Charlotte Travel with Kids
Fun Things to Do for Kids Under 13flickr / CC BY SA/CMLibrary Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Follow
Engage the imagination at ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center (300 E. Seventh St.), a library and facility dedicated to children. In addition to educational programs and a multimedia studio, you can stop by ImaginOn’s service center to book a Children’s Theatre of Charlotte performance.
Take a stroll. Walking in the shadow of skyscrapers, you won't be surprised at the city's importance as one of the most prominent financial centers in the country, but you'll also find plenty of Southern hospitality. Tucked inside the "Queen City," a nod to Queen Charlotte of Mecklenberg, are quaint neighborhoods with abundant shopping centers, local restaurants and fun things to do with kids, such as museums.
Wikimedia Commons/Ken Thomas
Discovery Place Science (301 N. Tryon St.) focuses on STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics—and inspires learning with in-depth displays, classes and hands-on exhibits. The location also is convenient considering many other attractions and hotels are in downtown Charlotte (known as “Uptown Charlotte” to most in the Charlotte Metro area).
Fun Places to Go for Teens Get to know the inner workings of Uptown Charlotte…by staying inside. A network of skywalks and corridors over several blocks make up Overstreet Mall (200 S. College St.), a nontraditional destination where you can shop or dine in a local restaurant above street level (and avoid inclement weather if necessary). Two of the most popular access points are the buildings of either Bank of America (Tryon and 2nd streets) or Wells Fargo (Trade and Tryon streets).
Courtesy of Carowinds Amusement and Water Park
Any list of things to do in Charlotte has to include the 400-acre Carowinds Amusement and Water Park (14523 Carowinds Blvd.). Thrill seekers will find plenty of roller coasters, classic midway rides and even space to splash around on a hot day. It might take a while to go through, so consider a two-day ticket. Fun fact: The theme park straddles the border of North Carolina and South Carolina. (Head toward the rotating Carolina SkyTower, one of the theme park's original rides, to capture views of both states; it's advertised as "perfect for families." It's also the only place you're allowed to take pictures during a ride.)
If you’re still in the area of Carowinds and have time, then plan a trip to nearby Rock Hill, S.C. The city is a short drive away and provides access to the scenic Catawba River and recreational activities like rafting or bicycling the extensive trail system.
What to Do for All AgesAAA/Sherry Mims
The 3.35-mile Riverwalk (998 Riverwalk Pkwy.), one of the newest and most popular paths, caters to bicyclists and pedestrians in the Charlotte metro area. (The adjacent River Park, 1782 Quality Circle, is pet-friendly, so you can bring your leashed dog for a stroll, too.) While you’re on-site, pick up a good book or donate one to the freestanding Little Library, where readers share diverse picks in a birdhouse-size box.
flickr / CC BY SA/Mike Kalasnik
Rock Hill’s Glencairn Garden (725 Crest St.) provides a good spot to unwind, especially in spring and summer. The free park presents colorful landscaped gardens, including a kids’ area, as well as water features, sculptures and a memorial to veterans.
Courtesy of NASCAR Hall of Fame
NASCAR is huge in the South! Even if you’re not a fan, the interactive exhibits of the The NASCAR Hall of Fame (400 E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.) impress. Catch a show in the High Octane Theater, and then check out legendary race cars in the Glory Road section. During race season, several Charlotte events draw a crowd with children’s activities and places to eat, so check the AAA Calendar of Events ahead of your trip to catch up on all the fun things to do.
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
North Carolina has a 4.75 percent state sales tax; Mecklenburg County levies an additional 2 percent sales tax. Mecklenburg County also levies an 8 percent occupancy tax for lodging, a 1 percent prepared food and beverage tax and an 8 percent tax for rental cars.
(704) 336-7600. Info hotline: 311
Atrium Health University City, (704) 863-6000; Carolinas Medical Center, (704) 355-2000; Carolinas Medical Center-Mercy, (704) 304-5000; Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center, (704) 384-4000.
501 S. College St. Charlotte, NC 28202. Phone:(704)339-6040 or (800)231-4636
Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is 6 miles west of the city on Josh Birmingham Parkway, and is accessible from Billy Graham Parkway or Wilkinson Boulevard. A hub for American Airlines, the airport is served by other major airlines as well; phone (704) 359-4910. If you're looking for things to do this weekend, check AAA.com or ask a AAA Travel Agent about airline tickets—sometimes available as part of a AAA Vacations® package.
Hertz, 5489 Josh Birmingham Pkwy., offers discounts to AAA members; phone (704) 359-0114 or (800) 654-3080.
Amtrak, (800) 872-7245, has a station at 1914 N. Tryon St.
A Greyhound station serves Charlotte at 601 W. Trade St.; phone (704) 372-0456.
Cabs are metered and charge a base fare of around $2.50, plus approximately $2.50 per mile or 50c per minute when the vehicle drops below 15 miles per hour. These companies operate from the airport's queue—City Cab, (704) 333-3327; Crown Cab, (704) 334-6666; Green Cab, (704) 777-1117; and Yellow Cab, (980) 785-1405; they all increase the base fare $2 per person for more than two passengers.
Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), (704) 336-7433, serves the city with more than 70 local and express routes. One-way fare is $2.20; $1.10 (children in kindergarten through grade 12, ages 62+ and the physically impaired); free (ages 0-5). Express fare (buses pick up in a limited area and travel directly to Uptown) is $3; $1.50 (children in kindergarten through grade 12, ages 62+ and the physically impaired); free (ages 0-5). Transfers from local to express are 80c; local to local transfers are free.