Centers Art After Dark
Neighborhood: UptownEstimated Price: Free Admission
Enjoy free admission to one of Charlottes most beautiful art galleries during Art After Dark, hosted the first Friday of every other month at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. Each celebration has its own theme, but count on live music, light appetizers, conversations with artists, and access to world-class exhibits in painting, photography, film and more.
Go Ice Skating At The Us National Whitewater Center
Date: Open now
Details: This new ice skating rink includes 17,000 square feet of ice on the Upper Pond of the whitewater river, and it has three areas . The skating area will also have an on-ice Airstream trailer serving craft beer, hot chocolate and coffee. Skate rentals are included but you need to bring your own socks. $20 for single activity pass. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.More details.
Ice Skating | 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy | $20 for a single activity pass, skates included
Hike Crowders Mountain State Park
Outdoor enthusiasts need to check out the terrain at Crowders. With 5,210 acres, this beautiful park boasts adventure with hiking, fishing, rock climbing, canoeing, and more. Regardless of your fitness level, Crowders offers multiple trails of varying difficulty levels, perfect for family excursions.
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Take Fun To New Heights
Traditional gyms have nothing on Charlottes indoor, family-friendly sports centers. Redefine the way your family stays active at Sky Zone Charlotte where you can jump from a foam pit, a SkySlam court and ultimate dodgeball. At , kids 6 and younger have a Kids Court all their own. some new competition. And if youre looking for a full body workout that’s high-flying fun, give Sky High’s signature fitness program, AIRobics, a try.
Get Cultured At The Mint Museum Of Art
One of the quintessential things to do in Charlotte for art-lovers, the Mint Museum of Art features a world-renowned collection that spans the centuries, from ancient to contemporary.
Inside the two locations youll find both permanent and rotating exhibits exploring American Art, European ceramics, and so much more , making this must-see for any art aficionado!
For bargain-hunters, the cheapest entry tickets for the Mint as well as the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art are typically found online rather than at the door.
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Go Golfing Seriously Do It
Ready to have your mind blown? North and South Carolina have more than 900 golf courses between them so your ideal fairway is never too far away.
Just pick a day and tee off! Youll be amazed by Charlottes variety of challenging layouts as well as its prime locations that provide sweeping views of rolling hills or pastoral landscapes.
Not sure where to start? The Verdict Ridge Golf & Country Club and Eagle Chase Golf Club are exceptional Edgewater Golf Club, about an hour outside of Charlotte, is typically quieter and the Carolina Lakes Golf Club is known for its quick greens and abundance of bunkers.
Ride The Polar Express
Date: Every weekend in December
Details: I remember the first time I saw The Polar Express in theaters and Im not sure Ive experienced greater magic. So treat your inner child to a holiday train ride at the N.C. Transportation Museum. Rides are every weekend, Friday-Sunday, now through December, starting at 4 p.m. daily $37 kids, $43 adults.More details.
The Polar Express Train Ride | N.C. Transportation Museum, 1 Samuel Spencer Dr, Spencer, NC | $37 kids, $43 adults
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Turn The Page At The Billy Graham Library
Established by Charlotte-born evangelical pastor Billy Graham, this booktopia is regularly thrown into the mix as one of North Carolinas most unique libraries.
Known for its extensive collection of books and manuscripts on the Bible as well as evangelism, it houses thousands of items in its dairy barn-shaped building, making it a fascinating destination for anyone looking to explore Charlottes religious heritage!
After getting your religious reading fix, consider a guided tour of Grahams home too.
Spend A Couple Of Hours At The Bechtler Museum Of Modern Art
Tucked away in the citys downtown area, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is a world-class art museum that showcases some of the most renowned American and European artists of recent times.
With its collection numbering upwards of 1400 pieces including works by Picasso, Pollock, Calder, Warhol, and Matisse this intimate gallery is one of the non-negotiable things to do in Charlotte for art-lovers.
The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is open every day bar Tuesday, and entry wont cost you more than $10.
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Admire The Beautiful Plants At The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
Nestled in the Queen Citys historic Belmont neighborhood on 380 stunning acres, the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden provides a peaceful escape with tens of thousands of plants across its meadows and foresty.
With its focus on plants and education as well as its concentration on conservation and sustainability this is one botanical garden that will make you want to come back again and again!
Kids, in particular, will love the Lost Hollow childrens garden
Why You Should Go
As one of the top 20 largest cities in North America, there are about a thousand things that you could do in Charlotte, North Carolina with kids. From the variety of museums to the outdoor adventures to the wonderful culinary scene, no family will feel unsatisfied.
We hope that this list has inspired you to visit Charlotte, North Carolina and try something unique!
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Take A Stroll Through Freedom Park
For when the Downtown tourist crowds become a little too hot to handle, this seven-acre greenway set on the shores of a lake offers a much-needed breath of fresh air, dishing up a range of paved trails, tennis and volleyball courts, and picnic areas.
Dont forget to stop by the Charlotte Nature Museum while youre there!
