Charlotte’s vibrant Uptown district is full of family-friendly adventures. From tiny tots in the family to the kid-at-heart grownups, exciting experiences await for the whole family. Whether you want to spend a full day or just a morning, afternoon or evening exploring, we’ve got your guide to plan the perfect family-friendly experience in the heart of the Queen City.
If you skipped breakfast before heading out the door, pop into Famous Toastery, RedEye Diner or Sweet Crunch at The Market at 7th Street to fuel up before your day of adventures. If it’s a Saturday, swing by the Uptown Farmers Market to discover unique creations from local artists, taste local products and enjoy local entertainment.
After your meal, start your Uptown experience by getting the lay of the land. Go on a tour (by foot, bike or Segway) with Charlotte NC Tours to explore Uptown’s key points of interest and learn all about its exciting past, present and future. Or do an Uptown ArtWalk to get a feel for the area while exploring cool murals and public art pieces. Uptown Interactive is a fun way to get the kids involved. At each stop, you scan a QR code with your smartphone camera to watch a video of the artist, play with site-specific face filters and explore a 3-D model of the artwork.
Another great way to start the day is at one of Uptown’s most popular kid-friendly attractions. ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center has been ranked as one of the top children’s libraries in the country. It’s also connected to the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, where you can catch a matinee show or even enroll in a one-day mini camp. Or head to Discovery Place Science, an interactive, hands-on science museum, and walk through the indoor rainforest, touch a starfish, lay on a bed of nails and more. Don’t miss one of the larger-than-life-shows in the Accenture IMAX® Dome Theatre at the museum, too.
With Charlotte’s mild weather and beautiful Carolina blue skies, it’s likely you’ll have a nice day for a picnic. If you’re on the north side of Uptown, pop into The Market at 7th Street and stock up on items from a few vendors then head across the street to enjoy it at First Ward Park. If you’re on the south side of Uptown, grab sandwiches and snacks from Rhino Market & Deli and set up on the lawn or a table at Romare Bearden Park.
Hop on the LYNX Blue Line light rail after lunch to get to your next destination. The little ones are sure to enjoy the ride.
No matter what time of the year, it’s always a good time to play in the water, so be sure to pack a bathing suit and change of clothes. During the summer months, let the kiddos run through the fish fountains at The Green or the waterfalls at Romare Bearden Park. Or play at the indoor waterpark at Ray’s Splash Planet anytime of the year.
If a mid-day museum experience is more your family’s style, explore contemporary art at the Mint Museum Uptown or make a pit stop at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The whole family can compete in the pit crew challenge and the realistic racing simulators. Pop into the Pit Stop Cafe for an afternoon snack and grab a momento at the Gear Shop on your way out.
After dinner, cheer on one of Charlotte’s home teams (depending on the season! Head to Truist Field for a AAA Charlotte Knights game, Spectrum Center for an NBA Charlotte Hornets game, or Bank of America Stadium for a Charlotte FC or Carolina Panthers game. No matter what sporting event, it’s sure to be a homerun experience.
If dinner and a show are more up your alley, especially for the tweens and teens in the family, get tickets for a Broadway or theater show at a Blumenthal Performing Arts venue or experience a Charlotte Ballet or Charlotte Symphony performance. Charlotte Symphony’s Movie Series — a movie screening with music from the live symphony orchestra — has been a hit with the kids.
Need help getting here? Use our Getting Here Guide to help with parking and transit for your family day in Uptown. Discover more family-friendly experiences in Uptown by following @uptown.clt on Instagram. And be sure to tag us in your adventures on social media using the hashtag #uptownclt.