Beyond Free: More Fun Things To Do In Charlotte
The list of family-friendly fun extends well beyond the free things to do in Charlotte.
A visit to the NASCAR Hall of Fame is one of the most beloved offerings in Queen City, or actually, attend a NASCAR race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Baseball fans will love attending a Charlotte Knights minor league game in Uptown Charlotte at BB& T Ballpark. A world-class offering at the U.S. National Whitewater Center offers families the opportunity for zip lining, biking, live music, and naturally, whitewater rafting.
Discovery Place, a terrific science museum for kids, is not free, but it has a whole page on the website dedicated to ways to make a visit more affordable, including military discounts and programs for low-income families living in North and South Carolina. Discovery Place is located in Charlottes Dilworth neighborhood, home to a laid-back, global restaurant scene.
The Levine Museum of the New South is a history museum that looks at the South from the Civil War until today. This museum, with exhibits on lynching of African-Americans and other difficult topics, is best for older, more mature children.
Lastly, thrill-seeking families will go crazy for Carowinds, the thrill ride amusement park of the Carolinas.
Head To The Mountains
The next best thing to see in Charlotte is actually outside of Charlotte. Though the city and immediate surrounding area are only slightly hilly, the larger mountains arent too far away. The Appalachian Mountains and the popular Great Smoky Mountains or Blue Ridge Parkway are less than a 3-hour drive away. For those with less time, but still desire to get high into nature, you have some choices.
Less than an hour away and to the west of Charlotte are Kings Mountain National Military Park and Crowders Mountain State Park. About an hour east of the city is Morrow Mountain State Park. All three mountains have their special features and awesome views. My pick is Morrow Mountain in Albemarle. There are several trails, a museum dedicated to the history of the mountain, and a large lake for swimming, canoeing, and fishing.
Looking for more places to visit near Charlotte? Dont miss things to do in Atlanta with kids and these day trips from Raleigh.
About the author: Ann Belle writes for KidsTravelBooks, a site dedicated to helping families teach children about other cultures through books.Kids You can find more about North Carolina in her North Carolina Books page.
Childrens Theatre Of Charlotte
You can set your childs imagination free when you enroll them in one of the many creative classes offered by the Childrens Theatre of Charlotte. There are classes for all ages starting with the Side-by-Side class for two and three-year olds, which helps these very young children to learn social skills and build their confidence. As children get older they will graduate to My Spotlight and Acting Adventure classes, followed by Shooting Stars and Young Explorers workshops. If your child would prefer to watch some theatre before joining in you can bring them to see one of the delightful shows at the McColl Family Theatre or the Wells Fargo Playhouse.
Childrens Theatre Charlotte, 300 E 7th St, Charlotte, NC 28202, Phone: 704-973-2828
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Go Fishing On A Charter Boat
Even the youngest angler in your family gets a chance to catch a fish when you choose inland fishing with Silver Lining Charters. The vessel gets you to the inshore flats fishing spot within about 15 minutes of your launch. The backwaters of Charlotte Harbor and surrounding areas teem with trout, redfish, and other species of fish. The water where you fish is about two-and-a-half feet deep and calm. A bonus for the kids when fishing inshore is the chance to see wildlife, including alligators and sandhill cranes.
Things To Do In Cabarus County North Carolina
Great Wolf Lodge ConcordAn easy drive from the Upstate, Great Wolf Lodge is a great one-stop destination for families, and your stay includes an indoor waterpark thats nice and warm even in the winter. The activities provided at the Lodge mean that no extra planning has to be done to make this a fun-filled trip.
iFLY is an indoor skydiving simulator where you enter a wind tunnel that is strong enough to allow you to float in the air.
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The Best Things To Do In Charlotte
If you plan to visit Western NC, please check beforehand to see if the area is safe following the recent flooding. Officials have closed some sections of Pisgah National Forest to keep visitors out of danger. Please respect signage and local guidance.
Weve found quite a few things to do in Charlotte, otherwise known as North Carolinas Queen City. Now, the citys skyline may seem intimidating at first, but once you settle in, youll find that Charlotte has something for everyone.
Even if youve been before, lets take a look at why you need to spend a weekend in Charlotte, to at least get a feel for North Carolinas largest city.
There are plenty of fun things to do in Charlotte, and we thought wed break it down to appeal to people in search of something specific.
- Fun Facts About Charlotte
- Things to Do Near Charlotte
- More Things to Do in Charlotte and Nearby
This post is part of our series on Charlotte and more places to visit in Central North Carolina.
