From skyline views to a rich arts and culture scene, Charlotte, North Carolina provides a vivid backdrop for couples to ignite or reignite their spark. This bustling Southern city is more than just a hub for banking and NASCAR; it’s a multifaceted place where you can experience the thrill of discovery side by side with your partner. Here’s a curated list of things to do in Charlotte NC that go beyond the usual tourist suggestions.
Uptown Charlotte, also known as Center City, is America’s original Queen City. Named for the German princess who became queen consort of Great Britain in 1761, (yes, the one in the Bridgerton TV series), people today recognize the city more as the corporate headquarters for modern industries like finance and healthcare. However, there is still a royal, romantic side to Charlotte waiting to be discovered and it can be found in these upscale areas, Uptown Charlotte, Myers Park, and Ballantyne.
Pro Tip: Talk like a local. What most residents would call downtown, Charlotte residents call Uptown.
City lore says people call it that because “the queen don’t go downtown,” however, the true story is
more mundane. Since Charlotte’s downtown is located on a hill, residents would say they were heading Uptown because they were literally going uphill. The term stuck and today is called Uptown Charlotte.
Where Is Charlotte?
Charlotte is situated in the southern part of North Carolina, close to the border with South Carolina. This bustling metropolis serves as a major U.S. financial hub and is the most populous city in the state. Geographically, it is centrally located in the southeastern United States, making it easily accessible from various major cities.
It is approximately 270 miles southwest of the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., and about 240 miles northeast of Atlanta, Georgia. Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina, is around 170 miles to the northeast. Meanwhile, Charleston, South Carolina, is about 210 miles to the south while Asheville is 130 miles southeast. This strategic location makes Charlotte a convenient vacation destination.
Where is Uptown Charlotte?
Uptown Charlotte, often mistaken as a traditional downtown, is the central business district and the heart of the city. It is encircled by the I-277 loop and is segmented into several “wards,” each with its unique character and offerings. Uptown is not only the financial epicenter, home to towering skyscrapers and major banking institutions, but it also serves as a cultural and entertainment hub.
Here, you’ll find a range of attractions, from museums like the Levine Museum of the New South and the Mint Museum Uptown to sports venues such as the Bank of America Stadium and the Spectrum Center. Trendy bars, high-end restaurants, and boutique shops are scattered throughout the area, making Uptown Charlotte a dynamic space that combines work, leisure, and culture.
Charlotte, North Carolina, covers a land area of approximately 305.4 square miles, making it one of the largest cities in the United States by land area. It’s situated within Mecklenburg County and is its county seat. The city has been experiencing rapid growth over the past few decades, both in terms of land development and population.
The city’s large size allows for a diversity of neighborhoods, each with its own character and offerings, from the bustling financial and cultural center in Uptown to the historic charm of Myers Park and the modern, master-planned community of Ballantyne.
Things To Do In Charlotte NC For Couples
Things To Do In Uptown Charlotte
VISIT: Romare Bearden Park in Uptown Charlotte
Named for the 20th-century African American artist, Romare Bearden Park is 5.4 acres of greenery on Church Street only a block from the main street of Tryon. On summer days enjoy the waterfall on the southwest corner or take in the spectacular views of Uptown skyscrapers surrounding the park on three sides.
VISIT: The Green in Uptown Charlotte
Although much smaller, The Green on South Tryon Street has a literary theme with sculptures of books and quotes from famous authors. One of Uptown Charlotte’s most photographed spots is the colorful signpost announcing Charlotte as “The Center of the Known World!” The post has arrows pointing to other ‘Charlottes’ like Charlotte, Michigan, 748 miles away, and Charlotte, Vermont, 893 miles away.
ATTEND: Baseball or Football Events
Sports enthusiasts have a plethora of exhilarating events to choose from. Truist Field hosts gripping baseball games that captivate fans with every pitch, while Bank of America Stadium roars with energy during football season. No matter when you decide to visit, there’s always a game or event waiting to be experienced, making any Charlotte NC date truly memorable.
