Charlotte NC manages to be both cool and family-friendly, hip and old fashioned, fun, artistic and ensures you feel welcome. Whether you are visiting Charlotte for a weekend or are spending an entire week, you will not run out of things to do. Here are the best things to do in Charlotte, NC with a family.
Where to Stay:
How to get around Charlotte, NC:
A car is your best option. You can rent a car inexpensively at the airport, make advanced arrangements.
What to Eat:
For high-quality dining hit the Ballantyne and try the duck. Be sure to hit up a local bar for down-home southern beer and live music.
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To explore even more of North Carolina, take a look at: “20 Best Resorts in North Carolina“
1. Discovery Place – Things to do in Charlotte
If you are looking for something fun to do in Charlotte with kids, be sure to check out the Discovery Place in Charlotte.
This is the quintessential children’s science museum.
There is a man-made rainforest to explore, experiments to conduct and structures to build. Of particular interest are their jellyfish breeding facilities and coral growing program.
Before your visit, check out the website for a list of special programs.
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2. Charlotte Funny Bus
One of the best new things to do in Charlotte NC, The Charlotte Funny Bus tour .
The bus tour takes roughly 90 minutes and covers uptown and the surrounding areas.
The tour is so good even many locals rave about it.
Jokes tend to be on the politically incorrect side and you can bring wine and beer aboard.
On Thursdays, the funny bus offers a raunchy R rated version of the tour.
The R rated tours are very popular and sell out quickly so be sure to book in advance.
Explore further with your family. Check out: A vacation in Ecuador – An affordable family holiday guide.
3. Wing Haven Garden
Wing Haven, is a four-acre meandering garden located in a tony Charlotte suburb.
If you are looking for the best thing to do in this is a must.
Bring your camera as you are likely to see birds and flowers in season.
Wing haven features a cute children’s garden area complete with some resident animals and a sister garden, called Elizabeth Lawrence House and Garden just a few houses away.
As many things in Charlotte, admission to this garden is very reasonable at $10 per person.
4. The Mint Musem
Featuring a wide variety of American and European art, the Mint Museum is a great place to visit and one of the most famous art institutions in Charlotte.
The museum offers two locations – uptown and downtown.
Mint Museum Uptown features the American Art collection including the famous American impressionists, the craft and design collection, and the Modern and Contemporary Art. The Uptown Mint Museum is located close to the Bechtler Museum.
The Mint Museum Randolph is located only a ten-minute drive towards downtown Charlotte.
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5. The Bechtler Museum
If you appreciate art, there is no shortage of great things to do in Charlotte.
The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art has an amazing collection of modern and contemporary artists, fitting for this landmark city of the new south.
This Charlotte museum welcomes you with large, airy, galleries. These are packed to the brim with priceless artwork. Here you will find the likes of Andy Warhol, Picasso, Degas plus a dozen more.
6. Nascar Hall of Fame
One of the most fun things to do in Charlotte, NC for the kid – and the kid at heart, is the Nascar Hall of Fame.
Four floors of interactive exhibits await you in this famous landmark of the new south.
Perhaps the most popular attraction at the Nascar Hall of Fame is the racing simulator.
Visitors describe the experience as “as heart-pounding” and “crazy fun.”
Many who come to the Hall of Fame aren’t Nascar fans, but few people leave disappointed.
Nascar Hall of Fame large and takes several hours to explore, but the experience is worth it.
The Nascar Hall of Fame is located within close walking proximity to the Discovery Science Center.
7. Sea Life Concord Aquarium
A bit out of the way of downtown, the aquarium is located in a huge mall and is another great place to visit.
This just might just be your ticket to get the kids to agree to a couple of hours shopping in Charlotte.
I loved the kid-friendly touch tank featuring sea stars.
Also worth seeing is the octopus (you can watch octopus enrichment activities, just check the site for schedule). The highlight is definitely a cool walk through the tunnel with sharks, Rays, and a school of fish swimming over and all around you.
8. The Haunted History tour, Charlotte, NC
The Haunted history tour is probably one of the most spooky things to do in Charlotte, NC.
While on this ninety-minute walking tour you will visit the fourth ward – and its most infamous landmarks.
Discover a whole new side to Charlotte as your host (dressed in Victorian costume) shares with you the grizzly history of the city.
Murders, ghosts, and gowls await you as you eventually make your way into to the graveyard.
More than just ghost stories, the tour is designed to both educate and entertain. For the best effect, most tours start at dusk – 8 pm.
9. Metalmorphosis Statue
The Metalmorphosis Statue was commissioned by the American Assets Corporation and created by the world-renowned Czech Sculptor, David Cerny.
You can find the statue in the American Asset’s Corporation office park development.
More than just a work of art, the fountain incorporates complicated technical infrastructure.
The water comes out of the statue in choreographed movements.
Update: As of 2020, the statue appears to have been removed.
Ready for your trip to North Carolina? Check out the best Charlotte hotels for every budget.
10. Get Soaked at the U.S. National Whitewater Center
The US. National Whitewater Center is the world’s largest and most complex artificial whitewater river.
The most famous feature of the center is the world’s largest and most complex recirculating man-made whitewater river. The rapids here are class II to IV, and can be navigated in a canoe, kayak, or a guided raft.
With over 11,300 acres of land and more than 45 miles of developed trail, the possibilities here are endless.
Other popular activities at the National Whitewater Center include hiking, yoga, ziplines, and an awesome rope course!
The National Whitewater Center also has bikes available for rent, and food and drink on site.
11. Spend a day in the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden offers 380 acres of rolling meadows, woodlands, and lakefront property.
The botanical garden has large manicured gardens, natural surrounding areas, including a woodland trail, sparkling fountains, and an Orchid Conservatory.
It’s also covered by mature deciduous woodlands and a pine forest. When you visit, be sure to e wear bug spray and bring bottled water with you as it can get hot during the summer season.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is located in Belmont, North Carolina.
12. Walk around the Freedom Park
The 93 acres Freedom Park is situated around a 7-acre lake, about 3 miles from the heart of Charlotte’s downtown area.
The park features 4 baseball fields, batting cages, 12 tennis courts, 4 soccer fields.
Here you’ll find countless walking trails and 5 outdoor picnic spots with grills.
If you’re tired from walking around, the park also has shade and sun garden beds with wide grass paths where you can rest and relax.
This 93-acre park located in Charlotte, North Carolina showcases free films and musical performances in the park pavilion during the summer season. Meanwhile, every September, the Freedom park hosts a five-day-long festival.
13. Check out the Billy Graham Library
The large Bill Graham library s another awesome place to visit in Charlotte with the entire family. Discover the beautiful grounds where the Reverand lived. The 40,000 square foot facility is home to beautifully manicured grounds, buildings and plenty of kid-friendly fun. Admission is free, and you should budget about 2 hours for your trip to the Billy Graham Library.