Why You Should Plan a Visit To Charlotte in 2022

The best things to do, eat, and see on your next visit to North Carolina's Queen City.

Charlotte, NC, Skyline at Dusk
Photo: Getty/Walter Bibikow

Whether you're a beer buff, a sports fan, or into the arts scene, you'll find something to love during a visit to Charlotte, North Carolina. Here are some of the Queen City's must-see spots to add to the itinerary for your next trip.

What to Do

Uptown Charlotte is home to several museums all within an easy walk of each other. Stop by the Mint Museum's Uptown location to enjoy contemporary art. From there, take a quick stroll to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, as well as the nearby Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture.

Visiting during baseball season? Make sure to catch a Charlotte Knights game. Truist Field, home of the Triple-A Charlotte Knights, was recently voted the Best Ballpark in Minor League Baseball, and for good reason. It's a gorgeous place to enjoy America's pastime.

NASCAR fans will want to make a pit stop at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Uptown. Those with little travelers in tow should add a visit to Discovery Place to the itinerary. The hands-on science museum is equal parts fun and educational.

Charlotte is quickly becoming a major beer hub, boasting more than 30 breweries and counting. Stop by Resident Culture, a funky brewery in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood, and sample a few of their signature beers in their dog-friendly space. The brewery is so popular that they're expanding their footprint into the South End neighborhood.

On a beautiful day, there are few places more enticing than the U.S. National Whitewater Center. The Center is home to the largest man-made whitewater river in the world. With 1,300 acres of land and more than 50 miles of trails, there's plenty of room to hike, bike, or try your hand at standup paddleboarding.

Where to Eat

After you've worked up an appetite, grab some Carolina barbeque at Midwood Smokehouse. The restaurant's tasty offerings, including their signature brisket, ribs, and burnt ends, have a celebrity following.

With two-time James Beard-nominated chef Greg Collier and his wife and business partner Subrina at the helm, it's no surprise that Charlotte culinary scene newcomer Leah and Louise is a hit. The "Southern-inspired modern juke joint" is located at Camp North End, a former car factory and military depot that now features restaurants, shops, and art space. Leah and Louise is a popular pick, so you'll want to grab a reservation.

Supperland is another new restaurant that's quickly made a splash in the Queen City. The "Southern steakhouse meets church potluck" invites guests to dine in a beautifully restored church. The space features 120-year-old refurbished pews and a speakeasy in the basement. It's another hot ticket and often books out several weeks in advance, so plan accordingly.

Indecisive diners will want to visit Optimist Hall, a 147,000-square-foot food hall housed in a former gingham mill. The space is home to more than 25 tenants, so whether you're craving empanadas, a smoothie, or an interesting take on grilled cheese, it's all there under one roof.

While the Charlotte food scene is constantly evolving, there are several Queen City classics that should earn a spot on your list. Carnivores will want to slot in Beef 'N Bottle for dinner. The no-frills steakhouse has been a local icon since 1958.

If you'd prefer your dinner with a view, head up the 21 floors to Fahrenheit. There you'll enjoy a delicious meal, complete with a breathtaking panorama of Uptown Charlotte. After you're done, grab a cocktail and enjoy the rooftop deck. Taking a picture with the city behind you is practically a requirement for Charlotte visitors.

Regardless of where you dine, end your meal on a sweet note with a visit to The Batchmaker, where Cristina Rojas-Agurcia serves up delectable treats that are almost too pretty to eat. Emphasis on almost. Don't skip the oatmeal crème pie. Ice cream fans should beeline to local favorite Golden Cow Creamery. Their homemade salted Oreo ice cream is out-of-this-world good.

Where to Shop

No trip is complete without a little retail therapy, and Charlotte's South End neighborhood is a great place to start, where opportunities to shop local abound. Visit the Girl Tribe flagship store for cheeky shirts, accessories, home goods, and more, all with an emphasis on female empowerment.

Then, grab an ultra-cozy, nostalgia-inspired t-shirt, beanie, or sweatshirt at Glory Days Apparel. You'll find plenty of Charlotte-branded gear to let everyone know you paid the Queen City a visit. Add some sparkle to your look with jewelry from The Golden Carrot. Not quite sure what you're looking for? Drop by Charlotte Collective. The space houses products from more than a dozen local makers all in one spot, making it easy to browse.

Don't skip Paper Skyscraper in the Dilworth neighborhood. It's an independently owned gift shop filled with unique items including delicious candles, fun books, and hostess gifts she'll actually use.

Where to Stay

When it's time to rest your head after a day of exploring, grab a room at the elegant Grand Bohemian in Uptown. Even if you don't stay there, it's worth dropping by the jaw-droppingly beautiful bar for a drink. The Kimpton Tryon Park overlooks scenic Romare Bearden park and is an easy walk to both Charlotte Knights and Carolina Panthers games. If you're looking to make South End your home base, look for an Aloft hotel coming in 2022.

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