21 fun things to do in Charlotte this summer

21 fun things to do in Charlotte this summer

Camden Commons in South End. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

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Summer doesn’t officially start until June 21, but this recent streak of warm weather has given us a head start.

Here are 21 fun activities to add to your summer bucket list.

(1) Go to at least one River Jam Concert at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.

Details: The USNWC puts on outdoor concerts every Thursday through Saturday from 7-10pm all summer long. They bring in a variety of artists from all different genres, including roots rock, Americana, bluegrass, folk and funk. There’s food, craft beer, and yoga sessions at 6:30pm.

Cost: Free, $6 parking.

(2) Take the kids to Crayola’s IDEAworks at Camp North End.

Details: Navigate through three creative zones and track your progress with a provided wristband.

Cost: Tickets are $25 and can be purchased on Crayola’s website. Get yours here. Admission is free for children 3 and under.

Related guide: 5 takeaways from the new Crayola IDEAworks exhibit in Camp North End

Crayola IDEAworks

Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

(3) Watch a movie under the stars at Brewers at 4001 Yancey.

Details: Head to the beer garden on select Friday nights to enjoy family-friendly movies starting at 7:30pm. Guests can order food from the taproom but there will be free popcorn available.

Cost: Free

(4) Enjoy a meal on a patio.

Details: You can find a good patio in just about every one of Charlotte’s neighborhoods. Here are a few to check out:

Go deeper: The 21 best patios in Charlotte, right now

noda company store new patio

Photo: Emma Way/Axios

(5) Honor Black History during Juneteenth.

Details: There are several events set to take place in the days leading up to Juneteenth and on the holiday itself. Here are a few that stood out to us:

  • Durag Fest – This day-long block party will have food trucks, DJs, a fashion show, and, of course, “wave checks.” June 18, 1-10pm at Camp North End.
  • Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas – Expect festivities like a youth day camp, a drum circle and performers from around the world. June 16-19 at the House of Africa, 1215 Thomas Avenue, in Plaza Midwood.
  • Juneteenth at Gantt Center – Join the Center for After Dark, a celebration of creativity and expression featuring workshops, theater performances and more. June 17, 6-10pm at the Gantt Center.
  • Juneteenth Parade – Celebrate Black Excellence with local Black professionals from a variety of industries. June 20, 10am at CPCC

(6) Go to the final Camden Commons pop-up.

What: Camden Road will once again close off to street traffic and transform into a pop-up outdoor living space where folks can hang out, play games, listen to music and eat tasty food from South End restaurants.

Date: June 26 from 11am to 5pm.

Cost: Free

Camden Commons South End

Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

(7) Participate in an outdoor yoga class.

Details: There are a handful of outdoor yoga classes to try out around the city. Here are a few that happen regularly:

  • Camp North End – Counter Culture Club hosts a 1-hour yoga class every Sunday at 10am under the water tower at Camp North End. It’s free for members and $10 for non-members.
  • Free Range Brewing – Dancing Lotus Yoga offers a class at the North Davidson Street brewery every Sunday at 10:30am. It’s free to attend.
  • Freedom Park – Habitual Roots offers three yoga classes a week: Monday at 6:30pm, Wednesday at 6:30pm and Saturday at 9am. Classes are donation-based.
  • Gantt Center – Meet on the rooftop every Sunday at 12:30pm. Free for members, $10 for non-members.
  • Whitewater Center – Classes take place daily at 6:30pm and flow varieties include open level flow, slow flow and fun flow.

Go deeper: 21 places to do yoga outside in Charlotte

Photo courtesy of Free Range Brewing

(8) Catch a Knights game at Truist Field.

Details: Baseball season is in full swing so head to the ballpark to cheer on our Knights.

Charlotte Symphony: The Orchestra will celebrate America in an evening full of anthems and marches. The night will end with a fireworks finale. June 22. Get tickets here.

Dates: The season will run through September.

Photo: Emma Way/Axios

(9) Go to Americrawl hosted by Rich + Bennett’s.

Details: Take to the streets in Uptown for Charlotte’s most patriotic bar crawl. Wear your favorite red, white and blue get-up for a chance to win prizes for the best-dressed individual, duo and group.

Cost: Tickets start at $10 and increase up until the event date. Cost includes drink specials, cover charges, commemorative koozie, and giveaways. A portion of the proceeds will directly benefit local military charity Veterans Bridge Home.

Date: June 25

(10) Plan a lake day at Lake Norman or Lake Wylie

Where to go:

  • Lake Norman State Park has a 125-yard sand beach equipped with a concession stand, bathhouse, restrooms and lockers. $4-$6/per person. The main park is free to access.
  • Ebenezer Park has a public beach, campsites and outdoor sports courts on the edge of Lake Wylie. Day passes are $3 for York country residents and $5 for non-York county residents.
  • Ramsey Creek Beach is a 43-acre lakeside park with a half-acre sandy beach. Parking is $10 for county residents and $15 for non-county residents.

