Charlotte is a fantastic city for starting a family and raising kids! There are so many things to do here, BUT sometimes it can seem like there is absolutely nothing to do. It’s weird how that works isn’t it? I was born and raised in Charlotte. So I’ve been here for 36 years and counting. Sometimes that’s a huge benefit when it comes to knowing about all of the old-school, evergreen things to do here, but it can also be a detriment in that I am less willing to explore the newer things that are super fun and seem to pop up daily!

I absolutely adore my kids. I love spending time with them and doing fun things, especially new things. It’s honestly the reason I started Local Authority. It all started with looking for fun things to do with my kids when I’m spending time with them. Yes, there are other websites out there, but many of them are outdated or the authors are not from Charlotte or whatever local area they are writing about. This leads to many broken links, a ton of misinformation, and you wasting time even reading the articles. Trust me, I’m a Dad of 4 and search for these things all the time. I know what it’s like!

So, here’s our list of things to do with your kids in Charlotte, NC. If you all enjoy this list, we’ll keep expanding and sharing more and more things and events straight from the mouth of a local native of the area!

  1. Spend the day at Latta Plantation and watch a re-enactment of the Civil War: Latta Plantation takes you back in time to experience what the Civil War was really like.
  2. Go on the Charlotte Liberty Walk and learn about the American Revolution: The Charlotte Liberty Walk is a guide to all the bronze plaques and monuments throughout uptown that tell the story of Mecklenburg County during the American Revoluion.
  3. Take a boat ride on Lake Norman: Just 20 mins from uptown Charlotte, you can rent a boat an spend all day exploring everything Lake Norman has to offer.
  4. Sip on tea at the Ballantyne Hotel: The Ballantyne Hotel will give you a luxury experience of sipping tea like a princess.
  5. Sing along with the Annual Singing Christmas Tree: At the Knight Theater the Carolina Voices along with other special guests create a 64 year running Christmas experience.
  6. Make new animal friends at Carolina Raptor Center: Spend the day meeting eagles, vultures, hawks and many more Raptors at the Carolina Raptor Center.
  7. Ride around the Charlotte Motor Speedway with the Petty Driving Experience: If you have always dreamt about being a NASCAR driver, then this is for you. You can either grab the wheel or take a ride along in a real NASCAR race car at the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
  8. Visit Bank of America Stadium and cheer on the Carolina Panthers: Bank of America Stadium is home of the Carolina Panthers. The Carolinas own NFL Football team, spend the day cheering on Cam and all the team!
  9. Experience Vegas for kids at Great Wolf Lodge: You can get a day pass or spend the night at the indoor water park, it has fun for all ages. The concord located resort has both water park and dry land activities and is great for year round fun!
  10. See all the beautiful flowers at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden: Located on the banks of Lake Wylie this 380 acre garden has something you can enjoy in all four seasons. Connect with nature on one of the many trails, and browse through the garden store.
  11. Eat dessert for dinner at The Ritz-Carlton’s Bar Cocoa: Bar Cocoa is a premier chocolate shop located in the lobby of the fancy Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Stop in for a delectable dessert and sit on the sidewalk terrace.
  12. Explore all the funky shops in NoDa: NoDA is a historic arts an entertainment neighborhood located in Charlotte. Park and stroll the funky shops and delicious resturants that are in the NoDa district.
  13. Get sky high on the roller coasters at Carowinds: Carowinds is an amusement park located on the line of North and South Carolina. Fun for all ages from Snoopy land, Fury 325 and the waterpark. You can spend all day taking it all in.
  14. Splash the day away at Ray’s Splash Planet: For a fun day of splashing and riding the slides, Ray’s Splash Planet is the place for you!
  15. Watch the beauty of butterflies at the Charlotte Nature Museum: Charlotte Nature Museum offers so many ways to connect with nature, from nature walks to the butterfly garden.
  16. Enjoy a girls day at the American Girl Store at Southpark: Wether your picking out a new outfit for your American Girl or taking her to eat lunch at the bistro, the American Girl Store at Southpark Mall will give you a day to remember.
