Charlotte, North Carolina, is one of the hidden gems of a city along the East Coast. The city’s vibrancy and allure continue to grow as quickly as the city’s population and skyline. This means that there are plenty of fun things to do alone in Charlotte.
Whether you are traveling solo or appreciate some time to yourself, we will share our favorite Charlotte activities for you to consider.
Fun Things To Do Alone In Charlotte
Some cities are built on the back of their nightlife, but some people prefer daytime exploration. And others prefer to avoid nightlife when they are alone (smart move). This is one major difference when comparing cities such as Charlotte vs. Nashville.
While Nashville is built on its honky-tonk nightlife, Charlotte is much more balanced. There are plenty of fun things to do alone in Charlotte, so let’s dive in.
Top Attractions in Charlotte To Do Alone
I am an introvert by nature, so when my family travels out of town, I love to explore Charlotte on my own. Since I work from home, it is nice to be around other people while also losing myself to my own thoughts.
Parks and Outdoor Activities
Sometimes when you are alone, you might have a tendency to stay inside. On the other hand, some natural sunlight and vitamin D might be just what you need to break through your routine and enjoy your time alone.
Go For a Walk at Freedom Park
Freedom Park sits between the Dilworth and Myers Park neighborhoods, just a few miles from the center city. The 98-acre park features sports fields, walking paths, a large lake, and is connected to the Little Sugar Creek Greenway.
Even if you aren’t ready to go for a run or hop in a pick-up game of basketball, Freedom Park might be the most picturesque Charlotte location to do some people-watching and get fresh air.
One reason that we love Freedom Park is that it feels open and natural, even though you are close enough to uptown to see the tips of the skyline when the leaves have fallen from the trees. It is close to nearby restaurants, office buildings, and Uptown hotels, so it is a great option for some serenity after a busy day.
Chill at U.S. National Whitewater Center
The U.S. National Whitewater Center is my favorite destination in the Charlotte metropolitan area. Yes, you will find whitewater rafting, ziplining, mountain biking, rock climbing, and much more. Still, it is one of my favorite spots to go for a walk and relax.
I often take my kids to the Whitewater Center, and they play in the open grassy areas while we watch rafting and the occasional zip liner fly by overhead. The kids are able to run around while I am able to listen to the rushing water and appreciate the warm sun.
For those that like to solo run, the Whitewater Center also boasts more than 50 miles of trails for mountain biking, trail running, and hiking. It only costs $6 to park, and then you can use the trails as much as you like. The Whitewater Center is one of my favorite spots in Charlotte to clear my mind on a run.
Stroll Through Uptown and Romare Bearden Park
For those that might be traveling to Uptown for work, Romare Bearden Park is located in the center city, directly across the street from Truist Field (the Charlotte Knights baseball stadium). Romare Bearden Park often hosts events, but it is also a great place to set up for some people watching.
Freedom Park and Romare Bearden Park are among the best parks in Charlotte. Regardless of whether you are traveling alone or need some peaceful time to think, these parks offer natural beauty and serenity in the heart of the city.
Museums, Sports, and Cultural Activities
While you might prefer to avoid crowded areas, museums, and sporting events are great places to blend into a crowd. Even though I am an introvert that works from home, I enjoy mingling in public. When I am looking for things to do alone in Charlotte, sporting events are one of my top choices, but museums and other cultural events also work well.
Appreciate Fine Art at Mint Museum
The Mint Museum opened in 1936 and was North Carolina’s first art museum. The Uptown location includes displays of American and contemporary art and exhibits on craft and design. The Randolph location European and African art, as well as decorative arts and ceramics.
Visiting the Mint Museum alone is a great idea for several reasons. Perhaps the most obvious reason is that doing so gives you the chance to fully immerse yourself in the art. You won’t be distracted by conversation or other interruptions, and you can take your time appreciating the displays.
This will also give you the opportunity to connect with yourself and consider your own thoughts and feelings. Art is captivating, in part, because it evokes introspection. It may also help you discover insights about the world around you.
Check Out The Professional Sports Teams
Charlotte is home to three professional sports teams at the highest level, including the Carolina Panthers (NFL), Charlotte Hornets (NBA), and Charlotte FC (MLS). All three teams are located in Uptown Charlotte, which means both venues* are accessible via Charlotte’s light rail system.
*The Carolina Panthers and Charlotte FC are both owned by David Tepper, and both play in the Bank of America Stadium Uptown. The Charlotte Hornets play in the Spectrum Center.
The Carolina Panthers represent the most successful franchise in town, but all three teams are fun to watch. It is energizing to be in a crowd (even when you are alone), and each team is a uniquely different watching experience.
While I follow the Panthers most closely (and watch most games), the Hornets games are my favorite live sporting event in town. The Spectrum Center includes lots of music, entertainers (like flying dunks off of trampolines), and a massive scoreboard to keep you engaged.
Take In a Performance at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
For those that prefer cultural experiences to sports, the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center is another must-visit location. This is true whether you are looking for things to do alone in Charlotte or on an outing with family and friends.
The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center includes multiple performance spaces, including the Belk Theater. The lineup of events ranges from Broadway shows to symphony concerts and even comedy acts.
The Belk Theater is one of the premier venues in all Charlotte, so the quality of performances is very high. Past performances include the likes of Hamilton, The Lion King, and Wicked.
Food and Drink
While some people avoid eating out when they are alone, I don’t mind it. In fact, I enjoy the opportunity to explore and try new places I wouldn’t otherwise be able to try. There are plenty of things to do alone in Charlotte, and you should definitely take the opportunity to find something good to eat and drink.
