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Friends Getaway

The close proximity of exceptional restaurants, breweries, museums, shopping centers, and nightlife makes Charlotte the ideal destination for the urbane traveler. It’s also rife with adventure, as the home base for the high-octane sport of NASCAR auto racing and the site of the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Follow this itinerary to hit the top attractions for small groups.  

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Day

1

MORNING
  • Bon Appétit.

    Start your day at the 7th Street Market, just a short walk from The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte. With vendors ranging from creperies to bakeries, there’s a morning treat for all tastes.

  • The Marvelous Malls.

    No visit to the Queen City is complete without paying homage to Charlotte’s upscale retail mecca, otherwise known as SouthPark Mall, home to 150 of the world’s top retailers, from Anthropologie to Victoria’s Secret. Just down the street awaits another two dozen shops and eateries, set along brick pathways and fountains, in the charming pedestrian mall, Phillips Place.

MIDDAY
  • Go for a Spin.

    Pick up a complimentary Trek bicycle from The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte and take a leisurely ride along the 4.5-mile Charlotte Rail Trail — a former rail line-turned-paved pathway that winds through the heart of Charlotte, past cafés, bars, galleries and even artists at work. Cruise over to the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, which offers sweeping views of the Charlotte skyline and a paved path that runs alongside a restored creek.

AFTERNOON
  • Brewery Crawl.

    Charlotte is known for its vibrant craft brewing scene, and the high volume of breweries in the trendy South End neighborhood make it ideal for a DIY tour. Start at Lenny Boy Brewing Co. and work your way back toward Uptown via Triple C. Brewing Co., Sycamore Brewing, Wooden Robot Brewery and The Unknown Brewing Co. Be sure not to miss Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, which has quickly become Charlotte’s most popular brewery.

EVENING
  • Local Dinner.

    A local favorite in the artsy NoDa neighborhood, Haberdish serves some of the best Southern food and craft cocktails in town.

  • VIP Style.

    Keep the evening going with post-dinner cocktails at 5Church, a chic lounge in Uptown.  

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Day

2

MORNING
  • Get the Instagram Shot.

    You’ve never seen a sculpture quite like “Firebird,” standing 17.5 feet tall in the plaza of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Designed by French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle, the whimsical creature covered in mirrored glass has been dubbed “Disco Chicken.”

  • The Must-See Museum.

    The main road through Uptown, Tryon Street, is lined with skyscrapers, restaurants and museums. Make it a point to visit the Levine Museum of the New South, which provides a fascinating look at the American South post-Civil War through the lens of Charlotte and the surrounding area. 

MIDDAY
  • Local Flavors.

    Join the 11 a.m. culinary tour of the NoDa neighborhood, a historic arts district, with FEAST Food Tours. You’ll eat as you go, gaining an introduction to the area’s architecture and history, learning about Charlotte’s award-winning craft beer industry, meeting key players in noteworthy restaurants and eateries, and sampling food and beverages made exclusively in Charlotte. 

AFTERNOON
  • Olympic Dreams.

    Experience the thrill of the outdoors at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. The 1,300-acre complex is an official Olympic Training Center for whitewater slalom racing and home to the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. This is the place to try whitewater rafting, kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding.

  • Adventure Pursuits.

    The U.S. National Whitewater Center isn’t just water. There are 14 miles of forested trails for runners, mountain bikers and hikers, along with a 1,123-foot zip-line, an aerial adventure park, and one of the largest outdoor man-made rock-climbing walls in the South.

EVENING
  • A Dinner to Remember.

    A Charlotte fine-dining institution since 2005, The Fig Tree defines haute cuisine in the city, from the seasonal French- and Italian-inspired menus to the robust, award-winning wine list. Its elegant setting in the historic Lucas House adds to the ambience.

  • Punch It Up.

    With only 37 seats, The Punch Room is designed for an intimate and exclusive experience. The cozy, upscale space is reminiscent of a 1920s speakeasy, and the cocktail menu features the creative artistry of celebrated mixologist Bob Peters. Toast to your friendship with a Carbonated Aviation (Cardinal gin, maraschino liqueur, crème de violette, lemon) or a Roman Punch (brandy, dark rum, raspberry syrup, splash of port, topped with prosecco). 

Day

3

MORNING
  • Breakfast of Champions.

    Tupelo Honey prides itself on scratch-made Southern food, made from seasonal and local ingredients. For a decadent start to the day, try the Gulf Coast Lump Crab Benedict — two poached eggs, a buttermilk biscuit, smoked ham and hollandaise served with potato cracklins.

  • Tee Time.

    Charlotte is wild about golf. The private Quail Hollow Club has hosted both the Wells Fargo Championship and the PGA Championship, but you don’t have to be a pro to work on your swing in Charlotte. Head to the driving range TopGolf, where the typically quiet game is paired with a more lively atmosphere.

MIDDAY
  • The Most Charming Neighborhood.

    There’s perhaps no better example of Charlotte’s artful blend of 100-year-old Victorian homes with urban apartments, modern businesses and city parks than the Fourth Ward. This charming neighborhood is best viewed from a horse-drawn carriage, with Charlotte Center City Carriage Tours.

AFTERNOON
  • Race NASCAR.

    Allow three hours for the thrill of learning to drive a real race car at Charlotte Motor Speedway with NASCAR Race Experience. “Graduation” includes a timed five-minute racing session on the track.

  • Back-to-Back Distilleries.

    Craft distilleries are hot, and Charlotte is at the helm of the trend in the American South. Head to the LoSo (short for Lower South End) neighborhood, where two of the city’s finest, Doc Porter's Distillery and Great Wagon Road Distilling Company, are a four-minute walk apart.  

EVENING
  • Final Taste.

    Complete your visit to Charlotte with dinner at BLT Steak, a modern American steakhouse with French-influenced cuisine from renowned chef Laurent Tourondel. This unique Charlotte steakhouse integrates traditional elements of a cozy French bistro with those of a stylish, urbane boîte.