  17. Devour fried pickles at Diamond Restaurant: One of Charlotte’s oldest Restaurants, The Diamond was first opened in 1945 and has always served “Good Home Cooking”
  18. Go to the Carolinas Aviation Museum and see the “Miracle on the Hudson”: Located just beside Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the Carolinas Aviation Museum highlights stories such as “Miracle on the Hudson” and gives history to all types of aircrafts.
  19. Take in all the history at the NASCAR Hall of Fame: NASCAR Hall of Fame is an interactive entertainment attraction honoring the history and heritage of NASCAR.
  20. Listen to Live music and enjoy family time at the Matthews Community Farmers’ Market: One of the largest Farmers Markets in Charlotte, everything sold at the market is local to the Matthews and surrouding areas. Enjoy live music, cooking demonstrations and so much more!
  21. Get interactive at Discovery Place Museum: Discovery Place Museum gives the chance for curious thinkers to explore the worlds of science, technology and nature.
  22. Dance the night away to live music at Romare Bearden Park: Romare Bearden Park is a 5.4 acre park located in Uptown Charlotte, from Party in the Park to Romare Fest you can always find live music!
  23. Learn the history of our region at the Levine Museum of the New South: Levine Museum of the New South shows you the diverse history of the South since the Civil War with the primary focus on Charlotte and surrounding areas.
  24. Wear your green and watch the Charlotte St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Join thousands of others at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, see bag pipes, floats and big Irish smiles!
  25. Bring in the New Year in uptown at the CLT New Year’s Eve party: Located at Romare Bearden Park, its an annual Charlotte tradition to watch the the Queen City crown drop while listening to the live band and fireworks at midnight.
  26. Attend the Speed Street 600 Festival: Speed Street is present by Coca-Cola and offers live entertainment, vendors and kid’s activities. Fun for the whole family!
  27. Visit the modern library and watch at show at ImaginOn: In the heart of the culture arts district this library and childrens theatre is ranked one of the top childrens librarys in the United States.
  28. Take in uptown by horse-drawn carriage: Founded in 1999, Charlotte Carriage tours will offer you a completely unique way to see Charlotte and all it has to offer.
  29. Cheer on the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena: Time Warner Cable Arena is home of the Charlotte Hornets, North Carolina’s NBA team. Spend an afternoon or evening in the bee hive cheering on the team.
  30. Eat yummy sweet potato pancakes at Tupelo Honey Café: From scratch made fried chicken to yummy sweet potato pancakes, Tupelo Honey will not have you disappointed. Join them for Brunch or lunch!
  31. Visit the Epicentre by taking the Lynx Rail into uptown: The coolest way to get into uptown by taking the Lynx light rail.
  32. Cool off in the fountains at Blakeney and enjoy live music: Sit by and enjoy live music while your little ones cool off by playing in the fountains.
  33. Go to Belk Theater and see a show: From Broadway to film, the Belk Theater has something for everyone. Get dressed up and spend the evening seeing a show.
  34. Spend Sunday Fun Day at the Mint Museum: With two locations in the Charlotte area, the Mint Museum offers a way to see all types of art. Take your time seeing everything they have to offer.
  35. Visit the James K. Polk Historic Site and explore his childhood home: The homesite of ur 11th president James K. Polk, you can see his log home, kitchen and barn all authentically furnished.
  36. See all the bands and floats at the Charlotte Thanksgiving Day Parade: The largest Thanksgiving day parade in the southeast is right here in Charlotte. it has been a tradition since 1947, spend your Thanksgiving morning watching one of the best parades.
  37. Get a kid’s bento box at The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar: If you want burgers and sushi then Cowfish is for you! Order the bento box to get a little bit of both.
  38. See all kinds of underwater creatures at Sea Life Aquarium: Inside Concord Mills Mall is Sea Life Aquarium, with a touchpool, turtles and everything else you can imagine!
  39. Check out all kinds of books at the Main Library: Located in the heart of the arts & education district, the Main Library is the heart of charlottes nineteen branch librarys.
  40. Indulge in your southern favorites at Mert’s Heart and Soul: One of the few resturants that has been featured on the hit show Diner’s, Drive-in’s and dives, Merts has traditional soul food that will make you want to try everything on the menu.
  41. Eat a BBQ lunch at Mac’s Speed Shop: Offering championship winning BBQ, Mac’s gives you, a blended experience of BBQ, and bikes.
