Living as an adult person in your hometown certainly has its perks. Especially if you’re a parent and your child’s grandparents live within walking distance of you! However when I left Charlotte for college, I wasn’t sure that I’d ever live here again. At the time it felt so small to me, I wanted more — better restaurants, more culture, cool nightlife, and honestly, just something different. Well, 10 years after I left home, I found myself coming back to my very different hometown.

what to do in Charlotte NC

what to do in Charlotte.

Whether you are visiting from out of town or just staycationing in Charlotte, there is no shortage of things to do! My favorite time of the year to visit is early Fall; the weather is perfect — still warm, but not as humid which make for the best days spent outside in a park … or on a rooftop with cocktails!

what to do in Charlotte NC

where to stay.

If uptown is your vibe, you can’t go wrong with The Dunhill Hotel. It’s not the newest hotel in town, but it is one of my personal favorites. Great location, great service and beautiful rooms! The “new guy” in town is The Ivey’s Hotel, another boutique hotel that has rave reviews. I haven’t personally stayed here, but the photos are breathtaking and 5Church restaurant & cocktail bar is one of my favorites in town.

If you’d rather stay a bit further away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, I would highly recommend the Hampton Inn & Suites at Phillips Place. I know a chain hotel isn’t the typical suggestion you’d receive, but the Hampton Inn at Phillips Place is top notch. I actually stayed here and got ready here the night before our wedding! It’s steps away from great shopping and good food, all while being more quiet than staying downtown.

what to do in Charlotte NC

what to eat.

There are loads of amazing places to eat in Charlotte from super fancy steakhouses with delicious craft cocktails to barbecue joints with local beer on draft. We usually frequent the more casual places, but it’s nice to get dressed up and go out on the town sometimes as well.

While this isn’t a complete list of places to try in Charlotte, these are either my absolute faves or on my must-try list!

  • Amelie’s French Bakery – This is one of my all-time favorite places and one that I visit at least once a week! It’s perfect for breakfast or lunch place with a menu filled with delicious sandwiches, pastries and beverages. There is also one in any part of town you may be visiting!
  • Beef & Bottle – This hole in the wall steakhouse is a old Charlotte establishment. It’s nowhere near fancy, but they consistently serve up one of the best steaks in town. Be sure to make a reservation as the restaurant is small and fills up quickly on the weekends.
  • Alexander Michael’s – This is another classic Charlotte establishment. Located in an old house in Charlotte’s historic 4th Ward, it has just the right amount of class and lowkeyness. Be sure to save time to walk around the neighborhood and check out all of the gorgeous old homes … after all, you’ll need to walk off the What It Is pasta dish that is the best thing on the menu {humble opinion}!
  • Haberdish – This one may be relatively new on the scene, but it didn’t take long for it to become a local favorite. The fried chicken is the best you’ll ever have! And their handcrafted cocktails made with all fresh ingredients can’t be beat. Pro tip: walk around the corner to Reigning Donuts for a late night treat!
  • Sea Level – This restaurant came highly recommended to us, and when we finally did try it we realized what we’d been missing out on! Delicious local oysters that are super fresh and prepared almost any way. Plus tons of other deliciousness on the menu. If you’re staying at The Ivey’s, it’s a super short walk too!
  • Superica – A very casual, low-key TexMex venue in Southend. I would suggest going for brunch because it’s my personal fave. Plus it’s the only time they serve their famous table size pancake!
  • Zeppelin – Just around the corner from Superica is Zeppelin, an ultra-hip place with delicious cocktails and even better food. If you’re visiting when it’s warm, be sure to order some snacks for the patio and post up for a while.
  • Dogwood Southern Table – If you’re staying in the Southpark area this is a must-visit restaurant. Delicious fresh, local food served up in a restaurant that’s equal parts swanky and cozy. If you’re an early eater, be sure to check out their $7 burger served until 6:30PM.
  • La Belle Helene – One of the most gorgeous restaurants I’ve ever stepped foot into. And the food is equally as delightful … plus Instagram worthy cocktails. What more could you need?
  • Midwood Smokehouse – Finishing out my list with one of our all-time favorite places and a place that celebs and politicians from Justin Timberlake to Barack Obama have visited. Midwood’s food and service are always just right and you can definitely rock your athleisure any time of the day. Don’t get too full on your meal because the banana pudding is a must-try!
what to do in Charlotte NC

what to drink.

