Hey y’all! I’ve been back down in Charleston for a few weeks now for my second semester of grad school and have been enjoying some fun weekend trips across the southeast! First came a day trip to Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, and Congaree National Park. Then, my roommates and I flew down to Louisiana (hello state #39!) for a girls trip in New Orleans. I wrote a post all about the top things to do in New Orleans if you want to read more about that trip. We also visited Biloxi, Mississippi and Mobile, Alabama on this trip, bringing me up to state #41 on my 50 states challenge! Last weekend I brought 3 friends up to Charlotte, NC for another fun weekend trip. I’ve heard fantastic things about Charlotte and am excited to recap our one weekend in Charlotte with you all today!
Disclaimer: This blog post is sponsored by the Dunhill Hotel. The Dunhill Hotel invited me to stay two nights last weekend in exchange for a feature on my Instagram and blog. I couldn’t recommend this unique, boutique hotel more and am thrilled to share more below. As always, all opinions written here are 100% my own. I don’t write about or endorse anything I don’t participate in first-hand and love!
Getting To Charlotte, NC
Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina and is in the top 25 largest in the US. The Charlotte Douglas International Airport is quite large and is commonly used for layovers. The city is also easily drivable from nearby cities. From Raleigh, Charlotte is about 2.5 hours away. From Asheville, Charlotte is 2 hours away. Charlotte was a 3 hour drive from Charleston, making it the perfect 48 hour weekend trip!
Once you’re in Charlotte, I recommend having a car. Although there is a well-built public transportation tram and train system, there are quite a few neighborhoods in Charlotte that are worth seeing but located outside of the downtown. Having my car for the weekend was clutch and allowed us to see so much.
Staying In Charlotte, NC
It’s common to visit Charlotte on business since so many large companies have offices here, but consider visiting for a weekend trip! Nicknamed the Queen City after Queen Charlotte of Britain, who was in power with King George III during the city’s founding, Charlotte has a lot of accommodation options. It’s a fairly new city, especially compared to places like Boston, Charleston, and Williamsburg, which all date back to the 1700s. There are quite a few popular chain hotels right in Charlotte’s downtown, which is coincidentally called “Uptown”, including Marriott, Hyatt, Westin, and Hilton. However, I’m always a fan of boutique hotels because they provide a more intimate experience and usually have cozier rooms with aesthetic decor. This was certainly the case at the Dunhill Hotel!
The Dunhill Hotel, located on Tryon Street in Charlotte’s Uptown neighborhood, is the city’s only boutique, historic hotel. The hotel has a pretty unique background as it opened in 1929 at the onset of the Great Depression – causing it to close for quite a bit of time. When the hotel was rebought and restored in the 1980s, some artifacts and relics of its spooky past were uncovered. But, fear not – only room 906 is haunted!
Today, the hotel is an “oasis of calm amid the hustle & bustle of the city”. Its decor is sophisticated, its staff is incredibly welcoming, and the location is unbeatable! The Dunhill is within walking distance of many of the city’s corporate headquarters, murals, museums, and nightlife. I highly recommend staying here and getting a taste of the Dunhill’s southern hospitality for yourself. Thank you again to the Dunhill Hotel for hosting us for the weekend and for sponsoring this post.
How To Spend One Weekend In Charlotte, NC
Day One / Friday
Dilworth Tasting Room
My friends and I drove up to Charlotte from Charleston in the early afternoon on a Friday, putting us in the city just in time for happy hour! After checking into your hotel, your first stop should be a wine bar to kick off the weekend! I highly recommend the Dilworth Tasting Room in the South End! This chic wine bar has a stellar outdoor patio, delicious appetizers, tons of drinks, and cozy couches to chill on. It was such a good vibe before dinner!
Sticking with the Italian theme of the night, we next drove 10 minutes to Mama Ricotta for a yummy Italian dinner. This place has individual and family-sized pasta dishes.
Pro-tip: To save money, I recommend just splitting an individual-sized meal with a friend – it was still plenty of food to fill us, especially after our happy hour apps!
Pins Mechanical Co.
After dinner make your way back into the South End for a night of fun at Pins Mechanical! Charlotte is a super young city, filled with hundreds of 20-somethings and post-grads. This bar is definitely one of the most popular places to go out in Charlotte. Pins is your classic barcade and has a few bars surrounded by dozens of arcade games, bowling, pool, etc. Plus, they have fun cocktails that come with candy so you really can’t miss it.
