Whether it’s too hot, cold or rainy, this is the guide for you.
Here’s a list of 40 things to do inside in Charlotte to escape the elements, listed in no particular order.
Editor’s note: This guide was last updated in July 2023.
Grab your pickleball paddles
Check out Charlotte’s new indoor/outdoor pickleball bar, restaurant and cafe, Rally, located in LoSo.
- Court reservations can be made five days in advance for up to eight people for a 90-minute session. Equipment, such as paddles and pickleballs, are included in your reservation, as is access to a players’ lounge.
Go to the Museum of Illusions
The Museum of Illusions in Uptown includes more than 60 interactive exhibits that play different visual tricks on your mind. You’ll find holograms, optical illusions and plenty of Insta-friendly exhibits. Carve out 45-90 minutes to walk through the exhibit.
Grab a scoop of ice cream, or two
There’s nothing like a scoop of ice cream on a hot day. Here are 25 options to choose from.
Play indoor putt-putt
- 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.
Test your swing even further
If mini-golf’s not your thing but you still want to practice your swing, you might want to head to one of two TopGolf locations in Charlotte.
Play old-school and some new-school games
Super Abari, a nearly 5,000-square-foot game bar and arcade, has 35 pinball machines, 60 arcade games and a massive Nintendo Game Boy, plus a bar and a “living room” lounge area.
- Of note: You must be at least 21 years old to visit, except on Saturday and Sunday from noon until 5pm when all ages are welcome.
Go deeper: Highly anticipated bar-cade opens in Belmont
Go duckpin bowling
Pet some cats and drink some coffee
Calling all cat lovers! You can hang out with adoptable cats at Mac Tabby Cat Cafe in NoDa for 30 or 60-minute time slots.
- 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.
Test your detective skills at an escape room
You don’t need to leave Charlotte to find a daring adventure. Here are a few nearby escape rooms to check out:
- Escape Tactic Escape Room: 130 Southside Dr.
- Timed Out Escape: 12239 N Community House Road
- Exit Strategy (North): 9539 Pinnacle Dr. and 4215 Stuart Andrew Blvd.
- The Box Escape Room: 6604 East W.T. Harris Blvd.
Sing your heart out
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.
Hit the race track
Victory Lanes Karting has an indoor go-kart track (each race is eight minutes long), axe throwing, an arcade, a virtual reality space and bowling.
Details: Victory Lanes is located at 2330 Tipton Drive.
It’s open Monday-Thursday 11am-10pm, Fridays 11am-midnight, Saturdays 10am-midnight and Sundays 10am-7pm.
Embrace your inner American ninja warrior
Ninja Nation Huntersville is an 11,500-square-foot arena with several obstacle courses complete with bars, boxes and platforms that are frequently re-arranged to keep guests on their toes. You can race against friends on two-lane courses or on the warped wall.
Go shopping at SouthPark Mall
It’s the largest mall in the Carolinas with a footprint of more than 1,750,000 square feet with brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Plus ZARA will open a store there by 2025.
Unleash your inner lumberjack
Try axe throwing to escape the heat.
Pro Tip: If you’re struggling, use both hands and throw from over your head.
Here are a few axe-throwing spots in the area:
- BATL Axe Throwing (Plaza Midwood): 933 Louise Ave.
- BATL Axe Throwing (LoSo): 4128 South Blvd.
- Bad Axe Throwing (Uptown): 350 East 6th St.
- Victory Lanes Karting: 2330 Tipton Dr.
Take an adult arts & crafts class
Check out Wine + Design on East Boulevard for a guided painting experience.
Rock climb to new heights
Bonus: Members can bring a first-time climber for free any day of the week.
Laugh until it hurts
Catch a wide range of comedians at The Comedy Zone — from national to local names. If you’re open to some light roasting, try to close to the stage.
Become a scientist for a day
Head to Discovery Place Science, a hands-on Uptown museum. And catch an IMAX® movie there too.
Hunt for antique treasures
Jump and fly through the air
Big Air Trampoline Park has it all — A ninja-warrior course, trampoline basketball, interactive dodgeball courts, a massive foam pit and one-on-one jousting.
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, pool, darts, ping-pong, plus board and arcade games. They’ve also got full-service kitchens and bars.
Bonus: A new private social club called Intown Golf Club recently opened in SouthPark. There’s currently a waitlist to join the club, but they release a handful of memberships each month.
Get lost in a book at your local library branch
Reserve a book online in advance or just explore the racks at your local library.
Cool off on the ice
Head to Extreme Ice Center in Indian Trail and figure skate during their public-skate periods.
- Admission is $15 Monday-Sunday or $20 for a day pass.
- Skate rentals are $3 plus tax per person.
Channel your inner Robin Hood
Stop by Barefoot Archery and test your archery skills at this 20-yard, eight-lane USA Archery-approved range.
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. It includes two theaters, a library for kids age 11 and under, a library for teens, a multimedia production studio, multi-use classrooms and an interactive exhibit area.
Go nuts inside a massive 20-acre amusement park
The 84,000-square-foot indoor portion of Frankie’s Fun Park in Huntersville has 24 bowling lanes, a restaurant, bar, laser tag, a three-story playground, a ride that drops 30 feet, LED-illuminated bumper cars and a massive arcade.
Of note: Entry to the park is free. You pay for the activity you choose.
Watch games and eat wings at a sports bar
Explore a museum
Check out Charlotte’s history and more at one of our museums or art galleries. Here are a few:
- Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
- Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
- The Mint Museum Uptown and the Mint Museum Randolph
- Levine Museum of the New South
- McColl Center
- VAPA Center
- Charlotte Museum of History
- Charlotte Museum of History exhibit will celebrate Charlotte Hornets 35th anniversary
Shoot your shot at an indoor shooting range
Blackstone Shooting Sports includes a 27-lane indoor shooting range. It’s open daily.
Stuff yourself at 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 30 best brunch spots in our city, right now.
Grab a pint at a brewery
Charlotte loves local breweries. Here’s a complete list and map of Charlotte’s 40+ local breweries, plus the most popular beer at each.
- Pro tip: Most of them are dog friendly.
Pour your own candles
You can make your own candles in SouthEnd at Paddywax Candle Bar. The experience is simple — choose a vessel, select a fragrance and then measure, mix and pour to create your own candle.
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
Learn a new go-to dish at Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen
Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen classes cover everything from basic knife skills to specific cuisines like Mediterranean or French.
Get creative work done at a coffee shop
Take a break from working at home or the office, if the latter is an option for you. Explore Charlotte’s best coffee shops and enjoy a change of scenery. Here’s our guide on the best coffee shops in Charlotte to work remotely.
Eat, sip and shop inside one of Charlotte’s food halls
- Optimist Hall has more than 20 tenants, including Undercurrent Coffee and Papi Queso.
- Urban District Market is a new food hall that’ll be home to 12 new restaurants and Charlotte’s newest brewery and soju distillery called LaBARatory.
- 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.
- The Gibson Mill Market in Concord is a bit of a drive but you can easily spend your day there. After you’re done eating, head next door to The Depot at Gibson Mill, the largest antique mall in the southeast.
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.
Grab a cocktail or mocktail
Go deeper: Villa Heights cocktail bar Humbug now open
Head to the theater to watch a show
Whether it’s “Charlotte Squawks” or “SIX,” they certainly crank the air conditioning in the theater, and the shows entertaining too.