Jun 8, 2023 - Things to Do

20 fun things to do in Charlotte this summer

Camden Commons South End

Camden Commons in South End. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

Summer doesn’t officially start until June 21. But this warm weather has us in a big summertime mood already.

Here are 20 fun activities to add to your summer bucket list.

  • Of note: These activities are listed in no particular order; this is not a ranking.

Go to at least one River Jam Concert at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.

Details: The USNWC puts on outdoor concerts every Thursday through Saturday from 7-10pm all summer long. They bring in a variety of artists from all different genres, including roots rock, Americana, bluegrass, folk and funk. There’s food, craft beer, and yoga sessions at 6:30pm.

  • Life Like Water on June 9
  • Pretty Little Goat on June 10

Cost: Free, $6 parking.

Whitewater Center
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Catch one of Camp North End’s outdoor movies during their summer series.

Details: Watch some of the most iconic 80s and 90s films every Thursday outside of the Ford Building. Before the screening, challenge your friends to a few retro arcade games or grab food and drinks from local spots at Camp North End.

  • June 15 –  The Sandlot
  • June 22 – A Goofy Movie
  • July 6 – Independence Day
  • July 13 – Jaws
  • July 27 – Space Jam
  • August 3 – Big Momma’s House
  • August 24 – Rush Hour
  • August 31- Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Cost: Free

Enjoy a meal on a patio.

Details: You can find a good patio in just about every one of Charlotte’s neighborhoods. Here are a few to check out:

Go deeper: The 25 best patios in Charlotte, right now

noda company store new patio
Photo: Emma Way/Axios

Honor Black History during Juneteenth.

Details: There are several events set to take place in the days leading up to Juneteenth and on the holiday itself. Here are a few that stood out to us:

  • Durag Fest – This day-long block party will have food trucks, DJs, a fashion show and, of course, “wave checks.” June 24 at Camp North End.
  • Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas – Expect festivities like a youth day camp, a drum circle and performers from around the world. June 15-18 at the House of Africa — 1215 Thomas Ave. in Plaza Midwood.
Photo: Courtesy of Durag Festival

Go to the final Camden Commons pop-up.

What: Camden Road will once again close off to street traffic and transform into a pop-up outdoor living space where folks can hang out, play games, listen to music and eat tasty food from South End restaurants.

Date: June 18 from 11am to 5pm.

Cost: Free

Camden Commons South End
Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

Participate in an outdoor yoga class.

Details: There are a handful of outdoor yoga classes to try out around the city. Here are a few that happen regularly:

  • Camp North End – Counterculture Club hosts a 1-hour yoga class on Sundays at 10am under the water tower at Camp North End. It’s free for members and $10 for non-members.
  • Gantt Center – Meet on the rooftop every Sunday at 12:30pm. Free for members, $10 for non-members.
  • Whitewater Center – Classes take place daily at 6:30pm and flow varieties include open level flow, slow flow and fun flow.

Catch a Knights game at Truist Field.

Details: Baseball season is in full swing, so head to the ballpark to cheer on the Knights.

Dates: The season will run through September.

Photo: Emma Way/Axios

Go to Americrawl hosted by Rich + Bennett.

Details: Take to the streets in Uptown for Charlotte’s most patriotic bar crawl. Wear your favorite red, white and blue get-up for a chance to win prizes for the best-dressed individual, duo and group.

Cost: Tickets start at $10 and increase up until the event date. Cost includes drink specials, cover charges, commemorative koozies and giveaways. A portion of the proceeds will directly benefit local military charity Veterans Bridge Home.

Date: July 1

Plan a lake day at Lake Norman or Lake Wylie

Where to go:

  • Lake Norman State Park has a 125-yard sand beach equipped with a concession stand, bathhouse, restrooms and lockers. $4-$6/per person. The main park is free to access.
  • Ebenezer Park has a public beach, campsites and outdoor sports courts on the edge of Lake Wylie. Day passes are $3 for York country residents and $5 for non-York county residents.
  • Ramsey Creek Beach is a 43-acre lakeside park with a half-acre sandy beach. Parking is $10 for Mecklenburg County residents and $15 for non-county residents.

Go deeper: Guide to Rock Hill’s lakefront beach with outdoor movies and beach volleyball

Ebenezer Park Lake Wylie
Courtesy of Ebenezer Park.

Swim in the rock quarry at Carrigan Farms.

About the quarry: It’s a natural spring-fed body of water that was discovered in the 1960s when crews were mining for granite stone. Now, it’s become a popular local destination to spend hot days. The best part? It has a mini beach with sand.

