CCG IQ’s Guide to Life in Charlotte: 15 Activities for Your Charlotte Summer Bucket List
Summer is here, and with it arrived the Charlotte heat and humidity we all know too well. For the days you’re not beating the heat at the pool, we asked our employees for some of their favorite activities to celebrate the summer season in the Queen City. For foodies and adventurers alike, here are 15 activities to add to your Charlotte summer bucket list (if you haven’t already checked them off!)
1. Try a New Activity at the Whitewater Center
The US National Whitewater Center is a long-standing Charlotte favorite, known as the go-to for land and water-based adventures and as a great destination for festivals, events, and races throughout the year. Choose from a variety of activities such as stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, rock climbing, rope courses, mountain biking, or go for a walk or run on their extensive trail system. May-September bring your lawn chairs to River Jam Thursday-Saturdays for a free summer evening concert.
2. Latta Plantation Nature Preserve
Located 30 minutes north of Uptown Charlotte, the historic Latta Plantation is a 1300-acre farm and former cotton plantation that offers extensive horse and hiking trails along Mountain Island Lake. Tour the grounds, go for a scenic walk, or rent a boat for an afternoon of fishing along the lake.
3. Visit a Farmer’s Market
Spending a weekend morning at a local Farmer’s Market is a great way to enjoy the day before the afternoon heat sets in while picking up fresh produce and supporting local farmers and artisans. Dozens of farmer’s markets dot the metro area, but a few favorites are the Charlotte Regional Farmer’s Market, King’s Drive Farmer’s Market, and Mecklenburg County Market.
4. Catch a Concert at PNC Music Pavilion
The PNC Music Pavilion is one of the Queen City’s most popular concert venues as its large outdoor amphitheater serves as the perfect background for a summer concert. This summer check out Train, Goo Dolls, Dave Matthews Band, Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley, and many more.
5. Ride Bikes (or a Scooter!) through South End
South End’s Rail Trail connects many of Charlotte’s neighborhoods and is lined with a variety of shops, art galleries, breweries, and restaurants. Rent a bike or scooter to cruise down the colorful trail to explore one of Charlotte’s fastest growing neighborhoods. Check out Jeni’s Ice Cream or stop for a beer or snack at a food truck at Sycamore Brewing.
6. Try Rock Climbing at Inner Peaks
Add variety to your fitness routine and beat the heat by trying your hands at rock climbing at Inner Peaks. Inner Peaks is the perfect spot for rock climbers of all experience levels and has two locations in Crown Point and South End.
7. Visit Lake Norman
About 20 miles outside of Charlotte, Lake Norman makes for the perfect weekend getaway. Spend a day on a boat cruising around the lake or post up on one the swimming beaches at Lake Norman State Park or Ramsey Creek Park. Afterward, explore one of the many restaurants in Cornelius, Davidson or Huntersville. Wind down and watch the sunset at Hello Sailor, a chic waterfront restaurant in Cornelius.
8. Hangout at a Rooftop
Looking to elevate your hangout destinations? If you’re looking for a great view of Charlotte’s skyline, checkout Whiskey Warehouse in Plaza Midwood or Graham St. Pub & Patio before heading to a Knight’s game. For a fancier affair, don’t miss out on the amazing views at Merchant & Trade, Nuvole Rooftop TwentyTwo, or City Lights Rooftop in Uptown.
9. Hike King’s Pinnacle and Crowder’s Mountain
Only a 30-minute drive from Charlotte, find one of the area’s most beloved hiking destinations at Crowder’s Mountain State Park. These popular hikes make for a quick excursion without the drive time to the Blue Ridge or Great Smoky Mountains. On a clear day, you can see the Charlotte skyline and the park offers a variety of trail options to reach the summit.
10. Test Out Your Golf Skills at Top Golf
Charlotte’s Top Golf location opened two years ago, but it remains a summer must-do for seasoned golf enthusiasts and novices alike. You don’t have to be a golf pro to enjoy this unique experience, but, if you’re a newbie, you can still watch your friends play and enjoy great food and entertainment under one roof.
11. Test your Knowledge at a Trivia Night
There is no shortage of trivia nights in Charlotte, and you can fill your schedule nearly every night of the week. Test your brain at general trivia at favorites such as Lebowski’s, VBGB Beer Hall and Garden, Ed’s Tavern, or Sugar Creek Brewing. For a theme, reserve tickets to the coveted Friends Trivia Night at NoDa Brewing or World of Beer.
12. Go to a Summer Festival
Charlotte’s summer itinerary is packed with a stellar festival lineup, catering to a variety of interests and activities. A few standouts are the Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas, Queen City Jazz Fest, Charlotte Pride Festival. For an end-of-summer celebration, don’t miss out on the Yiasou Greek Festival and the Charlotte Film Festival in September.
13. Try a New Outdoor Sport
If you’ve been itching to try something new, Charlotte offers a variety of venues to test your skills at a new sport. For an adrenaline rush, rent a mountain bike at the Whitewater Center or bring your bike to Sherman Branch for a new trail loop. For a team sports environment, try joining a summer volleyball league with Sports Link for fitness and fun.
14. Go Brewery Hopping
It’s no secret that Charlotte is known for its burgeoning brewery scene. NoDa, Plaza Midwood, and South End currently dominate the brewery scene, featuring a variety of breweries to explore on a sunny Saturday. Start with the classics at Old Mecklenburg Brewing in Lower South End, Catawba Brewing in Plaza Midwood, or Heist Brewery in NoDa. If traditional brews aren’t your scene, Lenny Boy Brewing offers a great selection of kombucha and sours with a lively outdoor area in South End.
15. Try Wakeboarding at SouthTown Wake Park
You don’t need to be out on a boat at Lake Wylie or Lake Norman to start wakeboarding (although these are great places to start!). Rock Hill’s SouthTown Wake Park is a wakeboarding park where riders of all levels can wakeboard without being pulled by a boat.