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Even though it’s been miserably rainy and cold, spring seems to be almost here. Here are the 30 coolest things to do this spring in Charlotte.
(1) Be part of March Madness at the 2019 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament
Details: It’s going down March 12-March 16 at Spectrum Arena. Buy tickets
VIP action: Check out exclusive ticket packages with VIP perks like pregame court access and entry to Crown Club Hospitality area. Comes with:
- Beer, wine and tailgate food
- Access to watch teams enter and exit from the area
- Early entry through the Executive Entrance
(2) Spend the day walking, eating and drinking along the Rail Trail
Where to eat: Price’s Chicken Coop is a go-to stop for no-frills fried chicken. Head to Hawker’s Asian Street Fare for small plates. If you’re craving tacos, grab a spot at Sabor Latin Street Grill. Rosemont is ideal if you’re looking to eat and drink (hello alcoholic Capri Suns). Jeni’s Ice Cream is close by for when you need dessert.
Bonus stop: Around the corner from Jeni’s Ice Cream, snap a pic in front of Evelyn Henson’s Confetti Hearts Wall.
(3) Stay in a treehouse with friends at Treehouse Vineyards
- ‘Date Nite’ Treehouse accommodates up to 6 people. Reserve during the day for $25/hr
- ‘Horsefeathers Hideaway’ treehouse holds up to 8 people. Starting from $175/night
- ‘Papa’s Dream’ treehouse is available for overnight stays only. Starting from $125/night
Taste + tour: It’s only $8 per person for a wine tasting and tour. The tasting comes with a preselected flight and happen at the top of the hour from 12 p.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday. No reservation needed.
(4) Climb the summit of Crowder’s Mountain for an insta-worthy pic
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 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. during March and April and from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. from May to September. The trails are always less crowded early.
(5) Celebrate St. Paddy’s at the U.S. National Whitewater Center’s Green River Revival
Details: It’s happening March 16 at from 9:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m at the USNWC.
Stuff to experience:
- Slow Flow, Open Level Flow and Fun Flow yoga classes
- Color Me Green 5K Trail Run ($35 pre-race registration fee – sign up)
- Live music from the River Jam Stage
- Seeing the river get dyed green
Cost: Free admission ($6 to park). Or you can upgrade to Green River Terrace Access for $45/person, which includes a private cash bar, lunch, exclusive viewing area, indoor and outdoor seating and private restrooms.
(6) Join in on Rich & Bennett’s 19th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl
When: Saturday, March 16 from noon to 10 p.m.
Participating bars: 204 North, Corner Pub, 5 Church, Rooftop 210, Roxbury, Graham St. Pub, Flight Beer and Music Hall, Ri Ra’s, Ink N Ivy and lots more. See the full list.
Tickets: $25 online and $30 day of. Plus, you get a t-shirt. Buy here.
Why it’s cool: It’s the world’s largest pub crawl.
(7) Grab a rooftop drink and take in Queen City views
For a swanky vibe: Hit up Merchant & Trade on the 19th floor of the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel. Along with craft cocktails, they serve fancied up food like lobster corndogs.
For a club-y, outdoor lounge feel: Wander up to City Lights Rooftop and toast to spring with a Sparkle & Pop aka a $14 glass of bubbly with a local King of Pops popsicle in it.
For a casual, sports bar vibe: Head to Graham St. Pub & Patio. It’s more low key and still offers great city views.
(8) Get your adrenaline pumping on a mountain bike trail ride
Trails listed by difficulty
- Moderate: 7 Oaks Preserve Trail, 6500 South New Hope Road, Belmont
- Intermediate: Itusi Trail, 759 State Park Road, Troutman
- Hard: Back Yard Trail, 5539 Farmbrook Drive
Pro tip: Check out the Tarheel Trailblazers website ahead of time for trail conditions. Plus, check out review and see how you can get involved.
(9) See Tony Award-Winning Dear Evan Hansen at Belk Theater
Awards: Dear Evan Hansen won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical and the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. It’s gotta be good.
Details: The show is running from March 19 – 24 at Belk Theater.
Tickets: Prices start at $34.50. All but 3 shows are sold out so snag tickets quick.
(10) Celebrate OMB’s 10th birthday
When: For its 10th birthday, OMB is throwing a huuuge two day party with live music both days. Mark your calendar for the weekend of March 23 & 24.
You know you need it: OMB will be selling a gold-leaf “Das Boot” glass that hold a liter of beer. It’ll run you $19.99 and the first fill up of fresh beer is included.
From the owner: “We’re proud to be Charlotte born and brewed,” says OMB’s founder, John Marrino. “Since OMB was the only brewery in Charlotte when we opened in 2009, the biggest challenge was overcoming skepticism that a small local brewery could produce world-class beer, and make it consistently week in and week out.” Now our region has over 50 local breweries and about 10 more under construction.
Don’t forget: OMB will expand into downtown Cornelius. It purchased 24 acres of land with an old automotive parts factory on it and is currently in the process of designing the Brauhaus and Biergarten by repurposing the old factory building. Their goal is for it to be open by late summer of 2020.
