A modern skyline decorates this New South city, but you can turn back the clock with a picnic in Freedom Park or trip to the Mint Museum of Art. Fish and hike at Latta Plantation Park or McDowell Nature Preserve. Indoors, cheer on the city's beloved NFL and NBA squads, the Panthers and Bobcats.
Discover an area brimming with restaurants and entertainment options, including Bank of America Stadium, where you can watch the Carolina Panthers tackle the NFL's toughest competition. You will also be surrounded by Marshall Park, Gateway Village and Mecklenburg Aquatic Center. Take a stroll to admire historic institutions and charming homes that have been neighborhood staples for more than 100 years.
Encounter an all-American area filled with good schools and religious centers. This is the birthplace of racing legend Dale Earnhardt, Sr.; you can pay tribute by visiting Dale Earnhardt Plaza, which includes a nine-foot sculpture of the champion. For more fun, take in a Kannapolis Intimidators' baseball game; they're a minor league team affiliated with the Chicago White Sox.
Run wild at Paramount's Carowinds, an action park where you can choose from dozens of roller coasters and thrill rides. Splash around WaterWorks or stroll the park's Carolina Boardwalk, where you can play carnival games, eat seafood, and get Carolina-themed merchandise. This area is also home to the Charlotte Knights, a minor league team affiliated with the Chicago White Sox.
Head to Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden; this lush wonderland stretches across 450 rolling acres and is located along the banks of Lake Wylie. You can also experience Belmont Abbey. This magnificent structure has won awards for its painted-glass windows and was once the only abbey cathedral in the nation. For some culture, visit Gaston County Museum of Art & History.
Visit in April or early May to experience spring in its full splendor -- azaleas, camellias, cherry blossoms and dogwood. Fall is also a beautiful time of year, with the leaves turning vibrant colors. Summer months bring art and music festivals, as well as higher temperatures (typically in the 70s to low 90s). In winter, temperatures can dip into the 40s.