  42. Drive thru all kinds of animals at the Lazy 5 Ranch: Get up close and personal with all types of animals, feed them when they come right up to your car or take a wagon ride through the park.
  43. See a show for kids by kids at Matthews Playhouse: Matthews Playhouse is a Performing Arts, Theatre for young people. They offer different plays all year around, located right in downtown Matthews.
  44. Celebrate diversity in Charlotte at the Yiasou Greek Festival in Dilworth: One weekend in September you can be apart of one of Charlotte’s largest cultural events. They offer traditional Greek cuisine and, entertainment, live music and dancing, wine tastings, art, shopping and more.
  45. Enjoy Fan Fest at the Belk Bowl: If you love College football then check out the Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium. Watch teams from the ACC and the SEC battle it out.
  46. Get on stage and dance at the Waldhorn’s Oktoberfest: Enjoy authentic German food and atmosphere at the Waldhorn’s Oktoberfest.
  47. Have fun and listen to live music at Romare Fest: Live music every Saturday night, Romare Fest is fun for the whole family.
  48. Take a stroll and get some exercise at one of Mecklenburg County’s 15 greenways: Currently Mecklenburg County has over 49 miles of greenways throughout Charlotte, connecting all different neighborhoods giving you the ability to stroll or bike all across the city.
  49. See a Dragon Boat Race at Ramsey Creek Park Asian Festival: Ramsey Creek Park is located on Lake Norman, the Dragon boat race and Asian Festivial teaches you about Asian culture and lets you experience everything it has to offer.
  50. Test your skills at the NFL Play 60 course at Freedom Park: Freedom Park offers a NFL Play 60 course so you can test your ability to see if you have what it takes to make it in the NFL.
  51. Learn about African-American Arts and Culture at the Harvey B. Gantt Center: The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African- American Arts + Culture celebrates the contributions of Africans and African- Americans to American culture and serves as a community center for music,and theater, plus many other programs.
  52. Experience the history of gold mining in NC at the Wells Fargo History Museum: The Wells Fargo History Museum goes over gold mining in North Carolina, the beginnings of Wachovia, and Wells Fargo history.
  53. Break out your ice skates at NASCAR Hall of Fame Rink: Ice Skate under the stars at the NASCAR hall of fame, one of Charlottes yearly winter attractions that makes for lasting memories year after year.
  54. Cheer on the Charlotte Checkers at a hockey game: Cheer on the Checkers, Charlottes Hockey team!
  55. Take a tour while walking through Historic Dilworth: Historic Dilworth is one of Charlottes oldest neighborhoods, going back to the 1890’s. Take a walking tour and learn about all the history in this great suburb.
  56. Start your weekend off right at Food Truck Friday in South End: Located in South End, Food Truck Friday offers multiple food trucks giving you to chance to taste a lot of the best food in Charlotte.
  57. Enjoy all the outdoor activities at U.S. National Whitewater Center: The U.S. National Whitewater Center has so much to offer. You can spend the day, whitewater rafting, ziplining, rock climbing or come in the evening and enjoy live music and yummy food. So much to do at the Whitewater center.
  58. Play on the spray pad at Birkdale Village: Birkdale Village is a shopping center located near Lake Norman, offering, resturants, shopping and a spray pad for kids to play in.
  59. Chill at Symphony Park at Summer Pops: This family-friendly concert experiences feature your Charlotte Symphony and a diverse mix of music. You can Listen, Dance and just enjoy the perfect taste of summer.
  60. Get a turkey leg at Carolina Renassance Faire: Go back in time 400 years, and immerse yourself in a time of Romance, Shakespeare and turkey legs at the Renassance Faire.
  61. Enjoy a tasty treat at Amelie’s French Bakery: Amelie’s French Bakery offers authentic French-inspired pastires, soups and sandwhiches. Go for a quick treat, or plan to stay a while.
  62. Have a hot dog and watch a Charlotte Knights baseball game: Head to BB&T ballpark and watch Charlottes Triple-A Affilate team, and get a beautiful view of Uptown.
  63. Let your imgination run wild at Discovery Place Kids: Discovery Place Kids is a children’s museum offering age appropriate experiences that encourage interactive learning through imagination and fun.
