Things To Do In Charlotte NC. Art, Culture, and Good Eats. Fall in Love With This Gem Of a City.
Looking for things to do in Charlotte NC? Great, you have the right article. A few weeks ago I was just like you in the sense of looking for “Things to do in Charlotte”. Truth is, I’d never been. Anytime I plan on traveling to a new city I heavily research Google and Tiktok to find things to do and great food selections. Charlotte was no different.
Charlotte reminds me a lot of Jacksonville, Florida as far as the geographical set-up. Lots of highway, and a little countryside. However, the difference is in the Uptown area (This is their “downtown”) and the overall southern hospitality. Charlotte has a healthy combination of suburb/country living, but is city enough for a City Girl such as myself to appreciate. The fact that everyone calls you “Queen” is a plus.
Things I Love About Charlotte
Everyone was friendly, courteous, and welcoming. I visited with my now tour buddy / cousin Erica. I love the city vibe and variety of things to do. We stayed at a hotel in the heart of downtown oops Uptown so we were within walking distance to everything imaginable. Specifically the Spectrum Center which is where our concert was being held.
Why I Visited Charlotte
We were in town to see our second Kendrick Lamar “Mr Morale and The Big Steppers” Tour. Our first stop was Houston. Yeah, we love Kendrick. Be sure to check out our Texas adventure and get things to do in Houston Texas if you’re visiting soon. Today it’s all about Charlotte NC. Keep reading to find out about some amazing Black Owned Restaurants and cool things to do in the Queen City. If you’re looking for specific info, scroll to the bottom to view the Table of Contents.
Things To Do In Charlotte North Carolina
Gawk At Nature At The Daniel Stow Botanical Gardens
If you follow me on IG you would know that I absolutely adore spending time in nature. I researched a botanical garden in Charlotte, it turns out they have two plus a full on rose garden. After a slight deliberation we’d decided The Daniel Stow Botanical Gardens would be the best fit. The current butterfly garden they are advertising sealed the deal.
The Daniel Stow Botanical Gardens is 380 acres of lush meadows, woodlands and lakefront property in Belmont, North Carolina. It’s about a 40 minute ride from Uptown. It features 7 stationary gardens including an Orchid Conservation and a gorgeous Canal Garden that features a 100 yard canal.
This is an outdoor open greenhouse of nothing but bright flowers and butterflies. Inside the bungalow you’re given the opportunity to “hold” the butterflies with nectar sticks that are provided. We did a full walk through and were in simple awe of these beautiful creatures thriving in this natural like habitat. This is definitely something to see and experience. This exhibit runs from May 28 – September 5. Catch it while you can.
Fun fact, the Orchid Conservatory is the Carolinas’ only 8,000-square-foot glass house dedicated to displaying tropical plants and orchids. It stands five-stories high and hosts a waterfall, showy blooming orchids and tropical plants. I warn you now, on a hot day it is not a cooling off mechanism. It was hot AF, humid.
When visiting the gardens on a hot day it is strongly advised you bring water to stay hydrated. Even with water we were just not up for visiting the back of the gardens. We did however view the canal garden, cottage garden, and part of the lost hollow children’s section.
If you’re into nature, The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is a charm to visit. They are located 6500 South New Hope Road Belmont, NC 28012. Hours of operation are Wednesday- Monday 9am – 4pm. It costs about 16.00 per adult. Be sure to visit them online for more info.
Harvey B. Gannt Center For African American Arts+Culture
While searching for museums the Harvey B. Gannt museum popped up. The main reason I chose this is because I am interested in anything regarding black culture and art. So this was the perfect choice over a few others that were on the list.
The Gannt museum is located in Uptown Charlotte at 551 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202. It’s named after Harvey Gantt, the city’s first African-American mayor and the first African-American student at Clemson University.
It features contemporary and abstract art. The entry was about 12.00 and museum has 3 levels. The bottom level is the gift shop area and the works of art are on the second and third levels.
