Wanderlust {Charlotte}

We are headed to Charlotte for the first time this summer for a lacrosse tournament and plan to extend our visit by a day in hopes of seeing a little more of the city.


I’d love to hear your suggestions for…

  • where to stay (we will be with the team for two nights but are happy to move the other)
  • where to eat
  • what to see / do
  • your thoughts, tips & tricks on the US National Whitewater Center as this is currently our front runner on how to spend our extra day

Y’all are always full of the very best ideas!


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23 thoughts on “Wanderlust {Charlotte}

  1. We’ve never been to Charlotte other than just passing through, so I’m interested to hear your review. The USNWC sounds great!

  2. Bonterra, Bernadins, Dresslers and Toscana are awesome spots to eat. They are nicer restaurants, but we have two boys, ages 7 and 9, and they enjoy them. Toscana is in the Southpark area. Bonterra, Dresslers, and Bernadins are downtown. The Whitewater Center is awesome! Bikes are provided if you want to do the trails. It is a fabulous place for boys! Discovery Place is fun also. The restaurant there is good. We like the Ballantyne resort, but is a little out of the way. The Westin downtown is nice and has a rooftop pool. I am so happy to share a few tips with you from our hometown. We have been blessed repeatedly by your tips and tricks for Disney and the Disney cruise. Have fun!

  3. The Whitewater Center is fabulous and you can easily spend an entire day there — rafting, ziplining, hiking, ropes courses, etc! Check the website because they have bands there rather often in the spring/summer months. Another fun destination the the Sppedway area just north of Charlotte near Concord — Great Wolf Lodge, Nascar Speedpark, and a tour of the Sppedway. There are some great hotels downtown. I am fond of the Ritz Carlton and the Westin.

  4. We love a little restaurant called Cajun Yard Dog! I especially love the crab cakes and also the pimento cheese appetizer. We also like Portofino’s for really good Italian food. Have fun!

  5. 131 Main is our favorite restaurant in Charotte (they have a couple of locations). The fries are the best, the grilled artichoke app is TDF, and the roast beef sandwich is heaven. It is a little spendy though.

    You might try eating outside at Birkdale Village if it isn’t too hot. Red Rocks is good and they have an extensive menu. Birkdale Village is a fun place to walk around and shop. You’ll also find all the major chains.

    Myers Park is the Charlotte equivalent of Buckhead….it’s neat to drive around and look at the mansions.

    Have fun!

  6. The US national whitewater center is a great choice! Your boys will love it! It is extra crowded on weekends so if you have the chance to go on a weekday take it. There have a variety of activities that you all will enjoy. You need to make reservations for the water activities as soon as you arrive. Food and drinks are available on site but some families bring their own as well as a pop up tent for shade.

  7. Hi! Long time lurker but I lived in Charlotte and now live in a “bedroom community” in an adjacent county. We go to Charlotte often.
    Look at http://www.charlottesgotalot.com for a calendar of events, where to stay, etc. To get around uptown, the Lynx Blue Line light rail is convenient http://www.lynxcharlotte.com.
    There is great shopping at South Park Mall, where the Lilly store is, and the Belk’s carries Lilly too. It’s at the corner of Sharon Road and Fairview.
    The Whitewater Center is great! In the past they have offered music and fireworks during the summer.
    Are you into theme parks? Carowinds is great! They just opened an expanded water park.
    Where to go, eat, sightsee, etc. really depends on where you are staying though Charlotte is easy to get around, though rush hour can be crazy.
    Uptown has Discovery Place children’s museum, the ImaginOn Library at the very end of the Lynx Light Rail, Museum of the New South, the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center and Spirit Square, Time Warner Arena, BB&T Ballpark, and lots of restaurants.
    Enjoy your time in Charlotte! E-mail me if you have any questions!
    Melissa S.

  8. Loved the whitewater center! Get there early to sign up for rafting, then u can try other activities until it’s your turn to raft. We liked the kayaking down on the lake. The food options were not that great, but I cant remember if u can bring your own drinks.

