Why should ladies have all the fun with their girls’ trips? The guys sometimes need to get together, too, for an exciting weekend away. And Charlotte is your destination.
Prepare for a three-day trip filled with craft beer, sports and nightlife. Start by booking accommodations at one of several hotels in Uptown Charlotte, such as Aloft at the EpiCentre or The Westin on the light rail line, and you'll be in the center of the action.
Not only does North Carolina have the most craft breweries in the South, Charlotte’s beer scene is quickly becoming one of the leaders. There are about 30 craft breweries around the city, with many of them located in the South End and NoDa neighborhoods. In Lower South End, veteran Olde Mecklenburg Brewery (OMB) features a large taproom offering a full food menu and an 8-acre biergarten that attracts crowds several days a week. Many other brew-inspired venues are within walking distance of OMB: Sugar Creek Brewing Co., GoodRoad Ciderworks, Brewers at 4001 Yancey and Lower Left Brewing Co.; plus Queen Park Social, a grownup funhouse across the street. You'll need to pace yourselves (drink responsibly) as you hop through this district.
Between all the good times you’re having, you must make time to eat, and North Carolina’s largest city doesn’t disappoint. You can’t come here and not try the barbecue, right? Seek out Mac’s Speed Shop, Noble Smoke and Midwood Smokehouse, to name a few. If you’re looking for a metropolitan vibe to help set the tone for the night, try Soul Gastrolounge in the popular Plaza Midwood neighborhood, where small plates and cocktails pair well with the music from the DJ who plays nightly beginning at 9 p.m. And Cloud Bar promises incomparable views of the skyline, along with drinks and appetizers from celebrity chef David Burke.
Take in a pro sports game no matter what time of year you’re visiting. The Carolina Panthers of the NFL, Charlotte Hornets of the NBA and Charlotte Knights of MiLB all play Uptown, and their game schedules combine to run fall through summer. Plus, in addition to being the Panthers' home, Bank of America Stadium is often the site of other major sporting events such as the Duke's Mayo Classic during Labor Day weekend, the ACC Football Championship Game in early December, and international soccer matches. If golf is more your speed, the Wells Fargo Championship is held at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte each year in early May. But when your crew wants to be more than spectators, plan an outing at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, with activities such as rafting, rock climbing, zip lining, biking trails and more.
Choosing where to party will probably require several rounds of rock-paper-scissors due to the great number of options near Uptown alone. Notice the bright lights of the EpiCentre entertainment complex, which is home to more than a dozen bars and nightclubs (such as Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Whisky River). On the outskirts of Uptown, the AvidXchange Music Factory features live music, comedy venues and nightclubs. If you guys want to check out another trendy neighborhood, head to Montford Drive in south Charlotte, where both sides of the street are lined with hot spots frequented by locals.