Here are 15 things to do in Charlotte when it’s cold and miserable outside

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This piece was originally published in 2016 and has been updated for 2018.

Winter is, in my opinion, a terrible time to be alive. It’s cold. It’s dark. It’s depressing. And although I’m inclined to hibernate my way through it, social forces require that I remain a functioning adult even when the temperature drops below 70 degrees. This includes but is not limited to upholding such responsibilities as bathing, going to work, paying bills and sometimes even socializing. Rude.

Am I dramatic about it? Yes. Is it actually pretty mild here most of the time? Maybe. Is it fun to shake up your normal winter routine of sleeping and eating? Definitely.

It’s going to take a whole lot more than “Let’s grab drinks!” to get me out this season because, let’s be honest, I can do that in my sweatsuit from the comfort of my own bed.

If I’m going out in the winter, I’m going out to do something exciting that doesn’t take place outside. And so, here are a bunch of interactive indoor activities for when the weather is just terrible but you still have to be alive.

Cheer on the Charlotte Checkers

Address: Bojangles’ Coliseum, 2700 E. Independence Boulevard

Ok, it’s kind of cold in the rink but not as cold as it is outside. Ice rinks are like ‘Winter Lite’ for those of us you just can’t deal with actual cold weather. Plus, you can wrap up your night with a warm bowl of chili mac at nearby Lupie’s Cafe, a tradition for me any time I’m at Bojangles’ Coliseum.

Tickets are available for $16 – $86 each.

Catch a show at the Comedy Zone

Address: 900 North Carolina Music Factory Boulevard

Every time I go to Comedy Zone I tell myself I need to come more often. Even when I’m not sure who the performer is, I have a good time. If you can, sit close to the stage so there’s a chance they make fun of you.

Tickets are usually about $15 – $30.

Try your hand at a cooking class

Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen offers popular cooking classes at Atherton Market. Upcoming classes include everything from basic knife skills to paleo cooking.

Another option is Burke Hospitality Group, which hosts classes at Mimosa Grill and Upstream (see the schedule), and Salud Cooking School at Whole Foods.

Go bowling

10 Park Lanes on Montford and StrikeCity at the EpiCentre have full-service kitchens so you can make a whole night of dinner and a game.

Play detective in an escape room

Dana did solid research on Charlotte’s booming escape room scene and provides a break down of each one here.

Throw axes at Lumberjaxe

Address: 933 Louise Avenue

The region’s first indoor axe-throwing facility offers target rentals for $20/person/hour. It’s basically darts but way cooler.

Scale a wall at Inner Peaks

Address: 2220 S. Tryon Street and 9535 Monroe Road

This indoor climbing center is a perfect date activity since it requires two people and building trust starts with supporting your partner’s bodyweight as they scale a wall, right?

Unless you’re already a regular, I’d start with a First Timers Package, which includes a day pass, gear (harness, shoes, chalk) and a gri-gri lesson for $27.

Katie Inner Peaks

Take an adult arts & crafts class

Check out Studio Cellar in South End and Wine + Design on East Boulevard for a guided painting experience.

Or check out our round up of 25 places adults can take arts and crafts classes in the Charlotte area, featuring everything from sewing classes to jewelry making classes.


Explore a museum

If you’re a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch cardholder, you get free admission to to the following museums the first full weekend of each month:

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
Levine Museum of the New South
The Mint Museum (Uptown and Randolph locations)

Bechtler Museum

Take a swing at Topgolf

Address: 8024 Savoy Corporate Drive

The course is outside but the swanky climate-controlled bays are heated so things stay comfortable year round.

topgolf date night

Play retro video games

Abari, Charlotte’s original arcade/bar hybrid in Optimist Park, features classic arcades and pinball machines along with your favorite childhood game consoles.

Palmer St. Arcade Bar opened last year in South End’s Gold District and has a stacked lineup of 40 arcades on the floor.

abari pinball machines


Embrace your inner American ninja warrior at Kinetic Heights

Address: 5664 International Drive

The 22,000-square-foot facility features an obstacle course with high and low ropes courses, tandem zip lines, a giant swing, a bouldering wall and more.

Play all day at a local social house

Queen Park Social and Piedmont Social House are adult playgrounds without the hokeyness of a place like Dave & Buster’s. You’ll find lots of indoor entertainment like bowling lanes, pool tables, ping pong, board games, arcade games, darts and more. They’ve also got full-service kitchens and bars.

Bring the house down at a karaoke lounge

You can’t go wrong with raucous karaoke party at 8.2.0 at the Music Factory. If you prefer to keep the party tight with just your friends, rent one of Seoul Food Meat Co.’s four private karaoke rooms.

Of course, if your goal is to not remember ever hitting the stage at all, Jeff’s Bucket Shop’s basement karaoke operation on Montford is the place for you.

Show off your knowledge of obscure facts at bar trivia nights

Check out our list of 25 top bar trivia events sorted by day.

Drag Trivia every Tuesday at 8pm at Petra’s in Plaza Midwood via Facebook

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Katie Levans Loveluck
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Co-Founder and Creative Director