Morrow Mountain And Crowders Mountain State Parks
Nearby Morrow Mountain State Park is also fun, albeit much smaller than Uwharrie. You can hike or drive to the top for a nice view of surrounding areas on clear days. Crowders Mountain State Park is a close 40-minute drive from uptown and also boasts 11 trails for you to explore.
Each of these state parks rank high among our favorite spots for hiking in North Carolina.
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Top Free Things For Kids To Do In Charlotte
Charlotte is a great town for kids, with plenty of inside and outside attractions to keep them busy and engaged. Most attractions are inexpensive, but lets talk about the free ones. Heres a list of ten FREE things for kids to do in the Charlotte area. So whether youre planning for a visit from nieces or nephews, or youre looking for fun things for your own kids to do, start here.
And if you havent subscribed to Charlotte on the Cheap by email you can do that now. Youll receive one email a day. Its free!
ImaginOn: Any discussion of free things for kids to do in Charlotte has to start with ImaginOn, the joint venture of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Childrens Theatre of Charlotte. Theres a cost involved in seeing the Childrens Theatre shows, or taking theater classes, but theres a whole lot of free stuff to do too.
Teens have a whole floor to themselves. Studio I provides the means for teens and families to create stop motion animation and other films. Preschoolers can dress up in costume and stage their own shows. Even the outside of the building has become an attraction, with kids jumping from one huge typewriter key to another. Id bet that there are more than a few Charlotte kids who learned to spell their names from playing on those keys.
Bonus: Set up next to the channel and watch the rafters battle the whitewater. Its fun to watch them conquer it and stay in the boat, but admit it: its more fun to watch them fall out.
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.
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The Schiele Museum Of Natural History
The Schiele Museum is a natural adventure waiting for you! Our mission is to inspire curiosity and understanding of science and the natural world through exceptional educational programs and exhibits. Permanent galleries feature Native Americans, North American wildlife and habitats including live animal displays, and an exhibit hall dedicated to the biodiversity of North Carolina. The planetarium offers a 360-degree immersive experience to discover the wonders of our universe. Go outside and explore the museums farm, nature trail, and Catawba Indian Village. Theres something for everyone to enjoy during a visit to The Schiele!
Schiele Museum Of Natural History
The Schiele Museum of Natural History is one of the most popular family attractions close to Charlotte and should definitely be on your must-do list. Your children will enjoy a day of fun learning activities both indoors and out and parents are also bound to learn a few new facts and figures. You can start your adventure learning about North Carolinas habitats and terrain, and the large number of animals and plants that live there. Moving further afield you can learn about other North American habitats, wildlife and native populations. Outdoors the fun continues as you explore the Nature Trail, Wildlife Garden, Catawba Indian Village and an 18th Century Backcountry Farm.
Schiele Museum of Natural History, 1500 Garrison Blvd, Gastonia, NC 28054, Phone: 704-866-6908
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Reach New Heights At Inner Peaks
This indoor climbing center is a perfect date activity since it requires two people and serves as a way of building trust. Unless you already have a membership, start with a day pass for $20, harnesses and shoes are an additional $5 each.
Pro tip: Members can bring a first-time climber for free on Fridays!
Head Outside At Discovery Place Nature
Discovery Place Nature
Discovery Place is a Charlotte institution when it comes to family-friendly attractions in the city. The interactive museum has two different locations, but younger kids are the focus at Discover Place Nature. This outdoor adventure park is geared toward children aged 37, where they’ll learn all about the outdoors and the natural environment. The Butterfly Pavilion is a favorite, where dozens of free-flying butterflies float around. They can also interact with other insects, turtles, snakes, and more.
The Nature Museum is located right next to Freedom Park, making it a great place to spend the day at the museum before stopping over for a picnic in the park.
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Us National Whitewater Center
Active families should head to the U.S. National Whitewater Center in the western part of Charlotte. Along with the whitewater rafting opportunities, there are so many ways to enjoy the facilities. Throughout the 1,100 acres youll find hiking and mountain biking trails, rock climbing, zip-lining, ropes courses, and canopy tours. The man-made river is the perfect place to try kayaking, paddle boarding and more. Buy an activity pass and you will have access to over 30 outdoor recreation activities.
Even if you feel the kids are too young to participate in some of these activities, they are fun to watch. The relaxed environment makes it one of the coolest destinations to just sit on the grass and take in the atmosphere. There are multiple events hosted at the USNWC throughout the year, and even 9 unique festivals.
