Category: North Carolina
Author: Michael DeFranceschi • Published

The 14 Best Things To Do in Uptown Charlotte [2024]

The city is a street art lover's paradise!
The name 'Detroit' on a public art structure near Campus Martius park. Visiting Campus Martius is one of the 25 best things to do in Detroit.

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North Carolina was my 19th state.

I chose to visit Charlotte-- the largest city in the state. As a city explorer, I am directing my focus of this article simply to the uptown district of Charlotte.

Uptown Charlotte is a street art lover's paradise! In addition, their art museums have plenty of splashy and vividly colorful paintings.

If you are looking for a mid-sized city with the high-reaching skyscrapers, incredible public art, and not as many people, Charlotte should be the next city you visit in 2024!

Here are 14 really fun things to do in uptown Charlotte in 2024!

IN THIS ARTICLE...
MISC...

For 2024, here are 14 fun things to do in uptown Charlotte...

01 // Luminous Lane

Luminous Lane is an alley of graffiti and murals. Visiting Luminous Lane is one of the most fun things to do in uptown Charlotte.
Graffiti and street galore here!

Luminous Lane reminded me a lot of Graffiti Alley in downtown Ann Arbor and The BELT in downtown Detroit.

For starters, who doesn't love a free attraction?? Luminous Lane is an ambitious and captivating alley between 3rd St and 4th St near S College St full of large murals, graffiti, and other miscellaneous pieces of public art.

Above your head, you'll see dangling fairy lights in a cross-cross direction. It looks especially enchanting in the evening time when the lights are more noticeable.

My hotel, the Hilton Charlotte Uptown, was less than five minutes walking distance from Luminous Lane! The hotel is in a tremendous spot and the hotel itself is beautiful.

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Luminous Lane is a great spot for photoshoots!

Last, for an attraction with graffiti, I feel the spot is family friendly! I don't recall seeing anything that would be questionable to show a child.

Address: 100 E 4th St, Charlotte, NC 28280
Hours: 24/7

02 // ArtWalk CLT

One of the murals outside Discovery Place Charlotte in uptown Charlotte part of the ArtWalks CLT collection. This mural is entitled Mother of Invention by Rosalia Torres-Weiner. Doing ArtWalks CLT is one of the best things to do in uptown Charlotte.
This mural is entitled 'Mother of Invention', by Rosalia Torres-Weiner.

Like I've suggested with cities such as Minneapolis or Birmingham, finding as many murals as you can in Charlotte is a must-do activity!

In a soon upcoming article, I will list what I consider to be the best murals and selections of street art in Charlotte! If you visit Charlotte before I publish that article, you can consult ArtWalks CLT as a reference.

Some of the inclusions in ArtWalk CLT can be found in the aforementioned Luminous Lane. A further reason why I say visiting Luminous Lane is a must-do in Charlotte!

Also, as you walk down the main streets of uptown Charlotte, which are S Tryon St and S College St, as well as the many perpendicular streets, you'll spot even more murals that aren't included in ArtWalks CLT! That's how much street you can find in this gorgeous metropolis!

Address: N Tryon & 6th St, Charlotte, NC 28202 (mural shown above)
Hours: 24/7

03 // Firebird Statue outside the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

The Firebird statue outside the entrance to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in uptown Charlotte off S Tryon St. The Firebird statue is one of the most fun things to do in uptown Charlotte.
The coolest art piece at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.

Undoubtedly the biggest tourist trap in uptown Charlotte is the 20+ foot tall Firebird statue outside the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, which is located on uptown Charlotte's busiest street, S Tryon St.

The statue is tall enough for people to stand between the statue's legs. It's often what people will do when being photographed by the statue.

The Firebird statue belongs to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. The building for the museum, like the Guggenheim in New York City, is an architectural art piece and delightful to gaze upon, with its orange hue.

What about inside the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art? It costs only $9 for an adult ticket to explore the museum. Modern art isn't my preferred art style so I wasn't as fond of the art inside the museum. But if you enjoy modern art, you'll have a good time in the museum!

Another way to know you're nearby the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is if you see the street Levine Avenue of the Arts. Besides this museum, Mint Museum Uptown, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts & Culture, and Levine Museum of the New South are very close too!

Even if you have to wait a couple minutes to get your picture taken by the Firebird, do it. It's fun! You can pass on the museum but don't pass on taking a picture of this awesome statue!

Address: 420 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Hours: Mon & Thurs-Sat 10AM - 5PM, Tues closed, Wed 10AM-9PM, Sun 12PM-5PM

04 // Sonic Runway

Sonic Runway which is between the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and the Mint Museum Uptown. Sonic Runway is one of the best things to do in uptown Charlotte.
This activity is best to do at night.

Very popular with both locals and tourists is the Sonic Runway-- which is conveniently located right on Levine Avenue of the Arts between the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and Mint Museum Uptown.

How fun does it sound to walk through a bunch of rings that light up and play music as you walk through? You'll feel like a runway model! That's the experience you'll have walking through Sonic Runway!

