Downtown Monroe NC

13+ Great Things to Do in Monroe NC & Events 2023

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You may have heard of the quaint, small town called Monroe, a suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina. This vibrant town is a hidden gem of North Carolina and has a nostalgic vibe to the air that can’t be beaten. While the city is quickly growing, it still holds on to much of its energetic history and is a fantastic place to explore.

Monroe started back in 1844 as a planned settlement and the county seat of Union County. The new town had a prime location as it was built off the Carolina County Railroad and quickly became a popular trading post-settlement. Much like many small towns around the country, it thrived until the Great Depression in the 1930s and has taken up until recently to become that exciting epicenter it used to be.

If you are looking for a unique trip with a beautiful landscape and lots to explore, look no further. Monroe, North Carolina, is a prime destination. 

Things to do in Monroe NC

Monroe is a fabulous place to be for interesting shops, historical centers, outdoor adventures, and more. Below is a list of all the best spots around the city that you don’t want to miss.

1. Monroe Science Center

Address: 318 E Franklin St, Monroe, NC 28112

The Monroe Science Center is an excellent hands-on learning center with something for everyone of all ages. This science center focuses on topics that can be found right outside Union County, like agriculture, farming, and aerodynamics. Exhibits include indoor and outdoor interactive experiences that will entertain and teach.

Monroe Science Center

Visitors typically spend two and a half hours playing and exploring the Monroe Science Center. Wristbands can be purchased at the front desk and used all day. 

Monroe Science Center

2. Dowd Center Theatre

Address: 120 S Main St, Monroe, NC 28112

Dowd Center Theatre is a beautiful 1940s movie theater that has been recently revitalized and restored. Now, the Dowd Center Theatre is a multi-purpose performance arts theater that hosts several types of events, such as live music, dances, musicals, comedians, and more. 

Dowd Theater

3. The 13th Acre (seasonal)

Address: 3718 Plyler Mill Rd, Monroe, NC 28112

Only open during the Halloween season, The 13th Acre is a whopping 15-acre haunted farm with three attractions: Coffin Creek, The Forbidden Acre, and Reapers Row. 

Guests can also enjoy the 1950s-style soda pop shack (must try the Zombie Milkshake!), the 1800s train car with a full bar and table games, bonfires, and tons of yummy food like hot dogs, nachos, burgers, and more. 

This event is open from September 22-October 30th this year, with a massive Halloween party that you don’t want to miss. While there is no age limit, keep in mind that those who participate in the haunts can’t leave midway through if they’re scared. It’s recommended to keep the younger ones at home for this event. 

The 13th Acre

4. Fox’s Alley Bowling, Bar & Grill

Address: 1901, #A, Skyway Dr, Monroe, NC 28110

Fox’s Alley is a fun, family-friendly restaurant with premium bowling lanes and outdoor spaces. Everyone in the family will have a good time, whether they are eating delicious food, having a drink, enjoying a bowling game, or playing cornhole.

Cosmic bowling happens Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m., and call-ahead reservations for the bowling lanes are HIGHLY recommended. 

Fox's Bowling Alley

5. The Union Exchange

Address: 2022 New Town Rd, Monroe, NC 28110

The Union Exchange is a family-run business operating on their 100-year-old family farm. The exchange is an artisanal market with local vendors, food, and drink that is open Tuesdays-Saturdays. 

The Union Exchange

6. NCG Cinemas

Address: 1911 Dickerson Blvd, Monroe, NC 28110

Craving a movie date? NCG Cinemas is Monroe’s premier movie theater with digital and 3D screens, comfy seats, all the latest releases, and great concessions. Pop in on Tuesdays for ticket discounts. 

NCG Cinema

7. Golf 

Monroe Country Club | 1680 Pageland Hwy, Monroe, NC 28112

The Monroe Country Club has been a staple of Monroe since 1936 and offers a challenging 18-hole course that golfers of all skill levels are welcome to try. The club also has a driving range, lessons, tournaments, and a ballroom available for rent.

Stonebridge Golf Club | 2721 Swilcan Burns Drive, Monroe, NC 28112 

Stonebridge Golf Club is an easy-going, family-friendly 18-hole Champion Golf Course. The club is located on 620 acres of beautiful land and is considered one of the best places in the greater Charlotte area to enjoy a game of golf. 

