Charlotte is the largest city of North Carolina and is located adjacent to its southern border. With a large population and buzzing adventures, this is a modern city filled with opportunities and prospects. Charlotte is known for its state-of-the-art amusement parks, shopping malls, museums, national parks, lakes, gigantic stadiums, and loving people.
It is nicknamed “The Queen City” because it was named after the wife of King George II. With great architecture and breathtaking urban views, the city of Charlotte should be on the list of must-visit places for every traveler. Let us take a brief look at the ten top-rated attractions you can visit while touring Charlotte, North Carolina.
Top 10 Attractions in Charlotte, NC
Located next to Interstate 77, Carowinds is a vast amusement park with tons of rides and fun activities for people of all ages. This park has turned into one of the icons for the city of Charlotte. The park is located right on the state boundary between the two Carolinas, with some parts of the park situated inside South Carolina. This makes it the only 2-state amusement park in the United States. This park was opened to the public in 1973 with a great design and a considerable investment. Once inside the park, you see the magnitude of rides installed here. At Carowinds, you will see some big amusement rides in the entire country.
It also has a delightful water park adjacent to it. What’s great is that you get entry to both Carowinds and the water park on a single ticket. Besides its permanent collection of amazing rides, the park also hosts tons of events throughout the year. These include SCarowinds at Halloween and WinterFest during November and December. Whenever you travel to Charlotte, keep in mind that the park only operates from Spring through Fall. With a yearly visitor count of more than 2 million people, you will find the place buzzing with tourists and families all the time. Make sure to get your tickets from their official website so that you can make the most of your time while you are at Carowinds.
2. NASCAR Hall Of Fame
The National Association For Stock Car Auto Racing has its world-famous hall of fame in Charlotte, North Carolina. If you are a race fan, this is a must-visit place for you. In the Hall Of Fame facility, you can see and learn about the famous racing cars of their times, trophies, artifacts, and stories behind every piece on display here. This Hall Of Fame covers every corner of NASCAR history, allowing you to explore new and thrilling aspects. There is a simulator inside the building where you can experience the banking characteristic of NASCAR races. The simulator can also change angles to adjust for the replication of famous racetracks.
Each class of car that has been used at some point at NASCAR is inducted into this Hall Of Fame. They are displayed concerning their class category. A room in the Hall Of Fame showcases the five most recent additions to the ever-growing NASCAR Hall Of Fame collection. At this facility, you can better understand the story of each car model and the people who drive it for the sake of the love that this sport demands. You can also see remodeled cars, auto parts, auto tech, racing uniforms, and so much more. There are several interactive activities for the visitors, including changing a tire and calling a race. Other than this, the collection of memorabilia at this center is quite overwhelming on its own. Make sure to stop by here if the world of auto racing has always enthused you.
3. U.S. National Whitewater Center
This is an outdoor recreational center for the promotion of open-air athletic activities. At the U.S. National Whitewater Center, you can spend your time rafting, canoeing, biking, skating, surfing, kayaking, rock climbing, or hiking. The variety of activities present at the center makes it a top destination for anyone looking to engage in physical activity while having fun at the same time. The U.S. National Whitewater Center is a massive camp spread over more than 1,300 acres of land. Their most famous activity is whitewater rafting. This center is located next to the Catawba River and uses it as its main water source. There is also an artificial river constructed inside the center for whitewater rafting. It is the largest recirculating artificial river in the world.
At the U.S. National Whitewater Center, you can raft your way through different classes of whitewater channels. You can do so with or without guides, floaters, or instructors. Recently opened attractions at the center include Canyon Crossing and Canopy Tour. On these, you can move through bridges that hang over the trees. You manage your way from one platform to the other, all the while taking in great landscape views of your surroundings. You can also zip line or pass through an adventure obstacle course. People also visit the center for exercising and attending physical training courses. Exercise platforms are available for you to engage in whatever physical activity you feel the most comfortable with.
