In the past few weeks, Charlotte has experienced a few chilly mornings, which have had some wondering if fall is in the air. Store shelves are being lined with back to school goods and pumpkin beer (hopefully not the same shelf). Fall festivals are on the calendar. While signs of autumn may be popping up, summer hasn’t finished just yet. Here are some ideas to squeeze out every last bit of fun before the end of summer. Don’t delay, check these activities off your summer to do list before it’s too late.
1. Riverjam at the U.S National White Water Center
Judging by the crowds at the USNWC on Thursday and Saturday evenings, it’s hard to believe that everyone in and around Charlotte hasn’t attended this weekly event at least once. Each Riverjam features outdoor music, several food options, and a surprising selection of macro and micro beers. Imagine setting up a hammock at the far side of the center away from the crowds, and gently swaying with a beer in hand while listening to music. Sounds like a pretty good way to spend one of your final summer evenings. If you’re among the few who have yet to experience Riverjam, don’t wait too much longer. The final Riverjam of the season is Saturday, Sept 27 th .
There is no cost for the event, but there is a $5 parking charge for any visit to the Center, or you can buy a yearly pass.
2. Sunday Bike in Movies at the Common Market
Locals know the Common Market is one of the most interesting places in Charlotte to grab a beer. Weekly tastings and a great wine list make it a popular place to frequently visit. The high quality deli and funky shop make it a perfect fit for the enigmatic neighborhoods it occupies (Plaza-Midwood and the newer location on South Tryon). But did you know that every other Sunday the Common Market hosts a Bike-In movie night? Just like a drive-in only, as you may have guessed, the idea is to ride your bike to the South Tryon location for the 8:30 showing. Each movie is posted on the Facebook Page dedicated to the event. What a perfect way to cap off an end of summer weekend with a cold local beer and a free movie!
3. Thursday Night Flights at the Carolina Raptor Center
You have one more chance this summer to grab a beer with a Bald Eagle or a glass of Pinot with a Peregrine. On Aug 21st the final Thursday Night Flights of the season brings local beer, wine, and live music to a most unlikely setting. The Carolina Raptor center, located within the boundaries of the Latta Plantation Nature Preserve, rehabilitates sick and hurt birds of prey. Each Thursday throughout summer, the Raptor trail (the path that allows us land dwellers to walk between bird habitats) is open for your visit with a different band and focus brewery for each event. Your $10 ticket includes entrance fee and either a beer or wine tasting. While the staff of the raptor center feeds the birds chunks of raw meat and other not so delicate delicacies, you can pick up some decidedly more appetizing fare from the food truck parked on site.
Before the entertainment starts, get in your workout on the 16 miles of hiking and running trails or drop your SUP into Mountain Island lake.
4. Uptown Pilates and play at Romare Bearden Park
Charlotte scored big by turning a parking lot into one of the best amenities inside uptown. The 5.4 acre Romare Bearden Park is a small but exquisitely designed green space located directly across from the new AAA Knights baseball stadium. Each Wednesday this summer, the park has hosted free, live music from a wide array of musical styles. Food and drinks are available and there are several restaurants and bars on the other side of the park. Bring a lawn chair or blanket for the 5:30 pm start. Music lasts until 9. The party ends at the end of September so get there soon.
It couldn’t get much more convenient to get your workout in on Wednesday. Before stretching out on the lawn to listen to the music, stretch out on the Big Green at Romare Bearden Park for a free (for now) yoga/pilates class. Advanced sign up is required. The class lasts for an hour and when you’re finished you can grab a beverage and practice your final pose – downward sitting butt.
5. Davidson Concerts on the Green
A few exits north of Charlotte off I-77 rests the idyllic town of Davidson. Anchored by Davidson College, the downtown area is a postcard worthy row of coffee shops, restaurants, and small store fronts. In the center of it all sits the town green. Throughout summer the town of Davidson presents the Concert on the Green . From 6 to 8 pm on the first and third Sunday of each month, people layout their blankets an set up their folding chairs for 2 hours of free entertainment. The final concert is on Sept 21 st so get this on the schedule soon. On the way in, stop at the Healthy Home market for picnic foods (from sushi to sandwiches), snacks, and a great selection of beverages.
The Davidson College Cross Country trails provide some of the best running options in the area. The well-marked 5 and 8K packed dirt trails make for a fast course with just a bit more challenge than your average flat road run. The trail system is very near the town green so a convenient way to pre-pay for the calories you’ll eat and drink during the concert.