8. Belk-Tonawanda Park

Address: 217 I B Shive Dr, Monroe, NC 28110

Belk-Tonawanda Park is a beautiful park in the heart of downtown Monroe that has acted as a town center for many years. The park has lovely walking trails, a playground, picnic areas, a splash pad, and bocce courts that everyone is welcome to enjoy. 

Belk Tonawanda Park

9. Dickerson Park

Address: 899 N Johnson St, Monroe, NC 28110

Just several minutes outside downtown Monroe is Dickerson Park, a 67-acre family park with disc golf, a playground, walking trails, and picnic areas. Dickerson Park is a popular park to bring dogs. Enjoy the Bearskin Creek Greenway as well, which is 0.7 miles paved. 

Bearskin Creek Greenway

10. Sunset Park

Address: 300-398 W Sunset Dr, Monroe, NC 28112

Sunset Park is mainly used for its baseball field, but the park also has a playground, a picnic shelter, and a place to bring your dog. The park is small, but it’s a quaint little place to enjoy some peace and quiet. 

Sunset Park

11. Historic Downtown Monroe Gateway Park

Address: 302 Lancaster Ave, Monroe, NC 28112

This historic neighborhood park acts as a gateway into Monroe from Highway 84. The park has large paved walking areas, beautiful gardens, a fountain, and greenery. 

Gateway Park

12. Union County Farmers Market

Address: 805 Skyway Dr, Monroe, NC 28110

Union County Farmers Market is a bustling indoor and outdoor market with tons of local vendors from around the county.

There is an excellent selection of produce, fresh meats, dairy, eggs, baked goods, and more. This market is open only on Saturdays from 8 am to 12 pm, year-round. 

Union County Farmer's Market

13. Playland Indoor Playground + Café

Address: 2700 Gray Fox Rd, Monroe, NC 28110

Playland is a family-owned indoor playground that is a fantastic place to bring young kids. The playground has lots of games, obstacle courses, slides, swings, ball pits, and a great toddler area. 

This safe and friendly environment is a perfect place to let kids run around year-round. Playland is geared towards ages 1-10, and there is coffee available for parents. Reservations are required for holidays and weekends. 

Playland Indoor Playground

Drinks and Restaurants in Monroe, NC

We cannot list them all, but here are some fantastic options to look at.

✅ Treehouse Vineyards

Address: 301 Bay St, Monroe, NC 28112

Treehouse Vineyards is a very popular winery and vineyard with gorgeous treehouse rentals. Guests can visit the winery any time to try their delicious wines and enjoy the landscape, or they can also choose to spend the night in the treehouse. 

Treehouse Vineyards

These treehouses are absolutely perfect for a romantic getaway. Treehouse Vineyards is also host to many events, including live music, and they always have food trucks during these events. Their Date Night Treehouse at the Vineyards is currently closed until further notice due to renovations. 

✅ Kefi Vineyards & Winery

Address: 3109 Plyler Mill Road, Monroe, NC 28112

Kefi Vineyards is an estate winery that focuses on Greek grape varieties and flavors. Their stunning estate is open every Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., and they offer small charcuterie plates to pair with the wines. 

Kefi Vineyards

✅ Southern Range Brewing Co.

Address: 151 S Stewart St, Monroe, NC 28112

Southern Range Brewing Co. is Monroe’s first craft beer brewery and is located right downtown. Their friendly taproom has indoor and outdoor seating and a range of games to play. Food trucks are often parked outside. 

Southern Range Brewing

✅ Hilton Vineyard at The Vines
Address: 3310 Crow Rd, Monroe, NC 28112

Hilton Vineyards is a family-owned vineyard with a beautiful, rustic indoor winery along with a beautiful outdoor patio. They host lots of live music and food trucks.

Hilton Vineyards

✅ Americana Beer Co
Address: 222 N Main St, Monroe, NC 28112

Americana Beer Co. is a hip taproom and meeting place in downtown Monroe. They have an excellent, friendly vibe and a great selection of freshly brewed craft beers. They host many events like board game nights, live music, discount nights, and more. 

Americana Beer Co

✅ Palace Restaurant
Address: 1000 Lancaster Ave, Monroe, NC 28112

Palace Restaurant is a great family-style restaurant with a variety of home-cooked meals. The prices are just right, and the food is delicious. 

Palace Restaurant

✅ Alice Jules Coffee House
Address: 204 Lancaster Ave # 1, Monroe, NC 28112

Alice Jules Coffee House is a cute coffee shop in downtown Monroe. They are known for being a very friendly meeting place for folks to enjoy good coffee, conversation, free wifi, and art. 

