This article was updated September 2018.
Tired of watching Netflix and looking for cool indoor activities?
Here’s a list of the 38 best indoor activities in Charlotte when it’s non-stop raining in Charlotte.
(1) 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.
(2) Go bowling
(3) Pet cats at Mac Tabby Cat Cafe
For $12/hour you can hang out in a room with a bunch of adoptable cats. They’ve also got a small cafe area (totally separate from the cat room for sanitation regulations) where you can grab baked goods, coffee or kombucha. If you love cats, Mac Tabby is a wonderland.
(4) Play detective in an escape room
Here’s our Agenda guide to Charlotte escape rooms.
(5) 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’sbasement karaoke operation on Montford is the place for you.
(6) Race a go kart at Victory Lanes Karting
It’s pricy (4 races for $55), but it’s super fun and legit.
(7) Embrace your inner American ninja warrior at Kinetic Heights
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.
(8) Go shopping at SouthPark Mall
It’s the largest mall in the Carolinas with a footprint of over 1,750,000 square feet.
(9) Throw axes at Lumberjaxe
The region’s first indoor axe-throwing facility offers target rentals for $20/person/hour. Not to brag, but I nailed the bullseye on the third axe throw of my life. It’s similar to bowling in that your group will have a specific lane. Pro Tip: If you’re struggling, use throw with both hands from over your head. Lumberjaxe is located next to Catawba Brewing, so if you need a White Zombie afterwards, it’s an easy walk.
(10) Spend the day at Whole Foods SouthPark
Who doesn’t love samples, hot bars, serval beers on draft, self-serve wine and cooking classes.
(11) Take an adult arts & crafts class
Check out 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.
(12) Watch a movie at Studio Movie Grill
Yes, this fancy theater at Uptown’s Epicentre serves food, cocktails and beer.
(13) Laugh at the Comedy Zone
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.
(14) Scale a wall at Inner Peaks
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.
(15) Take the family to Discovery Place Science
Become a scientist at this hands-on Uptown museum. And catch an IMAX® movie too.
(16) Hunt for antique treasures at Sleepy Poet
Bonus: They’ve got free popcorn at this 50,000-square-foot antique mall in South End.
(17) Do a staycation at The Ballantyne
This luxury hotel just underwent a multi-million-dollar transformation. Grab afternoon tea in the lobby, drink whiskey at the bar, relax in the spa and eat a big steak at The Gallery restaurant.
(18) Fly through the air at Big Air Trampoline Park
It’s got it all — Ninja-warrior course, trampoline basketball, interactive dodgeball courts, massive foam pit and one-on-one jousting.
(19) 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.
(20) Get lost in a book at at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library branch
My favorite branch is the newly remodeled Morrison Regional.
(21) Nerd out on airplanes at Carolinas Aviation Museum
Tickets are $12 for adults. Check out the award-winning “Miracle on the Hudson” exhibition featuring the famed passenger jet that crash-landed safely in New York’s Hudson River in 2009 and take a selfie inside of a fighter jet cockpit.
(22) Test your bow and arrow skills at Barefoot Archery
Eight, 20-yard USA Archery approved lanes that are well lit. It’ll run you $25/hr for range time and equipment rental.
(23) Expand your child’s imagination and creativity at ImaginOn
This 102,000-square-foot facility located in Uptown is visited by over 300,000 each year.
(24) Watch games and eat wings at a sports bar
Here’s the Agenda guide to the 12 best sports bars in Charlotte. Hungry for wings? Our city’s best wing spots include Moosehead Grill, Lebowski’s Neighborhood Grill, Wing King Cafe, d.d. Peckers, and Seoul Food Meat Company.
(25) Explore a museum
Here are the big ones:
- Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
- Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
- Levine Museum of the New South
- The Mint Museum (two locations in Uptown and on Randolph)
(26) Shoot guns at Blackstone Shooting Sports
This 27-lane indoor range is open 7 days a week. Walk-in pricing is $25/hr.
(27) Drink beer at a brewery
Here’s a complete list and map of Charlotte’s 20+ local breweries, plus the most popular beer at each. My favorite rainy day breweries with cool, spacious indoor setups include OMB, Brewers at 4001 Yancey, Resident Culture and Wooden Robot.
(28) Take a DIY class at Anders Ruff
Choose your materials and designs and walk away with a completed project. Adult projects range from $40-$70. Thirsty? You can also bring your own wine and beer.
(29) Recharge with some yoga
Here’s a list of 42 top yoga studios in Charlotte.
(30) Become a chef at Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen
Chef Alyssa’s classes cover anything from basic knife skills to specific cuisines like Mediterranean or French. They just moved into a brand new facility in South End next door to Brewers at 4001 Yancey.
(31) Score with your golf game at Topgolf
The course is outside but the swanky climate-controlled bays are heated so things stay comfortable year round.
(32) Get creative work done at a coffee shop
Here’s an Agenda guide on the 5 best new places to get create work in Charlotte that aren’t your house or your office.
(33) Eat, sip and shop inside 7th Street Public Market
Vendors include at this Uptown indoor market: Local Loaf, La Piccola Gabbi, Pure Pizza , Orrman’s Cheese Shop, Zia Pia Imports + Italian Kitchen, Hazelnuts Creperie, Bonsai Fusion (home of Charlotte’s first sushi burrito), Rico’s Acai, CLT FInd, Assorted Table, Viva Raz, Not Just Coffee and Tank’s Tap.
(34) Reflect on your faith at The Billy Graham Library
This 40,000-square-foot library will allow you a look into the life of Billy Graham, “America’s Pastor.” Admission is free.
(35) Lose track of time sipping an old fashioned at a speakeasy
(36) Go under the sea at Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
Who doesn’t love a 117,000-gallon ocean tank? Adult tickets will run you $15.95.
(37) Drop in for a dance class at Open Door Studios
This Plaza Midwood dance studio offers classes for all levels including ballet, contemporary, hip hop and jazz.
(38) Treat yourself with to a spa day
The Ritz Spa and The Spa at Ballantyne are the two best spas in Charlotte. Both have great pools and a hot tub for lounging afterwards. The Ritz’s hot tub and pool are on the 18th floor, which is cool. I rode the elevator in my towel at the Ritz one time with Bank of America CEO Brian Brian Moynihan. Awkward. I probably prefer The Ballantyne because the hotel is massive and I love people watching in the lobby afterwards.
(39) Learn what happens under the hood and on the racetrack at NASCAR Hall of Fame
Activities at the museum include Glory Road, a banked ramp showcasing 18 historic cars, a Hall of Honor and High Octane Theater with a 64-foot wide projection screen and surround sound. Set aside an entire day.
(40) Get wet inside at Great Wolf Lodge’s indoor water park
The 80,000-square-foot complex includes 11 waterslides and four pools, which means it’s the perfect way to exhaust the kids, regardless of the weather outside.
(41) DIY your heart out at AR Workshop
The DIY home decor studio offers classes for adults and kids alike. Crafts include canvas pillows, wood projects and porch signs. See the full list here.
(42) Learn something new at a SkillPop class
Class topics cover everything from hair styling to watercolor painting to technology, all led by local pros. Full class list and schedule.