Trying to plan your Charlotte itinerary for an upcoming trip? You’ve come to the right place! We’ve compiled a list of the best activities to pack into one weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina!
Charlotte has a plethora of things to do and you can find more than enough to do with 2 days in Charlotte (but we definitely recommend staying for longer).
Let us know what we missed that should be included on a weekend trip to Charlotte NC!
How to Get to (and Around!) Charlotte
If you live along the East Coast, one of the best ways to get to Charlotte is to drive! There are plenty of attractions along the way, which can make this an exciting road trip.
You can typically get to Charlotte using Interstates 77, 85, or 40 depending on where you’re driving in from.
If you’re farther away or don’t feel like driving, you can take a flight to Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), which sees more than 700 flights every day from around the world. Other options include train and bus.
There are 3 Amtrak trains in the city, including the Piedmont, connecting Charlotte to Raleigh; the Crescent, with stops all the way from New Orleans to New York; and the Carolinian, which has stops to New York.
You can also take a Greyhound bus, and it also offers connections to nearby cities like Raleigh and Atlanta.
Once you’re actually in Charlotte, the best way to get around is by car. If you’re not using your own, there are many options to rent a car, especially at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
There are also options such as Uber and Lyft. If you’re flying in, you can use one of these services or a shuttle from the airport to the city center.
The city also has a railway, the LYNX Blue Line, which runs from Pineville to the University of North Carolina. It also has 26 stations, many of which are close to Charlotte’s main attractions.
You can catch a ride here between 5:30 AM and 1:30 AM from Monday through Saturday, and from 6:15 AM to midnight on Sundays.
Tickets cost $6.60 for an unlimited ride pass, $4.40 for round-trip, and $2.20 for one-way rides. Children and senior citizens can ride for discounted prices.
There are also buses operated by the Charlotte Area Transit System that provide the same fares as the rail system.
And finally, if you enjoy riding a bike, there are options for renting bikes and scooters via the Charlotte B-cycle or Lime.
Where to Stay on Your Weekend in Charlotte
There are plenty of great places to stay, but we do recommend staying near the downtown for the ease of getting around!
Here are some of our top picks for accommodation for your weekend in Charlotte!
- Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel, an IHG Hotel (luxury with a rooftop bar!)
- SpringHill Suites by Marriott Charlotte Uptown (mid-range, free bikes)
- The Ivey’s Hotel (upscale boutique hotel – so beautiful!)
Charlotte Itinerary Overview
Day 1 Overview
- Nascar Hall of Fame Museum
- Self Walking Tour
- The Market at 7th St for Lunch
- Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts & Culture
- Olde Mecklenburg Brewery
Day 2 Overview
- Coffee shops
- Freedom Park
- Lunch at 300 East
- The Mint Museum Uptown
- Dinner at Dandelion Market
- Ghost Walking Tour at Night
Day 1 in Charlotte
Go to the Nascar Hall of Fame Museum
What’s a better way to start your weekend in Charlotte than at the iconic Nascar Hall of Fame Museum?
This museum calls itself home to legends of the racetrack and invites visitors to enjoy the epic history of this sport.
You can learn about how this sport came about as well as enjoy over 50 interactive experiences. It’s a great museum for both fans and families alike.
For the ultimate experience, two-hour guided tours are offered by the museum.
From stories about how the sport was shaped to exclusive racing artifacts, this is one of the best ways to get acquainted with the rich heritage of the museum.
Wander Around the Historic Fourth Ward
After visiting the museum, continue on for a walk around Fourth Ward, which in the mid-1930s was a vibrant neighborhood that had a lot of social and religious influence.
The area is perfect for a walking tour, so stretch your legs and take a look at the beautiful Victorian architecture the historic district is known for.
As you explore the peaceful streets you can feel the sense of community this neighborhood has.
The combination of a local atmosphere and access to the city center’s dining and cultural opportunities makes this place a perfect spot to hit up on your weekend in Charlotte.
Visit the Market at 7th St for Lunch
The Market at 7th St., an indoor food market located in Charlotte’s city center, is a well-loved locale.
Its goal is to support local and regional farmers, food artists, and small businesses while celebrating the food culture of the Carolinas.
There is a huge selection of fresh, high-quality food to choose from, which is also affordable and available almost 24/7.
The market is not big, but you’re sure to find something delicious for lunch here.
It’s a good choice when you’re searching for a place to eat, relax, and continue exploring Charlotte further!