  64. Get ready for Christmas at the Southern Christmas Show: Start your holiday season off with a trip to the Southern Christmas show, with exhibitors from all over offering Christmas décor and gifts for everyone on your list.
  65. Grill out and tailgate before a UNCC Football game: Head to Charlottes local university and watch a great football game cheer on the 49ers.
  66. Ride all the rides at the Matthews Alive Festival: Every Labor Day weekend head to Matthew’s to go to the Matthews Alive Festival. Check out all the local vendors, food trucks and enjoy riding rides.
  67. Pass the syrup at the Original Pancake House for breakfast: The Original Pancake house was founded in 1953 and is still going strong today. Head on over for pancakes for breakfast, lunch or dinner and you wont be disapointed.
  68. Take a hike on the Anne Springs Close Greenway: Located in Fort Mill the Anne Springs Close greenway is over 2,100 acres of land filled with room to do all kinds of activities from hiking, biking and horseback riding to picnics, kayaking and more.
  69. Honor Dr.King by attending Charlottes MLK parade: Attend the MLK Parade and see different drum lines, floats, and so much more.
  70. Enjoy the Taste of Charlotte festival: Taste of Charlotte is a 3 day festival featuring 100’d samples from local restaurants as well as with Live Music and Entertainment, nteractive Children’s Activities, and so much more!
  71. Go on a nature walk on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway: The Little Sugar Creek Greenway is over 19 miles of trials and land connectors. It offers places for social events and trials for biking and hiking.
  72. Explore the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art: The Bechtler is only the second in this country designed by the Swiss architect Mario Botta. It is intimate in scale, delightfully arresting in its spaces and vistas and simple and elegant in its materials.
  73. Build a tall tower at the LEGO store at Concord Mills: At the LEGO store at Concord Mills you can meet with a specialist to pick the perfect project, play, build a tower and so much more.
  74. Taste all the cupcakes at Gigi’s Cupcakes: Gigi’s cupcakes offers 30 varieties of cupcakes each week to our adorable mini cupcakes, they bake cupcakes fresh each day. Spend an afternoon taste testing all 30 flavors!
  75. Go out of this world at the Schiele Museum of Natural History: Learn about all things from outerspace to reptiles at the Schiele Museum of Natural History which is located in Gaston County.
  76. All Aboard the fun at the Matthews train themed library: Located right next to the old Train Depot in downtown Matthews, you will find a train themed library to let your imagination run wild. Sit by the crackling fireplace and read a good book.
  77. Jump into Stallings Park interactive fountain: Stallings Park offers a interactive fountain you can run and play in, head to Stallings to see everything this park has to offer.
  78. Fly high at Sky Zone Charlotte: At Sky Zone Charlotte you can jump on the trampolines, play dodgeball, jump into the foam zone and so much more!
  79. Take in nature at Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve: Reedy Creek Nature Preserve is 927​ acres of natural, forested habitat within Reedy Creek Park. With over ten miles of hiking trails in the nature preserve you can explore a variety of terrains, while enjoying scenic views of small lakes, forests, fields, and wildlife.
  80. Get a taste of small town living on a day trip to Davidson: With just a short drive from Charlotte you can get to Davidson, spend the day going to a local farmers market, eat at one of the top rated resturants and sit by the lake and take in the view. So much to do in this small town.
  81. Stroll through the gardens at VanLadingham Estate: This historic inn is located in Plaza Midwood, it has five acres of land that inculde some of Charlottes oldest gardens.
  82. Take a swing at playing putt putt at Lake Norman Mini Golf: Head down to Lake Norman and play some Mini Golf, take in the 18 holes and finish off the fun with a snoball and even a game of lazer maze.
  83. Wether its strawberries or pumpkins you can pick your own at Hall Family Farm: Hall Family Farm is located in the Ballantyne area, if your picking strawberries or pumpkins there is plenty to do. They offer Hayrides, corn maze, animals to feed and even yummy treats.
  84. Learn all about Southeast Asia at the Festival of India: The India Association of Charlotte’s goal is to give a better understanding of the Indian culture. Try indian cusine, learn to dance and listen to live music at the Festival of India.