Day Two / Saturday
Begin your morning in Charlotte’s NODA neighborhood at the Hobbyist. This is one of the most aesthetic coffee shops in Charlotte and had the best chai. From here, check out some of the murals in the NODA neighborhood, which stands for North Davidson. This neighborhood is super artsy and is full of street art, galleries, and flea markets on the weekends.
The most popular mural in this area is the confetti striped wall that says “Make People Feel Loved Today” near Jeni’s ice cream. Plus this address into your GPS to find it: 424 E 36th St. Suite 400 Charlotte, NC.
Brunch at Haberdish
If you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to Haberdish in NODA! This stylish southern kitchen serves craft cocktails and comfort food 7 days a week, but note they’re only open for dinner Monday – Friday.
Another fabulous option for lunch between the Uptown / NODA neighborhoods is Optimist Hall! Optimist Hall is probably my top recommendation for a weekend in Charlotte. It’s one of the best designed food halls I’ve seen and offers dozens of cuisine options from around the world.
It’s open everyday from 7 am – about 10 pm, so you can eat here for any meal, but we really enjoyed lunch. I highly recommend trying the sushi burrito from Zukka or an empanada!
After eating at one of two places outlined above (or both!), head to the center of Uptown for an early afternoon visit at Charlotte’s best art museum! The Mint Museum is pretty well-known for being North Carolina’s first art museum and the largest in the southeast. This museum has a student discount, so make sure you bring your student ID if you visit!
Pro-tip: There’s a second art museum called the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art right next door. This museum is much smaller, but is also worth the visit if you love art!
Bonus Uptown Suggestion: We didn’t fit this into our itinerary, but if you’re a racing fan, the Nascar Hall of Fame is also located right in Uptown!
South End Murals
The rest of the afternoon and evening are going to be spent back in South End, which is definitely the hub of activity for Charlotte’s younger crowd. There’s a second Jeni’s ice cream located here (this took us way too long to figure out), with more murals! Here you’ll find the cute confetti hearts mural, which is probably the Instagrammable place in Charlotte! The address to find this one is: 1930 Camden Rd, Charlotte, NC 28203.
Shopping In South End
End the afternoon by shopping in Atherton Mill, one block up from the mural described above. This plaza has Anthropologie, Free People, Warby Parker, Sephora, and more. There’s also a Farmer’s Market here on Saturdays.
After a full day of yummy food, museums, murals, and shopping (a dream day… am I right?!), begin your night at Summit Seltzer for happy hour! This bar is the south’s only craft seltzer bar and features a wide selection of delicious hard seltzers on tap. This brewery makes all their seltzers on location and is even dog-friendly!
Breweries on Yancey
For dinner / nightlife tonight, head on over to the Breweries on Yancey. We drove here (see why a car is essential!), but you can easily Uber and walk between breweries once you’re here. Start your night at the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. This brewery is a German-inspired beer hall, features tons of beers on tap, and a gigantic patio / yard. This spot looked like the move during a warm day, complete with games, picnic tables, fire pits, etc. but it was too cold for us to enjoy!
Across the street from this spot is the Protagonist, another South End brewery offering craft beer and homemade pizzas. They also have cocktails and snacks.
End the night at the Brewers at 4001 Yancey. This brewery is huge – it has a full menu plus a wide selection of cocktails, wine, and beer on draft. There were too many TVs to count in here and the atmosphere was super fun for a Saturday night.
Day Three / Sunday
Brunch at Link & Pin
We had to head back to Charleston fairly early so we just had brunch in Charlotte on Sunday. Charlotte has several brunch spots. I recommend Snooze in the South End or Link & Pin. We chose Link & Pin because they had reservations and loved their omelets and waffles.
That covers my one weekend in Charlotte itinerary! Charlotte is a fairly small / mid-sized city so you can easily enjoy the highlights in 48 hours. I recommend staying for two nights so you can enjoy dinner and the nightlife for a full weekend. Since Saturday will be the only full day in Charlotte, it will be a pretty packed day! Having a car helped us zip around between the South End, Uptown, and NODA – which will be essential if you want to see everything.
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