Charlotte, North Carolina is a booming, beautiful city that is quickly becoming home to many new families each year. Whether it is the progress in local economic development, the warmer climate with many hikes and lots of outdoor draw, or the growing beer and local food scene – Charlotte is the perfect place for a weekend trip!
Friday: Sample The Beer Scene
With its growing and thriving beer scene, Charlotte has plenty of opportunity to drink the local brews. Whether you want to walk or drive to different breweries, there’s definitely something for everyone. If you’re a beer-lover who appreciates the art of the craft, Old Mecklenburg Brewery is where you should begin your beer tour. When they opened their doors in 2009, they were the only local brewery in Charlotte! Now one of many, OMB stands out with its indoor rustic charm and it’s 8-acre outdoor beer garden surrounded by 100-year-old oak trees with an atmosphere welcoming to any family, dog owner, or beer-loving-millennial. You could spend several hours here playing corn hole, sitting by a fire pit or listening to live music during special events.
You’ll also want to hit up Wooden Robot, a brewery in Charlotte’s South End offering a fun, casual atmosphere with lots of beer variety. A newer brewery in Charlotte, their playful name matches the spirit of the brewery – with beers like “Nuts and Bolts” and “Barking Up The Right Tree.” Sit outside or inside on comfy couches or bar stools, and make sure you get a flight of their cleverly named brews!
Sycamore Brewing, also in Charlotte’s South end, is not only home to some great beer, but also to (I hope you’re sitting down for this) Food Truck Fridays. Trucks ranging from sushi, tacos, burgers and more line up on Sycamore’s property on Friday nights to offer drinkers a bit of sustenance while they have a few brews. Sycamore’s got a great indoor feel, but most people flock to the massive outdoor patio with community picnic tables, where there are a ton of opportunities to pet neighboring dogs. (That’s really what everyone wants at a brewery, right — cute dogs, good beer and food trucks?)
Finish up your Friday at Sugar Creek Brewing Company, with great beer, 90s music playing upon entry, a beautifully lit patio, and a massive Connect 4 set. With large glass windows in their tap room, you can see right into their brewery, showcasing their huge stainless steel equipment adding to their industrial vibe. Sugar Creek probably had one of the more extensive beer lists, with lots of featured brews and rotating taps. I recommend the Raspberry White Ale and the Java Porter!
Saturday: Visit The U.S. National Whitewater Center
The Whitewater Center could easily provide you a full day of activity in Charlotte. Who knew this large city was home to the world’s largest man-made whitewater river with a wide range of outdoor activities including whitewater rafting and kayaking, zip lines, ropes courses and more! Choose either a full day pass for all available activities, or pay for just one activity (we chose a ropes course!) for a few hours of fun. With plenty of diverse ways to play, any family or group of friends could stay for as little or as long as you’d like at this amazing facility.
After you’ve worked up a sweat or been dunked in the white water river, make sure to stop at the Pumphouse Beirgarten for a cold beverage. With a variety of local beers on tap, you’ll be able to sit at picnic tables overlooking nearby rafters with a 360-degree view of the center. You can grab small snacks at the beirgarten, or head up to River’s Edge restaurant, with a wide menu of wine, beer and food. Smokehouse style dishes are also offered onsite at the Land Yacht.
On Thursday and Saturday nights throughout summer and early fall, the White Water Center also offers a River Jam, presenting local and national music acts to entertain guests after a full day of activity. Bring your camping chairs or hammock and set up directly in front of the stage surrounded by the man-made whitewater river.
Note: If you only wish to attend the White Water center for the food, music and libations, you can pay $10.00 per carload to enter the facility — but you don’t have to spend extra money to spectate.
Sunday: Embrace The Dough
Sunday Funday is all about eating, right? See how full you can get yourself on your Sunday with donuts, crepes and pizza. Here were three of our favorites:
Sugar Donuts offers gourmet, handmade donuts with flavors galore. I’m a traditional donut lover myself so I sampled the glazed donut (and was not disappointed)! Or, go big and try one of their crazy flavors like Maple Bacon!
Hazelnuts Creperie is a breakfast or brunch treat for any crepe lover out there. Choose between breakfast crepes, savory crepes, or sweet dessert crepes – filling them with everything from eggs, nutella, buffalo chicken (not all at the same time, unless that’s your thing) and more. Take friends – you’ll want to get one of each of the crepe styles and share bite-for-bite! I went with a dessert crepe, stuffed with banana, chocolate chips and peanut butter.
Inizio’s Pizza is a local pizza shop that offers authentic Neapolitan style pizza. We ordered three different kinds of pizza and we were not disappointed. The Pistachio, Margarita and Diavolo (a spicy meat style pizza) were all delicious – though the pistachio was the group favorite overall! The pistachio pizza is made with pesto sauce, lumps of delicious mozzarella and crumbled pistachios covering the top.
If you’ve got additional time in this city, Charlotte is home to an expanding city center, local hikes, and Bank of America Stadium where you can catch the Carolina Panthers on Sundays. With so much at your fingertips, it is easy to fall in love with the Carolina Charmer that is CLT.