dramatic clouds over the skyline of Charlotte, North Carolina

Does it Snow in Charlotte NC? 11 Fun Things to Do in Charlotte in Winter (2024)

Does it snow in Charlotte NC? If you are planning to visit Charlotte, NC, you may be wondering if it ever snows. The answer is yes; it does snow in Charlotte, but not very often.

We spent some time in North Carolina during our long cross-country road trip. We loved visiting the Wright Brothers Memorial and learning about native cultures at Oconaluftee Village.

We asked our friend Sarah from Explore More NC to tell us more about visiting Charlotte in winter and all the fun things to do in Charlotte in winter whether you’re passing through on a family road trip or staying to explore more of this fabulous city.

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Winter in Charlotte, NC

Charlotte has mild winters with occasional cold snaps. Snowfall is relatively rare, with an average snowfall of only a few inches annually. When it does snow, it usually melts quickly due to the warm ground temperatures. You won’t find a lot of rainy days in the winter- which makes it a great time to explore the city.

The most significant snowstorm in recent Charlotte history occurred in December 2018, when the city received almost three inches of snow. While this may not seem like a lot compared to other parts of the country, it was a significant event for Charlotte. The city is not typically equipped to handle large amounts of snow, and the storm caused travel disruptions and power outages.

Skyline of uptown in Charlotte, NC

If you’re hoping to experience snow in Charlotte, the best time to visit is during the winter months of December through February. However, remember that snowfall is not guaranteed, and you may be disappointed if you plan a trip specifically for that reason. 

If you are looking for snow, take a road trip from Charlotte and drive to the mountains near Boone, NC, to enjoy skiing at Sugar Mountain or Beech Mountain. While this area is just a touch over 2 hours from Charlotte, the average annual snowfall is substantially higher at over 35 inches per year. The ski resorts also supplement with snow machines to ensure the slopes stay covered.

Thinking of planning a road trip? Check out the best road trip snacks, the best kid’s road trip activities, and all the road trip essentials for your car.

You might be wondering what I can do in Charlotte during the winter. Let’s break down some amazing things to do during the winter in Charlotte NC.

Things to do in Charlotte NC in Winter

Winter in Charlotte, NC, may be chilly, but it’s also a great time to explore the city’s many indoor and outdoor attractions. Called the Queen City, whether you’re on a family vacation, a thrill-seeker, or prefer a more relaxed pace, there are things to do in Charlotte NC in winter for all ages.

1. Mint Museum Uptown

Exterior of the Mint Museum Uptown, in Charlotte, NC, showing "American Made" exhibition posters.

Mint Museum Uptown is a must-visit destination in Charlotte, NC, for art and history lovers. Located in the heart of uptown Charlotte, the museum showcases a diverse collection of international art and incredible collections of American and contemporary art.

The museum’s impressive building is a work of art featuring stunning architecture and expansive galleries. Visitors can enjoy guided tours, programs, and workshops to learn more about the museum’s collections and exhibitions.

They have free admission every Wednesday night from 5 – 9 pm. General Admission tickets start at $6 for children between the ages of 5 – 17 years old and $15 for adults.

Address: 500 South Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202

2. NASCAR Hall of Fame

Outside of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte, NC

The NASCAR Hall of Fame is a thrilling destination for racing enthusiasts and history buffs. Here you can explore the history of NASCAR and its drivers through interactive exhibits, artifacts, and videos. Visitors can explore the museum’s exhibits, including the Hall of Honor, Glory Road, and Race Week. The exhibits showcase the evolution of stock car racing and highlight the drivers, teams, and legends who made NASCAR what it is today.

The museum also features a simulator experience of being behind the wheel on the race track. There’s even a pit crew challenge where visitors can try their hand at changing tires and fueling a race car.  If you have kids, they will love it! 

Whether you’re a die-hard NASCAR fan or just curious about racing history, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is a must-visit destination in Charlotte. So, rev your engines and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

General Admission costs $20 for kids between the ages of 4 – 12 years old and $27 for adults. They also offer special pricing for both seniors and the military.

Hours: Mon, Wed-Sun, closed Tuesdays.
Address: 400 East Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. Charlotte, NC 28202

3. Take a Ghost Tour of Charlotte

Interested in the spooky side of Charlotte, NC? This ghost tour of Charlotte takes you through the upscale fourth ward of the city by lantern light. While adults will be entertained, this is a great choice for tweens or teens who roll their eyes at a more traditional tour.

