North Carolina really has it all - from the mountains, to the central Piedmont, to the coast, anyone can fall in love with the land of the pines. 

View of Charlotte from roof of Epicenter

Special thanks to Joe Turkson for the recommendations

 

CHARLOTTE

Things to Do

Hike Crowders Mountain: About an hour away from Charlotte and not too strenuous. It's gotten popular recently, so you will run into other hikers.

Visit Lake Norman or Lake Wylie: These lakes around Charlotte are the best for day drinking, country music, and water sports. 

Check out the "Magic Carpet": Behind Sycamore brewery in South End, this painted walkway is awesome to explore.

Go to a Sporting Event: Charlotte's got every sport covered. The Carolina Panthers for football, Charlotte Knights for baseball, Charlotte Hornets for basketball and even the Charlotte Checkers for hockey. Locals are always in attendance supporting their home teams. 

US National Whitewater Center: A bit outside the city, great for boozing and listening to live music on select summer nights. You also can raft, paddle board, bike, and more. 

Museums: Charlotte's got a variety of museums from fun, interactive ones like Discovery Place, to historic ones like Levine Museum of the South and Becthler. 

Romare Bearden Park: Beautiful green space near the French-Quarter and BB&T Ballpark.  

Places to Eat

Futa Bota:  Gourmet ramen spot in the heart of the South End neighborhood.

Seoul Meat Company: Voted best wings in Charlotte. They even have karaoke rooms you can rent out to sing today’s hottest K-pop tunes. If you couldn’t tell by the name, it’s a Korean restaurant.

Cabo Fish Taco: The lemon shrimp tacos are to die for, and when in season get the potato mashers. Also, don't forget your margarita paired with their corn salsa!

Benny Pennilos: New York style pizza that legit needs two plates for one slice. If you want an entire pizza, make sure you have a big trunk to haul and plenty of mouths to feed.

Moosehead: Located in probably the strangest part of Charlotte, Montford. Most people trek here on Fridays to binge drink and make terrible decisions. But rest assured, Moosehead will not be one of them. Get the wings. 

Heist Brewery: Their brunch is phenomenal and bottomless. Enough said. Beyond that, their flatbread pizzas can't be beat. 

Fahrenheit: By far the most popular rooftop spot in Charlotte. More upscale venue with fancy drinks, expensive wines, and great food. It’s not uncommon to spend over $250 for two people, or just one if you’re really hungry.

5Church: Chic restaurant/bar located in Uptown. Great brunch on Saturday and Sunday morning afternoon. Also, really casual spot to go on Friday or Saturday nights to grab a couple fancy drinks. If you're really trying to ball out, they have expensive bottles of wine and champagne you can order.

Papi Queso: So, this isn’t actually a restaurant, but a food truck that can be found at most breweries. Loaded with everything cheese, Papi Queso is a true staple in the Charlotte beer scene, which is ever-expanding. We recommend the BBQ Mac & Cheese.

Bakersfield: Voted best tacos in Charlotte, depending on what poll you check. Bakersfield has a unique atmosphere, great tacos, and lots of quality tequila. Serves margarita pitchers, great to share!

O-Ku: Sushi lovers delight. There isn't a bad roll on the menu. 

George’s Brassier: Their $40 "All You Can Eat and Drink Buffet" is top-notch. Loaded with favorites like french toast, pancakes, fresh fruit, bacon, and complete with an omelette station. However, the real deal comes in their prime rib and shrimp cocktail. Did we mention all you can drink Bloody Mary and Mimosa’s?

Bojangles: If this is your first time in a southern city, get the Cajun Filet Biscuit with seasoned fries. Unparalleled hangover cure, you're welcome.

Places to Drink

Sycamore Brewing: Charlotte's most popular brewery. Located in the heart of the South End neighborhood, Sycamore is well-known as the most frequented brewery in the city. Home to live music with a pet friendly atmosphere, Sycamore is always a great time. Not the best beer in Charlotte, but a staple for out-of-towners to check. 

Legion Brewery: Personal favorite brewery in one of the cooler pockets of Charlotte. Located in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood,  they whip up  funky alcohol concoctions like beer brewed with Cinnamon Toast Crunch called, “Why So Cereal.” Try their most popular IPA, “Juicy J” -- the man Juicy J himself even approves.

Latta Arcade: A little slice of Europe in the heart of Uptown. Nestled in the French Quarter district of Charlotte, this alley has the most character in the city. There’s about five European style pubs ranging in variety of food options from Vietnamese to Cajun.

Jack Beagle's: Steps away from Cabo Fish Taco, this dive is tucked in the rustic, arts district of Charlotte, NoDa. Can't miss the giant mural on the side of the building. Has fair prices, a variety of characters coming in and out, plus great bar food. 

Roxbury: 80's themed grungy bar, giant Rubik's cube included.

Work Spaces

Amelie's: Open 24 hours, this French Bakery has amazing coffee, tea, and deserts. Grab any macaroon with a salted caramel brownie. 

