36 best indoor activities when it’s miserably hot out in Charlotte

36 best indoor activities when it’s miserably hot out in Charlotte

Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

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Tired of the heat and looking for cool indoor activities?

Here’s a list of the 36 best indoor activities in Charlotte to escape the heat (save this for rainy days, too!).

Editor’s note: This guide was last updated in June 2022.

1. Do indoor putt-putt

Head to one of Charlotte’s new indoor putt-putt spots like The Puttery in South End or Stroke in Plaza Midwood for a round of golf and cocktails.

  • The Puttery offers two courses, each with a signature drink menu.
  • Stroke is a little more intimate with one putt-putt course and a mid-century modern lounge.

Go deeper: 7 takeaways from my first time at Puttery, Charlotte’s cool new mini-golf bar

Stroke Putt, 1318 Pecan Ave Suite 101

Stroke in Plaza. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

2. Be a kid again

Super Abari is nearly 5,000-square-foot space with 35 pinball machines, 60 arcade games and a massive Nintendo Game Boy, plus a bar and a “living room” lounge area.

  • Arcade games are $0.25 and pinball games are $0.50.

Go deeper: Highly anticipated bar-cade set to open in Belmont

Super Abari Belmont

Axios archives

3. Go duckpin bowling

Duckpin bowling has proven to be all the rage in recent years and Pins Mechanical Co., Slingshot, and Pinhouse are all great spots for a game with friends.

Pins Mechanical Co. South End

Axios archives

4. Pet cats at Mac Tabby Cat Cafe

For $12/hour, you can hang out in a room with a bunch of adoptable cats.

  • They also have a small cafe area (totally separate from the cat room for sanitation regulations) where you can grab baked goods, coffee or kombucha. If you love cats, Mac Tabby is a wonderland.
mac tabby cat cafe noda

Axios archives

5. The great escape

Here are a few nearby escape rooms to check out:

Timed Out Escape Room Ballantyne

Axios archives

6. Bring the house down at a karaoke lounge

Invite your friends and rent one of Seoul Food Meat Co.‘s private karaoke rooms. Of course, if your goal is to not remember ever hitting the stage at all, Jeff’s Bucket Shop’s basement karaoke operation on Montford is the place for you.

7. Race a go-kart at Victory Lanes Karting

With three race track route variations to zip around, Victory Lanes Karting is fun for the whole family. The facility also has a bunch of other activities like axe throwing, an arcade, a virtual reality space and bowling.

Go-kart pricing:

  • One race – $24/person
  • Two races – $48/person
  • Three races – $55/person
  • Four races – $64/person

*Each race is 8 minutes long.

8. Embrace your inner American ninja warrior at Ninja Nation Huntersville

The 11,500-square-foot arena has various courses complete with bars, boxes and platforms that will frequently be re-arranged by the staff to keep guests on their toes. You can race against friends on two-lane courses or on the warped wall.

Go deeper: Indoor obstacle course arena called Ninja Nation now open in Huntersville

Ninja Nation Huntersville

Axios archives

9. Go shopping at SouthPark Mall

It’s the largest mall in the Carolinas with a footprint of over 1,750,000 square feet.

10. Unleash your inner lumberjack

Try ax throwing to escape the heat.

Pro Tip: If you’re struggling, use throw with both hands from over your head. 

Here are a few axe throwing spots in the area:

Bad Axe Throwing

Axios archives

11. Take an adult arts & crafts class

Check out Wine + Design on East Boulevard for a guided painting experience. Or check out our round-up of 25 places adults can take arts and crafts classes in the Charlotte area, featuring everything from sewing classes to jewelry making classes.

12. Reach new heights

Head to Inner Peaks, an indoor climbing center. It’s a perfect date activity since it requires two people and serves as a way of building trust.

  • Unless you already have a membership, start with a day pass for $20, harnesses and shoes are an additional $5 each.

Pro tip: Members can bring a first-time climber for free on Fridays!


Axios archives

13. Catch a stand-up show

Expect a wide range of comedians at The Comedy Zone — from nationally touring, big name folks to local comedians you probably haven’t heard of before. If you can, sit close to the stage so there’s a chance they make fun of you. Tickets are usually about $15-$30.

14. Become a scientist for a day

Head to Discovery Place Science, a hands-on Uptown museum. And catch an IMAX® movie too.

Discovery Place Science

Axios archives

15. Hunt for antique treasures

Check out Sleepy Poet for unique finds.

Go deeper: Beloved antiques destination Sleepy Poet opens new location, investing $5M

Sleepy Poet

Axios archives

16. Fly through the air

Big Air Trampoline Park has it all — Ninja-warrior course, trampoline basketball, interactive dodgeball courts, massive foam pit and one-on-one jousting.