Alice Jules Coffeehouse

✅ Home Brews Taproom & Tunes
Address: 215 S Main St, Monroe, NC 28112

Home Brews Taproom is a melting pot of so many amazing ideas all put in one location. First, they are a taproom/full bar, and they also serve delicious smoothies and wine. This is a great place to catch live music or a DJ and meet up with friends.

Home Brew

✅ East Frank Superette and Kitchen

Address: 209 E Franklin St, Monroe, NC 28112

Located in downtown Monroe, East Frank Superette and Kitchen is a unique restaurant and shop with an old-timey vibe and a very friendly atmosphere. They have an extensive menu with appetizers, sandwiches, and hot dogs and a shop with antique knick-knacks, nostalgic candies, toys, alcohol, coffee, and more. 

East Frank Superette and Kitchen

✅ High Octane Coffee
Address: 114 Lancaster Ave, Monroe, NC 28112

High Octane is one of the newer cafes/coffee shops in Monroe, and they have a fabulous selection.

High Octane Coffee Ice Cream

They serve incredible Colombian coffee, and they have a delicious menu of ice cream, homemade sandwiches, pastries, and more. 

High Octane Sandwich

✅ Main Street Bistro
Address: 109 S Main St #5542, Monroe, NC 28112

If you are looking for some high-quality culinary masterpieces, Main Street Bistro is the spot to check out.

Main St Bistro

Their cook has over 30 years of experience and creates beautiful dishes that have an Italian-American focus. 

Main St Bistro Sandwich

✅ The Courthouse Self-Pour Beer and Wine
Address: 101 W Franklin St, Monroe, NC 28112

The Courthouse is Monroe’s oldest and only self-pour taphouse, and it is such a fun experience. The spacious warehouse-style taproom has over 30 selections of craft beer and wine that guests are welcome to pour for themselves. Food trucks are nearby, and there is lots of seating, games, live events, and more. 

The Courthouse Self-Pour Beer and Wine

✅ The Exchange Pizza Depot
Address: 217 N Hayne St, Monroe, NC 28112

The Exchange is a no-nonsense pizza place that serves amazing pizzas quickly and at a great price. This is mainly a to-go pizza shop, but there are a few window seats to stay and eat.

✅ Gingham Girl Cake Rolls & Creations
Address: 215 N Hayne St, Monroe, NC 28112

Gingham Girl Cake Rolls is a local bakery that makes mouth-watering cake rolls in a good, old-fashioned way. They have over 30 different flavors, not including seasonal flavors and ice cream rolls. 

Gingham Girl and The Exchange Pizza

✅ Skinny Cook
Address: 1643 W Franklin St, Monroe, NC 28112

Skinny Cook is a local favorite family restaurant with home-cooked meals in a 50s diner-style setting. 

✅ Sorella Coffee and Tea

Address: 107 S Main St, Monroe, NC 28112

A casual, comfortable local coffee shop with all your favorite caffeinated drinks, teas, smoothies, and more. 

Sorella Coffee Pastries
Sorella Coffee Indoors

✅ Duke’s Grill
Address: 1114 Concord Ave, Monroe, NC 28110

Duke’s Grill has been a staple to Monroe since 1951. They are the best and most classic place to get a quality breakfast or lunch. 

Duke's Grill

✅ The Smoke Pit
Address: 1507 W Roosevelt Blvd, Monroe, NC 28110

Barbecue is a staple of North Carolina, and the Smoke Pit does barbecue just right. They offer a great variety of slow-cooked meats and classic Southern sides. 

The Smoke Pit Ribs

✅ Monterrey of Monroe

Address: 1006 W Roosevelt Blvd, Monroe, NC 28110

Monterrey of Monroe is a family-owned and operated business that serves up amazing authentic Mexican-style dishes and drinks. They have old and new family recipes that you won’t find anywhere else. 

Monterrey Mexican

✅ Local Logic

Address: 128 S Main St, Monroe, NC 28112

Local Logic is an elegant but casual bourbon and cocktail bar where you can find many locals. They host live music, including open mic night, and have a great selection of housemade cocktails. 