Exhibitions We Saw
Billie Zangewa: Thread for a Web Begun
Future Present: Acquisition Highlights from the Permanent Collection
Painter’s Refuge: A Way of Life – A Solo Exhibition of Recent Work by Reginald Sylvester II
I don’t like taking many pictures in museums. Therefore, you will have to check this lovely spot out personally. You’ve got to act fast whereas the Billie Zangewa exhibit ends September 11, 2022.
Get Your Life Size Art Fix, Go See Metalmorphosis
Metalmorphosis is a unique stainless steel sculpture of a giant head by Czech Artist David Cerny. Its located at the Whitehall Corporate Center at 3701 Arco Corporate Dr, Charlotte, NC 28273.
The structure sits on a large reflecting pool and stands 25 ft tall, and weighs approximately 14 tons. The cool thing about this piece is it constantly rotates giving it an abstract and quirky look at each turn. Eventually it rotates to view the full face. If you’re into life size are, this should be on your bucket list.
Check out Lyrics and Love At Section
Even during the week there are still entertaining things to do in Charlotte NC. After a quick search I found an event that is hosted every Wednesday called Lyrics and Love. Formerly known as Floetry, Lyrics and Love allows you enjoy some amazing erotic poetry and adult games in a high energy fun mature atmosphere at the only erotic poetry open mic in the Charlotte.
Section is a tapas style lounge with plenty of seating and space located at Section, 832 Siegel Avenue, Charlotte, United States. The energy was great, drinks were flowing, and hookah was available. After the last artists went the DJ turned up to Charlotte’s version of house music. Such a good time.
Black Owned Restaurants In Charlotte NC
Jinya Ramen Bar
I’m going to give you a little tip if you weren’t already hip. Tiktok is the new google when looking for places to eat and things to do when going to any city. In this case I punched in “Black owned restaurants in Charlotte” and whew, all type of listings came up. However, Jinya Ramen caught my eye instantly. 1. I LOVE Asian cuisine. 2. I’ve never seen a black owned ramen shop.
After Tiktok I check google for reviews. This establishment had a 4.5 rating out of 800+ reviews. I knew it had to be good. Turns out this is a huge franchise and this location is owned by a black woman. The staff is a 10 out of 10. Everyone was knowledgeable and laid back yet professional.
What I Ate At Jinya Ramen Bar
Spicy Creamy Shrimp Tempura – I chose this as an appetizer. Nice sized shrimp fried to perfection and dropped in a bang bang sauce. I highly recommend.
Sake Margarita – Sweet delicious and the perfect drink if you’re not a heavy drinker
Jinya Chicken Ramen – When dealing with ramen most are cooked in a pork broth. I don’t eat pork. The good thing about Jinya you can completely customize any bowl. However I wanted to eat whatever I ordered as is. The Jinya Chicken Ramen is made with a chicken broth and is phenomenal. Packed with flavor every this about this bowl was delicious from the noodles to the fried onions on top. I added an egg to my bowl. It too was full of flavor. Yummy!
Jinya Ramen Bar is located at 601 s Tyron St in Uptown Charlotte at the Ally Charlotte Center. Parking is not an issue because they have a parking garage directly behind the building. Surprisingly Jinya validates your parking for up to 2 hours. So it’s basically free :).
If you’re not visiting Charlotte anytime soon and want to indulge, Jinya is a large chain with locations all over. Visit their website to find a restaurant near you.
The Don’s Kitchen
Just like Jinya Ramen I found this spot on Tiktok. Truth is, we were craving fried seafood. This spot came up several times. It was a no brainer we would take a trek to give it a try. At first we were completely lost, when going beware the GPS will direct you to the shopping plaza across the street. However, after calling a male answered the phone a little grumpy (lol) and told us to come to the barber shop next to Bojangles.
The Don’s Kitchen is solely ran by a male who goes by Tha Don or Zeb who displays humbleness, and loves to cook. He takes pride in his business and is extremely down to earth.
