Are you looking for an exciting Charlotte weekend trip?
Charlotte, North Carolina, otherwise known as Queen City, is the perfect destination! With a vibrant city life and plenty of outdoor activities, it has something to offer everyone. So much fun to be had in a Charlotte weekend trip!
Here’s a guide to creating the ideal 3-day itinerary so you can make the most of your trip.
Short on time? Book the best hotels in Charlotte NC here:
- Best budget option: SpringHill Suites by Marriott Charlotte Uptown
- Best luxury option: The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte
Charlotte Weekend Trip Itinerary
Spending a weekend in Charlotte NC, is the perfect way to explore all the city offers. Stay at one of the many diverse and cozy hotels downtown to easily access all the attractions.
Let’s break down what you can do over your Charlotte Weekend Trip.
Day 1: Visit the South End
👉 Explore Atherton Mill & Market
Address: 2000-2140 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203
Atherton was once a textile mill in Charlotte. Today it’s been transformed into a perfect destination for shoppers and foodies!
Enjoy local boutiques and galleries which feature artwork from local and regional artists, and you can also browse unique handmade crafts, jewelry, and clothing.
For food lovers, you’ll find restaurants offering delicious meals from around the world. The outdoor plaza also hosts fun events like live music, movies, and farmers’ markets (every Saturday).
👉 Stop for Lunch at Hawkers Asian Street Food
Address: 1930 Camden Rd #260, Charlotte, NC 28203
This popular restaurant serves dishes inspired by the street markets of Southeast Asia.
Enjoy classic favorites like curry laksa ramen, roast duck bao buns, and Malaysian roti canai. But Hawkers also has unique creations such as pan-fried noodles, Hong Kong crispy chicken wings, and yaki udon.
The drinks menu features beers from around the world and creative mocktails like Thai iced tea and Vietnamese coffee. With its bustling atmosphere, Hawkers Asian Street Food is sure to be a hit for locals and visitors alike.
👉 Want something different? Stop by Bang Bang Burgers
Address: 235 W Tremont Ave #101, Charlotte, NC 28203
Bang Bang Burgers is the perfect spot for a tasty and indulgent meal. The restaurant’s menu features local ingredients and homemade sauces, with an emphasis on all-natural and organic ingredients.
Try the signature Bang Bang Burger or switch it up with something from the ‘Build Your Own’ section. With nearly 20 toppings to choose from, you’re sure to find something that suits your tastes.
Other burger favorites on the menu include the Cowboy (made with cheddar, bacon, and BBQ sauce on the side) and the pimento burger (topped with pimento cheese and tempura fried pickles).
Pair your burger with sides like hand-cut fries or mac & Brussels sprouts with cilantro mayo. Wash it all down with one of their craft beers on tap from local breweries such as OMB, Triple C, Birdsong, and Legion.
👉 Explore the Mint Museum Uptown
Address: 500 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
The Mint Museum in Uptown Charlotte is an exciting attraction for art enthusiasts of all ages. This contemporary museum features artwork from many different cultures and eras, including contemporary, European, and American art.
General admission is free on Wednesday evenings from 5 – 9 pm; no tickets are needed in advance.
Upcoming traveling exhibits include Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds and Bearden/Picasso: Rhythms and Reverberations (Feb 11 – May 21, 2023). The Picasso Landscapes has special exhibition hours; please check their website for more details.
To visit The Mint Museum, purchase tickets online or at the door.
👉 Enjoy dinner at The Cellar at Duckworths
Address: 330 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
The Cellar at Duckworth’s is located downstairs of the Duckworth’s restaurant in the heart of Uptown. This prohibition-style speakeasy serves up an impressive selection of draft beers, hand-crafted cocktails, and an extensive wine list featuring a variety of old-world and new-world wines.
For craft cocktails, make sure to try their smoked buttered pecan old-fashioned. If you don’t drink, they also make amazing mocktails!
Foodies will love the bar menu, which features items such as candied jalapeno bacon, caramelized Brussels sprouts, truffle mac and cheese, truffle fries, tuna tartare, short rib gyoza dumplings, and charcuterie boards with artisanal cheeses.
Day 2: Explore NoDa (North Davidson)
NoDa is one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Charlotte, NC. With its rich arts and entertainment scene, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
👉 Coffee and Pastries at Amélie’s French Bakery & Café
Address: 136 E 36th St, Charlotte, NC 28205
This charming bakery and café offers an array of freshly baked pastries, coffee drinks, and desserts. Their selection includes traditional croissants, macarons, muffins, quiches, and more. A very popular item on their menu is the salted caramel brownies.
The café offers all-day breakfast options in addition to their lunch and dinner menu items prepared with locally sourced ingredients.
Enjoy their fun atmosphere with a unique personality!
