Charlotte Attractions and Fun Things to Do With Family
This vibrant metro is one of the largest cities in North Carolina, but that does not mean it isn’t family-friendly. In fact, Charlotte ranks among the best cities for quality of life and family vacations kids love. To learn more and find fun activities, check out these Charlotte attractions.
Best Charlotte Attractions: Where to Play and Explore
NASCAR Hall of Fame
At NASCAR Hall of Fame, racing comes alive through exhibits and interactive experiences. This attraction welcomes all ages and often offers free admission for kids with paying adults.
Exhibits include Dale Earnhardt Jr., 50 First Inductees, Hall of Honor, Jimmie Johnson, and more NASCAR legends. Plus, families love the Hall of Champions, Inside NASCAR, and racing simulators, which keep everyone learning and playing. After exploring exhibits, try hands-on activities. Examples range from building scrapbooks to pit crew work.
Billy Graham Library
This library features 40,000-square-feet of exhibits set on 20 acres of manicured land. The site showcases Billy Graham’s life and his journey through Christian faith.
Tours last about 90 minutes. During the tour, families see multimedia, interactive exhibits and memorabilia. To extend the visit, plan for a two-hour tour and explore the library, home place, and memorial prayer garden.
Ranked among the top Charlotte attractions for thrills, Carowinds is the most popular amusement park in North Carolina. More than 60 rides, a water park and live entertainment keep families busy.
Carowinds has rides for all ages. Roller coasters, fast water slides and drops will get the adrenaline pumping. Those with younger children ride swings, kiddie coasters, carnival-type rides and swirl in cups. When not playing, families enjoy dining, shopping and watching live shows.
Discovery Place Science
This science museum encourages learning through fun activities. Families love this Charlotte attraction for its creative spaces and new ways to learn about science.
Exhibits include artificial intelligence, live animals, building, labs, physics and the human body. In addition, visitors can watch live shows with animals and experts. Visitors may also participate in camps, STEM and scout classes.
Museums also rank among the top Charlotte attractions. Art, culture, history and sports are all on display, and families will find more than 30 options.
Some of the top museums in Charlotte include Mint Museum Uptwon for art, Harvey B Gantt Center for African American Arts and Culture, Levine Museum of the New South, Charlotte Museum of History, Carolinas Aviation Museum, and Schiele Museum of Natural History. Each offer interactive exhibits and showcase Charlotte’s and North Carolina’s vibrant history.
Sports are big in Charlotte, and it’s not just NASCAR. The city has multiple professional sports teams as well as collegiate and independent events.
In pro sports, watch NFL’s Carolina Panthers, NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, MiLB’s Charlotte Knights, and minor league NHL’s Charlotte Checkers. Additionally, the city hosts golf championships and professional soccer. For more action, enjoy events at University of North Carolina Charlotte and Queens University.
For some outdoor fun, visit Freedom Park. Families love this park for its size and amenities. Multiple tennis courts, batting cages, baseball fields and basketball courts keep kids busy. Or play on two playgrounds, walk the trails, stroll along the lake and share a picnic lunch. Plus, it’s dog-friendly.
U.S. National Whitewater Center
To amp up the adventure, U.S. National Whitewater Center has a place for white-water rafting, ziplining, SUP, climbing, mountain biking, jumps, kayaking and more activities.
To start, buy an activity pass. This gives visitors access to more than 30 outdoor experiences, so guests can plan a personalized trip. Those short on time should plan one adventure, such as the rafting, deep water solo or ice skating. All activities are led by an expert who will cover safety and best practices.