February 9, 2017


Coolest Charlotte Places

Having lived in Charlotte for over 10 years I've discovered a lot of really cool places to explore. Here's my list of the best places to hang out.

Abari – a video game arcade plus bar. They have a lot of classic arcade machines that are restored to their original glory. You can relive your childhood playing Ms Pacman, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and many others. They also have a great selection of pinball machines (my favorites include: Star Trek The Next Generation, Indiana Jones, and The Adams Family), as well as a bunch of console classics for the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis. If you like video games and beer, you've no excuse not to check out this really fun and geeky place to hang out. For the low price of one dollar you can buy a life-time membership. Visit their website.

The National Whitewater Center – home and official training site for the US Olympic kayaker and rafting teams. I actually stumbled on the USA and Canada teams training before the 2008 Olympics. If you like outdoor fun, you have access to tons of hiking running and mountain biking trails. They also have several whitewater courses for kayakers and rafters, as well as a climbing wall, ropes courses, and flat-water kayaking. In the summer they often feature free or inexpensive concerts. Visit their website.

The Common Market Deli – essentially a pilgrimage site for hipsters. This place feels like ground zero for the alternative crowd. They serve a great beer and wine selection, and some really great coffee. But the main reason to go is for the deli which makes some of the best sandwiches! It's always crowded, but it's a really cool crowd.

The Map Shop – If you're a map or flag enthusiast, you have to make a trip to the Map Shop. Some of the most interesting maps from around the world are available in their selection. Its a great place to find travel guides as well. And of course they have some great custom maps of Charlotte. Visit their website.

Exit Strategy – if you're looking for an unusual team building exercise, then consider Exit Strategy. The idea is your group is put into a room with a theme that requires using problem solving to escape in less than an hour. My company went there and we actually escaped the room with a Bank Heist theme just in the nick of time. Visit their website.

Breweries – in recent years breweries have popped up around Charlotte like mushrooms overnight. There are quite a few great choices when it comes to selection and atmosphere. My favorites are: Birdsong, Noda and Unknown.

BB&T Ballpark – When it comes to sports, Charlotte has a lot of options: from the Panthers (NFL), to the Hornets (NBA). There's also the Charlotte Checkers (minor league hockey), the Charlotte Independence (minor league soccer), the Charlotte Hounds (major league lacrosse), and the Charlotte Roller Girls (roller derby). And you can't forget that the city is home to the Charlotte Motor Speedway, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame. But a ticket to BB&T Ballpark, home of the minor league baseball Charlotte Knights (AAA minor league baseball team for the Whitesocks), is the best deal in the Queen City. I think it has the best view of any ballpark I've attended. I'm biased because I love baseball, but I really think it's the best sports arena in the city. Visit their website.

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