous bakery, Amélie’s French Bakery. Next up, Southern popsicles from King of Pops helped to beat the heat as we walked around the neighborhood.
We sampled ravioli, bruschetta, chicken & waffles, and finally, cajun carbonara pasta at the following restaurants. The walk was around two miles, and our guide was kind to provide us with a sheet detailing our stops and foods for the day to take with us.
Where To Stay in Charlotte
I have two favorites to recommend for overnight accommodations in Charlotte; Le Méridien and Hampton Inn & Suites.
The Le Méridien is in Uptown Charlotte, which is within walking distance of many attractions. The lobby is sleek and contemporary, while the ambient music adds a special touch of class. Le Méridien had a rooftop bar long before they were trendy, offering 360° skyline views.
Rooms are spacious and have expensive linens, plus plenty of pillows, a mini-fridge, and flat-screen TV. The coffee service is Illy; kudos for that, and the bathroom is all marble with the best water pressure in town.
The Hampton Inn & Suites Charlotte South Park at Phillips Place isn’t what you think of when you think of standard hotel chains. It is closer to a luxury resort with impressive furnishings, gorgeous linens, and impeccable service. There is even a baby grand piano in the lobby.
I prefer a suite with a huge living room area, marble desk, and hardwood floors. They also have a microwave and mini-fridge, while the hotel boasts an outdoor swimming pool and complimentary Wi-Fi and breakfast.
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.
Pin This Post For Later!
Check out more of our North Carolina posts: