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Locals Share Unique Things to do in Charlotte, NC

If you’re living in Charlotte, you’re no stranger that this city is full of colorful history, culture, and mouth-watering eats. The Queen City is a mix of traditional and eclectic, perfect for any future residents who want to put down roots. 

There are plenty of popular things to do in Charlotte, like trying the famous state BBQ or watching one of the Charlotte Hornets basketball games. However, if you’re looking for something a little more unique, there are plenty of activities that fit the bill. So whether you’ve relocated across town to a home in Seversville or you just rented an apartment in First Ward, read on for unique things to do in Charlotte.

downtown Charlotte

Find your new favorite dish at Optimist Hall 

Are you a foodie who loves a fun atmosphere? Look no further. The Optimist Hall is a food hall that provides various dining options for even the pickiest of eaters. Not only do they have excellent dishes, but they also hold events you don’t want to miss. 

“Optimist Hall is a favorite Charlotte destination for my whole family,” says Anna Mesen, a local Charlotte Photographer. “It’s a food hall with multiple food stalls, coffee shops, several bars, and specialty stores. My kiddos love the pizza followed by a visit to the ice cream shop. And my husband and I always head straight for the Dumpling Lady (a popular Charlotte favorite). With plenty of indoor and outdoor seating areas and even an outdoor play area for the kids, everyone is happy when we visit Optimist Hall.” 

Take a stroll through Freedom Park 

Freedom park is excellent for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown. Situated between the Dilworth and Myers Park neighborhood, this 98-acre park has playgrounds, sports amenities, and bodies of water. 

“When you want to take a break from the busy streets of Downtown, we like to go to Freedom Park, where we get a breath of fresh air and hike around the gorgeous scenery of the outdoors,” says Brianne Mahoney, a local realtor. “If you want to go with family and friends, they have an adorable picnic area, Nature Museum, and volleyball and tennis courts. Plus, who doesn’t love a good lake view?”

Try ziplining at the Whitewater Center

If you’re looking for adventure, the Whitewater Center  is one of the many unique things to do in Charlotte, NC. From white water rafting and biking to kayaking and rock climbing, you’ll be sure to find an activity you’re looking for – and an adrenaline rush.

“I would have to say my favorite unique things to do in Charlotte is to visit the Whitewater Center,” says Aura, a local photographer of Aura Marzouk photography. “Sometimes it’s to go for a ride on the zip line, take a trip down the river on a raft, or just bring my Eno and hang in the trees for a couple of hours and listen to music or read a book.”

White water rafting

For vehicle lovers, enjoy a car show

Stray away from the popular activities in the Queen City and find a unique thing to do in Charlotte – like a car show. 

With thousands of cars and vehicles from all over Charlotte, there is always something extraordinary to check out. Cars and Coffee Charlotte, located in the Olde Whitehall neighborhood, is held on the first Saturday of each month. If you’re an auto enthusiast, this is the perfect place to enjoy coffee and an amazing lineup of vintage vehicles. 

Pack a picnic and head over to Lake Wylie

Bordering North and South Carolina, Lake Wylie holds 325 miles of shoreline, perfect for those looking to escape the city. Lake Wylie is the ideal place to get outdoors for fishing and boating or just hanging out.

“My favorite thing to do in Charlotte is spending the day on Lake Wylie,” says Chanel, the owner of Effih Realty, a local real estate company. “Whether boating, swimming, or hanging out on one of the islands, Lake Wylie is a best-kept secret. After a relaxing day on the lake, I would head home to shower and go to dinner on the lake at Drift. The Exotic Bomba is my dessert go-to.”

Take a tour of the city

A tour is a great way to get familiar with your new city, and whether you just moved into an apartment in Elizabeth or a house in Cherry, grab your shoes and start exploring. 

One of the best ways to see the city is through a guided tour. Queen City Rides takes both long-time residents and visitors on a unique, historical tour of the city in either an electric golf cart or a van. It’s the perfect activity to learn more about Charlotte and have a great time.

Take a picture at the Selfie Museum 

Are you looking to do something fun and creative?  The Picture Project CLT Selfie Museum is the perfect place to do just that. The museum has 4,000 sq. ft. of space and over 30 photo opportunities, where you can either take your own photos or add on a professional photography package. This fun and interactive photo experience have something for everyone.

Enjoy a romantic night at Duke Mansion

Located just two miles from downtown, the Duke Mansion is a great place to escape the city and immerse yourself in the epitome of Southern elegance.

Adrian Chu Redmond, one of Charlotte’s local artists, shares, “One of my favorite things to do in Charlotte is to spend a romantic night at the Duke Mansion. This historic home is nestled in the charming area of Myers Park. With its cozy bedrooms, 4 1/2 acres of exquisite gardens, and the finale a delectable breakfast, it exudes southern elegance.”

Spend your day playing disc golf

Want to try a new sport? Disc golf has exploded in popularity over the past few years, especially in Charlotte – as it has become one of the country’s best disc golf cities. 

So if you’re looking for unique things to do in the Charlotte area, the Disc Golf Pro Tour encourages residents to check out one of the 70-plus disc golf courses in the city. These courses are scored like traditional golf and are free to play in most places.

Disc Golf

Immerse yourself in Charlotte’s art

It’s no secret that Charloteeans love art. You can find art in almost every neighborhood from NoDa to South End, each area is filled with amazing art pieces created by talented artists. 

Robert, a Charlottean from Arts and Science Council, shares that “The Arts Walks CLT is a fantastic free resource for self-guided walking tours. I recommend the Uptown Trade & Tryon walk that includes one of my all-time favorite pieces, Il Grande Disco at Bank of America Plaza.”

According to TCG Events, “One of our favorite unique things to do in Charlotte, NC is to check out what is going on at the McColl Center.” The McColl Center is a nationally acclaimed artist residency in Uptown, Charlotte. “They bring in various artists from all over the country.” 

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