Charlotte’s brewery scene took off several years ago, however these days it’s all about the craft cocktails — though to be honest, you can find us at a brewery far more frequently than a swanky cocktail spot.

  • Legion Brewing – With two locations in Charlotte serving up some of our favorite beers AND delicious food, this is a must-visit. The Juicy Jay is mine and Walt’s favorite beer and you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu — especially the massive pretzel.
  • 8.2.0 – This is one we sadly haven’t visited yet — but it is on my list for my next girls night. 8.2.0 is perfection because in a word: karaoke. Yes, this hip bar turns into an amazing karaoke bar that I cannot wait to check out!
  • Workman’s Friend – To be honest, I wasn’t sure which list this should go on. It landed on the drink list, but you must eat here as well! The appetizer sliders are a must-try! Warm weather makes the Workman’s patio just call your name.
  • Haberdish – Yet another one that holds a place on both lists, but Haberdish cocktails are like no other place in town.
  • Selwyn Pub – There are so many people that will laugh at me for this one. But it’s a must visit, especially during golf season {is this a thing?}. Selwyn offers an amazing patio with loads of TV’s and the delicious {and slightly dangerous} transfusion generally served in a classic Selwyn Pub styrofoam cup. If you get hungry while you’re there, the pizza is top notch.
  • Sycamore Brewing – Sycamore was one of the first breweries to come on the scene and they do it right. Huge patio space, at least one food truck outside, and delicious craft beers — you can’t go wrong any time of the year!
what to do in Charlotte NC

what to do.

There are so many things to do in Charlotte whether you’re an fan of the outdoors, an art guru or up for a boozey day at the breweries.

As soon as it gets remotely warm enough to be outside, that’s exactly where we spend our days and one of our very favorite things to do is picnic. Freedom Park is one of our top picks — it’s huge with multiple playgrounds for the kids and a pond with a great sidewalk to walk around. {Freedom Park also has a special place in our heart after a special evening we shared after our miscarriage.} While we frequent Freedom Park often, it’s also a lot of fun to go Uptown to either The Green or Romare Bearden Park where you can sit amongst the skyscrapers while enjoying your picnic.

Before kids one of our favorite things to do on the weekends was to brewery hop. Regardless of what part of town you choose, there are breweries within walking distance of each other — and food trucks at almost all of them! Which means, you can booze and eat all day if you choose. Though I’ve never personally tried it, Charlotte Brews Cruise could be a fun option if you’re visiting from out of town.

Sticking with the outdoor theme, the Whitewater Center is just a short drive from Uptown and has something for everyone. Whether you raft with a guide or take a leisurely stroll on one of the many trails, you can end your day with a beer on the grass hill overlooking the manmade whitewater rapids course. If you visit during the late spring or early summer, there are often concerts on the weekends which is a must-do!

Speaking of live music, if you can catch a show at The Music Factory you won’t be disappointed. Our favorite venue is the outdoor arena — it’s on the smaller side which makes concerts feel more intimate. If you’re looking for culture but not into a loud concert, there are lots of museums downtown that are sure to peak anyone’s interest. If your guy isn’t as into museums as you are, you can compromise by hitting a ball game afterwards — you’ve got three sports to choose from downtown football, baseball and basketball!

Charlotte sure has changed since I left right after high school — and I am not the only one excited about that! There are new people moving here every single day and visitors by the hundreds. It’s a wonderful place to live whether you’re a single person or raising a family. And I am proud to call this place home.

xo, LC

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