This 1 1/2-hour walking tour is available for all ages. You’ll learn all about the history of the city and the famous fourth ward, you’ll see city landmarks and hear stories about mansions, native trails, and of course, ghosts! You’ll end your tour in a cemetery, naturally. Choose from start times of 7, 8, or 9 pm depending on the season.

What travelers say about this ghost tour of Charlotte:

“We have been on other ghost tours and this was one of the best we have ever been to. She made the tour fun and memorable. Her acting skills made the tour that much more amazing.”

“The tour guide was one of the best guides we’ve ever experienced. Great storyteller, interesting and engaging stories. We learned so much history through this tour.”

Book Now: Charlotte Ghost Tour

4. Blumenthal Performing Arts Center

Outside of Bluementhal Performing Arts Center in Charlotte, NC

The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in Charlotte, NC, is a premier destination for world-class entertainment. The center is home to several venues, including the Belk Theater, Knight Theater, and Booth Playhouse, which host a variety of performances throughout the year.

Visitors can enjoy various performances, including Broadway shows, ballet, opera, comedy, and more. The center also hosts educational programs and workshops for children and adults. 

If you’re looking for a night of entertainment, visit the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center for a perfect night out.

Address: 130 North Tryon St., Charlotte, NC 28202

5. Discovery Place Science Museum

Large blue sign of the Discovery Place Science Center in Charlotte, NC

The Discovery Place Science Museum is a must-visit destination for science enthusiasts of all ages. The museum features hands-on exhibits and interactive experiences that showcase the wonders of science and technology.

Visitors can explore a variety of exhibits, including the Are you the next James (or Jane) Bond?, World Alive, Thinker Space, and Cool Stuff exhibits. You can also enjoy live science demonstrations, IMAX movies, and special exhibitions throughout the year.

From exploring the mysteries of the human body to discovering the science behind electricity and energy, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.  This is a perfect stop for those with small children while on a family vacation here. Kids love to explore all the wonder here!

Daily admission starts at $18 for children between the ages of 2 – 13; adults start at $23, which is a discounted rate if you purchase online. They are open daily, Monday – Sunday.

Address: 301 N Tryon St Charlotte, NC 28202

6. Ice Skating at the U.S. National Whitewater Center

Ice rink at Whitewater Center in Charlotte NC with a blue sky behind

The ice skating rink at the US National Whitewater Center is one of the best places to ice skate in North Carlina, and a perfect place to get in the winter spirit, whether an experienced skater or a beginner.

At this open-air rink, you’ll find over 24,000 sq. ft of icerink to enjoy under sparkling lights, including two ice trails. They also have a non-skating area where you can take a break by an Airstream and enjoy some hot or cold beverages. Skates are available to rent, and the rink is open to all ages and skill levels.

The rink is open from mid-November to mid-February, weather permitting. Check the US National Whitewater Center website for updated information on rink hours and closures. Skating is available for $25 per person (2023), which includes skate rental and admission to the rink. Take the entire family and enjoy a wonderful day on the ice.

Address: 5000 Whitewater Center Parkway Charlotte, NC 28214

7. Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

Glittering sculpture outside the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte, NC, is a cultural gem that allows visitors to explore a wide range of modern and contemporary art. The museum features a diverse collection of works by modern artists from around the world.

Visitors can explore the museum’s exhibits, which showcase works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, and Andy Warhol. They can also attend special exhibitions, lectures, and other events throughout the year.

The museum’s building is a work of art designed by renowned Swiss architect Mario Botta. The stunning architecture and thoughtful design provide the perfect backdrop for the museum’s impressive collection.

Whether you’re a lifelong fan of modern art or a newcomer to the world of contemporary art, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is a must-visit destination in Charlotte. With its impressive collection, beautiful building, and dynamic programming, it’s a cultural hub that offers something for everyone.

General admission costs $5 for ages 11 – 18 and $9 for adults.  Children ages 10 and under are free.

Hours: Mon, Wed-Sun, closed Tuesdays.
Address: 420 South Tryon Street Charlotte, Charlotte, NC 28202

8. Charlotte Checkers Hockey Game

The Charlotte Checkers are a professional minor league ice hockey team based in Charlotte, NC. Attending a live hockey game is a thrilling experience perfect for sports fans of all ages. The team’s fast-paced and action-packed games will keep you on the edge of your seat. And with affordable ticket prices, it’s a great way to spend an evening with family and friends.

Whether you’re a die-hard hockey fan or just looking for a fun and exciting night out, attending a Charlotte Checkers game is a must-do activity in Charlotte. With its electrifying atmosphere and passionate fans, it’s an experience that you won’t soon forget.

