Fun things to do in Charlotte, North Carolina, include visiting museums, parks and the Carolina Raptor Center, as well as kayaking on the world's largest man-made whitewater river. The Charlotte Motor Speedway, about 15 minutes north of downtown Charlotte, is a draw for NASCAR fans, with daily tours, camping near the speedway, and race activities in May and October. Family fun is front and center at the Carowinds amusement park and the Discovery Place science center.
The U.S. National Whitewater Center spreads across 500 acres just northwest of downtown Charlotte. The facility offers 24 activities that include both flatwater and whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddle boarding. Though water activities are the main draws, active land-lovers have plenty to do, with rock climbing, mountain biking and zip-lining, as well as hiking and cycling. The Pump House Biergarten offers 20 craft beers to thirsty adults, as of 2016, and a market and grill serve up food and picnic items. Outside food and drinks are not allowed.
Museums galore appeal to all types of travelers and residents, including the Levine Museum, which houses post-Civil War historical items related to the city's culture, with permanent exhibits of cotton fields and skyscrapers. The Mint Museum Uptown showcases art and craft designers working in glass, clay, fiber and jewelry, as well as exhibits of contemporary textiles and costumes.