While you can walk through Sonic Runway in the daytime, it is far more fun at night! For one, during the daytime, the rings don't light up. But after the sun goes down, the rings rhythmically light up and change color to the music and the music is much louder!

People often will take pictures standing in the middle of the rings or taking selfies of themselves on the runway. While it may get a little crowded with people stopping to take pictures, engaging your senses and walking through Sonic Runway is still lots of fun!

Plus, it's free to walk through!

Address: On Levine Avenue of the Arts between the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and Mint Museum Uptown
Hours: 24/7 (?)

05 // Mint Museum Uptown

Artwork inside the Mint Museum Uptown in uptown Charlotte. One of the big art museums off Levine Avenue of the Arts. The Mint Museum Uptown is one of the best things to do in uptown Charlotte.
I was so happy how many colorful pieces of art this museum has!

The Mint Museum Uptown in Charlotte is now in my top five for favorite art museums in the U.S-- and this is coming from a gentleman who is lucky enough to live near the highest rated art museum in the country!

In the near future, I am going to devote an entire article to the Mint Museum Uptown!

Located right across the street from the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and along Levine Avenue of the Arts is the Mint Museum Uptown. The amount of splashy and wildly colorful paintings in the museum made me burst with joy!

Even the elevators have art inside them! That attention to detail I felt was an awesome touch!

The jaw-dropping image of the glass art is on the second floor of the Mint Museum, where you purchase tickets. You can also see this from outside the museum as you walk through Sonic Runway.

The rest of the art in the Mint Museum Uptown is found on the third and fourth floors.

The cost for an adult ticket to the Mint Museum Uptown is normally $15 but if you show up on a Wednesday between 5PM and 9PM, the ticket is free!

Address: 500 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Hours: Mon closed, Tues, Thurs, Sat 11AM-6PM, Wed, Fri 11AM-9PM, Sun 1PM-5PM

06 // Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts & Culture

A mural inside the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts & Culture in uptown Charlotte.
Another museum with very colorful artwork!

The third of the major art museums in uptown Charlotte is the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts & Culture. It is located a little further down S. Tryon St.

Like Mint Museum Uptown, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts & Culture had lots of imaginative and very colorful artwork!

One room in the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts & Culture features paintings done by female African American artists.

Like the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, admission for an adult ticket is $9.

Address: 551 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Hours: Mon closed, Tues, Thurs, Fri 12PM-6PM, Wed 12PM-9PM, Sat 10AM-6PM, Sun 12PM-6PM

07 // Levine Museum of the New South

Inside Muse Epicenter.
Charlotte's museum dedicated to its history is in this museum.

Many cities and towns will have a museum devoted to telling a story about its history. Charlotte's version of that is the Levine Museum of the New South.

The Levine Museum of the New South is located on the other side of S Tryon Street, very close to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.

If you want to a spend a day just exploring Charlotte's museums, the Levine Museum of the New South is the fourth and final museum I'd suggest you visit.

Whereas the Harvey B. Gantt Center of African American Arts & Culture (that really is a lot to type!) focuses on the art that blacks in Charlotte have made, the Levine Museum of the New South focuses more so on other career accomplishments and daily lives of blacks in Charlotte throughout the 20th century.

The museum is free though donations are welcome.

Address: 401 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Hours: Tues-Fri 11AM-5PM, Sat 10AM-5PM, Sun-Mon closed

08 // The Green

The Green is a lovely public park across from the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in uptown Charlotte.
Hey, there's a Charlotte in my home state-- Michigan!

Located right across the street from the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and next to the Levine Museum of the New South is The Green.

The Green is a cozy public park spanning 1.5 acres with a theme centered around classic literature. For example, like the pole with the arrows showing all the different Charlottes in the US, there is another pole with an arrow for a town called Edgar, a town called Allen, and and a town called Poe.

Get it? Edgar Allen Poe.

The Green has features small statues and cool public art pieces. It's a great park to take a nice stroll through or to sit & relax after exploring the city.

Address: 425 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Hours: 24/7

09 // Il Grande Disco

Il Grande Disco or the Grand Disc is a memorable art sculpture in uptown Charlotte.
Me outside Il Grande Disco back in December 2021!

Besides the Firebird statue outside the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, I also highly suggest you get a picture outside this artsy-looking disc sculpture in Bank of America Plaza, at the intersection of S Tryon St and Trade St.

This sculpture is entitled Il Grande Disco (the Grand Disc). It has been in uptown Charlotte since 1974. There are five more "Il Grande Disco" structures throughout the world. Charlotte is lucky to have one of them!

At the same intersection, you can see some really cool statues as well. S Tryon St and Trade St is one of the most photogenic intersections in uptown.

Address: intersection of S Tryon St & Trade St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Hours: 24/7

10 // Musical Parking Garage

Musical Parking Garage in uptown Charlotte.
This one admittedly took me a few minutes to figure out how it worked...