17. Play all day at a local social house

Queen Park Social and Piedmont Social House are adult playgrounds without the hokeyness of a place like Dave & Buster’s. You’ll find lots of indoor entertainment like bowling lanes, pool tables, ping pong, board games, arcade games, darts and more. They’ve also got full-service kitchens and bars.


Axios archives

18. Get lost in a book at

Check a Charlotte Mecklenburg Library branch. Reserve a book online in advance or just explore the racks at the library system’s 20 locations in neighborhoods and suburbs around Charlotte.

19. Cool off on the ice

Head to Extreme Ice Center in Indian Trail and figure skate during their public-skate periods for $11 admission and $5 skate rentals.

20. Test your archery skills at

Stop by Barefoot Archery for eight, 20-yard USA Archery approved lanes that are well lit. It’ll run you $25/hr for range time and equipment rental.

21. Expand your child’s imagination and creativity

ImaginOn, a 102,000-square-foot facility located in Uptown is visited by over 300,000 each year.

22. Go nuts inside a massive 20-acre amusement park

The 84,000-square-foot indoor portion of Frankie’s has 24 bowling lanes, a restaurant, bar, laser tag, three-story playground, ride that drops 30 feet, LED-illuminated bumper cars and a massive arcade (you can redeem arcade points for physical prizes).


Axios archives

23. Watch games and eat wings at a sports bar

Here’s our guide to the 12 best sports bars in Charlotte. Hungry for wings? Our city’s best wing spots include Moosehead Grill, Lebowski’s Neighborhood Grill, Wing King Cafe, d.d. Peckers, and Seoul Food Meat Company.

24. Explore a museum

Here are the big ones:

25. Shoot your shot at Blackstone Shooting Sports

This 27-lane indoor range is open 7 days a week. Walk-in pricing is $29/hr.

26. Stuff yourself with brunch

Charlotte doesn’t mess around when it comes to brunch. From classics like 300 East to breweries like Suffolk Punch to fancy spots like La Belle Helene — here are the 23 best brunch spots in our city, right now.

27. Drink beer at a brewery

Here’s a complete list and map of Charlotte’s 30+ local breweries, plus the most popular beer at each. Our favorite rainy day breweries with cool, spacious indoor setups include OMB, Brewers at 4001 Yancey, Resident Culture and Wooden Robot.

28. Pour your own candles

The $40 Paddywax Candle Bar experience is simple — choose a vessel, select a fragrance and then measure, mix and pour to create your own candle.

Go deeper: $40 pour-your-own candle workshop The Candle Bar now open in new South End space

candle-bar- things to do inside

Axios archive 

29. Let the games begin

Play a classic like Monopoly or try a new game at Luck Factory Games at Gibson Mill Market. It’s the state’s largest board game café with a library of more than 1,000 games.

Go deeper: Board game cafe opens in Gibson Mill Market

Luck Factory Games Concord Gibson Mill

Luck Factory Games in Concord’s Gibson Mill. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

30. Become a chef at Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen

Chef Alyssa’s classes cover anything from basic knife skills to specific cuisines like Mediterranean or French.

31. Test your golf game at Topgolf

The course is outside but the swanky climate-controlled bays are heated so things stay comfortable year-round. If you’re looking for a more relaxed (and less expensive) covered driving range, check out Leatherman Golf on South Blvd.

32. Get creative work done at a coffee shop

Here’s our guide on the best coffee shops in Charlotte to work remotely. You could use a break from your house or your office.

33. Eat, sip and shop inside one of Charlotte’s food halls

  • Optimist Hall has over 25 tenants, including local favorite Dumpling Lady and the adorable stationary shop, Archer Paper.
  • The Market at 7th Street is a non-profit food hall in Uptown. The tourist magnet is great for locals too with 10 vendors, including Not Just Coffee, Viva Raw and CLT Find.

34. Reflect on your faith at The Billy Graham Library

This 40,000-square-foot library will allow you a look into the life of Billy Graham, “America’s Pastor.” Admission is free.

35. Enjoy a cocktail sipping an old fashioned at a speakeasy

Check out Dot Dot Dot, Cellar at Duckworth’s and Backstage Lounge. None of these spots have windows.

Go deeper: 8 best cocktail bars in Charlotte

stefan huebner dot dot dot

Co-owner and bartender Stefan Huebner. Axios archives

36. Head to the theater

Whether it’s “Charlotte Squawks” or Disney’s “Frozen,” they certainly crank the air conditioning in the theater, and the shows entertaining too.

Go deeper: The economic impact of Broadway’s return to Charlotte

Photo: Courtesy Blumenthal Performing Arts/Joan Marcus

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