Address: 224 E 7th St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Explore the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
For those looking to deepen their cultural knowledge, a visit to the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts is an extremely worthwhile stop.
This four-story complex is an epicenter for music, dance, theater, visual art, film, arts education programs, and literature.
There are 3 main galleries that display objects from the Smithsonian and other world-known museums, as well as the nationally renowned John & Vivian Hewitt Collection of African-American Art.
The Performance Suite section hosts lectures, small plays, films, and events, while the Learning Center is ideal for art courses.
This place is a must-see for a weekend in Charlotte!
Address: 551 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Head Down to Olde Mecklenburg Brewery for Dinner
After a day well-spent, a great place to relax with a drink is Olde Mecklenburg Brewery.
Once you get there, you’ll instantly feel the German spirit from the high ceilings and wood interior.
The menu here covers not only German classics but also some good old American options.
Beer fans have a lot to taste and try here, so come prepared, but as always, make sure to drink responsibly.
With its lively and welcoming atmosphere, the brewery is suitable for visiting with both friends and family.
Also, as you plan your trip, check if there are any events going on at the time of your visit as they have many events going on throughout the year.
Address: 4150 Yancey Rd, Charlotte, NC 28217
Day 2 in Charlotte
Fuel Up at One of Charlotte’s Coffee Shops
Based on your location and personal coffee preferences, start your day out at one of these coffee shops to boost your morning energy and continue on with your adventures in Charlotte.
The best list includes Waterbean Coffee, which is located in the former Parliament Coffee space and has five types of espresso for you to try.
There is also Not Just Coffee, which is good not just for coffee, but also for working or large groups as it has plenty of seating.
Lastly, you can check out Bitty & Beau’s, a coffee shop that employs people with disabilities, where you can not only get a great cup of coffee but also support a business that promotes inclusivity and acceptance in all communities.
Spend Time Outdoors at Freedom Park
After you’ve gotten your morning coffee, start your excursions with a visit to Freedom Park, a family-friendly and fun place to be.
This beautiful, well-maintained park has a seven-acre lake, sports facilities, and vast grass spaces for lounging around.
Also, according to many visitors, this is the ultimate picnic spot in Charlotte.
Think about picking up some pastries and a coffee to go from your morning coffee shop to bring here and enjoy in the park!
If you’re visiting in the month of September, Freedom Park has a must-do event – the annual Festival in the Park, a three-day music and arts festival.
Eat Lunch at 300 East
After spending time strolling in the fresh air around the park, it’s the perfect time to get a tasty bite of food.
Only a few minutes drive from Freedom Park, 300 East has been serving the Dilworth neighborhood for around 30 years.
It’s a family-owned and operated restaurant serving locals and tourists with a menu of American cuisine.
Here you’ll feel a warm atmosphere with plenty of historic charm and friendly and relaxed service.
The specialties here include creative sandwiches, plus delicious salads, entrees, farm-to-table options, desserts, and more.
Address: 300 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203
Stop by the Mint Museum Uptown
The Mint Museum is home to unique collections of American, contemporary, and European art and to an internationally renowned Craft + Design collection.
This place is part of the Levine Center for the Arts, which also contains the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture, the Knight Theater, and the Duke Energy Center.
The 240-seat James B. Duke Auditorium, the Lewis Family Gallery, art studios, a cafeteria, and a museum store are among the visitor attractions of the Mint Museum Uptown.
The location of the museum is easy to find as it’s in the heart of Charlotte’s expanding city center.
The admission fee is $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.
Address: 500 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Enjoy Dinner at Dandelion Market
If you’ve explored the Mint Museum well enough, head over to Dandelion Market for a delicious dinner.
Dandelion Market was named after a popular outdoor market in Dublin in the early 1970s. Currently, the place is locally known as “The Dando.”
A visit to this spot is a journey to a time when life was much simpler. Some of the fan favorites here are the fried brie, macaroni and cheese, and beef sliders.
The menu gives a lot of options to mix and match with something for everyone, so don’t miss this one on your itinerary list!
Address: 118 W 5th St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Go on a Ghost Walking Tour at Night
For those who want to end their day on a mysterious note, don’t miss a ghost tour of the haunted places of Charlotte!
Here you’ll be part of a walking tour around the uptown area of the city.
During the tour, a small group of participants are guided through the city while listening to spooky stories about the city’s past, including the Civil War and Prohibition.
