Charlotte Bucket List

7 Must Do Things in Charlotte

Named in honor of German princess Charlotte Mecklinburg-Strelitz, the city of Charlotte, North Carolina would later get two nicknames: “The Queen’s City” (she would later become the Queen of England) and later “The Hornet’s Nest” for the fiery colonists that rebelled against the British in the Revolutionary War. Now you know why the city’s NBA team is called the Charlotte Hornets!

As one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, Charlotte is becoming somewhat of an underground sports mecca, but there’s much more to do than watch sports in a spectacular setting. Here are some of the best things to do on your next visit to Charlotte.

1 U.S. National Whitewater Center

Over 30 different recreational activities across 1300 acres awaits you at the Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Hike along 50 miles of protected trails along the Catawba River, get an aerial view while ziplining above, or engage in dozens of other activities like rock climbing, mountain biking, or ropes courses. Whatever you do, don’t miss the Center’s claim to fame: the world’s largest artificial whitewater river. It has 12,000 gallons of water along 3,750 feet of Class II to IV rapids that are cleaned and filtered every 24 hours.

2 NASCAR Hall of Fame

In 2010, NASCAR and the City of Charlotte built this state-of-art complex to honor the drivers, crew members, team owners, and other icons of the sport. The 5-acre site includes interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, AR/VR experiences, racing simulators, and of course a collection of historical artifacts, items, and collectibles that tell the story of NASCAR.

Whether you’re a fan of racing greats like Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and Richard Petty, or a racing newbie that think fast cars are cool, the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC has something for everyone.

3 Charlotte Motor Speedway

It’s technically 13 miles outside of Charlotte, but when you’re traveling at 200 mph, what’s the difference?

Charlotte Motor Speedway is a 1.5 mile race track that not only hosts some of NASCAR’s top races, but also serves as a destination for auto shows, movie sets, holiday light shows, swap meets, and all sorts of entertainment experiences. The speedway can host nearly 100,000 fans at full capacity, and since its inception in 1960, continual updates have insured fans an ever-changing cutting-edge experience.

4 Truist Field

You needn’t be a huge baseball fan to enjoy watching the Triple-A Charlotte Knights at Truist Field: sweeping views of Charlotte’s city skyline make it beautiful place to spend a few hours. As a hitter friendly ballpark that seats only 10,200 patrons, you’re sure to get great views of the action with a scenic backdrop.

Formerly known as BB&T Ballpark, the name was changed to Truist Field in 2020 after BB&T merged with SunTrust to form a new company (Truist).

5 Freedom Park

Known as “The Central Park of Charlotte”, Freedom Park has nearly 100 acres of beauty and recreation surrounding a 7-acre lake. Located just 3 miles from downtown Charlotte, Freedom Park is a popular spot for residents and visitors alike to connect with nature.

Directly next to Freedom Park you’ll find the Little Sugar Creek Greenway which has an enjoyable 1.3 mile walking trail.

6 Carowinds

Sitting on the border of North Carolina and South Carolina is Carowinds theme-park, aptly named for the strong winds that blow between the states. It first opened in 1960 as local, independent operation, got 2nd and 3rd winds from media companies like Taft Broadcasting and Paramount that infused the park with pop culture characters, and today operates under the Cedar Fair.

The park is 400+ acres of rides, roller coasters, and attractions; includes a monstrous 27 acre water park; and holds seasonal events throughout the year as one of the premiere entertainment venues in the Charlotte region.

7 Billy Graham Library

The Billy Graham Library is a museum and library that documents his life and ministry in a 40,000 square foot complex. The library itself was built to resemble the nearby dairy farm where Graham’s humble childhood began.

Religious affiliation aside, it’s hard to refute that Billy Graham was one of the most influential Christian leaders of the 20th Century. In the 1940s his sermons began broadcasting on TV and radio, reaching more than 210 million people over the course of six decades. He was well-known for repudiating segregation alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and became great friends with American Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, and Lyndon B. Johnson. When he finally succumbed to natural causes at the age of 99, Graham became the first religious leader and fourth private citizen ever to lay in honor in the United States Capitol Rotunda.

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