With so many family-friendly attractions in Charlotte and a city rich with culture, Charlotte is the perfect place to plan your next family vacation. Here are a few ideas for things to do in Charlotte, North Carolina with kids.
Kids Attractions in Charlotte, NC
Who doesn’t like to stare at majestic birds? Charlotte is home to the Carolina Raptor Center, an amazing 1,500-acre nature preserve with hawks, vultures, falcons, and owls (don’t worry, low chances of these birds swooping up your young). With the exception of winter months, the center is open 7 days a week and has regular special events.
One of the best things to do in Charlotte with kids on a rainy day is visit ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center. This place is what it would be like if a kids library and kids theater had a baby. It’s been ranked by Livability.com as the No. 1 kids library in the country and has tons of media to explore and places to curl up with a good book for one of those much-needed quiet afternoons.
For a family-friendly day to remember, you’ll want to make sure to check out a game of the Charlotte Knights at BB&T Ballpark. Even if baseball isn’t your favorite thing to do with family in Charlotte, there are tons of festivals and special events happening at the ballpark — as well as fireworks in Charlotte at night!
Museums in Charlotte
Charlotte is rich in history, with the city itself even predating European settlement. According to CharlottesGotALot.com, Charlotte was the place the first piece of gold was ever discovered as well as the OG home of the U.S. Mint. The building that housed the U.S. Mint was deconstructed, moved and later reconstructed, but if you have the kinds of kids who listen when you say, “don’t touch that!” (ha ha ha), then you may want to visit the Mint Museum of Art, which is the museum it was transformed into — the first art museum of North Carolina.
Speaking of the finer things in life, you and your kids could spend an afternoon having some tea at the Charlotte Museum of History. Even if you’re not a big tea drinker, there are tons of great exhibits including the Hezekiah Alexander House, the oldest surviving structure in the area built in 1774. And if you’re really into diving deep into the history of a city you’re visiting, TripAdvisor offers Charlotte’s Historical City Tour for $38.
Best Hotels in Charlotte
There are so many options of best places to stay in Charlotte, most of which are fine for kids. If you’re looking for a modern stay, check out Drury Inn & Suites Charlotte Arrowood. There’s a pool and they even give you a free drink at the bar that you can cash in once the kids go to sleep.
Another great option (with a Sweet Tea bar) is the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel. The hotel has a southern vibe throughout and it’s super close to BB&T Ballpark.
Best Restaurants in Charlotte
There are so many wonderful kid-friendly restaurants in Charlotte, NC, and best places to eat in Charlotte — there’s something for the whole family depending on what you’re in the mood for. If your family’s palettes range from regular ol’ chicken nuggets to raw fish, you have to try The Cowfish. Their bento boxes are amazing (p.s. disguising healthy food in an organized and sectioned box is the best way to trick your kids into eating it) and if you like something spicy, the Jalapeno Popper Show-Stopper Burger is to die for.
If your favorite dining experience is anything like mine, you like a joint where there’s enough junk on the walls to look at when the inevitable “I’m hungry” tantrum kicks in and you need to look at anything other than your screaming toddler. Chuy’s is just the place for that, with hub caps and other cool stuff lining the walls. If all else fails, they’ll let your kid play with a tortilla ball until their food comes.
Harper’s Restaurant is another wonderful option that boasts “American-style cuisine and warm Southern hospitality.” Harper’s has a wood-fired oven for pizza, steaks and even yummy snacks for the littlest traveler. Can you say peanut butter and jelly sushi?
Can’t decide exactly what you’re in the mood for? 7th Street Public Market has something for everyone, with food vendors of multiple cuisines lining the walls. It’s a great place to get a cup of coffee too.
Parks in Charlotte, NC
There are tons of parks in Charlotte you’ll want to check out with your family, starting with Arequipa Park in downtown Charlotte, best known for its decorative fountain. The Green is a great place to settle in the grass with a blanket for a picnic, or if you’re looking for walking trails in Charlotte, you may want to try Frazier Park.
But one of the best parks in Charlotte is Freedom Park, known for its lush fountain, year-round activities and gorgeous flowers.