Learn About The History Of Banking At The Wells Fargo Museum
Found in Uptown Charlotte, across from the Levine Center for the Arts, the Wells Fargo Museum dives into the Charlotte-based banks deep roots in Charlotte, emphasizing its history in mining and gold.
Learn about Charlottes first and oldest banking institution, check out the display of gold nuggets and rare coins, and take a selfie in front of the authentic mid-19th-century Concord stagecoach!
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Anne Springs Close Greenway
Anne Springs Close Greenway is one of the best natural and outdoor areas to go to in Charlotte with kids. Their mission is to reconnect people with nature through educational activities, but also by offering a safe, beautiful space to spend time away from the stresses of everyday life in the city. To achieve this they offer endless activities and sports from kayaking, hikes, trail running, paddle boarding to horseback riding. If youre looking to do something as a group, there are other plenty of group activities going on designed especially for kids. We also recommend looking into their camping options!
Website: Anne Springs Close GreenwayAddress:104 Adventure Rd, Fort Mill, SC 29715, United StatesHours: Daily 7:00 AM - 7:00 PMCost: Adults $6 Child $4
Visit The Charlotte Christmas Village
Date: November 22 to December 24
Details: Christkindlmarkt, the annual European-inspired Christmas Market, is back at the corner of 7th and North Tryon streets. Expect the usual speciality foods, Glühwein in a souvenir village mug, cider, hot chocolate, vendors, photos with Santa, and holiday performances. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free.
Christkindlmarkt | 7th and North Tryon streets | Free entry
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Tiger World Endangered Wildlife Preserve
Tiger World Endangered Wildlife Preserve is a nonprofit 501c3 animal conservation and educational center dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and preservation of exotic animals. We are open to the public for educational guided tours and walkabout self-guided tours in Rockwell, NC. Our goal is to provide the best environment in captivity for the animals while also providing a stimulating learning environment for visitors. The intimate setting is a great place to bring the family and learn about the animals up close and personally.
Summer Concert Series At Anne Springs Close Greenway
Area: Fort Mill, SCEstimated Cost: Free to Members, Daily Admission Fee for Non-Members, $5 Parking Per Car
Pack a picnic and some chairs and enjoy live music at Anne Springs Close Greenwayevery Thursday evening May through July. Beer, wine, soda and water are available for purchase. Dogs and kids are welcome.
Neighborhood: North CharlotteEstimated Cost: Free Admission
In the 1920s, these buildings produced Model T Fords. In the 1950s, guided missiles. Today, Camp North End is a 75-acre hub for cultural, entrepreneurial and educational groups. Free walking tours are offered every Thursday at noon to learn more about the complex and its history. Attend a free art reception at Goodyear Arts, grab a coffee and pastry during Saturday Morning Markets, visit the North End Farmers Market every Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m., from May through October, and enjoy live music and food trucks here on Fridays, from May through October. Look for one-off festivals and movie screenings to crop up, too.
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Meet Lemurs At Zootastic Park
Just 35 miles north of Downtown Charlotte is one of North Carolinas most exciting attractions: Zootastic Park!
Hosting an array of private animal encounters with baby spider monkeys, lemurs, armadillos, kangaroos, and plenty more, plus educational programs, the family-friendly attraction offers both walk-through and safari-like drive-through experiences, each unique and noteworthy in their own right.
Walk A Lap Of The Nascar Hall Of Fame
As a NASCAR-mad state and the home of the Memorial Day weekend tradition the legendary Coca-Cola 600 Charlotte and stock car racing come hand in hand.
At the esteemed NASCAR Hall of Fame, conveniently located near Downtown, petrolheads regularly drool over the ex-racer cars, while youngsters are drawn to the Disney Cars section and theater.
After learning all about the history of Americas favorite motorsport and browsing the ever-evolving interactive exhibits, grab a bite at the Pit Stop Cafe and take a stroll to nearby Marshall Park!
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Catch A Few Innings At Truist Field
Sports fanatics, listen up!
Around the corner from the Bank of America Stadium, Charlottes Truist Field is home to Charlottes minor league baseball team, the Charlotte Knights.
The stadium also hosts concerts and other sporting events throughout the year so whether youre a die-hard sports fan or just looking for an excuse to have some fun outside on a beautiful day with wonderful views of the city skyline, be sure to check this joint out
The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
digidreamgrafix / Shutterstock
Located near Charlotte in Belmont, NC, the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is one of the most refreshing places to visit in all of North Carolina.
This garden is teeming with gorgeous plant life and absolute tenderness.
If you come during the holiday season, you can count on having an extra dosage of magic.
The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden has a large and diverse array of plants.
There are multiple areas to explore, including the Orchid Conservatory, the White Garden, and the Four Seasons Garden.
Holidays at the Garden is one of the most anticipated events.
An amazing light display goes up, helping to imbue you with even more holiday spirit.
The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden surrounds you with endless amounts of beauty.
This garden is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from February 1 to October 31 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from November 1 to January 31, with closure on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Admission is $14.95 for adults, $12.95 for seniors , and $7.95 for children, age 2 to 12.