👉 Explore all the Street Art & Shops
In NoDa, you will find many small shops and galleries. One place you can add to your list is the Pura Vida Worldly Art.
Next, if you love art, check out all the murals. You’ll find a collection of vibrant and creative murals adorning the walls and buildings throughout the neighborhood. Part of what makes this area so unique is these works of art, which add color and energy to the streetscape.
These murals were created by local artists who showcase their talent with each piece they create. They range from abstract designs to depictions of historical events or figures, and you’ll find different themes such as nature, music, and social justice.
The murals in NoDa CLT have become landmarks of the neighborhood and draw in many visitors. You will even find art on the trash receptacles.
Make sure to check out the ‘Bloom’ mural, painted by local artist Osiris Rain in 2017, it features bright colors and an abstract design. The mural has been updated due to a contractor mistakenly painting over the mural. The lotus flower in the mural has several potential meanings.
If you want to explore outside of the NoDa area for art, check out the Lovers Art Trail in Charlotte, which features art in the South End, NoDa, Plaza-Midwood, and the EastSide.
👉 Explore the NoDa Craft Beer Trail
The NoDa Craft Beer Trail is a great way to explore the craft beer scene in Charlotte, NC. This self-guided tour takes you through 6 of the area’s top breweries in and around the NoDa neighborhood.
The tour starts at Birdsong Brewery, which offers a variety of IPAs, stouts, and other seasonal releases.
Then you’ll stop off at Optimist Hall, where you can enjoy both Fonta Flora brewery and many food options within Optimist Hall. Options include Boxcar Betty’s, Harriet’s Hamburgers, Papi Queso, Velvet Taco, The Dumpling Lady, and more! It’s a great place to enjoy lunch for the day.
Next on the list is Free Range Brewing; they specialize in farmhouse ales, sours, and IPAs.
From there you can experience the creative brews from many different locations such as Heist Brewery, Protagonist Clubhouse, Salud Beer Shop, The Chamber by Wooden Robot, NoDa Brewing Co, and Brawley’s Beverage Co. All of these breweries are located along the NoDa Craft Beer trail, and offer award-winning ales and lagers.
The NoDa Craft Beer Trail allows you to explore all that the local craft beer scene has to offer while learning more about each brewery’s unique history and craftsmanship. Whether you’re already a fan of craft beer or just looking for a fun way to experience something new, this trail is sure to have something for everyone!
👉 Enjoy dinner at Cabo Fish Tacos
Address: 3201 N Davidson St, Charlotte, NC 28205
Cabo Fish Taco is a Baja Mexican-inspired restaurant; featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Cabo provides a vibrant atmosphere to enjoy delicious tacos, burritos, and other fresh Mexican fares. You’ll find their flagship store in NoDa.
The menu includes shrimp tacos, mango BBQ mahi mahi fish tacos, honey-glazed salmon tacos, and burritos.
Day 3: Outdoor Adventure
Enjoy all the great outdoor activities Charlotte has to offer!
👉 Enjoy The U.S. Whitewater Center
Address: 5000 Whitewater Center Parkway Charlotte, NC 28214
The U.S Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, is an outdoor recreation and adventure facility that offers something for everyone!
Located on the Catawba River, the center features a 6,300ft artificial whitewater river with artificial rapids along with several other outdoor activities such as mountain biking, zip-lining, and stand-up paddle boarding.
The center also provides educational programs, including certification courses for whitewater sports and classes about aquatic ecology.
Choose from several activities, including mountain biking trails, ropes course, zip-lining, rock climbing, guided tour with whitewater rafting, stand-up paddle boarding, or kayaking on the Catawba River and Long Creek. During the summer, they also have a live music series called River Jam.
You can purchase a single activity pass or an all-access day pass.
They also have several food and beverage options, including River’s Edge, The Trail Center, The Market, Pump House Biergarten, and Outfitters. They have everything from full service to grab-and-go food options. Plus, they have craft beer and wine.
The U.S. Whitewater Center hosts many events and live music throughout the year.
You could spend a whole day here.
👉 Dinner from the Rooftop
Choose Dinner from Fahrenheit Charlotte or Aura Rooftop
Address: 222 S Caldwell St 21st Floor, Charlotte, NC 28202
Fahrenheit Charlotte is the city’s premier rooftop restaurant and bar in the heart of Uptown Charlotte, NC. It offers stunning views of the city skyline along with an upscale atmosphere that attracts locals and visitors alike. If you want to enjoy a beautiful sunset from Uptown, this is a perfect place to go.
The menu features modern American cuisine, including small plates like short rib buns, lobster mac & cheese, ahi tuna, and signature cocktails and wines.
Fahrenheit Charlotte blends modern design, breathtaking views, excellent service, and delicious food for a delightful experience in Uptown Charlotte.
Make sure to make reservations in advance, and proper attire is required.
