Charlotte, North Carolina is a charming southern city settled along the bank of the Catawba River. Established before the Revolutionary War, Charlotte has since grown into a thriving city that still manages an atmosphere of small-town charm. Striking a careful balance between urban and rural, there is something for everyone to enjoy. From mountains to museums to NASCAR – here are 10 things for active adults to do to enjoy senior living in Charlotte.
Charlotte Activities for the Outdoor Lovers:
1. UNC Botanical Gardens
Established in 1966 as a living classroom for biology students, the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens have grown to house a large variety of native and non-native plant life. Walk through the McMillan greenhouse and view beautiful orchids, exotic spices, and their prized Titan Arums – a rare flower that only blooms once every 10-15 years. Outside, take in the natural beauty of the Van Landingham Glen, which displays the rich diversity of native Carolina plant life, or find some garden inspiration in the Susie Harwood Garden, specializing in growing plants that thrive in the mild Charlotte climate. Entrance is free and the Gardens also host gardening classes and events throughout the year that are ideal for active seniors.
2. Crowders Mountain State Park
Just a short drive west of Charlotte, off I 85, is Crowders Mountain State Park. With eleven trails that range from easy to strenuous, active 55+ hikers can enjoy views wildflower-filled meadows, laurel-lined ridges, and a seven-acre lake. The grounds cover two peaks, Crowders Mountain and the Pinnacle, where you can enjoy 25-mile views from the top. Visitors can also enjoy canoeing, fishing, and camping within the park.
3. U.S. National Whitewater Center
If you like a bit of a challenge, look no further than the U.S. National Whitewater Center. At 1,300 acres, the USNWC offers outdoor activities of all kinds. Power through rapids on the largest manmade whitewater river, kayak or paddle board along 200 acres of the Catawba River, bike over 40 miles of trails, or enjoy an aerial view from a zipline course. When it’s time to wind down, kick back at one of the two on-site restaurants for some delicious food and drinks. If you like music, you’ll love the River Jam concert series featuring outdoor music from all different genres. Passes can be purchased for single activities or all access.
Charlotte Activities For the Cultural Connoisseur:
4. Charlotte Museum of History
First settled by colonists in 1755, Charlotte has long been part of America’s history. You can learn more about it at the Charlotte Museum of History, which is home to the Hezekiah Alexander Home Site, the oldest standing structure in Mecklenburg County. The museum focuses mainly on the Colonial era; however, they also have exhibits on more contemporary aspects of the city’s history such as music and conservation efforts. Admission for seniors 62 and up is $7 and $10 for adults.
5. Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
Located in the Levine Center for the Arts, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art has an impressive collection of works from famous artists such as Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miro, and Pablo Picasso. The museum also has a series of temporary exhibits that change throughout the year and hosts a variety of events including Jazz Night and guest lectures. General admission is $7 for seniors (65+). The Bechtler is located within the Levine Center for the Arts, Charlotte’s cultural hub, and is also the location of several other museums and venues such as the Mint Museum Uptown and the Knight Theater.
6. Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
If you have a love of the theater, be sure to check out the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Located in the city center, the Blumenthal has three separate theaters, the Belk Theater, the Booth Playhouse, and the Stagedoor Theater, showing everything from ballet to Broadway throughout the season. On top of knock-out performances, the center runs several community programs including an open mic night and improv workshops for the more adventurous active adult. Not a theater fan? Not a problem! They also host plenty of other events including comedy shows, movie screenings, guest lectures, and more. See what’s playing this season by checking out their calendar.
Charlotte Activities For the Sports Fanatic:
7. Bank of America Stadium
Football fans will find plenty of entertainment at the Bank of America Stadium. Home to the Carolina Panthers, the stadium can hold over 75,000 people and is host to the annual ACC Championship Game and the New Year’s Eve Belk Bowl. Tours of the stadium are also available and give visitors a close look at the broadcasting booth and press box, luxury suites, and the visiting locker room and field tunnel. On game days, head to the stadium early and check out some of the pregame festivities such as the Panther’s Den and start your tailgating early.
8. NASCAR Hall of Fame
Racing is a big pastime in Charlotte, home to both the Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Coca-Cola 600. For your own chance to experience life in the driver’s seat come and check out the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Featuring eight interactive exhibits that cover the sport’s history and give you glimpses behind-the-scenes, you’ll fine not shortage of thrills here. Be sure to check out the Hall’s racing simulator, which uses the same iRacing technology the pros use to prepare for a race. You’ll take on up to 15 competitors that change with the Monster Energy Cup schedule, all while the action is being broadcast to the above 50-foot screen.
9. Charlotte Golfing
With mild weather almost year-round, it’s no surprise that Charlotte has developed a thriving golf community. You’ll have your choice of public and semi-private courses to tee off from.
One of the best public courses is the Birkdale Golf Club, designed by golfing legend, Arnold Palmer. This 72-par course offers a fair challenge to even seasoned golfers. And don’t miss your chance to see the Wells Fargo Championship, held annually at the nearby Quail Hollow Golf Club.
Charlotte Activities with the Grandkids:
10. Discovery Place Science
Senior living in Charlotte isn’t just about what you can do on your own! When the grandkids come to visit, make some fun memories and learn something with a trip to Discovery Place Science. This sprawling 3-story museum is packed with hands-on exhibits and live shows for kids of all ages. Get your hands on some starfish in the aquarium touch tank, learn to launch objects using chemical reactions, take a virtual reality tour of the human body, or watch a film on the gigantic IMAX dome theater. For even more to explore you can check out the sister museums Discovery Place Nature and Discovery Place Kids – Huntersville.
See all this and more when you come experience life in Charlotte by buying a home in one of our exclusive active adult communities in Charlotte.
Contributed to The 55+ Society
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