Yass, Queen

In Do, March 2022 by Lauren KruchtenLeave a Comment

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Just because we don’t want Raleigh to become Charlotte doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate it for a fun-filled weekend getaway. 

The Queen City is ready to roll out the red carpet and give you a royal welcome. Just a quick 2.5-hour drive down I-85, Charlotte awaits as the perf overnight perch or weekend getaway with its bustling big-city vibes, choice cultural and culinary offerings, and thriving nightlife and sports scene (hey, Panthers and NASCAR Hall of Fame!). 

From ever-popular Camp North End and NoDa to buzzy South End and Uptown Charlotte (pro tip: do not call it downtown lest you get glares…), the city’s crown jewels (aka hoods) serve up plenty of fun for everyone. The Center City district alone dishes 200-plus restos, with myriad nightlife, retail, arts and culture selects to strike any fancy—not to mention 52 miles of greenway for that en plein air feel. 

So whether you’re looking to dance the night away, relish a good ole Southern meal, imbibe on a cocktail (skyline views included!) or peep some local art, Charlotte’s calling—and no matter what throne you perch on, these Queen City picks promise to reign supreme.

U.S. National Whitewater Center


Pins Mechanical Company

“When life gives you balls, play with them.” Can’t argue with that. Located in the heart of South End, this play-meets-potables public house offers plenty of ball action (had to) with the likes of foosball, pinball, duckpin bowling and pingpong—plus a lineup of cocktails, beer and wine that promises to help you keep your head in the game. pinsbar.com

Funny Bus Comedy City Tour

Laughter is the best medicine—and turns out also the best way to see the sights of the Queen City. CLT’s Funny Bus combines a 90-minute informational tour with a BYOB comedy show (PG-13 and R-rated tours available to raunch it up a notch) that’ll have you and your crew giggling at every turn. funnybus.net

U.S. National Whitewater Center

Splish, splash. This water wonderland offers tons o’ wet-n-wild ops on the world’s largest man-made whitewater river—from whitewater rafting to kayaking to stand-up paddleboarding—plus droves of dryland fun like zip lining, free-fall jumps and hiking. And, on March 12, go green with a magical 5K color run through the trails—leprechaun sightings possible. whitewater.org

The Goodyear House


The Goodyear House

“Built on good times,” NoDa’s The Goodyear House was reimagined from a circa 1900s mill home (which was added onto during the original family’s “good years”) into a cozy resto that maintains that homey feel thanks to its preserved historic aesthetic. But the best throne to perch on is on the twinkly light-covered patio—clearly putting the “good” in Goodyear—complete with its own bar and a menu dishing the likes of smoked cashew mac (vegan!), red devil chicken, and a “goopy” burger. thegoodyearhouse.com 

Leah & Louise

This modern juke joint from two-time James Beard-nominated chef Greg Collier and business partner/wife Subrina Collier is sure to get you jazzed for brunch, lunch and dinner fare inspired by the cuisine of Delta cities Memphis, Jackson and Nawlins—think pork neck sliders, smoked confit chicken wings, river chips (aka chicken skins), and blackened catfish. So, in essence, soul food that promises to feed your soul… leahandlouise.com


Authentic interiors beckon—like wooden tabletops and copper lights handcrafted right in the Queen City—at this mill town Southern kitchen and craft cocktail concept that doubles as one of Charlotte’s fave brunch and dinner spots. Go for the Carolina-inspired fare featuring locally sourced ingredients (pro tip: The fried chicken is a must). Stay for the sunny patio—with a side of biscuits, naturally. haberdish.com


Cloud Bar by David Burke

Don’t go bacon our hearts… All outings at Cloud Bar rooftop bar and restaurant can and should (pause for emphasis) start with the DB Maple-Glazed Bacon Clothesline—literally three pieces of sweet, crispy bacon served on a mini clothesline with a pickle and lemon wedge. Follow that with a craft cocktail and 360-degree views of Charlotte and you’re sure to be on cloud nine. cloudbarbydb.com

The Suffolk Punch

This brewery meets coffee bar meets culinary cafe and taphouse really packs a punch when it comes to bevs. Swing by in the morn for a cuppa joe brewed fresh from ethically grown and responsibly sourced beans. Or, as the day wanes, go beer-serk with 50-plus brews on tap (both made in-house and procured from in-state breweries) paired perfectly with palatable plates that rotate seasonally. thesuffolkpunch.com

The Royal Tot

Adventure—served by the Tiki glass—awaits at this urban tropical paradise… er, two-story bar dubbed for the “daily tot” rum drink of choice of British Navy sailors. The downstairs Tiki bar and casual upper deck (dubbed The Bird’s Nest) are chill spots to imbibe on fruity cocktails like pina coladas, mai tais and painkillers. Vacation-worthy, indeed. theroyaltot.com

The Refuge


Omni Charlotte Hotel

Game, set, match—poolside, propped up in front of one of the largest double-sided LED screens in the city at this hip hotelier’s rooftop Coin Bar. Add to that killer cocktails and stellar views of the skyline—plus some post-dips and -sips in-room spa service—and you won’t want to leave your hotel. But we still think you should. omnihotels.com/hotels

Grand Bohemian Hotel Charlotte

Located in the heart of Uptown Charlotte, this art-astic boutique hotel serves up a grand respite fit for royalty, thanks to Argentinian-influenced rooms, eclectic restaurants, a rooftop bar with dreamy views, and its close proximity to some of the Queen City’s hottest destinations. marriott.com


Take refuge at this intimate five-room hotel that pays tribute to the Indian American community, which, behind the scenes, “has fueled the growth of [the hotel] industry over the last several decades.” Unconventionally configured rooms with a homey, quaint apartment vibe beckon, while the bar—in collaboration with The Royal Tot—serves up lit libations from Larry Suggs of ETA Group.

Wanna head further south or west? Check out our recent Getaway stories for Miami Beaches and Scottsdale.

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