The skyline of Charlotte, North Carolina at dusk reflected by a pond surrounded by trees

24 Hours in Charlotte: Top Attractions in the Queen City

The skyline of Charlotte, North Carolina at dusk reflected by a pond surrounded by trees

24 Hours in Charlotte: Top Attractions in the Queen City

Charlotte, North Carolina is full of recreation, live music, and more to enjoy. Here are some must-see attractions to visit while in the Queen City.

Home to companies like Bank of America, Lowes, and Duke Energy, Charlotte, North Carolina buzzes with a business and commerce vibe. Corporate professionals from around the world visit Charlotte, and many manage to find a little time for leisure. Vibrant, modern, and welcoming, the Queen City does not disappoint. You can enjoy a variety of recreational opportunities, including museums, outdoor activities, professional sports, and one-of-a-kind restaurants and bars. Read on to discover a few exciting ways to spend 24 hours in Charlotte.

U.S. National Whitewater Center

Set on 1,300 acres, the U.S. National Whitewater Center delivers hours of fun for adventurers of all skill levels. Water recreation includes whitewater rafting, kayaking, and paddle boarding. Land activities like rock climbing, rope courses, zip lines, and mountain biking get the heart pumping, while a morning yoga class in the open air nourishes the soul.
The River Jam summer concert series features live music on Thursday and Saturday evenings, and to satisfy your hunger, the Pump House Biergarten and The River’s Edge Bar & Grill serve up delicious bites and array of adult beverages to keep the party going.

7th Street Public Market

The 7th Street Public Marketsits in the heart of Charlotte’s Center City. Enter the market to the welcoming aroma of baking bread and freshly brewed coffee. In addition to fresh local produce, the vendors offer a number of unique treats like gourmet popcorn, handmade cheeses, and refreshing raw juices. An artisanal Italian grocery is overflowing with great gift ideas, and tasty breakfast and lunch dishes include Nutella banana crepes, roasted Portobello sandwiches, and sprouted-grain pizzas.

Sports Sensations

For professional sports enthusiasts, Charlotte certainly delivers. The Carolina Hornets always put on a show for basketball fans at the Spectrum Center , and the Carolina Panthers entertain football fans at Bank of America Stadium. Nothing gets more exciting than NASCAR at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and fans always enjoy a trip through the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Baseball and hockey aficionados root for minor league teams — the Charlotte Knights or the Charlotte Checkers — as they bat or skate their way to victory.

The purple sign of the Bank of America Stadium lights up the front of the Carolina Panthers NFL stadium in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina
Source: Shutterstock


Charlotte’s Levine Center for the Arts includes three popular museums. The Mint Museum of Craft and Design features a myriad of ceramic, glass, metal, wood, and fiber pieces. The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture celebrates the country’s African American influences on culture, and the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art thrills art enthusiasts with a variety of modern masterpieces. For local artistic flavor, explore galleries in South End and North Davidson (NoDa), or participate in gallery crawls on First Fridays.
Charlotte has much to offer the ardent history buff, and exhibits like “Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers” at the Levine Museum of the New South are a good place to start. This permanent installation celebrates the transformation of the Charlotte region over the past 150 years.
Just a short drive north, the Latta Plantation Nature Center and Preserve features an authentic plantation home built circa 1800 and a working farm. Extras include 16 miles of scenic trails, an equestrian center, the Charlotte Raptor Center, and beautiful Lake Norman.

Shoreline of Lake Norman in North Carolina with calm ocean water and blue sky behind leafy green trees.
Source: Shutterstock

Food & Drink

Professional accomplishments deserve a reward, and Charlotte offers up some tasty ways to celebrate a job well done. If you’re looking for Southern farm-to-fork cuisine with a modern twist, try eateries like The Asbury, Heirloom, and The King’s Kitchen. Midwood Smokehouse satisfies a hankering for barbecue in a lively, roadhouse-style setting, and Price’s Chicken Coop provides cash-only takeout for customers craving Southern fried chicken, burgers, or barbecued pork.
Must-stops for a good local brew include the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium with its 240 craft beers and NoDa Brewing Company, which specializes in unique, small-batch brews. If you want to try a little moonshine or whiskey, visit Southern Grace Distilleries, just 20 minutes north of Charlotte. This former prison-turned-distillery features special whiskey-prison tours and fun jailhouse mug shots.

Make the most of your free time in Queen City by exploring the history, art, and cuisine of the region. Connect with us on Facebook or other social media to share how you spent your day.