Things To Do

Ahhh, the good life: It means something different to every one of us, but without exception, we all crave it. Whether you prefer the hustle and bustle of city life or the peace and quiet of a suburban neighborhood ... an evening with the Charlotte Symphony or riding backward down the rapids at the U.S. National Whitewater Center ... rooting for your kid’s soccer team or watching very large professional athletes battle it out ... eating a hamburger and fries or dining on exotic cuisine... dancing until the wee hours of the morning or snuggling by the fire at home ... Charlotte has everything you need to create your own private heaven. The following section offers a sampling of activities and resources to enjoy Charlotte’s high quality of life.

Additional information on Charlotte's cost of living and quality of life is available from our economic development department.

Arts & Culture

Arts & Science Council  |  |  704-333-2ASC

Art and culture lie at the heart of world-class cities, and in Charlotte, that heart is very much alive and vibrant. Charlotteans heavily support arts and culture in the belief that its benefits overflow into business, education and the economy. The Charlotte cultural community produces 65,000 events annually, generating $158 million to the local economy and supporting more than 4,700 jobs.

A major champion for the cultural community is the Arts and Science Council of Charlotte-Mecklenburg (ASC). The ASC is a nonprofit organization that offers the community many services, including grants, events and programs. The success of the organization is evident through the $14 million awarded annually to arts education, cultural organizations and neighborhood cultural projects.

The ASC provides a comprehensive, online directory of performances, ongoing events, attractions and venues at

Dining & Nightlife

Charlotte has dining and nightlife choices to suit every taste. The following Web sites and organizations can help you plan your culinary adventures and evenings on the town.

704Events  |

Carolina Nightlife  |
Provides information on bars, clubs and restaurants in North and South Carolina. Information is grouped by cities to make it easy to find something local.

Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority  |  |  800.231.4636
“The official travel resource for Charlotte” introduces visitors and new residents to overnight accommodations, area attractions, events, entertainment and more.

Charlotte Observer
The Charlotte Observer’s Web site is chock full of information from restaurant reviews to farmers markets to pick-yourown farms, recipes, meal planners and more. You can also get complete news at CharlotteObserver. com or subscribe to the paper by calling 800.532.5350.

Charlotte Center City Partners  |  |  704.332.2227
Information on dining, nightlife and culture in Charlotte’s Center City, which includes uptown and surrounding neighborhoods. Categories are listed for types of food and nightlife, so it is easy for everyone to find what they are craving. Creative Loafing Full of all things entertainment, from musical events to featured places for food and drink, arts, film and more. Hard copies of the newspaper are available for free in restaurants, grocery stores and other venues all over the city.

If you’re on Twitter, you can follow @CLTDining, @CLTnightlife, @CLTEats and @forkflychar for daily specials, reviews and ideas.

Explore the Carolinas

Charlotte is ideally positioned between the coast and the mountains. Several popular destinations in the mountains can be reached within a two or three-hour drive, and the beaches near Charleston, S.C., can be reached in a little more than three hours. Below are some resources to help you plan a delightful trip.

N.C. Division of Tourism  |  |  800.VISITNC

S.C. Division of Tourism  |  |  866.244.9339

Must-See Cities

Asheville, N.C.  |  |  828.258.6101

Charleston, S.C.  |  |  843.853.8000

Myrtle Beach, S.C.  |  |  800.356.3016

Pinehurst, N.C.  |  |  800.346.5362

Fitness & Outdoor Recreation

Thanks to our mild climate, golf, disc or “frisbee” golf, boating, biking, tennis, hiking, running, horseback riding and other outdoor recreational activities are popular year-round activities in the Charlotte area. The area’s many gardens, parks and greenways also remain wellused throughout the year. All these possibilities make fitness not only convenient, but also fun.


Search area attractions database  |  |  800.231.4636
North and South Carolina are two of the nation’s most revered golf destinations. Golf in the Carolinas includes the rolling parkland courses of the piedmont, spectacular mountain tracks and soothing beach courses. Pinehurst, with more than 30 golf courses, is just a two-hour drive and is one of the nation’s top golf destinations. Charlotte's Got a Lot (the local visitor's bureau) provides an area attractions database that lists golf courses in the area, among other things.

Water Recreation

Duke Energy Lake Management  |
The Catawba River and its system of manmade lakes provide many activities for water lovers. Located just 30 minutes north of the city, Lake Norman has 520 miles of shoreline and is the state’s largest man-made lake. Mountain Island Lake and Lake Wylie lie south of Lake Norman on the Catawba. Sailing, wind surfing, power boating and fishing are just a few of the activities to be enjoyed on this water system. The Catawba River system is managed by Duke Energy. Maps to public access areas are available at on the Web site above.

U.S. National Whitewater Center  |  |  704.391.3900
The river is also home to the U.S. National Whitewater Center, which serves as training grounds for Olympic athletes as well as a busy recreation center for the public.

Additional lake and river activities are available through the local and state park system.

Parks Systems

Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation  |  |  311
Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation department maintains an extensive public park system and operates numerous indoor facilities, including Ray’s Splash Planet (a family-oriented water park), the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center (MAC) in uptown Charlotte, several fitness centers, and several recreation centers with indoor gymnasiums.

N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation  |  |  919.733.4181
The N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation operates the Lake Norman State Park and Crowders Mountain State Park in the Charlotte area, as well as a host of other parks within easy driving distance.