Local Logic

✅ The Oasis Sandwich Shop

Address: 116 S Main St, Monroe, NC 28112

Oasis Sandwich Shop is a beloved local diner known for its enduring charm. This cozy counter-serve spot specializes in simple yet satisfying hot and cold sandwiches, incredible hot dogs, fresh salads, and delicious pies. It’s a hometown favorite that’s stood the test of time.

The Oasis Sandwich Shop

✅ Hank’s Carolina Creamery
Address: 103G, Wilkes Dr, Monroe, NC 28110

Hank’s Creamery is where anyone can find real homemade ice cream that uses only local ingredients to create the best and sweetest-tasting flavors. 

Hank's Carolina Creamery

✅ Chubs Grub Hub
Address: 354 E Franklin St, Monroe, NC 28112

A couple of worldly travelers have settled in Monroe to provide visitors with flavors and dishes from all over the place. The food is all homemade, unique, and delicious. 

Chubs Grub Hub

✅ A Cause for Tea
Address: 418 E Franklin St, Monroe, NC 28112

A Cause for Tea isn’t just a good place to stop and get tea, but it is also your chance to support a good cause. A Cause for Tea is a collaborative center that helps raise money for women and children resource shelters around the world.  

A Cause for Tea

✅ Samoha African Cuisine
Address: 1902b W Roosevelt Blvd, Monroe, NC 28110

Samoha African Cuisine is an authentic, family-owned Nigerian restaurant. They have yummy, homemade meals that you won’t find anywhere else in a comfortable, friendly environment. 

Samoha African Cuisine

✅ Panaderia el Quetzal
Address: 1900 W Roosevelt Blvd c, Monroe, NC 28110

Panaderia el Quetzal is a fantastic local bakery that serves all Latin-themed baked goods, tamales, chips, drinks, and more. They always have something new and unique to enjoy.  Great place for breakfast. 

Panaderia El Quetzal

✅ Neveria El Chavo
Address: 616-A W Roosevelt Blvd, Monroe, NC 28110

Neveria El Chavo delivers authentic, hand-churned Mexican-style ice cream with real fruit and real flavor. 

✅ Quincy’s Family Steakhouse
Address: 502 W Roosevelt Blvd, Monroe, NC 28110

Quincy’s Family Steakhouse is a classic diner-style steakhouse with homemade meals and lots of Southern-style appetizers. 

Quincy's Family Steakhouse

✅ Spiro’s Hilltop Fish Fare & Steakhouse

Address: 1602 E Roosevelt Blvd, Monroe, NC 28112

Spiro’s Hilltop Fish Fare and Steakhouse is a local favorite and one of the top places you should visit during any visit to Monroe. Spiro’s is not only the largest but also the most historical restaurant in the county. 

This refined restaurant serves only the best high-quality seafood oysters, plus Southern comfort meals, steaks, and more. Everything is made from scratch from local ingredients. 


✅ The Packing House

Address: 3603 Plyler Mill Rd, Monroe, NC 28112

The Packing House, nestled just outside Monroe, NC, is a charming establishment with a cozy coffee bar, a bakery counter filled with delectable treats, and a general store.

However, its main attraction lies in the art of crafting exquisite apple butter. Their mouthwatering baked goods are a delightful bonus.

The Packing House

Things to do near Monroe, NC

Here are some great places you don’t want to miss while exploring the Monroe area. 

✅ Morrow Mountain State Park

Address: 49104 Morrow Mountain Rd, Albemarle, NC 28001

A highly underrated 5,881-acre mountain state park with camping, fishing, hiking, canoeing, swimming, and sightseeing access. 

Morrow Mountain

✅ U.S. National Whitewater Center

Address: 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy, Charlotte, NC 28214

The U.S. National Whitewater Center is the world’s premier outdoor center, with over 30 different outdoor recreational activities to try and explore. Some popular activities at the center include whitewater rafting, rock climbing, zip-lining, and kayaking.

13+ Great Things to Do in Monroe NC & Events 2023

✅ Wise Acres Organic Farm

Address: 4701 Hartis Rd, Indian Trail, NC 28079

Wise Acres Organic Farm is a USDA-certified organic U-Pick farm with strawberry, pumpkin, blueberry, and flower fields. The farm is open from April through November, with fluctuating dates as to when what fields are ready, and reservations are highly recommended. 

Wise Acres Organic Farm

Annual Events in Monroe NC

Annual events are what bring the community together. These are some around Monroe that are definitely worth checking out.