Swimming details: It’s $20-$30/per person to swim at The Quarry (cash only).  You must pass a swim test to be in the water without a life jacket.

Address: 1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy, Mooresville

The Quarry at Carrigan Farms
Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

Go to a concert.

Details: Nothing says summer like a photo on the lawn of the PNC Music Pavilion. Here are just a few artists making their way through Charlotte this summer.

Go deeper: Live music: 10 concerts coming to Charlotte in June, including Dierks Bently and Logic 

Lounge on a rooftop.

Details: In our eyes, there’s no such thing as a bad rooftop. Here are a few suggestions for your next rooftop outing, depending on the vibe you’re going for.

Go deeper: 18 best rooftop bars in Charlotte

Photo: Alexis Clinton/Axios

Watch a fireworks show on the 4th of July.

Details: Depending on where you’re viewing from, sometimes you can see a couple of fireworks shows at once. Here are some of the 4th of July celebrations with fireworks that are on our radar:

Get your rear in gear during 24 Hours of Booty.

What: Every year, hundreds of walkers and more than 1,000 bikers commit to walking and cycling for 24 hours (or as much as they’d like in that 24-hour period) around the famous Booty Loop in Myers Park.

  • Levine Cancer Institute, Levine Children’s Hospital, The Livestrong Foundation and Queens University of Charlotte are the main beneficiaries of the event, but 10-20 other cancer-related nonprofits will receive support, too.
  • If you don’t plan to walk/bike, you can cheer on the participants from the sidelines or hang out in the food/expo area.

When: July 28-29, 2023

Hike to the top of Crowder’s Mountain and take in the views.

Trails: Take Crowder’s Trail for a more moderate climb. Go with Rocktop Trail for a more strenuous hike and views along the way. If you want a shorter climb to the summit, hit up Backside Trail. It’s steep but it’ll get you to the top quicker.

Keep in mind: Trails are accessible from 8am to 8pm during March and April and from 8am to 9pm from May to September. The trails are always less crowded earlier in the day.

Après hike: Veronét Vineyards is a 12-minute drive from Crowder’s, so go for a post-hike drink and snack.

Related guide: Definitive hiking guide: The 16 best hikes around Charlotte

crowders mountain
Photo: Axios archives

Gather your friends to ride a pedal pub.

Details: This two-hour tour lets you and up to 14 people pedal around town while making stops at local bars and breweries.

  • Expect 2-3 stops along the way.

Routes: The pedal pub does excursions through South End and Uptown.

Cost: If you’re booking as an individual, the cost comes out to about $41. If you book with a group, it’s roughly $30 a person.

Trolley Pub South End
Trolley Pub. Photo: Symphony Webber

Have the time of your life at a drag show.

Details: Drag shows make a great outing for birthdays, bachelorettes or just because.

Pro Tip: Bring dollar bills to tip the dolls.

Go deeper: 15 Drag shows in Charlotte this June

Take part in Charlotte Pride.

Details:Pride festivities return to Uptown again this year. During the pandemic, the parade and many other activities were canceled.

Mark your calendars: 

  • Charlotte Pride Festival – August 19-20, 2023
  • Charlotte Pride Parade – Aug. 20, 2023

Dine at a lakefront restaurant.

Details: Lake Norman and Lake Wylie are located about 30-minutes from Uptown, and each has a handful of lakefront restaurants. Here are two to check out:

  • Hello, Sailor – Lake Norman (20210 Henderson Road)
  • Drift – Lake Wylie (315-M Lanyard Lane)
patio-at-hello-sailor-restaurant-charlotte
Hello, Sailor. Photo: Ted Williams/Axios

Related story: 2-story waterfront restaurant in Lake Wylie opening May 9

Ride all the rides at Carowinds.

The rides: Carowinds has more than 50 rides at varying thrill levels. Scan Carowinds’ full list of rides here and sort by attraction type, thrill level, minimum height and fast lane accommodations.

  • Kid-friendly: There are a number of kid- and family-friendly rides, including the Flying Ace Balloon Race and the Kiddy Hawk coaster.
  • The coasters: Carowinds is home to 14 roller coasters, including the world’s top-rated steel coaster, Fury 325. 

Cost: Day passes cost $40. You can also opt for a season pass, which includes unlimited visits.

  • Fast Lane pass: For $80, you can spare yourself the time spent standing in line for all the major rides.
fury 325 coaster at carowinds
Axios archives

Editor’s note: We first published this guide in June 2022 and updated it June 8, 2023.

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