Explore Charlotte

Charlotte for the Busy Traveler

In a city peppered with culinary delights and jam-packed with racing history it can be hard to know just where to visit on a quick trip.

Charlotte is a culinary, racing and historic destination in the heart of North Carolina. With everything to see and do, planning a quick trip can be overwhelming. 

To celebrate Where's 80th anniversary in the publishing world, we've pointed out our favorite 80-minute trips in Charlotte to help the travelers who need a quick jaunt through the Queen City to sample food, music and racing history that the city has to offer.


The NASCAR Hall of Fame

Been in Uptown on business and got about 80 minutes to kill before heading back to the airport? Take a stroll through the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Marking its own fifth year of history, the hall inducted five new members into its Hall of Honor for 2016, including Bruton Smith, owner of Charlotte Motor Speedway. An 80-minute visit offers plenty of time to walk along Glory Road and marvel at 18 historic race cars. Stop by the High Octane Theater to see a 12-minute film on NASCAR’s history or check out the Gear Shop for a souvenir or T-shirt.

NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte
Walk along Glory Road and marvel at 18 historic race cars during an 80-minute visit to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. (©Tia Wackerhagen)


7th Street Public Market

If you find yourself short on time with, say, only 80 minutes to spare, you can still get a taste (literally) of the city with a visit to the 7th Street Public Market, where artisans sell locally grown and locally made fare. 

Located near Uptown, the market is the perfect place for a coffee and a light meal (think deli sandwiches, crepes, sushi, burgers or pizza) or to unwind with a pour of local beer. Stroll the stalls and shop for artisanal cheeses, wines, chocolates and other locally made products. Parking is free for 90 minutes with a validated ticket. The market is also served by light rail; the LYNX Blue Line runs with trains every 10-15 minutes.

7th Street Public Market, Charlotte
The 7th Street Public Market is a great place to get a quick meal or sample local beer if you're short on time in Charlotte. (©Patrick Schneider)


The South End

You’re likely to start your journey to the South End from Uptown, and that’s perfect because the LYNX Blue Line light rail shuttles you there instantly. Pick a stop like East-West Boulevard and disembark to find cool restaurants (Tupelo Honey Café, Fuel Pizza) and interesting retailers. A walking and cycling path parallels the light rail line and you can rent bikes from Charlotte B-Cycle. Main thoroughfare South Boulevard is your best bet for spotting retail and food. Want to spend more time here? Visit Sycamore Brewing or the Atherton Market.

Charlotte's South End
Charlotte's South End (©James Willamor/Creative Commons, Flickr)


Discovery Place Nature

Junior botanists can get their hands dirty at this small, yet supremely interesting museum, formerly known as the Charlotte Nature Museum. A favorite attraction—but really, they're all favorites—is the Butterfly Pavilion where free-flying butterflies grow, frolic and taste flower nectar. At the Creature Cavern, kiddos get close to critters like turtles, owls and even skunks. The outdoor Paw Paw Nature Trail wends through a 100-year-old forest.

Get up-close to live butterflies at Charlotte Nature Museum Discovery Place Nature
Get up-close to live butterflies at Discovery Place Nature (Courtesy Discovery Place Nature)