So you’ve come to the Queen City to celebrate Charlotte Pride? There’s a lot to do here. If you intend to spend the weekend or a few extra days, in addition to the Pride celebration there are other sites to take in. Here’s a few we thought you’d like to know about.

Be Amused at Carowinds 

Carowinds is a 400-acre amusement park located on the North Carolina-South Carolina state line. It’s home to top rated roller coasters, including Fury 325, the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster, as well as more than 60 rides, attractions, and live stage shows. Carolina Harbor, a 26-acre water park, features a variety of water slides, wave pools, large play structures and a three-acre children’s play area. 

The Carowinds Amusement Park offers thrill rides galore. | Courtesy Carowinds/Cedar Fair Entertainment

Bring a convertible or rent one to tour Charlotte’s Historic Neighborhoods

Myers Park

Throughout much of the 20th century Myers Park was largely recognized as the most affluent neighborhoods of Charlotte. Construction began in 1911 and featured broad curving streets and sizable houses with gated entrances. Most of the original structures remain and the architectural viewing experience is breathtaking.

Wesley Heights

The Wesley Heights neighborhood was largely designed by many of the same city planners and architects that worked on the Elizabeth neighborhood. Construction began in the area in the early 1900s and residents began to move into the a decade later. The city’s third street car suburb, it is reminiscent of aspects of Elizabeth and Dilworth, with sizable, attractive homes providing housing for the upper middle class and lower income residents in fashionable single home bungalows, duplexes and quadruplexes. The neighborhood is covered with a canopy of mature trees and today is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city.


For many, the Elizabeth neighborhood is considered part of the city’s central core. It is home to much of the main medical district, but there are also many remaining homes from a time it was officially the city’s first suburb in 1902. From small shotguns to medium sized bungalows and Grand Victorians and a broad array of locally owned eateries, there’s a lot to see in the Elizabeth neighborhood.

Dilworth is one of Charlotte’s most beautiful historic neighborhoods, and a key point in LGBTQ+ history in Charlotte. | Facebook


Charlotte’s Dilworth neighborhood dates back to the 1890s. Today the area is full of beautiful mature trees that line broad streets with a range of historic homes and housing that span the gamut of architectural styles from 19th century Victorians and 1920s bungalows to stylish quad apartment units. The city’s first street car suburb, it was annexed into Charlotte in 1907 and intentionally designed to be able to provide housing for the city’s wealthy elite, middle incomers and those of lesser financial means. Regardless of the economic investments made into any of the original historic structures to be found in the area, all of them are architectural works of art.

With the city’s population ever on the increase, many of the previous structures that fronted East Boulevard have been replaced by high density apartments and condo low rises, which offer street level access to storefronts and a diverse array of restaurants, bars and retail shops. That’s a far end of the neighborhood you’ll find Freedom Park, Charlotte’s largest inner city park. An interesting note: before mass gentrification of the 1990s, Charlotte’s first most densely populated LGBTQ+ district was Dilworth.

Destinations for Drinking and Dining


For decades, people have argued over whether or not the area that is hosting Pride now should have been called Uptown, Downtown or Center City. Take your pick, but know there is a seemingly endless array of upscale eateries and posh bars to enjoy during your time in Charlotte. Plenty of people make their homes in the high-rise condos in the city center and get quick access to other areas of the city through the use of the light rail. Have a few drinks, some dinner and take a ride on the light rail for a tour of the city proper.

NoDa/Plaza Midwood

This area of town covers an enormous amount of space (close to 20 square miles). It is also the largest concentration of individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ in the southeast. Lucky for us, NoDa boasts the main Street thoroughfare with plenty of restaurants and drinking spots, while Plaza midwood has the Thomas Street area and Central Avenue, which is home to the LGBTQ-owned and operated White Rabbit books, as well as many more dining, drinking and shopping opportunities.

Camp North End

When it was first built in 1924, Camp North End served as a Ford factory producing the legendary Model T. By World War II it had been acquired by the American military to serve as a distribution hub. The sizable facility, which boasts multiple restaurants and retail shops. At 76 acres, it is reminiscent of a nicely decorated post-apocalyptic industrial site, with a collection of beautifully restored, decorative and strategically placed Airstream Antique Campers that serve as office and studio spaces. It can’t help but be one of the coolest and quirkiest best go to destinations in town.


An estimate of 13,000 people live in the area now referred to as cell phone. Years ago it was mostly just an industrial district with a smattering of retail stores and chain restaurants. These days, it’s anchored by the old Atherton Mills, which is home to a sizable selection of restaurants and bars; and the light rail which runs from Charlotte Center City through South End and practically the length of South Boulevard in Charlotte proper.

If you’re in the mood for something artistic, there are Museums Galore

Throughout Charlotte there is no shortage of museums. Something for practically everyone. Since you’re already in center city Charlotte, don’t miss the opportunity to visit The Levine Museum of the New South, the Harvey Gantt African American Cultural Museum, The Mint Museum, The Bechtler Museum, or Discovery Place.

The Harvey Gantt Center offers exhibits exploring African-American culture of the region. | Facebook

Peace and Quiet: Old Settlers Cemetery, Elmwood-Pinewood Cemetery

If you’re into history and want to go somewhere quiet in the center city area, there are two spots just a short walk from the Pride festival that are peaceful, historic and for many individuals, serve as a pleasant park-like environment for reflection, relaxing, walking your pet or just getting some exercise.

Settlers cemetery is the oldest cemetery in the city proper and where you’ll find the burial sites of most of the city’s original founders. A relatively small cemetery, it’s located directly behind First Presbyterian at the corner of Church and Fifth.

If you follow Fifth Street a few blocks west it eventually merges with Sixth Street, which places you directly beside Elmwood & Pinewood Cemetery. This is a much larger site which covers several acres, with winding roads for walking and driving. You’ll find an endless array of important people buried here, including actors, performers, politicians and former governors, all in eternal rest among some of the most artistic (and often ostentatious) tombstones one will encounter in a lifetime.

Outdoor Recreational Activities

Get Wet at Whitewater

The Whitewater Center is designed and operated as an outdoor center offering over 30 different recreational activities. Among the activities available to participate in are White water rafting, kayaking, Mountain biking, trail hiking, ziplining, ice skating and more.

Currently the site is comprised of over 1,300 acres of protected land offering 50 miles of trail and access to the Catawba River and Long Creek.

Lake Norman

Sunset on Lake Norman. | Facebook

Just above the upper north edge of Charlotte, Lake Norman is the largest man-made body of fresh water in North Carolina. Created between 1959 and 1964 as part of the construction of the Cowans Ford Dam by Duke Energy, it covers approximately 32,510 acres with a shoreline length of 520 miles. Fishing, swimming and water skiing are popular activities, as well as dinner cruises that are available through a number of different restaurant yachts.

Lake Wylie

Another man-made lake brought to you courtesy of Duke Energy (okay, originally created by Catawba Power in 1904 but later acquired by Duke Energy). This one straddles the state lines of both Carolinas. Just over 20 minutes Southwest of Charlotte, the lake has a surface area of 13,400 acres and features 325 miles of shoreline. Boating, camping, water skiing, fishing, swimming and hiking are available at the various parks located along the shores of Lake Wylie and all have free admission. Some dinner cruises are available, although availability is limited.

David Aaron Moore is a former editor of Qnotes, serving in the role from 2003 to 2007. He is currently the senior content editor and a regularly contributing writer for Qnotes. Moore is a native of North...

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