Bojangles’ Coliseum is a historic landmark dome that has been renovated to provide modern amenities while still maintaining its classic charm. The dome was created in 1955 and, at that time, was the largest unsupported steel dome in the world. 

In addition to hockey, the coliseum hosts other professional sports, concerts, theater performances, comedy shows, and more! Check out their website for all upcoming events.  

9. Take a Historical City Tour of Charlotte

This historical tour of Charlotte takes you through many different neighborhoods of Charlotte- from the fancy mansions of the fourth ward to the artistic south end.

You’ll see some of Charlotte’s top attractions and landmarks, such as the Bank of America Stadium (home of the Carolina Panthers), the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and the Mint Museum. The guide will also provide insights into the city’s history, architecture, and culture.

This 1 1/2-hour tour is great for all ages- in the warmer months you’ll zoom around Charlotte in a golf cart, but don’t worry- if the weather is cold, you’ll do your tour in a heated van. There are lots of opportunities to take photos as well!

What visitors say about this historical tour of Charlotte:

“We learned tons about Charlotte (just visiting for the weekend), had tons of laughs and bookmarked several places to go after our Tour.”

“First rate guide: friendly, funny, knowledgeable, engaging. The transportation was extra fun. I take a lot of city tours – I like to start with one every time I visit a new city to get the lay of the land from someone who knows – and this was one of the best.”

Check Details: Historical Tour of Charlotte

10. Family Fun at Carowinds WinterFest

Blue-tinted ice rink at Carowinds Winterfest in NC with holiday lights

Are you looking for a fun and festive way to celebrate the holidays with your family and friends? Look no further than Carowinds Winterfest!

Carowinds Winterfest is an annual event that takes place during the holiday season, approx. mid-November until January 1st. This amusement park is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with millions of twinkling lights, festive décor, and holiday-themed attractions. From ice skating to holiday shows, it’s a great place to take the family and kids!

The park is decorated with millions of lights, creating a magical winter wonderland that will leave you in awe. There are several live shows to enjoy, including the holiday-themed WinterFest Wonderland Parade, which is performed nightly. You can indulge in holiday treats like hot chocolate and more. 

Many park rides are open during Winterfest, including some roller coasters. Plus, they are all adorned with festive lights and decorations. You can take the kids ice skating on Snowflake Lake, located in the center of the park. Skate rentals are available on-site.

11. Museum of Illusions

Get ready to have your mind blown at the Museum of Illusions. This unique attraction offers a world of mind-bending optical illusions and interactive exhibits that challenge your perception of reality.

From rooms that appear to defy gravity to holograms, the Museum of Illusions is an experience unlike any other. The exhibits are designed to trick your senses and challenge your brain, making it a perfect outing for families, friends, and anyone who loves a good puzzle.

In addition to the interactive exhibits, they offer a gift shop where you can purchase puzzles and games to take home. 

The museum is located in the heart of Uptown. Whether you’re looking for a fun family outing or a unique date night experience, the Museum of Illusions will leave a lasting memory!

General admission costs $20 for children ages 5 – 12 and $24 for ages 13+.

Address: 601 S Tryon St, Suite 138, Charlotte, NC 28202 (inside the Ally Center)

Where To Stay in Charlotte NC

To enjoy all of the wonderful, family-friendly activities available in Charlotte, you’ll need a comfortable place to stay! Here are our top picks for where to stay in Charlotte, NC.

📍Best Budget Option: Holiday Inn Charlotte Center City

The Holiday Inn Charlotte Center City is a great budget option in the heart of Charlotte’s vibrant Uptown district. The hotel is steps away from the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Check Availability: Holiday in Charlotte Center City

📍Best Mid-Range Option: Hilton Charlotte Uptown

Spectrum Center in Charlotte, NC

Located in the heart of Charlotte’s bustling Uptown district, the Hilton Charlotte Uptown is the perfect destination for business and leisure travelers alike. The hotel’s prime location puts guests within walking distance of many of the city’s top attractions; the Spectrum Center is steps away from where the NBA team, the Charlotte Hornets, play.

Check Availability: Hilton Charlotte Uptown

📍Best Luxury Option: The Ivey’s Hotel

Front of Ivey's hotel and residense in Charlotte, NC

Located in the heart of Uptown Charlotte, The Ivey’s Hotel is a luxurious boutique hotel that seamlessly blends modern sophistication with historic charm. Housed in a beautifully restored 1920s building, the hotel offers an unparalleled experience for both business and leisure travelers. The hotel is across the street from the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.  

