Charlotte, North Carolina’s most populous city, is a city on the rise. It’s the second-largest city in the southeastern United States, and a major hub of activity, particularly for the financial industry. With a decade-long growth rate of nearly 60%, its economy is larger than that of the nation of Angola. And with some of the best attractions in the state, it’s easy to see why so many people are moving to the Queen City. Here are some of the most unique places in Charlotte, including things you can only see and do there.
Art lovers will find an abundance of art installations throughout the city. Whether you’re in a parking garage or driving down a city road, you’ll find pieces of art that’ll make your heart flutter.
Czech artist David Černý created this mirrored, metal sculpture which spits water, is motorized and has rotating segments. At times, it can look like a human head; at other times, a mess of gaping holes and abstraction.
“Touch My Building”
Entering Charlotte’s 7th Street Station Parking Garage
isn’t like entering any other city parking garage. Designed by Christopher
Janney, a sound artist and architect, this nine-story building has 36 “light
fins” that light up and play sounds when you touch them.
“The Writer’s Desk”
This installation outside the Charlotte Children’s Library on Brevard Street is a tribute to a former publisher at the Charlotte Observer, Rolfe Neill. It features a quill pen in an inkwell surrounded by beautiful, black typewriter keys. It’s a perfect spot for rounding out your Instagram story, whether you’re passing through the city or showing guests around.
Charlotte’s Giant Hand
Another unique spot for pictures is the Giant Hand
sculpture in Downtown Charlotte. It’s simple, clean, and the perfect for taking
a Polaroid picture.
Charlotte is packed with attractions that give more background on the city and its roots.
Levine Museum of the New South
One of the best ways to tell the story of the city of Charlotte is through the artifacts, art and exhibits at the Levine Museum. Exhibits are often interactive and immersive, touching on both historical events and modern issues. Other little-known museums you’ll want to visit include the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts, the McColl Center for Art and Innovation, the Museum of the Alphabet and the two Mint Museums, Randolph and Uptown.
Nature, gardens, and parks
Charlotte Liberty Walk
Located in the city’s Uptown, the Charlotte Liberty Walk is a series of 15 historical markers. The markers included bronze plaques and monuments where visitors can learn about the city’s participation in the American Revolution. Markers begin with events from 1775 to 1780.
If nature is what gets you excited, you’ll find yourself at home anywhere in North Carolina. A number of gardens, nature preserves and sanctuaries are unique places in Charlotte for the nature lover.
McGill Rose Garden
McGill Rose Garden is a nearly 70-year-old acre-wide rose garden with over 1,000 rose bushes. It’s been named an All-America Rose Selection public garden and is open to the public with free admission.
Big Rock Nature Preserve
At this residential nature preserve, you’ll find the
county’s largest exposed boulders. The rocks once functioned as a campsite for
indigenous Americans. Today, they’re an oddity, surrounded by woodland trees,
and make a great place to tell spooky stories.
Wing Haven Garden & Bird Sanctuary
A Myers Park hidden gem, the Wing Haven Garden & Bird Sanctuary is home to the city’s most exotic birds. It’s also one of the state’s most beloved horticultural sanctuaries. In addition to tours of the lively and colorful garden, the Sanctuary offers educational programs, summer camps, and a seasonal lecture series. There’s also a nearby brewery, BirdSong Brewing. There you can get local brews including seasonal releases, limited editions and barrel-aged beers.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
If you want to try out another garden, the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is a 110-acre garden that includes a conservatory, water fountains and long walking trails. There are over 20 spots to sit and smell nature, meaning that just one trip won’t be enough.
Spots for food and drinks
Regardless of how many exciting attractions the city has to offer, nothing quite compares to delectable food. Don’t worry; there’s that, too. Find food trucks, vineyards, craft beer spots and much more. Here are just a few local spots that make the food scene unique from other cities.
A few minutes southeast of the city is Treehouse Vineyards, one of the area’s most celebrated wineries. In addition to tours, this winery offers guests live music, painting classes, murder mystery dinners and romantic scenery.
Tin Kitchen Food Trucks
Tin Kitchen has three gourmet food trucks serving sliders, tacos, and quesadillas. One is designed for private events. Their truck schedule is posted on their website so you won’t have to chase them down. Their popularity has also made them one of the city’s top choices when it comes to catering.
Merchant + Trade Rooftop Bar
One of the only bars with a panoramic view of the city, Merchant + Trade is truly one of the most unique places in Charlotte. There’s an indoor bar, outdoor terrace, private terrace for events and a lawn. Drinks are made with locally produced spirits and the appetizers are unlike any you’ll find in a typical bar.