VISIT: Museum of Illusions
Uptown Charlotte’s newest museum is the Museum of Illusions. This unique space features different
rooms with a series of optical illusions from the classic Reversed (sideways) Room to the camera tricks of “Head on a Plate.” Each room features a unique and colorful perspective, and no two visits are alike as there are always new perspectives to explore.
For those who prefer a more traditional museum experience, four of the city’s best-known take up the same city corner. Featuring nationally renowned works, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is easy to find because of the flashy “Firebird” mirror mosaic sculpture outside. Inside find works by Picasso, Miró, Calder, and Degas.
VISIT: Mint Museum Uptown
Across West 1st Street, the Mint Museum Uptown focuses on crafts and design that includes more than paintings – sculptures, jewelry, glass and woodwork, and video installations. It also has one of Uptown’s most unique boutique shops featuring local artwork, jewelry, stationery, and gifts.
Across Tryon Street is the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts and Culture, a place filled with the visual arts of painting and photography alongside installations of the performing arts of film, theater, and dance. All the works at the Gantt highlight the African and African American cultural
Pro Tip: Purchase the Levine Center for the Arts Access Pass and get access to four museums – both Mint Museum locations (see below), Bechtler, and the Gantt – for 48 hours.
Charlotte visitors looking for an evening of live performance can find it at the Blumenthal Performing
Arts Complex. The complex has three distinct venues from the intimate Boothe Playhouse to catching the hottest comic at the Stage Door Theater to big production Broadway musicals at the Belk Theater.
VISIT: Nascar Hall of Fame
If you and your partner are fans of motorsports or simply curious about a cornerstone of American culture, a visit to the NASCAR Hall of Fame should make it onto your Charlotte itinerary. This state-of-the-art facility in Uptown Charlotte is a mecca for NASCAR enthusiasts, offering an immersive experience that goes well beyond the realm of standard museums.
Here, you’re not just observers; you’re participants. Engage in interactive exhibits that allow you to get behind the wheel in a racing simulator or try your hand at being part of a pit crew. With a range of artifacts, historic cars, and multimedia displays, the NASCAR Hall of Fame provides a captivating blend of education and entertainment, perfect for couples looking to switch gears and add a little adrenaline to their trip.
Just 13 miles northeast of Charlotte in Concord, North Carolina, lies the Charlotte Motor Speedway, another must-visit for motorsports aficionados. This iconic racing complex hosts some of NASCAR’s most prestigious events, including the Coca-Cola 600 and the Bank of America ROVAL 400. But it’s not just for professional drivers; the speedway offers experiences like behind-the-scenes tours and the chance to drive or ride along in a real race car, making it an exciting day trip for couples eager to feel the thrill of the racetrack.
Things To Do Near Uptown Charlotte
DATE: Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen
For those seeking a unique and romantic date, Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen stands out as an exceptional choice. Beyond its delectable dining offerings, this venue provides an immersive culinary adventure. Under the expertise of Chef Alyssa, couples can dive into interactive cooking classes, discover diverse recipes, and enjoy exquisite dishes.
The Saturday Morning brunch adds a touch of weekend delight, combining sumptuous flavors with a warm atmosphere. Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary, a first date, or simply looking for a memorable experience, Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen delivers both romance and gastronomic satisfaction.
DATE: Dave’s Paddle Boats
For those looking to mix nature and dining in a single outing, a day at the lake by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC) with Dave’s Paddle Boats provides a romantic backdrop. Couples can drift peacefully on the water, taking in the picturesque surroundings, and afterward, head to Boardwalk Billy’s Raw Bar & Ribs. This beloved spot offers a diverse menu that perfectly caps off the day, making it a popular date idea among both locals and visitors in Charlotte.