Check Availability: The Ivey’s Hotel

Renting a Car in Charlotte NC

While you can get around Charlotte via Uber, if you’re flying into town, consider renting a car. The city is spread out and you’ll be more comfortable moving around at your own pace.

We recommend using Discover Cars. They will show you options from the major companies, and their pricing is always clear and upfront- no last-minute surprises!

When in Charlotte, you can easily choose convenient pick-up and drop-off locations at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), as well as in the downtown area.

Check Prices: Car Rental with Discover Cars

What to Pack for a Winter Trip to Charlotte NC

Here are some items you may want to consider packing to enjoy all the winter activities in Charlotte, NC.

📋Warm layers: Since temperatures can be chilly, it’s a good idea to bring warm layers, such as sweaters, jackets, and long-sleeved shirts.

📋Waterproof outerwear: While it’s not too common to encounter sleet or snow in Charlotte during winter months, you could experience rain during a visit. A waterproof jacket or coat can help you stay dry if the weather turns inclement. We love these Columbia rain jackets for the kids!

📋Comfortable shoes: If you plan to walk around the city, comfortable shoes are necessary.

📋Hat, gloves, and scarf: These items can help keep you warm on particularly chilly days.

FAQ: Does it Snow in Charlotte NC: Winter Activities in Charlotte

What months does it snow in Charlotte NC?

In Charlotte, snowfall is most common during the winter months of December, January, February, and March. However, snow is not a regular occurrence in Charlotte, and it typically only snows a few times each winter, if at all. 
It’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast and road conditions if you plan to drive during the winter months in Charlotte.

What are winters like in Charlotte NC?

Winters in Charlotte, NC, are generally mild, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-30s to mid-50s F. While it does get chilly, it’s rare for temperatures to drop below freezing for extended periods of time.

How cold does it get in Charlotte NC?

Overall, winter in Charlotte is relatively mild, with occasional cold snaps and possible winter precipitation. The majority of the winter months see average high temps in the 50s with lows in the 30s. It’s a great time to enjoy indoor activities like museums and theaters, as well as outdoor activities like hiking in nearby parks on milder days.

Why is Charlotte called Queen City?

Charlotte was founded back in 1768 by European settlers during the time when King George III was still in power in the Colonies. They decided to name the new city after the king’s wife, Queen Charlotte, who was a beloved figure in the colonies.

But that’s not all – the settlers also named the surrounding county Mecklenburg in honor of the queen’s birthplace in Germany. 

What is Charlotte, NC best known for?

Charlotte, North Carolina is famous for many things, but it’s best known for being a hub of finance, business, banking, and culture in the Southeast. Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina. You will find the Carolina Panthers, NASCAR, and Charlotte Hornets here as well.

How many days should I spend in Charlotte NC?

Well, it depends on what you want to do and see. For a thorough exploration of the city, three days should suffice. During your stay, you can discover the city’s rich history, sample its renowned culinary scene, and explore its thriving arts and culture. Don’t forget to take a stroll through its beautiful parks, like Freedom Park or Romare Bearden Park.

What is the best time to visit Charlotte NC

The best time to visit Charlotte, North Carolina is during the spring or fall for mild weather and to avoid the summer crowds. During these seasons, the temperature is pleasant, and the city’s beautiful parks and outdoor spaces come to life.

Summer is the best time to experience Charlotte’s exciting events and festivals. From the Fourth of July celebrations to the Charlotte Pride Festival, there’s always something happening in the city during the summer. There are also amazing ocean beaches near Charlotte NC as well to check out.  

However, if you’re a fan of sports, then you might want to plan your visit during the winter months. Charlotte is home to several sports teams, including the Charlotte Hornets (basketball), the Carolina Panthers (football), and the Charlotte Checkers (ice hockey) so you can catch a game while you’re in town.

What is the coldest month in Charlotte, NC?

January is the coldest month in Charlotte, with an average temperature of around 42°F (7°C). However, with the right clothing and preparation, you can still enjoy all that Charlotte has to offer, even in the colder months.

There You Have It: Winter in Charlotte NC

While it sometimes snows in Charlotte, NC there are still plenty of enjoyable winter activities in Charlotte for the whole family to experience. From ice skating, checking out museums, catching a Charlotte Checkers ice hockey game, or taking a tour of Queen City, there is something for everyone.

Winter in Charlotte offers a unique and enjoyable experience for visitors without sub-zero temperatures. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s arts and culture scene or simply looking for a fun winter activity for the family, Charlotte has plenty to offer.

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