100 Things to Do in Charlotte and Lake Norman

100 Things To Do In Charlotte

  1. Sip a cocktail at Not Just Coffee, now that you can in Dilworth.
  2. Catch an outdoor concert at Symphony Park. Pro tip: Charlotte Symphony Summer Pops concerts allow BYOB.
  3. Build your own salad or grain bowl at Yafo Kitchen. Don’t forget to add a side of Schug.
  4.  Ride your bike across a Magic Carpet Mural on the Charlotte Rail Trail. It feels like flying.
  5.  See a production at Halton Theater at CPCC.
  6.  Find the coziest corner in NoDa for a cup of coffee at Trade and Lore.
  7. Indulge in brunch on a weekday. Haberdash and Zada Jane’s are serving.
  8.  Get a tattoo. Fu’s Custom Tattoo and 510 Expert Tattoo come highly recommended.
  9.  Have a pizza on a patio. Inizio Pizza Napoletana has two locations in Dilworth and South Charlotte.
  10. Dribble a basketball across the refurbished Hornets Experience court at Latta 


  11. Take a stroll along the Trolley Walk-in Elizabeth.
  12.  Try to make the 400 panels covering the side of Uptown’s 7th Street parking deck light up.
  13.  Dig into a fancy cheese plate. Dilworth Tasting Room awaits.
  14. Spoil your fur baby. There are some crazy dog amenities out there, from temporary tattoos to massages.
  15. Take your fur baby to dinner, for that matter. Dogs are allowed at classy places like the Dilworth Tasting Room porch and the Kid Cashew patio, and casual places like NoDa Brewing Company (go for the food truck fare) and Deejai Noodle Bar (with a patio overlooking the light rail.
  16. Order a glass of wine with a view of the Catawba at The Pump House, just outside of town.
  17. Tube down the Catawba with friends. Bring your own equipment or rent from Twisted Beaver River Adventures or Rocking River Adventures.
  18. Drive by the sculpture in the MoRA neighborhood that uses tiles crafted by community members.
  19. Take a picture of the city from the ever-Instagrammed Matheson Bridge.
  20. Dig into some nachos. Sabor Latin Street Grill has everything you need, margs included.
  21. Go on an unexpected adventure with the Charlotte Adventure Map.
  22. Get a membership to Park Road’s hot cocktail parlor, Dot Dot Dot. Escape for a bit.
  23. Lounge in a rocking chair on East Morehead Street, with a cocktail from The Packhouse or a coffee from Joe and Nosh.
  24. Stretch your skillset. Take a SkillPop class.
  25. Go even deeper — sign up for a graduate program at the Queens University of Charlotte.
  26. Write on the “Before I Die…” wall on the Charlotte Rail Trail. 
  27. Walk a little farther down the Charlotte Rail Trail, toward Uptown, and take a minute to swing on one of the giant yellow swings on Edna’s Porch. It’s quite freeing.
  28. Take a swing with a golf club at TopGolf, an entertainment facility featuring more than 100 climate-controlled hitting bays, bars, and a full-service restaurant.
  29. Go out for karaoke at Seoul Food Meat Co. 
  30. Solve a mystery with friends in an escape room, like Exit Strategy. 
  31. Sip something on a rooftop bar. City Lights is a good start.
  32. Or try an underground speakeasy, like The Cellar at Duckworth’s. Don’t overlook the walk-in beer cellar.
  33. Host an event or spend the night at the historic Duke Mansion.
  34. Stroll the Liberty Walk Uptown.
  35. Check out Camp North End.
  36. Take an acting class. Try Acting Out Studio.
  37. Visit one of the Mint Museums. Did you know the Mint Museum Randolph features ceramics and decorative arts?
  38. Walk around Freedom Park. The lake view is the best part.
  39. Check out what’s happening at the Visulite. Artists as big as Trevor Hall have come here.