When I first heard about this parking garage that plays music, my first instinct was to go inside the garage.

Granted, I entered the garage by foot, as I didn't feel like giving up my parking space my rental car was in. I looked around for any buttons that'd play music and I found... none.

Upon exiting the garage, I saw these colored beams with handprints below them. I placed one of my hands on the handprint and heard it play a note. That's when I figured it out!

In the image above, you'll see a red and black beam. These are the beams I'm talking about. They are scattered on every side of the garage.

However, whenever I or other people placed their hands on the garage, I only ever heard them play the note C. Not much of an instrument if it only plays one note. But, nonetheless, a fun gimmick.

Address: 231 E 7th St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Hours: 24/7

11 // Overstreet Mall

Somewhere inside Overstreet Mall.
A decorated mannequin in one section of the mall.

Just like in Minnneapolis or Grand Rapids, Charlotte has a skywalk system called the Overstreet Mall.

The Overstreet Mall connects major skyscrapers in uptown Charlotte via a climate controlled and indoor skywalk system. In fact, one of the buildings connected to the Overstreet Mall was the Hilton Charlotte Uptown, where I stayed for my most recent visit in March 2024!

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The Overstreet Mall is, indeed, a mall. You'll find some large brand names like Chick-Fil-A, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and Five Guys inside the mall but most of the stores are smaller and locally owned.

Aside from my entry in my hotel, I was also able to enter the Overstreet Mall via 200 S College St, which is the address I'm providing below. This parking garage borders Luminous Lane as well!

Address: 200 S College St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Hours: depends on the store. Assume standard business hours.

12 // Queen City Quarter

Inside Queen City Quarter.
Another opportunity for shopping in uptown Charlotte.

Queen City Quarter offers visitors to Charlotte another opportunity for either shopping or exploring.

Queen City Quarter is an small outdoor mall with five floors. This outdoor mall has a diner called Red Eye Diner which is open 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays and open until 2AM on most weekdays.

The outdoor mall has other options for dining, a cool vintage emporium called Standout Vintage, and a couple other entertainment options.

Address: 210 E Trade St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Hours: depends on the store.

13 // Romare Bearden Park

Entrance to Romare Bearden Park.
Entrance off S Church Street to the park.

Like The Green, Romare Bearden Park is another public park tourists and locals can go walk through.

When you stand in the center of Romare Bearden Park, you can get some really nice of some skyscrapers in the background!

Romare Bearden Park often will have street musicians performing, adding some ambiance to the park. When I last visited, I heard a cool jazz band performing.

Address: 300 S Church St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Hours: 24/7

14 // Wells Fargo Plaza

Inside Wells Fargo Plaza.
Put-put golf is one of the fun things for people to do here.

You'll know you're at Wells Fargo Plaza when you see kiosks with the signs "WELCOME TO CLT"-- 'CLT' being the airport code for Charlotte.

Wells Fargo Plaza is a public space adorned with artwork, food carts, and minature golf.

It's a lively space, usually packed with people from the late morning to early evening.

Address: 430 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Hours: 24/7

Day and Night Exotic Cereal Bar

Day and Night Exotic Cereal Bar in its old uptown Charlotte location.
Can't get more fun than a restaurant that serves cereal milkshakes!

When I first visited Charlotte in December 2021, I visited this awesome restaurant called Day and Night Exotic Cereal Bar and even chatted for a bit with Greg Robinson, its owner! He was a very cool guy.

Knowing I was going to return to Charlotte in 2024 and going to write this article, I was ecstatic to recommend this place but then I saw on Google it was "temporarily closed"!

I hope it re-opens this year! The restaurant had flavors of popular cereal brands, like Cheerios, that you couldn't find in any store in the US! You could either order bowls of cereal or get a bunch of cereals blended in a milkshake.

NASCAR Hall of Fame

Outside the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The one attraction in Charlotte I didn't feel like visiting.

It's probably difficult to write an article about the best things to do in uptown Charlotte without mentioning the NASCAR Hall of Fame. That being said, I've said before in other articles I'm not much of a sports fan, and I'm even less interested in NASCAR.

Plus, the cost of admission for an adult ticket to the NASCAR Hall of Fame is $29. That's double or even triple what I paid to visit the museums. I was not willing to pay the $29 to check out the NASCAR Hall of Fame. I just took this picture of the building and left.

However, if you do have the interest and want to check this place out, go for it! I see it has good reviews online so I'm sure it's worth visiting if you care to.

Conclusion

I feel it's not as often that cities in the US are described as 'beautiful'. Aside from Detroit, Charlotte is another American city I feel is deserving to be called 'beautiful'.

With plenty of trees planted on the city's major streets and the vast abundance of street art, Charlotte is a treat for the eyes as you walk through its uptown district!

I think most people could do all 14 of these things within a 2-3 day weekend trip. I hope I've convinced you to make a weekend trip to Charlotte this year!

Thank you for reading my article on the best things to do in uptown Charlotte!


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