Fun Facts About Charlotte
Charlottes backstory is pretty cool and here are a few things you need to know. Before it was a massive city, the area was inhabited by Catawba Indians. Todays Tryon and Trade Streets are two remnants of a prominent Native American path.
More recently, the city was part of Americas first gold rush, and Charlotte is still a place of wealth and commerce. Many financial institutions use Charlotte as their headquarters, so the capital that once flowed in and out of Charlotte is still very much here!
It is one of the countrys largest banking centers, with Wells Fargo and Bank of America headquarters in Charlotte.
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Hilton Charlotte Center City
To really get a feel of what its like to live in Downtown Charlotte , stay at Hilton Center City. Its one of our favorite hotels in all of North Carolina and heres why.
The hotel is literally walking distance from the Arts District, Charlottes ballparks, museums, and more. Heading to another part of the city? Lynx Light Rail stops right behind the hotel!
Uptown is really the best place to stay when visiting. One more reason to book at the Hilton is for their Stay in the City Package, which is a fantastic way to enjoy Uptown Charlotte!
Charlotte Restaurants To Dig Into
Have the finest brunch buffet at The Coastal Kitchen and then finish it up with a macaroon across the street at Amelies French Bakery.
The 7th Street Public Market is a perfect place to grab some lunch. Vendors change, so every visit to the market will be a new one! We even mentioned a couple of places there in our guide that covers restaurants in Charlotte.
And if youre starting in Historic South End? Do yourself a favor and head to Holler and Dash for a Kickback Chicken Biscuit!
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Best Things To Do In Charlotte With Kids: Rule The Queen City In 24 Hours
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Charlotte airport, or CLT as its known by locals, is all about NASCAR, airport rocking chairs and the Billy Graham Library. But nearby, youll find tree-lined streets and off-the-beaten path sites that make for a great stopover in the Queen City .
Whatever your kids ages, theres something for them to do in Charlotte. TPG has talked about the 4 best credit cards for a Charlotte-based traveler but much of the advice also holds true for families that use this hub as a connection point en-route to their final destination.
While sometimes your schedule may necessitate never leaving the airport, if you have 24- to 48-hours to spend on the ground in Charlotte, here is our parent-approved checklist to: Get outside, get food, get Uptown and get smart in Charlotte.
The Billy Graham Library
One of the most famous people to come out of Charlotte, North Carolina is the late Reverend Billy Graham.
His evangelism made him one of the most influential people of the 20th century.
To get an even greater understanding of Graham and his work, you should plan a trip to the Billy Graham Library.
This complex, near Grahams boyhood home, is highlighted by the library, which gives you lots of information about Graham and how he became a legendary pastor.
The area surrounding the building is full of beauty that can help you feel even closer to God.
If youre hungry, theres an excellent restaurant nearby.
Coming to the Billy Graham Library is one of the top things to do in Charlotte.
It can be very affordable, as you can explore the area yourself at no charge or go on a low-cost tour.
The Billy Graham Library is open from Monday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Address: 4330 Westmont Dr, Charlotte, NC 28217, USA
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Seasonal Fun In The Charlotte Nc Area
Dont miss these annual events and things to do happening seasonally in the Charlotte, NC area.
Christmas Town USA McAdenville, NCThis tiny town of just under 700 people takes the Christmas season very seriously. It all started with nine trees being decorated by the Mens Club. The following year they did a few more, and that continued every year. By 2004 nearly 400 trees were decorated, and the town residents all decided to join in the fun. The joint effort resulted in almost half a million lights adorning the 1.3 mile stretch of road that visitors see as they pass through the town.
Purchase advance tickets online for November 19th, 2021 January 2nd, 2022Speedway Christmas is unique in that you get to drive your own car on the racetrack that is normally driven on by professional NASCAR drivers. Unfortunately your mini-van will be going at a snails pace, but its still pretty cool in my opinion. On the 3.75 mile drive-thru course visitors get to view displays consisting of over four million lights!
Purchase online tickets in advance for Open Swim all summer through mid-SeptemberLooking for a unique place to cool off this summer? The Quarry at Carrigan Farms in Mooresville, NC, might be just the place. The quarry at Carrigan Farms offers guests a full day of water activities, including several rock jump-off points, rope swings, swimming areas, and a sand beach volleyball area. Slots book up quickly, and planning is recommended.