Address: 6500 S New Hop eRd, Belmont, NC 28012, USA
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Explore The Great Outdoors
Charlotte is surrounded by natural beauty. Its easy to find hiking, mountain biking, kayaking and nature trails, all free. Head to nearby Lake Norman State Park for paddling. Just be aware: There are no horsepower or speed limits on the lake, so youll be sharing the waters with everything from power boats to pontoons to stand-up paddleboarding. Another option in Crowders Mountain State Park. Its all about the trails. The rugged terrain of Crowders Mountain lends itself to rock climbing and bouldering .
The Sleepy Poet Antiques Mall
For a shopping mall with a difference why not drop into the Sleep Poet Antiques Mall? With more than 250 booths to explore selling everything from vintage clothing, jewelry, books, pictures, antique furniture as well as modern and classic home furnishings, this is 55,000 sq ft of fun shopping experience for everyone.
The aisles are wide so theres no problem if you have a stroller. And if the kids get a little restless there are plenty of food trucks with delicious offerings like Cupcake Delirium to keep them interested!
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Your Guide To A Family
If you are looking for something different to do with your family or visiting friends, try the kids version of a day in South End. Our neighborhood filled with trains, puppies, giant swings and four ice cream shops is a surprisingly great place to plan a family-friendly adventure day. Here are some of the places and activities you wont want to miss:
Wing Haven Garden And Bird Sanctuary
This serene spot is perfect for the bird lovers of the family or if youre simply in the mood for some quiet time. The Gardens and Bird Sanctuary were created between 1927 and 1930 by Elizabeth Clarkson who was diagnosed with a chronic disease and had turned her attention to ornithology.
Built with an emphasis on providing nesting sites, together with food and water for birds and other wildlife, the gardens are protected with high walls which keep the sanctuary calm and peaceful. There is plenty of opportunity to enjoy the various plants and spot some of the amazing variety of birds scampering around.
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Watch The Panthers Tree Lighting
Date: November 26
Details: Expect appearances by Sir Purr, the TopCats Cheerleaders, the PurrCussion Drumline, and the Black & Blue Crew. The tree lighting ceremony program will also include new family-friendly performances, childrens activities, festive music, and a special visit from Santa Claus. Bottled water and hot cocoa will be available free of charge with additional food and drinks also available for purchase from various local food trucks on site.
Panthers Tree Lighting | Corner of Mint and Graham streets | Free
Catch A Show At The Visulite Theatre
With its commanding history as a little-known local gem and diverse selection of performances, from stand-up comedy to Neil Young and Beatles tribute shows, to touring Broadway productions and burlesque, the historic Visulite Theatre is a must for any traveling entertainment buff.
The fully-licensed venue has a pit area as well as two levels of comfy seating.
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Before You Travel To The United States
With specific exceptions, noncitizens who have been in certain countries during the past 14 days may not enter the United States, either as immigrants or nonimmigrants. For more information, visit Travelers Prohibited from Entry to the United States.
For information about COVID-19 requirements for land travel, visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Securitys Fact Sheet: Guidance for Travelers to Enter the U.S. at Land Ports of Entry and Ferry Terminals.external icon
Mcdowell Nature Center And Preserve
This lovely nature center and preserve has an outdoor amphitheater, native animals and an exhibit hall, and acts as a central source that teaches all about the locations natural flora and fauna.
It is a great place to bring the family as there are a generous variety of trails from easy to advanced, each one simple to see on the maps that are provided at different entrances, playing areas for the kids, water fountains for dogs and, being right on the edge of Lake Wylie, provides perfect fishing opportunities and affordable canoe rentals as well.
You can even make a weekend of it as there are camping facilities on site too.
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Fun Things To Do In Charlotte Nc With Kids
North Carolinas Queen City is a treasure trove of things to see and doespecially for families. Options ranging from sprawling urban parks to beautiful art museums to places filled with history. This list includes free things to do in Charlotte NC and a bonus list of other attractions that are worth the price of admission.
Put The Pedal To The Metal At The Hendrick Motorsports Complex
Founded by Charlotte-born racing champion Rick Hendrick, NASCARs most successful organization has turned the Charlotte region into a hotspot for some of North Carolinas fastest drivers and cars.
Just a mile from the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, Hendricks museum showcases a large range of actual racing cars, with no shortage of awards, trophies, and memorabilia to check on.
For motorheads, its a must-visit.
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Get Hands On At Discovery Place Science
Discovery Place Science
The second Discovery Place museum in Charlotte is all about science. Located in the middle of Uptown, Discovery Place is an interactive science and technology museum that’s popular with children and adults alike. There are dozens of hands-on exhibits, a huge IMAX movie screen, and things to do for all ages. There’s also a nice aquarium portion of the museum, plus an actual rainforest that you can walk through featuring plenty of exotic live birds, reptiles, and plants.
While Discovery Place is a kids’ museum, it is probably best for children that are at least in the third or fourth grade. They’ll get the most out of the educational exhibits, which include diving into the human body, taking off into outer space, or pretending to be a real-life scientist with interactive experiments.