  40. Prefer even bigger shows? Spectrum Center is the place to be, with performers like Elton John coming in 2019.
  41. Volunteer with Hands On Charlotte.
  42. Go antiquing in Waxhaw. The Antique Mart awaits.
  43. Experiment with geocaching at McDowell Nature Preserve.
  44. Get closer to the stars with a show at the Discovery Place Nature planetarium.
  45. Try a new church. Here’s your guide to the Charlotte faith scene.
  46. Set up an easel and paint at Jetton Park.
  47. Play tennis at Veterans Park.
  48. Hike at Crowders Mountain.
  49. Figure out how to rent a bike from Charlotte B-Cycle.
  50. While you’re at it, try a dockless Bird or Lime scooter. (Here’s the how-to.)
  51. Volunteer with the Sierra Club.
  52. See a show at Booth Playhouse.
  53. Check out the town of Davidson.
  54. While you’re there, grab lunch at the highly acclaimed restaurant Kindred. The chef/owner Joe Kindred has previously made the list of James Beard Award semifinalists.
  55. Take a date (and a bottle of wine) to a demonstration at Charlotte’s first hot-glass-blowing studio, called Hot Glass Alley.
  56. Play disc golf at Reedy Creek Park or Sugaw Creek Park.
  57. Read a book in a hammock at Ramsey Creek Park.
  58. Drink a latté at Smelly Cat.
  59. Get coffee from a craft-coffee drive-thru, courtesy of CupLux. 
  60. Register for a 5K run or walk.
  61. Or go harder and sign up for the Charlotte Marathon. (Fun fact: It used to be called Thunder Road.)
  62. Walk, jog or bike one of the greenways.
  63. Play volleyball at Chantilly Neighborhood Park.
  64. People-watch at the fountain on Little Sugar Creek Greenway.
  65. Drive to downtown Matthews. Try out Brakeman’s Coffee & Supply while you’re there.
  66. Play golf at the Harry L. Jones Sr. course.
  67. See an IMAX movie at Discovery Place.
  68. Visit the Carolina Raptor Center.
  69. Take a photography class at the Light Factory.
  70. Sign up for a Bank of America Stadium Tour.
  71. Charter a party cruise on Lake Norman via Charlotte Cycleboats.
  72. Visit the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s main branch.
  73. Ride horseback at Latta Plantation.
  74. Roller skates at Kate’s Skating Center.
  75. Dig into delicate (and insanely delicious) small plates at Good Food on Montford. 
  76. Experience David Černý’s Metalmorphosis.
  77. Make a piece of jewelry at Beads, Inc.
  78. Enjoy the Foundation for the Carolinas lobby art gallery.
  79. Do a lap or two around the Booty Loop.
  80. Bowl at 10 Park Lanes.
  81. Mingle with exotic animals at Lazy 5 Ranch.
  82. Take a tour of the McColl Center for Art + Innovation.
  83. Test your firearm skills at The Range at Ballantyne.
  84. Is ax-throwing more your thing? Try Axe Club of America (formerly LumberJaxe). There’s a bar here, too.
  85. Go to the James K. Polk Birthplace.
  86. Hike the trails at USNWC.
  87. View a Warhol at the Bechtler Museum.
  88. Dine at a classic Charlotte restaurant; start by grabbing a “cheeseburger all the way” at Brooks’ Sandwich House.
  89. Have a hot chocolate at Central Coffee Co.
  90. Wander through Uptown Charlotte and take a lunch break at the Whole Foods everyone went nuts over. Really, this is only one of two full-blown grocery stores in Uptown (the other is Harris Teeter).
  91. Train for a triathlon.
  92. Tour Reed Gold Mine.
  93. Find a festival (here’s how to survive any beer festival.)
  94. Check out the Charlotte Mecklenburg Aquatic Center.
  95. Watch a Little League Baseball game.
  96. Paint your own pottery. Try Dish It Out.
  97. Take a cooking class with Chef Alyssa.
  98. Take a baking class at Sweet Spot Studio.
  99. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.
  100. Wander through the Overstreet Mall.