(11) Go on a group date to Hello, Sailor and sit on the patio overlooking Lake Norman
What to eat: Share the hushpuppies ($3.99), oysters (market price), Florida blue crab claws ($13.49), Carolina shrimp calabash plate ($15.99) and lobster roll served on milk bread ($29.99).
What to drink: A Cherry Lemon Sundrop Negroni Slushie ($8) or a Subterranean Spritz — vodka, smoked pineapple, falernum, agave, key lime and lime La Croix ($10)
Kind of a big deal: Hello, Sailor and Kindred owner, Joe Kindred was recently named a 2019 James Beard Award Semi-Finalist for “Best Chef: Southeast”
(12) View waterfalls on this DuPont State Recreation Forest hike
Stats: 10,400 acres of forest. 86 miles of trail. 4 waterfalls. 2 hours from Charlotte.
The waterfall hike: The 3-mile waterfall hike will take you to Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, and High Falls. It’s a laid back hike that will still give you a lot of bang for your buck.
Fun fact: Scenes from The Hunger Games were filmed at the waterfalls in DuPont.
(13) Go glamping and sleep comfortably under the stars
Glamping explained: It’s basically camping with a little more luxury than your traditional tent and sleeping bag set-up. I recently went glamping in Asheville and stayed in a geodesic dome. Get all the details of my experience here.
Places to stay
- Sleep in a geodesic dome at Asheville Glamping from $155/night (Agenda guide)
- Spend the night in the Serenity Yurt for $144/night
- Relax in a solar-powered luxury tipi in Boone for $95/night
(14) Cheer on our Triple-A Charlotte Knights baseball team at BB&T Ballpark
When: The season opener is April 4th and games run through the end of August (about 70 home games).
Fireworks: The Knights will have a total of 19 firework shows throughout the season
Thirsty Thursday deal: $5 craft beers, $3 domestic beers and $1 sodas. Here’s a full list of promos, including $1 hot dog nights, 9 celebrity nights and 4 bobblehead nights.
(15) Enjoy a Mountain Candy IPA and live music at Sycamore Brewing’s Spring Fest
When: April 13. It’s their biggest part of the year.
Details: Expect indoor and outdoor beer stations along with live music on two stages
(16) Spend the day at the U.S. National Whitewater Center’s Tuck Fest
Details: April 25 – 28 at the USNWC. Admission is free and it’s $6 to park. If you participate in any competitions or races, there’s a $40 pre-registration fee ($45 day of). That fee allows you to participate in all of Tuck Fest’s races and competitions. Register here.
Stuff to experience:
- Twilight 5k Trail Race
- Glow Yoga
- Live music on the River Jam Stage
- Mountain Bike Half Marathon
- Youth Obstacle Race
- Intermediate Freestyle Kayaking
- Dog Jog
- #TuckFest Photo Competition
- DIY Camping Stove Clinic
(17) Fore! Tee it up at Charlotte’s best golf courses
Best public golf courses: Verdict Ridge Golf & Country Club, Carolina Lakes Golf Club, The Golf Club at Ballantyne, Mooresville Golf Club and Eagle Chase Golf Club (full public golf course rankings).
Best country clubs: Our city’s country clubs have an indisputable upper tier, based on price, prestige and exclusivity – Charlotte Country Club, Myers Park Country Club, Quail Hollow and Carmel Country Club.
(18) Drink a margarita on RuRu’s patio
- ‘Friend Zone’ House margarita – house tequila, agave, lime juice, orange juice, salted rim ($9)
- ‘You Talking To Me’ House infused jalapeno tequila, agave, lime juice, salted rim ($9.75)
- ‘Mortimer Duke’ Herradurra Resposado, agave, lime juice, cointreau ($13)
Food to order: Start with the ‘I am McLovin’ queso blanco and chips ($6.95) and a round of tacos. The ‘Stage Five Clinger’ has crispy chicken, lettuce, spicy corn relish, pickled jalapeños, chipotle aioli ($3.95) or go with a ‘Long Duck Dong’ with Korean-style sweet & spicy steak, pickled cabbage, sesame seeds, cilantro ($4.29)
Specials: On Mondays you can get $5 ‘Friend Zone’ and ‘Magic Mike’ margaritas. Go on Tuesdays for $2 select tacos of the day.
(19) Shoot sporting clays at The Fork
Location: The Fork Farm and Stables, 3200 Fork Road, Norwood
The courses: Set on 1,600 acres at the Pee Dee and Rocky Rivers, The Fork has two 14 station wooded and field courses, one 7-station small gauge course, a covered five-stand, and a four-person, eight-trap, 65-foot tower/flurry.
Cost: Gun rentals are $35 for the day and targets start at $12.
(20) Sip on a mint julep at Queen’s Cup Steeplechase
The event: Get dressed up and watch some of the most athletic thoroughbred horses race at speeds of up to 30 mph. Check out the hat contest and tailgate with mint juleps. There’s even a Jack Russell Terrier race, if you’re more of a dog person.