4. Mint Museum Randolph
This unique museum is housed inside a U.S. government building that used to work as the Charlotte Mint. In the 1930s, this place was turned into an art museum that drew tons of new visitors every month. Exhibits include paintings, ceramics, pottery, costumes, dresses, accessories, maps, crafts, and so much more. It shows the history of this place and how the lifestyle of its people changed over the years. At the Mint Museum Randolph, you get to see different artifacts that are not a common sight these days. This museum also has a visual arts institution with multiple educations programs. The Mint Museum Randolph also organizes events, seminars, and lectures on historical and contemporary art every year.
The collection present at the Mint Museum Randolph is enormous, with almost 10,000 different objects covering a range of historical and modern aspects. You will see paintings and artworks dating back to the 1700s, when the art and culture around this place were booming. It is believed that this museum’s house exhibits represent more than 40 cultures. Seeing all of them come together under one roof is quite an experience. The decorative artworks present at the Mint Museum Randolph are sure to catch your eye as well. You can also glance over the fashion accessories of men, women, and children from the 17th and 18th centuries. Watching the craftwork of that time and seeing how these relics transformed gradually and changed their form can be informative and enlightening.
5. Discovery Place Science
Discovery Place Science is a top-rated attraction in Charlotte that is equally suited for people of all ages. You, along with your children, can have a great time seeing and interacting with the wonders this place has to offer. Discovery Place Science has a science museum and an IMAX theater. What a perfect combination it truly is. This place imparts science and technology education through fun activities and interactive exhibits. The center has everything that you need for an ideal family day out. You get to learn a lot of new things and have so much fun while doing so. Your kids can play with science, whereas you can see documentaries and STEM performances.
The Discovery Place Science offers a larger-than-life experience. At this facility, you can take a look at the wonders of our world. Anyone who remotely likes science and technology gets to have a great time all around. This science center is designed and developed to maximize visitor engagement. Due to this, you feel like getting hands-on experience in everything. Discovery Place Science is filled with educators, professors, curators, guides, and instructors who brief you with innovative concepts and make you feel excited to learn something new. Do you know what the cherry on top is? The welcome program offering admission to the Discovery Place Science only costs $1. This has made it possible for everyone to enjoy and experience the world of science equally.
6. Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
This botanical garden is known to be the most beautiful in the entire state of North Carolina. The way it is maintained and provided for is just excellent. Located right next to the Western end of Charlotte city, this garden offers a serene retreat while you are on your visit. It provides a soothing experience that cannot be found anywhere else in the city. This garden attracts plant lovers, gardeners, photographers, and tourists alike. At the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, gardening is displayed and taught. Their one-day programs teach you enough tips and tricks to apply to your home garden. Apart from this, the way everything is arranged inside this garden appeases the eye of every viewer.
There is a massive fountain located right in the middle of the garden. Along with this courtyard, you can find indefinite columns of flowering plants that go as far as you can see. With birds chirping all around you, nature is closer than ever. The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is spanned over 380 acres of land. It is situated next to Lake Wylie, present on the North and South Carolina border. The garden was opened to the public less than 25 years ago. It has grown in popularity around the Carolinas and the United States in this small timeframe. People come pouring in from all over the country to enjoy the picture-perfect sights this garden has to offer.
7. Bechtler Museum Of Modern Art
The Bechtler Museum Of Modern Art provides a sense of exquisite display that is difficult to find in many art museums these days. It majorly showcases the works of European artists. However, several American, African, and Asian artworks are also part of the museum’s collection. The catalog of this museum is just incredible for any art lover out there. There is something for everyone. Whether you like abstract art in which you find your meaning or want to look at paintings and sculptures with the motive of the artist written in clear words before you, you can taste everything at the Bechtler Museum Of Modern Art. This museum showcases the works of all acclaimed artists and painters worldwide. The size of its vast collection is impressive on its own.
