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Uptown is Charlotte’s bank and corporate office hub, but it also houses many of the city’s best museums, top restaurants, and parks.
Charlotte’s city center is broken into four quadrants: First Ward, Second Ward, Third Ward, and Fourth Ward. Let’s explore each ward and Uptown in its entirety with these 17 must-do activities.
(1) Visit a museum or #MuseumFromHome
Most museums are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but they offer virtual activities and ways to explore online. Do a Juneteenth art project through the Harvey B. Gantt Center, explore Mint Museum Uptown’s galleries online, stay connected with the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, or do a family-friendly at-home science experiment with Discovery Place Science.
[Agenda related guide: 8 online resources to educate and entertain the whole family while we’re quarantined]
(2) Get a Bloody Mary kit from Halcyon, Flavors from the Earth
The drink kit, which serves up to four people, includes Halcyon’s signature mix, celery, housemade pickles, and blue cheese olives for $14. Call 704.910.0865 to place your to-go order.
Reopening plan: Expect the restaurant to reopen for dine-in later this summer. When it does, you’re going to want to snag a patio seat, overlooking Uptown’s skyline.
Where: 500 S. Tryon St.
[Related Agenda guide: 2020 Rankings: The 20 best restaurants in Charlotte, right now]
(3) Head to the Uptown Farmers’ Market
Shop for farm-grown produce, artisan foods and bakery items, coffee, fresh flowers, and meats 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Saturday.
Safety details: Vendors are 20 feet apart and traffic flows one way. Mask-wearing and frequent hand washing (stations are set up) are encouraged.
Where: 300 S. Davidson St.
(4) Grab a bottle of wine from Poplar
The beloved tapas and wine spot has more than 25 bottles of wine to choose from, starting at $22 (now 30 percent off). Add a $14 charcuterie board or other tapas dishes if you’re feeling hungry.
To order: Call 704.940.5757 or order online. Poplar is open 4-8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.
Where: 224 W. 10th St.
(5) Cool off in First Ward Park’s sprayground
Stroll around the 4.6-acre park, cool off with the water fountains, or pack a picnic and bask in the sun. Either way, the park has plenty of space to spend time outside while social distancing.
Where: 301 E. 7th St.
(6) Picnic with any number of restaurants in Uptown
From fancier picks like 5Church (opening for dine-in June 22) to casual staples like Green’s Lunch, there’s something for everyone in Uptown. Restaurants are slowly opening for dine-in, but if you want to remain cautious, take your favorite meal to go for an at-home picnic, or picnic in the park.
(7) Order from multiple vendors at 7th Street Public Market
The market hasn’t reopened yet, but you can order curbside pickup from some of 7th Street’s vendors, including Viva Raw Life, Zia Pia Imports, Orrmans Cheese Shop, Assorted Table, and Rico’s. Find the details for each shop here.
Bonus: You can do an at-home wine and cheese workshop with Orrmans and Assorted Table every Wednesday. It’s $90 for food and wine for two people and access to the 1.5-hour online pairing class. Sign up here.
Where: 224 E. 7th St.
(8) Get a skyline photo at Fahrenheit
The rooftop restaurant and bar is known for its skyline views. It may be basic, but this is where you’ll want to get photos with your friends. They’re open for dinner and drinks starting at 5 p.m. nightly. Sunday brunch (don’t skip the Cap’N Crunch pancakes, or the mimosas) starts at 11 a.m.
Where: 222 S. Caldwell St. (21st Floor)
(9) Spend a rainy day at Overstreet Mall
Most of the shops are closed but you can explore the network of sky tunnels, and maybe, if you’re like me, finally figure out how to navigate it all. When you can’t get outside, this is where you go in Uptown to meet your step goal.
Parking: Park Bank of America Center parking garage, 150 N. College St., and start at Founder’s Hall.
(10) Take a photo behind the fountain in Romare Bearden Park
The water feature wall is iconic, and the perfect photo op. Go for an evening stroll to see the water features lit up.
Where: 300 S. Church St.
(11) Do a self-guided history walk
You can use the Charlotte Liberty Walk guide to see 18 different historical sites from the Revolutionary War. Of course the structure of Uptown has changed entirely since then, but each spot has a historical marker and the guide has a map plus an overview of what you need to know about each stop.
Where: Start at the corner of Tryon and Stonewall Streets.
(12) Take a pic with Disco Chicken
The 17-foot funky sculpture, made by French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle, is right in front of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Whether you call it “Firebird” or “Disco Chicken,” you can’t miss its glimmering glory.
Where: 420 S. Tryon St.
(13) Take a mural tour; be sure to see the new Black Lives Matter street art
Uptown’s newest addition, the block-sized Black Lives Matter street mural on Tryon Street spans between 3rd and 4th Streets and was painted by 17 local artists.
Other must-see spots include Woman Empowerment at AerialCLT by Nick Napoletano, Strange Fruit at Spirit Square by Dammit Wesley, and Equity at Hal Marshall by Nick Napoletano. See our full mural guide here to plan your day.
[Agenda related story: Aerial view of Charlotte’s Black Lives Matter street mural]
(14) Staycation in an Uptown hotel
Most of us who were planning to travel in 2020 have had to scale back our plans. Consider playing tourist and booking a staycation Uptown for a much-needed change of scenery.
The Ivey’s Hotel: The stunning 47-room boutique hotel has beautiful views, plus its connected to 5Church and Sofia’s lounge. Rooms start at $210 a night, and Charlotte locals get 12 percent off with their “Drive into Luxury” deal, and health care workers get 15 percent off.
Ritz-Carlton: Rooms start at $430 a night, but the spa and Punch Room are currently closed. I’d wait to book until those amenities open later this summer.
Omni Charlotte: Rooms start at $250. Room service and spa treatments will be available again later this summer.
Grand Bohemian: The new hotel is slated to open in early July. You can book a room starting Saturday, July 4. Rates start at $265 (including taxes) for a king guest room with a city view.
(15) Visit Charlotte Mecklenburg’s Main library
If you’ve got your summer reading list drafted, make some headway and check out a few books from the main library. The building is 157,000 square feet, so it’s a neat place to explore. If you like history, check out the Carolina Room with hundreds of old books of local history.
Where: 310 N. Tryon St. (park at ImaginOn’s lot off of 6th Street for free parking)
(16) Get your summertime seafood fix
Sea Level: Dine-in is open 4-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and 4-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Whenever you go, try the new Blueberry Basil Gin +Tonic. You can also order shucking kits to go.
(17) Eat dinner and play disc golf at the Knights stadium
Though the Charlotte Knights aren’t currently playing, you can still visit the stadium for your favorite game-day foods, beer, and music and cornhole. You can also play disc golf, for an extra fee. It’s $10 per person to enter, and everything on the menu is under $8. Reserve your spots here.
Where: 324 S. Mint St.
Check out all of the Agenda’s neighborhood guides here.