Details: Saturday, April 27 in Mineral Springs. General admission starts at $50. Buy tickets.
Tailgating: Queen’s Cup is all about the tailgate. Tailgating spots start at $150. Want to tailgate but don’t want to set up you’re own spot? Tailgate in the Treehouse party tent. Your ticket gets you access to the Treehouse tent, bottomless free beer and wine, catered lunch and access to the races. Buy tickets.
(21) Go for a sunset horseback ride and have dinner like a cowboy
Where: Country Time Equestrian Events, 310 Joe Lee Helms Rd, Indian Trail
What to expect: Go on a 50-minute guided sunset trail ride through surrounding farmland and then enjoy a cowboy dinner around a bonfire. It’s $80/per person and must be a group of 4 or more.
Dinner menu: Includes grilled chicken, pork chops, mashed potatoes and baked apples.
(22) Putt putt, go-kart and then hang upside down at Frankie’s
Things to do: The outdoor portion of the 20-acre park features three 18-hole miniature golf courses, three custom designed go-kart tracks, a spinning tea-cup ride, swing ride, halfpipe ride and some crazy ride named “Discover” where you hang upside down while spinning 60 feet in the air.
How does it works: You load up a “Fun Card” with money and then use the card as currency throughout the facility.
Where: Frankie’s is a 20-acre amusement park in Huntersville
What’s inside: The 84,000-square-foot indoor portion of Frankie’s Fun Park has 24 bowling lanes, a restaurant, bar, laser tag, three-story playground, ride that drops 30 feet, LED-illuminated bumper cars and a massive arcade (you can redeem arcade points for physical prizes).
Agenda guide: Take a tour of Frankie’s, now open near Charlotte
(23) Go for a ride at Rock Hill’s BMX Supercross Track
Where: 1307 Riverwalk Parkway, Rock Hill, SC
- Beginners can take the New Rider Orientation (Free)
- There’s a Novice clinic for the next step up ($10)
- For those with a little more experience, take the Intermediate clinic ($10)
- Open practice (balance bikes only) is every Thursday from 4 – 6 p.m. ($5)
Rentals: Rent a BMX bike and helmet for $10 or a balance bike and helmet for $5.
See a race: The USA BMX Carolina Nationals and USA Cycling Elite National Championships are happening March 29-31. Free admission.
(24) Swim in a rock quarry at Carrigan Farms
About the quarry: It’s a natural, spring fed, body of water that was discovered back in the last 1960s when mining for granite stone. Now you can swim in it.
Location: 1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy, Mooresville
Swimming details: It’s $15/per person to swim at The Quarry (cash only). The next Open Swim will be on Memorial Day, May 27.
(25) Spot Tiger Woods tee off at the Wells Fargo Championship
Details: April 29-May 5 at Quail Hollow Club.
What to expect: Big names in golf battling it out. Cold drinks. Good food. And an overall chill day on the course. Last year, Jason Day took home the trophy. Who’s it going to be this year?
Tickets: Single-day grounds tickets start at $55. Buy here.
(26) Climb the Deep Water Solo rock wall at USNWC
Details: The USNWC’s deep water solo is a series of climbing walls (ranging 25 to 40 feet tall) that hang over a 20-foot deep pool. Climbers tackle the wall without a harness and nothing but water below.
Price: $59 adult day pass gets you access to all available land and water activities.
(27) Try craft beer at Untapped Beer Festival inside Bank of America Stadium
It’s happening: May 4 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Bank of America Stadium. Dope.
Details: Sample beer from over 100 brewers, many local and regional. Each booth will offer samples of 2-4 beers.
Tickets: There are three tiers – General Tickets ($50), Early Access Tickets ($65) and VIP Tickets ($200). Buy here.
Quote: “The beer and brewery scene continues to be a beacon for the growth of our region, and we can’t wait to welcome many local and national brewers to our stadium.” – Panthers President Tom Glick
(28) Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend at the Coca-Cola 600
The event: This is the historic 60th year of the Coca-Cola 600. Expect all the big names in NASCAR. A salute to military heroes. Beer. And 600 miles of loud, heart pumping racing.
Details: Sunday, May 26 at 6 p.m. at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Buy tickets.
(29) Take a dip in one of Charlotte’s swimming pools
YMCA pools: They’ve got over 15 pools and waterparks across our city.
Neighborhood pools: Here are the details on 8 neighborhood swim clubs you can join, including pricing, amenities and waitlist times.
Apartment pools: Get ready to party because Charlotte’s apartment pool scene is huuuge. Here’s the 10 best apartment pools.
(30) Ride a jet ski on Lake Norman
Places to rent jet skis
- What’s Up Watersports – Starting from $139 for 2 hours
- Lake Effects – Starting from $179 for 2 hours
- Aquaventure Watercraft Rentals (Membership includes boat and jet ski rentals)
Pro tip: Chill out on Lake Norman’s Ramsey Creek Beach after your jet ski ride. It opens late May.
This story was made possible by The Queen’s Cup – the premiere event of the season. The editorial selection and content is not endorsed or influenced by this sponsor.