5 Ways to Do Charlotte, N.C., Like a Local

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A view of the skyline of Charlotte from a downtown rooftop.

Charlotte, N.C., sits smack dab in the middle of the Carolinas. It’s a destination in any season. And whether you’re there to see the fall leaves, catch a couple of snowflakes in the winter, or bask in the summer glow, there’s a lot of ways to stay entertained like a local.

Ready to find out more? Keep reading!

A food festival in downtown Charlotte with tents, tables, and stages set up on the streets.

Why You Should Visit Charlotte, N.C.

Charlotte, N.C., is the most populated city in the state. It was named “The Queen City” in the 1760s when King George III still ruled the colonies. Charlotte was the name of his wife. You’ll find a lot of history around the city, including the Uptown Charlotte Liberty Walk.

There are many reasons to visit Charlotte. From food and craft beer to diverse neighborhoods, a lot is going on here. The city is finding unique ways to tap into entrepreneurs, artisans, and people of all backgrounds. For example, the arts are a big deal here. So you’ll find lots of art galleries and other outlets for artists and makers. 

The city is also home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The famous Charlotte Motor Speedway is a historic track that you can also visit. And the city is home to a lot of NASCAR race teams for fans of the sport. 

One of our favorite things about Charlotte is exploring the city like a local. Of course, there’s plenty of history and popular attractions in the city, but going where locals go provides a more up close and personal look into the area’s culture. And let’s face it, locals always know the best places to eat.

How to Tour Charlotte Like a Local

Going off the beaten path away from touristy attractions is one of the best parts of traveling. And touring Charlotte like a local is memorable and fun. So let’s check out five things to do in Charlotte.

#1 Check Out 7th Street Public Market

The Market at 7th Street is the perfect way to start living like a local in Charlotte, N.C. Just be sure to go hungry and thirsty! The market is a non-profit incubator for emerging chefs, restaurateurs, entrepreneurs, artisans, and makers. You’ll find fresh and affordable food at the market as well as health and wellness activities. 

You can find a cheese shop, coffee shop, pizza, and more at The Market at 7th Street. It’s located in Uptown Charlotte by the 7th Street rail station. There’s a parking garage by the market for those driving, or you can train, bus, walk, or bike. 

A street with a local pub in Charlotte after a rainy afternoon in the fall.

#2 Enjoy a Local Concert

There are several ways to enjoy a local concert in Charlotte, N.C. From large concert halls to small intimate venues, there are plenty of options and music year-round. And you can find every genre in this university and business-hub town. 

Among intimate options is The Evening Muse. It’s in the NoDa Arts District. Independent artists and bands that play here come from Charlotte and around the world. 

One of our favorite outdoor venues in the summer is the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre. It’s located at the AvidXChange Music Factory and has regular seats as well as lawn seating. You can see the Charlotte skyline while enjoying a concert.

#3 Get Traditional Barbecue in Town

Lexington, N.C., has made a name for itself in the world of southern barbecue. And since it’s only an hour away from Charlotte, BBQ has majorly influenced the city. There are numerous places to find traditional barbecue around Charlotte. But we’ll let you in on a couple of our favorites. 

A lineup of different BBQ and hot sauces at a smokehouse.

Sweet Lew’s BBQ is the place to go for a traditional North Carolina barbecue experience. They smoke their meats daily on a blend of hickory, pecan, and peach woods in a 450-square-foot smokehouse. Two of the most popular items on their menu are the smoked beef brisket and the NC chopped pork.

Noble Smoke is another favorite. Their brisket is worth making the trip for. And they also have excellent pulled chicken sandwiches. They work with sustainable farmers that provide natural and premium products.

Don’t Miss Out: The South has so many amazing dishes to devour. Check out our top 8 foods you have to try whether you’re a foodie or not!

#4 Visit Ramsey Creek Park

Ramsey Creek Park is about 20 miles north of downtown Charlotte. It sits on Lake Norman in Cornelius, N.C. The 46-acre park has a beach, swimming area, boat launch, fishing pier, picnic area, and playground.

The park is an excellent place to escape the crowds in the city for a day on the water. Its beach is only open in the summer, but you can visit year-round to observe the beautiful backdrop of North Carolina on the lake. There’s a 1.6-mile easy loop trail that’s accessible all year, and you can bring along a leashed dog. In addition, the park has a dog park for your pet to have fun off-leash.

#5 Appreciate the Local Public Art

Charlotte is home to some seriously talented artists. While you’ll find contributions from local artists throughout the city, Uptown Charlotte’s art scene is the most active. We highly recommend taking a walk through the neighborhood to see the murals on buildings. 

Local mural painted a the brick wall of a church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

You may want to ask the locals which pieces are must-sees. Or you can use one of the self-guided mural maps available online. This is a great free activity to do alone, with kids, or in a group.

There’s So Much to Do in Charlotte, N.C.

Charlotte, N.C., has a lot to offer. If you get a chance to visit, you may want to stay for three to four days to do as much as possible.

We hope you can check off at least two items on our “touring like a local” guide. While late spring to early fall is the best time to visit for good weather, each item on the list is doable year-round.

What are your favorite Charlotte activities?

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