Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

April 25, 2019

TRAVEL GUIDE: 10 Fun Things To Do in Charlotte, NC.

     Wrapping up my Charlotte Travel Guide mini-series on the blog today! I lived in Charlotte for four years, and it's been so much fun to finally share all of my Queen City favorites with you. Since I have so many places to recommend, I thought it would be easier to break everything down into three Travel Guides: restaurants and nightlife, lodging, and finally today's- fun things to do!

     1. SouthPark Mall - Okay, it shouldn't be a surprise that the first thing on my list involves shopping! 😉 The crown jewel of Charlotte malls is SouthPark. It's Charlotte's most high-end mall, although there are some affordable stores as well. SouthPark ranges from Old Navy and LOFT all the way to Neiman Marcus, Tory Burch and Louis Vuitton. My personal favorite stores in SouthPark are their Ann Taylor and the Belk- it's actually Belk's flagship store!! Belk SouthPark also has a fantastic Lilly Pulitzer department. SouthPark is also the name of the neighborhood that the mall is in, and there's lots of great restaurants and other stores all around!

    2. Outlet shopping - If deals and steals are more your thing, Charlotte has two great outlet malls. My personal favorite is Concord Mills, which I am 99% sure is still the largest mall by space in North Carolina! It's located in Concord, which is a suburb about 30 minutes north of Uptown Charlotte. It's a gigantic indoor outlet mall, and one of my favorite shopping destinations! If you can- go on a weekday instead of a weekend. (Concord Mills gets a little overwhelming on Saturdays, especially with traffic.) A few years ago, the Charlotte Premium Outlets opened, which is an outdoor outlet mall close to the airport. I personally prefer Concord Mils, but Charlotte Premium Outlets still has a nice variety of stores to pick from as well. (I actually did a blog post with the photos taken at Charlotte Premium a few years ago which you can see here!)

     3. The Billy Graham Library -  An incredible museum that's also free to visit!  I visited the Billy Graham Library once a few years ago when my mom was in town, and I loved it. I really need to go back during a future Charlotte visit. It's a wonderful interactive museum dedicated to the life and ministry of Billy Graham and family. He was truly an incredible man and a warrior for the Christian faith!

     4. Night out in Uptown - There's just nothing like Charlotte nightlife. SO many fun bars and nightclubs to go dancing at! I shared my personal favorites in my Restaurants & Nightlife Travel Guide!

     5. Target Parking Deck - My very favorite place in Charlotte! The Target store that's located in Midtown (the neighborhood right next to Uptown) has an attached multistory parking deck, and the top level is the perfect place to take in skyline views! The last time that I was there, they had closed off the top floor to cars, but you can park on a lower level and take the stairs or elevator up. I used to come here all the time when I lived in Charlotte, there's something so peaceful and beautiful about being able to gaze at the city! I've also done blog photos here too many times to count- this post and this post are two favorites taken here. 
(Something important to note: while the Target Parking Deck is open to the public for visiting, not all parking decks in Charlotte are. My friend and I almost got in trouble when I was in college for trying to look at the skyline from a different deck that was privately owned and didn't allow visitors [which we didn't know!].)

     6. Evelyn Henson Confetti Hearts Mural - I think this might be the most Instagram-Famous mural of 2019 (or at least famous with bloggers!). This is a brand new mural, constructed in the South End neighborhood by one of my favorite artists, Evelyn Henson. I was so excited to finally get to see it in person for myself on my most recent Charlotte trip (see more pictures here!). 

     7. Freedom Park - This was my favorite park in Charlotte! It's centrally located in the historic Dilworth neighborhood, and it features a large playground for the kids, as well as a beautiful and large pond with a fountain, and a long trail that loops around that. It's the perfect place to stop and enjoy nice weather! Freedom Park also hosts Festival in the Park each September, which is a super fun local fair! 

     8. Discovery Place - This is a cool science museum in Uptown! Sadly I only got to visit here once and it was very brief, but I hope to check it out more someday on a future trip. Discovery Place has tons of kid friendly exhibits, and they also do monthly adults-only events called Science on the Rocks, which pairs experiments with cocktails! 

    9. Rooftop Bars - Lots of these to choose from in Charlotte! They're all open both day and night. My favorite, which I've talked about numerous times on the blog, is City Lights. They generously hosted my going away party before I moved a few years ago! I've also been to Fahrenheit, which is another good one. Merchant and Trade opened after I moved away, but a lot of my friends rave about that one! I believe there's more opening this year too.

   10. Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden - I think this is the only thing on the list that's actually in neighboring Gaston County! The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is definitely worth the drive out to visit. It's a stunning botanical garden, filled with all different types of plants and flowers. While I think visiting in the spring or summer is the best time of year to go, the garden does special holiday events leading up to the Christmas season with Christmas lights, and I've heard it's really quite magical to go to those! I visited The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden a few years ago, and recapped it in this post. 

    If you're headed to the Charlotte area anytime soon, I hope you get a chance to visit some of these places! There are also lots more things to do in Charlotte that I didn't even get a chance to touch on (or visit for myself when I lived there), like the US National Whitewater Center, the Mint Museum, NASCAR attractions, Panthers and Hornets games, and more! The Queen City truly has something for everyone. 

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 


  1. Bookmarking this for our next trip!

  2. The botanical garden sounds perfect for us. We love gardens and being outdoors. I also love rooftop restaurants and bars.

  3. Ahh this sounded so fun. I love me some roof top bars and garages for photos. I am dying to visit that colorful art wall too.

  4. Thanks for sharing! I'll definitely have to check Charlotte out!

  5. I will forward this to my mom because she loves to explore new places and lives near Charlotte.

  6. I've been dying to visit Charlotte seriously since you lived there! I love that you included the Target parking deck hahah it's SO you! But for real, we need a girls trip to CLT asap!

  7. Lots of fun places to visit! Thanks for your travel guides.


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