Be ready to visit cemeteries, a Victorian fire station, the ‘Bootlegger House,’ the McNinch House restaurant, a local theater, and a variety of other places where people claim spirits never left and creepy things have been reported.
Have More Than 2 Days in Charlotte?
Drive to Crowders Mountain State Park (45 min drive)
In case you have extra time to explore the Charlotte area, why not get out of the city by heading up to Crowders Mountain State Park?
Here the Pinnacle and Crowders Mountain provide different walks, high cliffs, and 25-mile views of the surrounding foothills.
Visitors have 11 trails to choose from, ranging from easy to strenuous. One of the most famous ones is the Ridgeline Trail, which links Kings Mountain State Park and Kings Mountain National Military Park in South Carolina.
Apart from hiking, there are individual sites, about a mile from parking areas, that are available for backcountry camping.
Crowders Mountain’s rocky surface also offers good rock climbing and bouldering in approved places with a permit.
Lastly, it’s worth checking out the park’s visitor center, which holds regular educational programs and has museum-quality exhibits.
Go to Carowinds Amusement Park
If you were somehow lacking in amusement on your trip, the Carowinds Amusement Park is the place to be! As they say, it’s where the Carolinas come together for fun!
Operating for 45+ years, Carowinds is home to nearly 60 world-class thrill rides, the greatest waterpark in the Carolinas, Camp Snoopy, extra-delicious Carolina food, and a lot of live entertainment.
Family-friendly events are a special part of Carowinds and a reason for many to visit the place multiple times.
The main rides here include the Fury 325 (the best steel coaster in the world), and Caroline Harbor (the largest water park in the Carolinas), plus 57 thrill rides, family rides, and roller coasters!
The daily admission ticket price here is $45, but there are also season passes, military, and group offers available.
Take a Day Trip to Biltmore Estate
If you make the day trip from Charlotte to Biltmore Estate, you will be well-rewarded by stunning architecture and gorgeous grounds.
In addition to being the world’s largest private mansion, it is also one of North America’s most popular tourist locations, for good reason.
It has exquisite architecture and interior, in addition to indescribably beautiful gardens.
There are multiple things to experience here, including tours, shopping, special events, wine tasting, and dining at the estate’s fine restaurants.
There are also often exhibitions that feature works of famous artists. If you happen to be here in the springtime, don’t miss out on the Biltmore Bloom Festival, which celebrates the return of spring.
The views of the gardens, architecture, and the area’s history will make you fall in love with this location. Make sure to explore it to the fullest!
Address: 1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC 28803
Check Out the Charlotte Symphony Summer Pops Series at the Park
If interested in a symphonic music adventure, check out the Summer Pops series by the Charlotte Symphony.
They offer a broad variety of musical experiences in a non-formal, family-friendly atmosphere.
To enjoy a performance at its best, bring a picnic to Symphony Park, or alternatively, you can stay indoors at Belk Theater.
Don’t miss out on a memorable summertime music experience!
Attend the Renaissance Festival in October and November
One of the most popular fall festivals is definitely the Renaissance Festival.
The Village of Fairhaven welcomes those who are up for lively and non-stop entertainment filled with the past’s soul and character.
The open-air festival features everything from arts and crafts, games and rides, and jousting knights on horseback to fairies, dragons, and feasts.
There are around 14 stages full of attractions and entertainment, shows with fairies and mermaids, a falconer with unique birds, festival eats, an artisan marketplace with 140 vendors, and more.
In short, there is something interesting around every corner!
The festival happens each year from October to November on Saturdays and Sundays.
Did we miss anything on this weekend in Charlotte itinerary? Let us know in the comments!
More NC & Charlotte Travel Guides
- Best hikes near Charlotte
- Weekend trips from Charlotte
- Best things to do in Charlotte
- Best places to visit in NC
- Small towns in North Carolina
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Megan is a travel blogger and writer with a background in digital marketing. Originally from Richmond, VA, she has lived all around the world (including Germany, Finland, Norway, etc) but her heart always finds its way back to Virginia. This blog is to help encourage travelers to explore the great state of VA… and its wonderful neighbors! Megan has written for or been featured by National Geographic, Forbes, Lonely Planet, Fodor’s Travel, the New York Times, and more. She has visited 45 US states and 100+ countries… and wholeheartedly believes that Brunswick Stew is probably the greatest food to ever exist.