Address: 124 E Brooklyn Vlg Ave, Charlotte, NC 28202
Aurora Rooftop is an exciting rooftop bar and lounge located in the heart of Uptown Charlotte, NC. The vibrant space offers visitors breathtaking views of the city skyline and provides a unique atmosphere to hang out.
The menu at Aurora Rooftop features classic cocktails like the old-fashioned plus craft beers and wines. Enjoy innovative bites such as brisket sliders, ahi tuna tacos, avocado hummus, chicken satay, pineapple salsa, and burnt-end lollipops.
Enjoy these delicious offerings and weekly events like DJ sets, trivia nights, art shows, and more.
Aurora Rooftop also has a full-service bar specializing in local craft beer and spirits for those seeking an exciting nightlife experience in Uptown Charlotte. Make sure to make reservations in advance.
A Few Extra Unique Things To Do In Charlotte
✅ Visit the NASCAR Hall Of Fame: Fans of auto racing will love learning about one of America’s favorite pastimes at this popular attraction.
✅ Enjoy a Charlotte’s Historical City Tour: Explore Charlotte aboard a 7-person golf cart on this small-group tour of the area. With a local guide at the wheel, visit popular landmarks in Uptown.
✅ Haunted Charlotte Ghost and Pub Walking Tour: Have fun on this walking tour and pub crawl through the historic district. Listen to your guide recount spooky stories of Charlotte’s ghosts while you explore the area. This tour stops at several bars, where you can purchase drinks and explore landmarks like the Dunhill Hotel and Old Settlers Cemetery.
✅ Have fun at Carowinds Amusement Park: Popular attractions include Fury 325, the world’s longest steel coaster, and Nighthawk, a flying coaster. Carowinds also has a water park, Carolina Harbor, the largest in the Carolinas.
✅ Check Out Discovery Place Science Museum: Learn about science, technology, engineering, and math with this museum’s interactive exhibits and educational shows.
Where To Stay in Charlotte For A Long Weekend
📍Best Budget Option: SpringHill Suites by Marriott Charlotte Uptown
Located in Charlotte, a 5-minute walk from Spectrum Center, SpringHill Suites by Marriott Charlotte Uptown provides accommodations with free bikes, private parking, a fitness center, and a restaurant. The property is a 10-minute walk from the NASCAR Hall of Fame
📍Best Mid-Range Option: Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel
Set in the heart of Uptown Charlotte, this Kimpton hotel offers crafted cocktails and shareable bar snacks at Merchant & Trade, a Modern-style rooftop bar 19 levels above Romare Bearden Park.
Visiting Charlotte: FAQ
All the things you need to know before visiting Charlotte NC
Is Charlotte, NC, worth visiting?
Yes, Charlotte, NC, is worth visiting! With its vibrant culture, diverse attractions, and exciting outdoor activities, Charlotte is a great place to explore.
Whether you’re looking for entertainment, shopping, or educational opportunities, there’s something for everyone in the city.
Plus, you can enjoy the delicious cuisine of local restaurants and take in the stunning views of the Carolina skyline.
What is the best month to visit Charlotte, NC?
The best month to visit Charlotte, NC, depends on what type of experience you’re looking for. If you want to take in the local culture, August and September are great times to visit because of the city’s exciting festivals and events.
If you’re interested in outdoor activities like hiking or biking, April is the perfect time for sunny days and mild temperatures. And if mild winter weather is your thing, then December is the ideal time for a visit.
No matter what time of year you decide to go, Charlotte has something fun to offer!
How do I get around in Charlotte?
Getting around Charlotte is easy, and you have plenty of options, including public buses, taxis, Uber, and Lyft.
A popular choice for the locals includes The LYNX Blue Line, a light rail transit that stops off in the NoDa at the 36th Street Station. For the South End, the stop would be East/West Station for Atherton Mill.
You can also rent a car for short trips or the entire stay. Biking and walking are efficient ways to explore the city and take in the sights.
If you want to experience Charlotte like a local, try out one of their scooter-sharing services, Bird or Lime!
What should I pack for a weekend in Charlotte?
If you’re planning a weekend trip to Charlotte, there are a few things you should consider bringing. Be sure to pack clothes for any type of weather – rain or shine! Make sure you have comfortable shoes for walking and hiking.
Depending on your activities, you may also choose to bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Remember to pack extras like an umbrella, bug spray, water bottle, and snacks.
Finally, don’t forget your camera so that you can capture all of Charlotte’s beauty!
The Wrap-Up: Charlotte Weekend Trip
Charlotte, NC is an excellent destination for a weekend trip. From the vibrant culture and music scene to the plethora of outdoor activities, Charlotte has something for everyone!
Whether you’re looking for an adventure or peaceful relaxation, you cannot go wrong with a Charlotte Weekend Trip!