Sample Food at Optimist Hall
If you aren’t sure where to eat alone, start with Optimist Hall, which is a food hall with an eclectic array of options. But it’s not just about the food. Optimist Hall is located in a historic mill that is beautiful and interesting.
The mill is just north of Uptown, across the interstate and along the light rail, making the food hall centrally located for all of Charlotte. And as interesting as the mill itself is, the food is an even bigger reason to visit.
Optimist Hall’s eclectic range of food options includes Neapolitan pizza, empanadas, ramen, gourmet grilled cheese, drinks, bakery items, and much, much more. I like to start with an empanada, and I added on everything from a hamburger to a gourmet grilled cheese filled with mac and cheese and applewood bacon bits.
Check Out Local Barbecue And Other Foodie Favorites
While North Carolina is known for vinegar-based BBQ, the vinegar base isn’t for everyone. The best BBQ joints in Charlotte take a broader approach to barbecue. They’ve perfected classic Texas and St. Louis-style barbecue while serving specific dishes that celebrate North Carolina BBQ heritage.
The result is some of the best barbecue in the South East, so check out local favorites like Midwood Smokehouse. And Charlotte’s pizza scene is surprisingly more sophisticated than you might imagine too. Don’t order Dominoes or Papa John’s when you are in Charlotte!
Ok, so some of you foodies might be appalled that I’ve only mentioned BBQ and pizza this far. I get it, and I’ve got good news for you. The Queen City was named one of America’s Next Great Food Cities by Food & Wine magazine.
Craft Breweries are found around nearly every corner. Plus, Johnson & Wales (a local university with a culinary focus) and Optimist Hall serve as incubators for new restauranteurs.
And by the way, once you finish up dinner, be sure to swing by Amelie’s French Bakery. There might be a long line, but take that as confirmation that you are in the right place.
Explore The Charlotte Rail Trail
The Charlotte Rail Trail is another one of our favorite spots in Charlotte, and full of interesting things to do alone in Charlotte. The Charlotte Rail Trail transformed the city in many ways.
The neighborhood was once full of warehouses. Today, it is a vibrant neighborhood full of thousands of residential units, hundreds of thousands of square feet of office space, and countless restaurants, bars, and breweries.
The Rail Trail connects the entire neighborhood, and because it is busy, it is a great place to blend into the crowd when you are alone. Take a stroll on the trail, hop on an electric scooter, and check out one of the many restaurants.
Hidden Gems: Things To Do Alone In Charlotte
There are many more things to do in Charlotte, and while you might prefer to go in a group for some events, here are a few more things to do alone in Charlotte.
Hang Out in the NoDa Neighborhood
The NoDa neighborhood is undergoing a major renaissance. It is located along the light rail, north of Uptown, and thousands of apartments are under construction or recently completed.
For a long time, NoDa was known as Charlotte’s artsy neighborhood, and the glimpses of that heritage make this a fun place to go for a stroll. There are murals everywhere and several fund restaurants and breweries.
Visit Camp North End
For those that enjoy murals and public art, I also recommend that you go for a walk through Camp North End in Charlotte. The complex is home to old warehouses that previously served the production of Ford Model Ts and later served the U.S. Army.
The rich history is evident everywhere, but today the facilities are remade to serve local office workers, restaurants, and local vendors.
Check Out the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Minor League Sports
For those that love sports, Charlotte offers much more than the three major league sports teams mentioned above. There are also minor-league baseball and hockey teams.
The Charlotte Knights (baseball) play in a stadium located in the heart of Uptown. They often have a fireworks show on Friday nights, and the reflection from the fireworks glistens from the glass high-rises surrounding the stadium. It’s a great place to get some fresh air and be around people.
And The Charlotte Checkers (hockey) play in an old (remodeled) coliseum that once hosted the likes of Elvis Presley. How cool is that?
Lastly, Charlotte is the heart of NASCAR country. Several team headquarters are located north of Charlotte, within easy access to the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Plus, NASCAR is headquartered in Charlotte, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame is in Charlotte.
As far as solo adventures, consider touring one of the NASCAR team headquarters.
Tips For Solo Exploration
I love exploring independently, but it still makes sense to be wise, even if you like time for your thoughts, as I do. Fortunately, there are plenty of things to do alone in Charlotte, and nearly all of them are safe and approachable. Of course, that is one benefit to choosing something with people around, even if you are going solo.
Research Your Destination
For the best experience possible, do a little research before you head out exploring. Not only will this give you the context you need to stay safe, but it will also help you focus your time more to maximize your experience.
Be You: Talk To Others When You Want; Or Don’t
Be comfortable in your own skin, and don’t worry too much about the people around you. It is perfectly ok to go out exploring on your own. When I travel for work, or my family is out of town, I find getting out of the house rewarding.
Sometimes it might feel a little awkward, but I do it anyway. Now, that doesn’t mean that I feel obligated to chat with everyone along the way; but I have no problem going to a restaurant by myself and scrolling through my phone while I enjoy some good food.
It’s what I need at the moment, so I try not to feel too judged by others. On the other hand, if you prefer to meet strangers and chat, you do you.
CLT Shout! In Uptown Charlotte
The Verdict On Top Things To Do Alone in Charlotte
There is a nearly endless list of things to do alone in Charlotte. I personally recommend that you put the Whitewater Center at the top of your list. The Whitewater Center has concerts and outdoor activities, plus plenty of people watching. Still, some of you may prefer a Broadway musical or a night of baseball.
Still, others may prefer to explore new food scenes when they are alone. Regardless of your personal preferences, I am confident you will find something that you love as you go solo-style to explore Charlotte.