WALK/BIKE: Little Sugar Creek Greenbelt – Myers Park
For those wanting to enjoy Myers Park’s beautiful trees, the Little Sugar Creek Greenbelt a few blocks away (from Uptown Charlotte) has almost 19 miles of urban walking, biking, and nature trails providing a shaded oasis in the city.
WALK/PLAY: Freedom Park – Myers Park
Freedom Park has almost 100 acres of green space, a picturesque pond with
fountains, and an outdoor amphitheater. If you need more activity than a leisurely stroll, bring your
tennis racquet or a volleyball because the northwest end features a sports complex with sand volleyball courts, soccer and baseball fields, and tennis courts.
Visit: Mint Museum – Randolph – Grier Heights
Mint Museum Randolph, located in the Eastover neighborhood, is housed in what was the original branch of the United States Mint and offers a diverse collection that includes American decorative arts, African art, and European and American paintings.
Day Trips From Charlotte NC
Just a short drive from Charlotte, straddling the border between North Carolina and South Carolina, lies Carowinds, one of the region’s premier amusement parks. With an impressive array of roller coasters that cater to adrenaline junkies, including the record-breaking Fury 325, Carowinds offers thrills that are hard to match.
But it’s not just about high-speed rides; the park also features a variety of fun attractions, such as a waterpark beach and mini golf course that offers a more leisurely pace amidst the excitement. Plus, there’s all the festival food and drinks–from funnel cakes to over-the-top shakes–to satisfy even the sweetest sweet tooth.
If you’re an adventure seeker or just want a taste of the great outdoors without straying far from the city, the U.S. National Whitewater Center is your ultimate playground. Situated about 17 miles west of Uptown Charlotte, this sprawling, 1,300-acre facility is a haven for outdoor activities. Here, you can take on challenging rock climbing routes, or explore an extensive network of trails perfect for mountain biking.
The center is best known for its man-made whitewater rapids, but its diverse range of land-based activities, from obstacle courses to zip lines, ensure there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a complete beginner, a day at the U.S. National Whitewater Center offers an exhilarating escape from the city’s concrete jungle.
GO: Lake Norman
While not directly within the city limits, Lake Norman is a massive, man-made body of water located just a 30-minute drive north of Charlotte, and it’s well worth the trip.
Often referred to as the “inland sea” of North Carolina, the lake boasts over 520 miles of shoreline and serves as a popular getaway for both residents and visitors alike. Ideal for couples, Lake Norman offers a wide range of activities including boating, fishing, paddleboarding, and even lakeside dining.
Whether you’re interested in water sports, picnicking by the shore, or simply enjoying a leisurely cruise to take in the scenic vistas, Lake Norman provides a refreshing backdrop for outdoor adventures and relaxation. It’s a perfect day-trip destination for those looking to escape the urban bustle without venturing too far from Charlotte.
Best Restaurants In Uptown Charlotte
Located next to the Stage Door Theater, Forchetta is an excellent choice for dinner before the show. Offering a menu that ranges from classic pasta dishes to inventive takes on Italian favorites, this dining spot has garnered praise for its flavorful food and attentive service, making it a popular choice for both casual and special occasions.
EAT: Tupelo Honey Cafe
Tupelo Honey Café isn’t your grandmother’s greasy spoon; It’s Southern comfort food with
flare. Think cast iron skillet pimento cheese dip and panko-crusted fried green tomatoes. Dining here is like Sunday dinner every day but without the Sunday best outfits.
Dine: Mimosa Grill
Located in the Two Wells Fargo Center, Mimosa Grill is one of Uptown’s oldest restaurants, having opened in 1995. Focused on modern Southern cuisine, Mimosa Grill is well known for extravagant holiday brunches and popular wine dinners.
EAT: The Asbury – The Dunhill Hotel
Named one of Conde Nast Traveler’s best Charlotte restaurants, The Asbury at The Dunhill Hotel is
named after Louis Asbury, Sr., the architect of Mayfair Manor. The restaurant is known for its modern
Southern cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients. It’s so highly regarded, that Oprah herself
selected the restaurant’s pastry chef Jamie Turner to create a special Weight Watchers dessert during the Charlotte stop of her 2020 Vision Tour.