Bechtler Museum Of Modern Art is the perfect place to discover new art that you have never seen before. In the serene indoor environment of this museum, you can marvel at these masterpieces for hours. Everything is displayed in a style that sparks anticipation. If you want to take in as much as possible, we recommend booking a guided tour through the museum. The marvelous collection of contemporary artworks that you can see at the Bechtler Museum Of Modern Art is hard to find anywhere else. The museum’s main building also houses a theater where you can see art documentaries and listen to keynote speakers during exhibitions.
8. Billy Graham Library
This library opened its gates to the public in 2007. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 situation, the library is not operating at total capacity these days. But you can book your tour through their official website at any time. As soon as you set your foot on the library grounds, you can feel a sense of spirituality and holiness. You walk through the main building entrance with this peaceful state of mind. Paying tribute to Billy Graham, who grew up on a farm, the outer structure of this library is formed like a barn. Located adjacent to the library is Billy Graham’s childhood home. However, you can only visit the first floor of this property.
The museum located in this facility documents and displays the life events of Billy Graham. Inside, you can see the replica of his desk and a model dairy truck his family used to operate. Through different items, you can experience his lifestyle, methods, and approach to walk the way of life. The pavements that lead up to the library and Billy Graham’s grave are turned into appreciation walkways. You can see messages and prayers inscribed into the brick tiles to make up these paths. You can also pray at the memorial prayer garden, which is laden with roses and ornaments throughout its boundary. A stroll around the lovely gardens that lay on all four sides of the library uplifts your mood like nothing else. The overall ambiance of this place is comforting and reassuring.
9. Charlotte Motor Speedway
This is a motorsport complex located just outside the city boundaries of Charlotte. It features a 1.5-mile long track and is one of the most extensive NASCAR tour facilities in the United States. This complex has everything a racing fan dreams of. With race cars shooting their way around the track and the checkered flag waving from the side of the tower, you can see the NASCAR tour in all of its glory. The track at this facility also holds historical importance in the NASCAR fraternity. It was the first track to host the 600-mile NASCAR race. This race was organized back in the 1960s, and since then, the Charlotte Motor Speedway has only been growing in popularity.
At the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the coordinators continuously enhance the fan experience. Audience seats at the complex are arranged to maximize viewing angles. Once you watch a race at this complex, you will live it for quite some time. This is what makes it a place people visit again and again. Besides the NASCAR tour, the Charlotte Motor Speedway hosts car shows, exhibitions, concerts, and light shows. Therefore, you don’t have to expect the signature tour to align with your trip. There is always something going on at this complex. You can also book a tour of the entire facility, including a bus ride over the actual track. This is one of their premium offerings, enabling fans to be on the strip where so many great races have taken place.
10. Levine Museum Of The New South
This is a history museum showcasing the different aspects of life in the Piedmont Urban Crescent. The period reflected by most of the pieces in this museum is after the American Civil War. If you want to know what this region used to feel like before the industrial revolution took over, this museum is a great place to visit. It tells us the story of the people who lived in this area centuries ago. This museum was opened to the public in 1991 and was known as the Museum Of The New South. In 2001, it was renamed to credit its founding member, Leon Levine.
Like other history museums, Levine Museum Of The New South houses permanent and temporary collections. Its most visited exhibit is the “Cotton Fields To Skyscrapers.” This tells the narrative of Charlotte and the surrounding area in chronological order. You can see the development taking over right before your eyes. With legacy exhibits, there is nothing that gets left behind on your trip to the Levine Museum Of The New South. Currently, the museum is looking for a new place to expand its premises. Therefore, it is expected to shift its location in the coming years. Since last year, Levine Museum Of The New South has also started conducting virtual tours that can be booked from their site right now. Still, if you are looking for a more face-to-face experience, you can always book a tour of the facility in person.
The Queen City of Charlotte is a top travel destination among tourists for several different reasons. With NASCAR culture, delicious cuisine, impressive museums, and natural beauty, Charlotte is nothing less than a dream station. If you plan a vacation these days, this city might steal the top spot on your potential getaways.