Home of incredible Charlotte Motor Speedway, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, Camp North End and plenty of things to do in Charlotte on Memorial Day. We've compiled some of the best activities to do in Charlotte on this Memorial Day holiday.
Charlotte runs on NASCAR—it's the birthplace of the sport—so a visit to Charlotte Motor Speedway is a must whether you're a diehard fan or a newbie during Memorial Day. You'll find all types here, from bankers throwing back beers and girls in American flag bikini tops to true fans who camp out in chicken bone alley. They're proud, and it's very loud, but between the racing and the people-watching, it's pure entertainment.
Birds sing, flowers bloom, and bees buzz about at Daniel Stowe, a 110-acre public botanical garden. And while it may be outside of Charlotte proper (just like these great day trips are), it's well worth the effort: It's a delightful place to spend an afternoon, whether you're a diehard green thumb who wants to spot rare varieties of plants and flowers or you just want to get lost amid a sea of color for a few hours. There are seven themed gardens ranging from perennials to four-season gardens, along with a conservatory that houses orchids and tropical plants. If you're here with family during Memorial Day, check out Lost Hollow, the children's garden, which has a sunken pond and play spaces.
Charlotte's Camp North End is a 76-acre multi-use space with public art, food stalls, shops, offices and more in a former car factory and military depot. It's a big complex, but there's always somewhere to hang out for a bit (quite literally–you can stretch out in a hammock if that cafe table and chairs doesn't suit your needs). It's all about walking around, soaking up the cool, creative vibe—and eating in Charlotte on Memorial Day weekend.
This market bustles with people sampling everything from crepes to local brews. Ideal for a midday office break and lazy weekend afternoons over coffee and treats, it's a casual spot for friends to catch up and just right for a Saturday night break for couples with kids in tow. Families love how laid-back it is, and it's just right for grabbing coffee with a friend or swinging by before a night out. It's made for tasting, so come hungry and pick your way through: Start with breakfast at SC Café, followed by dumplings at Momo Station. Nibble on cheese at Orrman's, where there are more than 100 different types. There's so much more, including standout coffee that's worth the trip alone during Memorial Day in Charlotte.
Little Sugar Creek Greenway, a network of trails, paved paths, parks, and streams, consists of four downstream sections in and around Charlotte. When it's complete, it will be 19 miles long, and will run all the way down to the South Carolina state line. It runs from Cordelia Park to just north of Uptown, and it's a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. (As is Crowders Mountain State Park, further down this list.) This greenway is designed for walkers, runners, bikers, and stroller-pushing parents, but there are benches for those who want to sit and take in the view—and people-watch.
U.S. National Whitewater Center is the largest man-made whitewater river in the world, and it's also an Olympic training site. But there's so much more than rapids here; rather, it's a 1,300-acre playground for the entire family. With rock climbing and mountain biking on more than 50 miles of trails, the complex feels like an Outside magazine spread—right outside Charlotte. What you do here depends on your interests. If you're a river rat, you'll love the whitewater rapids; if heights are your thing, try the zip lines and rock climbing if you visit during Memorial Day weekend in Charlotte.
NASCAR's most famous racetrack might be in Daytona, but its home is Charlotte; after all, many of the classic racers hailed from the hills surrounding the city. Attached to the Charlotte Convention Center, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is a 86,500-square-foot, bold swoop of a building that recalls the shape of a racetrack. Considered more than a museum, this entertainment facility is a high-tech venue that's impressive even for non-NASCAR fans. Everything, just like the sport, is oversized and fast, from an interactive card that creates a driver identity for you, to the "Glory Road" parade of displayed cars from famous drivers, to the gift shop, which has more square footage than many of the downtown restaurants within walking distance of this museum.
Comprising the Belk Theater, Booth Playhouse, and Stage Door Theater, the Blumenthal is ground zero for culture in Charlotte. The complex hosts a wide variety of performing arts, including dance, classical musical, live theater, and comedy. You’ll see big-name stars like Diana Krall and Andy Grammer alongside Broadway shows and poetry slams. The schedule packs plenty of family-friendly fun, from Frozen for the little ones to Blue Man Group for the older kids. Art lovers, culture vultures, and anyone hoping to impress a friend will love it here.
Colorful, creative and designed around experiential learning, Charlotte's Discovery Place is the place to keep kids of all ages entertained on Memorial Day weekend. Here, you won't be reading placards–you'll be learning firsthand. The exhibits are interactive and fun, and while they're geared for kids, adults will enjoy it too. There is no guided tour. This is the kind of place where patrons run to the exhibit that interests them the most before moving on to the next great thing. Discovery Place doesn't offer a cafe, but you're in Uptown so there's always something nearby.
Crowders Mountain State Park
Crowders Mountain State Park is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise. There are 11 trails, canoe rentals available, a nine-acre lake prime for fishing, the option to backcountry camp, and the possibility of rock climbing and bouldering with a permit. The view from the top is spectacular. On clear days, you can see for miles and may even spot Charlotte's skyline. Don't let its name fool you. Crowders Mountain State Park is a great place to escape crowds.