✅ Union County Pride, Inc – Festival in the Park | Sun, Sep 17, 11 AM – 6 PM

The Union County Pride Festival is a week-long event that celebrates love, life, and friendship. Each day of the week holds a different activity, including adult-only parties, teen parties, and family-friendly events. There will be lots of live music, games, vendors, food trucks, drag shows, and so much more.

✅ Union County Heritage Festival | Sat, Sep 23, 9 AM – 4 PM

The Union County Heritage Festival is the small-town fair that you’ve been looking for. This is a family-friendly event that shares the heritage of Union County and the agricultural journey that it took to get Union County to where it is today. There will be lots of family games, live music, a 5K trail run, vendors, raffles, food trucks, and all the community-building experiences. 

✅ Second Annual Monroe-Berfest | Sat, Oct 7, 9 AM – 7 PM

Taking place in downtown Monroe is the second annual Monroe-Berfest, a play on words to describe Monroe’s version of an Oktoberfest. Several businesses participate in the event with music, food, entertainment, plenty of beer, and more.

✅ Monroe’s Pop-Up Festival | Sat, Oct 14, 8 PM – 2 PM

Monroe’s Pop-Up Festival is a fun vendor pop-up event with vendors setting up on the streets along downtown Monroe. There will also be food and music scattered throughout the area.

✅ Halloween Happenings in Monroe | Sat, Oct 21, 7 PM

Halloween Happenings is a pop-up Halloween-themed event that is great for the whole family. Located in downtown Monroe, volunteers from the Parks and Recreation Department will be hosting games, activities, costume contests, and crafts. Food and drink will also be available. 

✅ Annual Fall Festival | Sat, Nov 4, 3 – 7 PM

The Annual Fall Fest is an exciting, family-friendly event that takes place in downtown Monroe. For a full weekend, the streets of downtown Monroe will be filled with fall-themed games, activities, entertainment, vendors, food, music, and more. 

✅ Warbirds Over Monroe Air Show | Nov 11 & 12

Warbirds Over Monroe is the largest aviation event set up to honor and commemorate those who have served. From noon to five for two days, there will be beautiful air shows, music, and food trucks available.

✅ Christmas Tree Lighting in Monroe | Sat, Dec 2, 8 PM

Like any good town, the grand Christmas tree lighting is always a highly anticipated event that brings the community together like no other. Monroe’s Christmas Tree lighting takes place December 2nd at 8 p.m. right on Main St. 

Christmas Tree

​​Where To Stay in Monroe, NC

📍Holiday Inn Express & Suites  If you’re looking for a convenient, comfortable, inexpensive place to spend your vacation, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites is an excellent choice. This hotel has a prime location with many Monroe attractions just minutes away. The Holiday Inn also has accommodations like an indoor swimming pool, a fitness center, family rooms, and more. 

Things to Do in Monroe NC you can stay at the Holiday Inn Express

📍Private 3-Bedroom Home This private home is perfect for large gatherings or a big family. The home sleeps up to seven guests and has spacious family areas, multiple bathrooms, a large backyard, a patio, and a full kitchen. The furnishings are extremely comfortable, and the house is exceptionally clean and ready for your visit. 

📍Historic Home in Historic District Monroe This historic home in downtown Monroe is the gorgeous splurge that will complete your entire visit. Sleeping up to ten guests, this house is perfect for a large family, gathering, party, or whatever else you may be looking for. The bones of the house were built in the 1920s, but it has been renovated to give you that beautiful modern touch to a historical home.

Monroe, NC: FAQs

📌 What is Monroe, NC, known for?
Monroe has always been known for being a town for the people. The city holds many community gathering events, having many family-friendly activities, shows, and live music. 

📌 Does Monroe, NC, have a downtown?
Monroe has a vibrant historical downtown area that spans about six blocks.

📌 Is Monroe, NC, a small town?
Monroe is considered a small city, with a population of around 34,800. 

📌 How far is Monroe, NC, from the beach?
Monroe, NC, is 142 miles from the beach. The closest beach is Ocean Isle Beach. 

📌 How far is Monroe from the Outer Banks?
Monroe is six hours or 362.9 miles from the Outer Banks

📌 Is Monroe a part of Charlotte, NC?
Monroe is a suburb of Charlotte, NC.

Final Thoughts

Before this article, Monroe may have been just a blip on the map or a simple suburban neighbor to Charlotte, but hopefully, now your eyes have opened to how wonderful this small town really is. 

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