National Park Service
U.S. Forest Service  |  |  800.832.1355
Our state is home to several nationally administered parks and forests, including the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail, the Wright Brothers National Memorial and more. More information on public access and activities is available from the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service.

Associations and Team Sports

Searchable database of clubs  |

Charlotte Disc Golf Club  |

Charlotte Area Ultimate Association

Athletic associations for children and adults organize team sports including football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball, swimming, tennis and rugby. To find athletic organizations, check Mecklenburg Neighbors in the Sunday edition of The Charlotte Observer. You can also find a searchable database of clubs and organizations in the “Services” section of the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County’s Web site (above).

Finally, the Charlotte Disc Golf Club and the Charlotte Area Ultimate Association offer more fun than you ever thought could be had with a frisbee.

Fitness Centers

YMCA of Greater Charlotte  |  |  704.716.6200

If you like physical activity but would rather not do it outdoors, you still have many options. The YMCA of Greater Charlotte is one of the largest YMCA facilities in the country with 19 facilities and more than 150,000 members. It offers a wide array of activities for members of all ages and can plug you into the many fitnessthemed charitable events that happen annually in Charlotte.

A wide variety of private fitness centers are available throughout Charlotte. For a list of fitness centers that are members of the Charlotte Chamber, type "fitness" in the keyword field in our Member Directory.

Gardens and Other Outdoor Fun

Carowinds Amusement Park  |

Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens  |

Latta Plantation  |

UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens  |

Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary  |


Charlotte Mecklenburg Library  |  |  704.416.0100

The public library operates 20 locations that provide Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents with services such as educational resources and job search assistance, early literacy skills development, cultural leadership development and enjoyment-reading assistance. All locations are equipped with public computers and WIFI access, and almost all have community meeting room facilities.

ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center™  |  |  704.416.4600

For children ages birth to 18, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library offers a one-of-a-kind destination for fun and learning at ImaginOn, located in the heart of Charlotte’s cultural arts district. This collaborative effort between the Library and Children’s Theatre of Charlotte is a 102,000-square-foot facility recently ranked by as the No. 1 children’s library in the United States. It features two state-of-the-art theatres, a dedicated library space for kids 11 and under, four multi-use classrooms, a teen-only library and multimedia production studio, and interactive exhibit space.


United Way of Central Carolinas  |  |  211 or 1.866.744.7778

Charlotte is well known for its philanthropic spirit, and newcomers often find that getting involved is a great way to meet people with similar interests. In addition to helping those in need find services to help them, the United Way of Central Carolinas offers an information service to help people find volunteer and charitable giving opportunities to give back to the community.

Religion & Spirituality

Charlotte, which has more than 1,000 houses of worship, is often known as the “City of Churches.” Religious and spiritual organizations often form the nucleus of community life for Charlotte residents and offer a variety of activities and opportunities for members of all ages. And Mecklenburg Ministries coordinates interfaith activities to build understanding and cooperation across Charlotte’s diverse spiritual community. Assistance finding a spiritual community near you may be available from one of the denominational headquarters located in the area.

AME Zion  |  704.599.4630
Advent Christian  |  704.545.6161
Baptist  |  704.375.1197
Catholic  |  704.370.6299
Christian & Missionary Alliance  |  704.543.0470
Church of God  |  704.364.5003
Church of the Nazarene  |  704.540.8300
Church of Religious Science  |  704.531.7993
Episcopal  |  800.448.8775
Greek Orthodox  |  704.334.4771
Hindu Center of Charlotte  |  704-607-8412
Islamic Society of Greater Charlotte  |  704.536.2016
Judaism  |  704.366.5007
Lutheran  |  704.372.7317
Mecklenburg Ministries  |  704.347.2404
Moravian  |  704.334.1381
Presbyterian (USA)  |  704.535.9999
Seventh-Day Adventist  |  704.596.3200
Unitarian  |  704.549.0750
United Methodist Church  |  704.525.3395

Retail Therapy

Nothing quite warms the soul like buying a new outfit. And it stimulates the economy, so it counts as a good deed! Charlotte has a wide range of shopping experiences, from major shopping centers to funky boutiques tucked in alleys. You’ll have to explore the city to find the hidden gems. Below are the major retail centers.

SouthPark Mall  |  |  704.364.4411

Concord Mills  |  |  704.979.3000

Carolina Place Mall  |  704.5436.9300

Northlake Mall  |  |  704.921.2000

Birkdale Village  |  |  704.895.8744

Spectator Sports

With several professional sports teams, numerous colleges and universities with robust athletic programs, and several annual, sports-themed events, your fanaticism has plenty of outlets.

Professional Sports

Carolina Panthers (NFL)  |  |  704.358.7000

Charlotte Hornets (NBA)  |  |  704.BOBCATS

Charlotte Checkers (ECHL)  |  |  704.342.4423

Charlotte Eagles/Lady Eagles (USL)  |  |  704.841.8644

Charlotte Knights (AAA baseball)  |  |  704.357.8071

Lowe’s Motor Speedway (NASCAR)  |  |  800.455.FANS

Wells Fargo Championship  |  |  800.945.0777

College Sports

CIAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

Davidson College  |  |  800.768.CATS

Johnson C. Smith University  |  |  704.378.1091

Meineke Car Care Bowl  |  |  800.618.8149

Queens University  |  |  704.337.2585

UNC Charlotte  |  |  704.687.4949

Wingate University  |  |  800.755.5550

Winthrop University  |  803.323.234