DRINK: Wine Social at The Dunhill
Every Wednesday visitors can enjoy a Wine Social in the lobby of The Dunhill with live music from 5:30-7 PM. Your first glass of house wine is free even if you’re not a guest.
BAR/DESSERT: Sophia’s Lounge – The Ivey Hotel
Named after Queen Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Sophia’s Lounge has an eclectic collection of traditional and modern décor including a large portrait of Queen Charlotte herself. Known for its craft cocktails and intimate seating nooks, Sophia’s Lounge is the perfect place for an evening bite of shareable plates or decadent desserts.
For couples looking for an elevated evening, the Novelty House Rooftop offers a chic, open-air environment with panoramic views of the Charlotte skyline. This rooftop bar is a popular spot for sipping craft beers or artisanal cocktails while enjoying a vibrant atmosphere complete with live music or DJ sets. It’s an excellent location for a memorable night out, blending sophisticated design with a lively social scene.
Uptown Charlotte Hotels
STAY: The Dunhill Hotel
Originally opened in 1929 as Mayfair Manor apartments, The Dunhill Hotel is an award-winning 60-room hotel with British flair. Rising 10 stories, the rooms have excellent views of the eastern suburbs and Uptown skyscrapers. A member of Historic Hotels of America and a Charlotte landmark, The Dunhill is home to the largest collection of original artworks by famed North Carolina landscape artist Philip Moose.
STAY: The Ivey’s Hotel
With only 47 rooms, The Ivey’s Hotel may appear small, but it’s mighty in the world of boutique hotels. For over 90 years this was the location of the high-end department store, Ivey’s. Today, The 5-star property features a large atrium for gatherings and is well-appointed with European flourishes. No detail is overlooked from the check-in area that resembles a Victorian parlor to crystal lighting and plush carpet in the hallways.
Located on North Tryon Street, just steps away from popular attractions like the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center and the Spectrum Center, this hotel is the epitome of luxury in a prime location. The Ivey’s distinctively combines historical architecture with modern design, offering guests uniquely themed rooms that boast custom furnishings, hardwood floors, and even a curated art collection.
Add to that the personalized service, high-end amenities, and the intimate on-site lounge, The Library, where guests can enjoy craft cocktails in a cozy setting, as well as Sophia’s Lounge (see above) and you have a romantic and upscale lodging option that stands out from the typical hotel experience.
B&B: Duke Mansion (Just Outside Uptown Charlotte)
While not located within Uptown Charlotte, there’s a bed and breakfast in the historic district just a few blocks away that’s well worth the extra steps.
Once the lavish home of North Carolina industrialist James Duke (of Duke Energy and Duke University), the Duke Mansion is now a 20-room guest house with a breakfast room, cocktail bar, and four acres of gardens to explore. A popular wedding venue, the spacious guest rooms feature plush beds, marble bathrooms, and period-correct high-end furniture. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, rooms on the mansion’s second floor share a screened porch, with soft seating for relaxing and porch swings perfect for morning coffee or an afternoon glass of Chardonnay.
All guests at The Duke Mansion are served a gourmet breakfast in a dining room that features a one-of-a-kind Tiffany chandelier, a gift from one former owner’s husband to his wife. The room can even be reserved for special occasions. Although the hotel doesn’t have a restaurant, with advance notice the culinary staff can create a sublime lunch or romantic dinner brought to your room or served in the courtyard.
Pro Tip: You don’t have to stay at the mansion to enjoy it. During the day anyone can stroll the gardens and grounds and you’ll often see locals walking their dogs or jogging past the entrance. The mansion also hosts regular ticketed events open to the public like evening outdoor concerts, craft beer tastings, and cocktail happy hours.
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