  9. Amelie’s French Bakery & Cafe! It is a must! There are a couple locations, but one is open 24 hours. :)

  10. Charlotte Speedway – drive your dream car! Would make a great Father’s Day gift and what an awesome way t use the GoPro! Price is reasonable as well. Check out the Charlotte Speedway website. They should have a link about it somewhere on there. Have fun!

  11. Hi Amanda: Great Wolf Lodge is fantastic. It is very near the Charlotte Motor Speedway and Concord Mills. You would love shopping at Concord Mills. There is a Bass Pro Shop for the boys. There are plenty of hotels and very good restaurants near by. I am in Concord and everyone loves the area. If you stay in the downtown Charlotte area be very cautious. Charlotte does have a lot of crime. I would be very careful at night. Hope you enjoy the Queen City.

  12. The only thing I know to do in Charlotte is Carowinds!!! My brother and his family live less than an hour away and they get summer passes and love it!!

  13. You will love Charlotte! White Water Center is amazing and your boys would love it. Depending on interest/ weather – NASCAR hall of fame is cool as is Discovery Place and Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens. It is an easy town to navigate – ” uptown” in what most folks would consider ” downtown”. Good food is everywhere and really depends on what neighborhood you are in. Have fun!

  14. I would definitely stay in a hotel uptown, it is very walker friendly, lively, and safe. There are tons of restaurants and several parks within walking distance of most hotels. Yall will love the Whitewater Center.

  15. My mother-in-law lives in Charlotte and our favorite casual restaurant is Bad Daddy Burger’s! The best truffle parmesan fries and housemade potato chips ever! Their milkshakes are pretty great too!

  16. As a born and raised Charlottean, relocated from the NC coast recently to ATL, I have some opinions rendered with confidence.
    Places to dine – Roosters ( Chef Nobles philanthropic endeavors are amazing, and worth a Google, food is sooo amazing!!), Prices Chicken Coop (trust me, also bring cash), and lunch from Dean and Deluca or Reid’s Fine Foods is always the best.
    Activities – Discovery Place, Tour Bank of American Stadium (Go Panthers!), the Panthers Playzone at Freedom Park, and the Lazy 5 Ranch ( kids LOVE it ). I ❤️ The Queen City!!! There’s amazing shopping there too!!! Check out Laura Vinroot Poole’s stores Capitol and the Poole shop, Scout and Molly, and Monkee’s on Selwyn!!!

  17. I lived near Charlotte in Kannapolis for 6 years but moved away at the beginning of 2013. There’s nothing that stands out as a must do unless you are a Nascar fan. The Charlotte Knights have a new stadium in Uptown Charlotte and I think are AAA baseball. The Epicentre is ok but was mostly restaurants and nightlife when I was there and I don’t think it’s changed much. There are a lot of restaurants in uptown, but staying there isn’t necessary.

    Southpark Mall is nice and I’m pretty sure there’s a Lilly store there :) Concord Mills is your typical outlet type mall though there’s some aquarium there but I don’t think it’s worth the visit. There is a new outlet mall but I can’t remember where along the 485 loop it is, it opened after I left.

    If you are willing to go a bit north of Statesville on 77, I would suggest going sluicing in Hiddenite. http://www.emeraldhollowmine.com/ I think the boys would really enjoy it and you and Honey would as well. My friend and I went with intentions of doing 1 bucket each and ended up doing two. We didn’t find anything other than pretty rocks in our buckets, but you can spend more for buckets that will guarantee you an emerald. You can also go down to the creek and get more involved in the whole process over sitting at a water trough and sifting your rocks out of the dirt. If you do go, I recommend sitting closer to the bottom than the top if you are able to. You do get more dirt from the top but we were able to grab rocks as people lost them from their tray and they traveled down with the water :)

  18. Definitely spend your extra day at the Whitewater Center. Don’t bother with Carowinds, since you go to Disney so much and have Six Flags in ATL. The CowFish is a great restaurant (sushi and burgers) in the South Park area (and, oh, so close to the mall should you need to run in there).

  19. Whitewater Center is great, jut FYI bring$5 cash for parking You must pop in to Paper Skyscraper. It is the cutest store!!

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