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8 Fun Things to do Outdoors in Charlotte

The beginning of a new year can feel like a fresh start. In 2021, many of us are especially eager for one. But the colder weather and having to continue to social distance can leave us feeling stuck. You can still go out and explore. Here are eight fun things to do outdoors in Charlotte this winter.

Take a hike!

No, we’re not telling you to get lost. Just encouraging you to explore the city’s many beautiful parks with hiking trails or paved paths along the Greenway. If you haven’t already been to these city favorites, check out:

  • Freedom Park
  • McDowell Nature Preserve
  • James Boyce Park
  • Reedy Creek Park

Lower McAlpine Creek, McMullen Creek, and Four Mile Creek Greenways combine for 5.8 miles in south Charlotte

Plus, Charlotte is not far from Crowder’s Mountain State Park, which offers more challenging hikes and 25-mile views. To the east, you can also get to the Uwharrie National Forest and its many trails in under 90 minutes.

See the animals

No, this isn’t in Charlotte itself. It’s a day trip back and forth to Asheboro. But, once there, you can get in a good walk and see a wide range of animals. The North Carolina Zoo is the world’s largest natural habitat zoo and features 500 developed acres to explore.

Closer to home, you might visit the Lazy 5 Ranch where you can see antelope, deer, elk, giraffes, sheep and goats, and more, and take a wagon ride with an animal feed bucket in hand.

Let the dogs out

Tired of walking that same route over and over with your dogs? Try a dog park to let the canines cavort with company. The city’s largest dog park is at William R. Davie Park. The dogs get five fenced-in acres to play.

Or visit one of the city’s dog-friendly bars to enjoy a socially distant drink while the dogs get to run and wrestle. You might try:

  • Lucky Dog Bark & Brew, which has three locations in Charlotte, features indoor/outdoor play yards for the canines and bar service for the adults
  • Skiptown CLT — which boasts “we’re not dog-friendly, we’re dog-focused” and offers a splash pad, agility course, and secret trails as well as beer, wine, and cocktails
  • Dog Bar — for off-leash dogs and adults to enjoy beer, wine, cocktails on a patio area with TVs in NoDa

Play frisbee golf

There are many public and private golf courses around Charlotte for you to explore. TopGolf is another option, too. But if you’ve never swung a club it can be daunting to start now. Trying your hand at Disc Golf may be easier. Find yourself a Frisbee and head out to one of the several city parks with a course to play. These include:

  • Renaissance Park
  • Sugar Creek Park
  • Elon Park
  • Hornets Nest Park

Learn more about this game in Charlotte with the Charlotte Disc Golf Club.

Enjoy the public art

Charlotte has always had its fair share of public art, but there has been an explosion of murals recently. You can plan your own fun exploration drawing on this map of the city’s 70+ painted exteriors. Or take a guided tour on your own time:

  • The Arts and Science Council offers a downloadable self-guided walking tour brochure through Charlotte. You can also tune into a 45-minute podcast on their site.
  • Art Walks CLT suggests easy walking tours around Charlotte, and will have a Lover’s Art Trail ready for February this year!

Remember history

Community historian Tom Hanchett shares several neighborhood walking tours at his History South site. The previous Staff Historian at the Levine Museum, Hanchett shares self-guided tours for Plaza Midwood, NoDa, Dilworth, West End, Central Avenue and the Elizabeth Neighborhood.

Go skating

Pineville Icehouse is an NHL-size rink where you can skate throughout the year indoors. But for now, you could lace up some skates at:

  • Whitewater Center
  • Winter Wonderland by the SouthPark Mall
  • Holiday on Ice Charlotte in Uptown by the NASCAR Hall of Fame

Explore the gardens

Enjoy some natural beauty coordinated by people who know what they’re doing while waiting for Spring to give your garden the help it needs:

  • Independence Park has a rose garden, reflection pond, and a Demonstration Garden planted by Master Gardeners
  • The UNC Charlotte Botanical Garden offers free tours of its flora from around the world
  • The McGill Rose Garden is one of only 53 All-America Rose Selections public gardens in the United States

As of this writing, some other favorites are closed for COVID-19. However, you’ll want to keep in mind Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, The Carolina Raptor Center, and the Historic Latta Plantation when the restrictions let up more.

In the meantime, we’re happy you’re making Charlotte your home. Looking for a high-quality modern home in the Charlotte region? Saussy Burbank has the right place for you. Learn more today!

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