Jump to:

BB&T Ballpark

Charlotte Skyline

Charlotte Knights Field

PNC Music Pavillions

Downtown Cape Town

North Carolina

UNC Charlotte

Lowes Motor Speedway

Lowes Motor Speedway

 

CHAPEL HILL

Things to Do

Stroll through UNC's campus and check out:

The Old Well

Wilson Library

The Arboretum

The Pit & UNC Student Stores

Check out a game: Football in the south, UNC Basketball, and their baseball teams are always impressive with passionate crowds.

Cat’s Cradle: Pared back, grungy venue that is home to an impressive set list of rock and contemporary alternative bands.

Day Trips:

Raleigh

Durham

Sliding Rock

Places to Eat

Veneble: Trendy restaurant with a delicious brunch and dinner.

Rise Biscuits & Donuts: Newer to the area, but a must visit. This quick, order-at-the-counter biscuit joint  and gourmet donut shop will satisfy that southern craving.

Merritt’s: BLTs galore and other sandwiches, if that ain't your style. The pimento cheese is a must try. Plan ahead, closed on Sundays.

R&R: Sports bar with a large dining area and covered patio. Ideal for watching games and has a great brunch. Also, $15 bottomless mimosas.

TOPO (Top of the Hill): A popular bar with rooftop patio seating overlooking Franklin Street.

Jujube: Fantastic Asian cuisine.

Sutton’s Drug Store: Famous, casual diner tucked away in the heart of Franklin Street.

Sup Dogs: Late night specialty hot dogs and tater tots/cheesy fries.

Linda’s: Finish your night here and soak up your drinks with finger-licking entrees. The sweet potato tots are a must.

411 West: Great for date night or any special occasion.

Tyler’s Taproom: Huge selection of craft beers, quality bar food.

The Station: A cool, casual lunch spot. Small bar made of old  train cars.

Shiki Sushi: BOGO (buy one get one) sushi with vast menu. It's worth the quick trip over to Durham.

Kanki: Hibachi restaurant known for getting rowdy. Bring a group and enthusiasm! 

Places to Drink

Bobs: Enjoy pitchers on the deck

He’s Not Here: Most famous bar in town. Careful, their staple "Blue Cup" is equal to almost 3 beers.

The Crunkleton: Classy, members-only bar with top-shelf specialty cocktails. Don’t worry, you can join for a few dollars or tag along with someone as their guest.

TOPO (Top of the Hill): Grab a Blueberry Wheat if it is in season.

Goodfellows: Cozy basement bar with great drink specials. Take a pickle back shot if you're feeling brave.

Barcade: Casual bar full of vintage arcade games

Places to Stay

Aloft: Hip boutique-style hotel. Only a few minute Uber to Franklin Street bars and campus.

Carolina Inn: A Chapel Hill icon. Elegant, quaint hotel with so much charm. Book early, rooms fill up quickly.

Franklin Hotel: A classy hotel on Franklin Street. Only a few minutes walk from bars and restaurants.

Courtyard Marriott: A clean, well-kept and fairly priced option near Meadowmont. About a 10 minute Uber from Franklin Street.

Old Well

Kenan Memorial Stadium

He's Not Here, Chapel Hill

 

ASHEVILLE

Places to Eat

12 Bones: Absolutely make a point to eat here any time you visit! They're known for serving some of the best ribs and sides in the state. Everything here is amazing but my favorites, besides the ribs, are Jalapeño Cheese Grits and the Key Lime Pie! Note, the River Arts location is only open 11-4 p.m. Monday through Friday, while the Sweeten Creek location is open 11–6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Be prepared to wait in line, an certain rubs or sides may sell out if you go later in the day.

Asheville Sandwich Company: Every type of sandwich you can imagine, then piled high with french fries! Personal favorite is a tie between the Shrimp Po' Boy and the Hot Sauce Chicken, but the Braised Pork Shoulder is also tasty!

El Que Pasa or Papas & Beer: Both are quality Mexican restaurants with extensive menus. Visit on Tuesdays or Thursdays for $3 32 ounce beers. We always order the Shredded Beef Burrito or the Carne Asada Burrito. Be sure to load up on salsa from their tasty salsa bar!

French Broad Chocolate Lounge: Decadent dessert bar hosting a wide variety of flavors and forms of treats. Usually, we just go with a classic milkshake or a rich brownie.

Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack: An Asheville spin on a Nashville classic! Delightfully crunchy fried chicken served up how you like it, with amazing fixin's. Our go-to is to always get the chicken (go hot) with as much mac and cheese as they'll legally give.

Wicked Weed: A favorite brewery, but the best spot to get a salad or their veggie burger. Too good!

Zia Taqueria: California-style Mexican restaurant with zesty cocktails and sublime plates. Their guacamole is always fresh and truly refreshing. Can't go wrong with any order, and there's usually an interesting special worth trying. Not only are food and drinks outstanding, but the staff is extremely friendly and attentive! 

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