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One Day In: Charlotte, NC

Welcome to our blog series where we’re going to let you in on the best things to eatsee, and do in a city if you only have 24 hours. Today, we head to Charlotte, North Carolina!

Hello BBQ & NASCAR! Charlotte may be the largest city in North Carolina and a major U.S. financial center (second only to New York City!), but don’t let that distract you from its southern charm. Charlotte is a great destination to visit, and we’ve selected some of the ultimate “must-see” highlights if you only have 24 hours to experience the Queen City.

Charlotte, North Carolina's skyline

Charlotte’s Skyline

If you’re looking to stay active, you have to check out the U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC). A unique space that allows visitors to escape their daily routine, the USNWC is a playground for both children and adults. With over 24 activities, like whitewater rafting, kayaking, paddle boarding, mountain biking and ziplining, you can easily spend a full day here. Plus, USNWC is home to a restaurant, live music shows and special events. Check their calendar of events to plan your visit.

After you’ve worked up an appetite, we recommend paying a visit to the 7th Street Public Market. Wine, cheese, tea, handmade gifts and more – the market is a great way to discover and support local artisans. If you have a sweet tooth, satisfy your cravings at barChocolate. Started by a pair of best friends who wanted to work together doing something they love, barChocolate is handcrafted beauty. All of their chocolates and treats look too pretty to eat, but don’t let that hold you back…they taste even better than they look!

Post-chocolate feast, quench your thirst at neighboring 7th Street Public Market vendor, Not Just Coffee. You can get your same old Starbucks anywhere, so trust us on this one. Not Just Coffee may be one of the BEST caffeine fixes you will ever find. The baristas use the pour over technique, which results in an ultra-smooth taste. And Not Just Coffee sources the finest beans directly from the farmers themselves. We nearly died and went to caramel latte heaven…

Not Just Coffee caramel latte

Homemade caramel puts this latte on a whole new level of awesomeness.

Once the caffeine kicks in, it’s time to embrace the south. You are in NASCAR country! While the Charlotte Motor Speedway is a short drive away in Concord, NC, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is right in uptown Charlotte. It opened in 2010 and each year, five new inductees are named. With lots of exhibits, interactive videos, plenty of history and family fun, the Hall of Fame is worth checking out if you’re a car or racing fan.

And finally, a trip to North Carolina is never complete without some good Carolina barbecue. You won’t be short of options in Charlotte, but if you want some of the best, we recommend stopping by Mac’s Speed Shop. Known for “Beers, Bikes and BBQ,” this restaurant delivers on quality food and an excellent local beer selection. To get the most bang for your buck, order one of the combo platters with a friend (or two or three) – we promise there will be plenty of food to share!

Recommendations: Beef Brisket, Beer Can Chicken, Mac ‘n Cheese and Collard Greens

Southern barbecue platter from Mac's in Charlotte

You’ll need a doggie bag and probably a nap to survive the inevitable food coma.

Have you visited Charlotte and want to recommend some more must-sees? Be sure to leave a comment below to let us know!

Enjoyed this post? Check out One Day In: Portland, ME


Tags: Carolina BBQ, day trip, roadtrip, the south


Call a Vacation Expert on 1.888.271.1584  · Inquire Online  or  Visit a Store