Well known for its strong financial roots, subtropical climate and beautifully tree-lined streets, Charlotte, NC, has never really been referred to as the most sports-friendly town in America.
However, what you may not know is that, although relatively new, Charlotte definitely has a very rich history in sports — after all, it is referred to as the capital of NASCAR. So whether you’re looking to take in a game or just wanna get your adrenaline pumping, don’t miss out on some of the best sports spots the Queen City has to offer.
If you’re willing to name it the official state sport, stock-car racing must have a pretty big draw where you’re from. That sentiment clearly rings true for North Carolina, home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. For any fan looking to honor the history of the sport, as well as the legacies of past and present drivers, this 150,000-square-foot venue in uptown Charlotte is an absolute must-see.
US National Whitewater Center
Looking for an intense outdoor adventure to feed your active lifestyle? How about crashing around the rapids on the US National Whitewater Center’s 500 acres along the Catawba River? From white-water rafting and kayaking to stand-up paddleboarding, USNWC is the perfect place for the action junkie who loves the water. But that’s not all it has to offer: You can also enjoy rock climbing, zip-lining, mountain biking and more.
Time Warner Cable Arena, also affectionately known as the Hive, is the home of the NBA’s recently renamed Charlotte Hornets. (The original Charlotte Hornets moved to New Orleans and are now known as the Pelicans. After several years of being known as the Charlotte Bobcats, the team regained the right to be called the Hornets as of the 2014 season.) As over-the-top and influential as the team’s owner — arguably the most recognizable man in all of sports, Michael Jordan — the Hive features the largest video screen of any indoor arena in the country, as well as the unique “Rock the Rooftop” indoor tailgating area, the first of its kind in the NBA.
Opened in 1996 and known as Ericsson Stadium until the 2004 NFL season, Bank of America Stadium is the home of the one of the league’s most recent expansion teams, the Carolina Panthers. In addition to hosting Panthers games, the 73,778-seat stadium, which sits on 33 acres of land, also plays host to the annual ACC college football championship game, as well as several professional soccer matches and concerts.
HDTVs plastered all over the walls, good beer on tap, decent food and a friendly atmosphere … that describes almost every standard sports bar in America. What makes Strike City different from all the others? In addition to the 75-plus HDTVs, the main bar and the dining room, Strike City offers several bowling lanes, as well as the private Kingpin Room, which features 2 lanes and can accommodate up to 30 people.
Back in 2011, ESPN ran a poll to discover the best sports bars in North America. Although it didn’t end up winning, the Hickory Tavern did come in as the runner-up, and it’s easy to see why. With over 15 locations throughout the Carolinas, Hickory Tavern is much more than just a bunch of flat-screens on the walls. This unique bar features 100 beers, an odd-for-a-sports-bar-but-fan-favorite build-your-own-salad bar, and some of the best happy hour specials in town.