Related guide: Guide to Rock Hill’s lakefront beach with outdoor movies and beach volleyball

Ebenezer Park Lake Wylie

Courtesy of Ebenezer Park.

(11) Swim in the rock quarry at Carrigan Farms.

About the quarry: It’s a natural spring-fed body of water that was discovered in the 1960s when mining for granite stone. Now, it’s become a popular local destination to spend hot days. The best part? It has a mini beach with sand.

Swimming details: It’s $25/per person to swim at The Quarry (cash only).  You must pass a swim test to be in the water without a life jacket.

Address: 1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy, Mooresville

The Quarry at Carrigan Farms

Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

(12) Go to a concert.

Details: Live music concerts are back in earnest and nothing says ‘summer’ like a photo on the lawn of the PNC Music Pavillion. Here are just a few of the many artists making their way through Charlotte this summer.

(13) Lounge on a rooftop.

Details: In our eyes, there’s no such thing as a bad rooftop. Here are a few suggestions for your next rooftop outing depending on the vibe you’re going for.

Related guide: 13 best rooftop bars in Charlotte

Aura Rooftop Uptown

Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

(14) Watch a fireworks show on the 4th of July.

Details: Depending on where you’re viewing from, sometimes you can see a couple of fireworks shows at once. Here are some of the 4th of July celebrations with fireworks that are on our radar:

(15) Get your rear in gear during 24 Hours of Booty.

What: Every year, hundreds of walkers and more than 1,000 bikers commit to walking and cycling for 24 hours (or as much as they’d like in that 24-hour period) around the famous Booty Loop in Myers Park.

  • Levine Cancer Institute, Levine Children’s Hospital, The LIVESTRONG Foundation and Queens University of Charlotte are the main beneficiaries of the event, but 10-20 other cancer-related nonprofits will receive support too.
  • If you don’t plan to walk/bike, you can cheer on the participants from the sidelines or hang out in the food/expo area.

When: July 29-30, 2022

(16) Hike to the top of Crowder’s Mountain and take in the views.

Trails: Take Crowder’s Trail for a more moderate climb. Go with Rocktop Trail for a more strenuous hike and views along the way. If you want a shorter climb to the summit, hit up Backside Trail. It’s steep but it’ll get you to the top quicker.

Keep in mind: Trails are accessible from 8am to 8pm during March and April and from 8 am to 9 pm from May to September. The trails are always less crowded earlier in the day.

Après hike: Veronét Vineyards is a 12-minute drive from Crowder’s, so go for a post-hike drink and snack.

Related guide: Top 16 places to hike near Charlotte, plus a guide to their best trails

crowders mountain

Photo: Alivia McAtee/Axios

(17) Gather your friends to ride a pedal pub.

Details: This two-hour tour lets you and up to 14 people pedal around town while making stops at local bars and breweries.

  • Expect 2-3 stops along the way.

Routes: The pedal pub does excursions through South End and Uptown.

Cost: If you’re booking as an individual, the cost comes out to about $41. If you book with a group, it’s roughly $30 a person.

Trolley Pub South End

Trolley Pub. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

(18) Have the time of your life at a drag show.

Details: Drag shows make a great outing for birthdays, bachelorettes or just because.

Pro Tip: Bring dollar bills to tip the dolls (it costs money to look as good as the queens, y’all).

Go deeper: 17 Drag shows in Charlotte this June

Free Will Craft + Vine NoDa Drag Show Vanity House

Vanity House drag show at Free Will Craft + Vine. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

(19) Take part in Charlotte Pride.

Details: Pride festivities will make a full, in-person return to Uptown this year after scaling back and even canceling events the past two years.

Mark your calendars: 

  • Charlotte Pride Week – August 12-19, 2022
  • Charlotte Pride Festival – August 20-21, 2022
  • Charlotte Pride Parade – Aug. 21, 2022

(20) Dine at a lakefront restaurant.

Details: Lake Norman and Lake Wylie are located about 30-minutes away from Uptown – each with a handful of lakefront restaurants. Here are two to check out:

  • Hello, Sailor – Lake Norman (20210 Henderson Rd.)
  • Drift – Lake Wylie (315-M Lanyard Ln.)

Hello, Sailor. Photo: Ted Williams/Axios

Related story: 2-story waterfront restaurant in Lake Wylie opening May 9

(21) Ride all the rides at Carowinds.

The rides: Carowinds has more than 50 rides at varying thrill levels. Scan Carowinds’ full list of rides here and sort by attraction type, thrill level, minimum height and fast lane accommodations.

  • Kid-friendly: There are a number of kid- and family-friendly rides, including the Flying Ace Balloon Race and the Kiddy Hawk coaster.
  • The coasters: Carowinds is home to 14 roller coasters, including the world’s top-rated steel coaster, Fury 325. Copperhead Strike is the park’s newest coaster.

Cost: Day passes cost $47. You can also opt for a season pass, which costs $130 for a Gold Pass and $215 for a Platinum Pass and includes unlimited visits.

  • Fast Lane pass: For an additional $75, you can spare yourself the time spent standing in line for all the major rides.

fury 325 coaster at carowinds

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