What I ordered At The Don’s Kitchen
The Don’s Kitchen offers fried seafood, wings, and an array of sides including, corn, mac n cheese, fries, okra, and flavored lemonades.
Hot Honey Lemon Pepper Whiting – Fried to perfection, no bones whatsoever and didn’t taste “fishy”, the sauce the pieces were dipped in was AMAZING. I asked which sauce was the best his response “all of them”. After eating this one sauce I would have to say I believe him.
Lemon Pepper Shrimp – Just like the fish, fresh and fried to perfection. The shrimp were large in size and simply delicious
Trap Corn – This should be called crack corn. Because it’s addictive. I’m not sure what the secret potion is, but it’s delectable. He calls it trap corn because once you eat it, you’re trapped. He’s right.
Mac and Cheese – Creamy, cheesy, delicious. This mac n cheese won’t disappoint.
The wait time for our food was less than 10 minutes. Zeb proudly presented our trays of perfectly fried fish and sides and started rolling the camera. Long story short we had to take the first bite to show how real the flavors are.
The Don’s Kitchen can be found at 4441 The Plaza, Charlotte, NC 28215 Tuesday – Saturday 12pm – 7pm. You can find this spot on IG @TheDonsKitchen1
Leah and Louise
Aside from wanting to support black owned business I also wanted something innovative and unique. To my delight when googling black owned restaurants this gem popped up. Leah and Louise is owned by James Beard-nominated Chef Greg Collier and business partner/wife Subrina Collier.
The entire menu is farm to table which means the selections are seasonal. They proudly select their ingredients from Springer Mountain Farms, Two Pigs Farms, Nebedaye Farms, Dukes Bread, Freshlist, & more. Everything is fresh and nothing is gone to waste.
The feel of the space is a Caribbean juke joint. In fact its called a Southern-Inspired Juke Joint. The restaurant is low lit and gives the feel that you’re on a shipwrecked island. Our server Coleen was unmatched. She gave great selections and knew what would be a hit based on our tastebuds
What I ate at Leah and Louise
Esco – A cocktail. Lunazul reposado tequila, yellow chartreuse, ilegal mezcal, ginger, lemon. This drink is not only delicious it is refreshing and light. If you love ginger you will love this drink.
On My Way Home – An appetizer. Mussels Lemon, Butter, Worchestershire, Cornmeal Brioche. The sauce? Heavenly. Not only was it good with the mussels try dipping the grilled brioche in it. If I lived in Charlotte I would go there just for the sauce, take it home and make pasta with it.
Ear to the Seas – A scallop dish appetizer served on top of corn with a blueberry paste. So ingenious and delicious.
Innocent Bywater – A staple entree dish but varies depending on whats in season. Our selection was Angel Fish. Pan seared and delicately placed on top of a corn succotash mixed with fresh veggies, black eyed peas, and the sauce. whew. Not only was the fish filling it was white flaky and light. We left full but not weighed down.
The flavors in each dish were unheard of and delicious. I loved everything I ordered and would easily return here again and again. Leah and Louise is located at 301 Camp Road | Charlotte, NC 28206 in the Camp North End Market. Visit them online for more info.
Turns out the owners are expecting to expand this brand further with more spots to indulge in. Check out this article I found on Eater Carolinas with details.
Charlotte NC In Conclusion
Charlotte had been on my list of places to visit in 2022 and I can officially say I’ve checked it off. Although my stay was short and during the week (Tuesday – Thursday), it felt fulfilled. We had plenty to do. From the pleasant ambience of the locals, to the mouthwatering food Charlotte is a place I can see myself visiting often. I hope that if you’re a local or passing though for the first time this guide give you some insight on things to do in Charlotte NC.
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Diane Rochele says
Thanks for the refreshing description of this jewel of a rich and vibrant, southern city.
Ashley Tamarra says
Yes! Thank you for reading!