  85. Get wet by the Fish at the Green Uptown Fish fountain: The Green uptown is located near Wells Fargo Three in uptown, it’s a 3-tier park that has a literary theme with sculptures throughout. The Fish sculpture is also a water feature that you can splash around in.
  86. Go on a hayride at The Hunter Farm: Hunter Farm offers family fun all year around, from strawberries in the summer to wagon rides with Santa in the winter. Get your pumpkins, Christmas trees and strawberries all at the same place.
  87. Your choice of hiking, boating, or a picnic at Colonel Francis Beatty Park: Colonel Francis Beatty Park is a 265 acre park, it has basketball and tennis courts, soccer fields and horeshoe pits, picnic areas and hiking trails. Pack a picnic and spend the day at the park.
  88. Practice wearing a kilt to the Rural Hill Scottish Festival: Rural Hill Scottish Festival is located in Huntersville, it is 3 day’s of family friendly fun. At the Highland Games you’ll see Highland dancing, Bagpipe Bands, Historic Reenactments and much more.
  89. Race around the go-kart track at The Speedpark at Concord Mills: The Speedpark at Concord Mills offers multiple Go-Karting tracks, mini golf, 110ft slide and a game room.
  90. Find gold at Reed Gold Mine: Reed Gold Mine is the first documented gold find site in the United States. Take a tour of the site and even pan for gold.
  91. Admire the homes and trees in scenic Myers Park: Take a drive through one of Charlottes oldest neighborhoods, Myers Park. Admire the large oak trees and stately homes.
  92. Eat your heart out at the Fiddle n’ Pig Shindig BBQ & Bluegrass Festival: What goes together better than BBQ and Bluegrass? Get the best of both worlds at the Fiddle n’ Pig Shindig festival.
  93. Attend Fanfest and the ACC Football Championship: Head to Bank of America of stadium and watch the ACC Football Championship and cheer on your favorite ACC Football team.
  94. Eat at Flying Biscuit and shop at Stonecrest Piper Glen: Stonecrest at Piper Glen has everything you could need, from shopping, dining at some of Charlottes best resturants, a movie theater and even delicious ice cream.
  95. Play for hours at Sports Connection: Sports Connection offers, a full game room, a bowling alley, laser tag, and so much more.
  96. For an on point performance go to the Charlotte Ballet: The Charlotte Ballet is known for their high energy, precision and speed, as well as their ability to perform full-length classical ballets and innovative contemporary works.
  97. Bowl a few games at Strike City: Strike City bowling alley is located in the EPICenter in uptown charlotte, bowl a few games and see who can get the most strikes.
  98. Stroll down Main Street in Waxhaw: Waxhaw is a friendly, vibrant town where history and creativity build a safe and healthy community for people of all ages to live, learn, work, play or grow a business.
  99. Learn all the local history at Charlotte Museum of History: The Charlotte Museum of History is a non-profit organization that preserves Charlotte’s unique history, by enriching the community through sharing an understanding of the past and inspiring dialogue about the future.
  100. Sip on a milkshake at Pike’s Old Fashioned Soda Shop: Sip on a signature milkshake on a bar top stool at Pike’s Old Fashioned Soda Shop, which first opened its doors in 1931 and has been featured in the movie “Shallow Hal”
  101. Sit on the lawn and eat fried chicken from Price’s Chicken coop: Induldge on some of Charlotte’s best fried chicken while sitting on the lawn across from the resturant just like Jay Leno was seen doing.
  102. Feed the ducks lunch with a loaf of bread at Freedom Park: Grab a loaf of bread and head to one of Charlotte’s greatest parks, Freedom Park and feed the ducks at the large pond.
  103. Watch planes take off at the Airport overlook: Pack a picnic and head to the Airport overlook and watch the planes take off and land. During the summer Food trucks are there on Saturdays.
  104. Play in the sand at Jetton Park Lake Norman: Jetton Park is one of the oldest parks in Lake Norman. In addition to shaded walking trails, tennis courts and a playground, there’s a beach alongside Lake Norman. Pack some sand buckets and shovels and build a sand castle.
  105. Explore all the toys at Toys and Co.: Voted one of Charotte’s favorite toy stores located at Cotswold Shopping Center has multiple train tables and activity centers set up to keep kids entertained. It also hosts special events inculding live music.

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