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Show up in Charlotte on a sunny day and you'll find a city that loves to be out and about. Nearby mountain trails and vineyard tours may tempt you to the road, but for those who prefer to stay nearby there are plenty of active pursuits in and around town.
If you want to take a close-up look at uptown sans car, you're in luck. Last year the city rolled out the state's first bike-share system and now you'll find B-Cycle bike stations spread throughout uptown. Check the website for specific locations, then grab a bike and hit the road to charming nearby neighborhoods like South End and Dilworth. Not in the mood for pedaling? Check out Charlotte NC Tours' Segway tour options. There are a variety of versions including ghost and history tours, but the two-hour Taste & Glide featuring brief tastings at local restaurants is a must for food fans.
Another new addition to the city's active scene is Ten Park Lanes, a recently restored retro bowling alley. Located on the bustling Montford Drive just south of town, this '60s-era spot offers friendly competition, as well as Southern fare and even a bar with moonshine on tap. Three patios flanking the space are perfect for relaxing post-game.
More in the mood for something under the sun? Go north to Lake Norman or south to Lake Wylie. Both lakes offer a variety of activities—especially during the warmer months. There are boat rentals and charters on both, as well as a few popular public swimming and fishing spots. But for something different, check out one of the Local Paddler stand-up paddleboarding classes that run May through October.
For a playful twist (and turn) head to Victory Lane Karting where adult karts go up to 40 mph on a track for eight-minute races. Located just north of town in Mooresville (read: NASCAR country), this is a great destination for an indoor adrenaline rush.
If you'd prefer a slightly more relaxed ride, check out the Latta Plantation Equestrian Center, also located north of town. Settle in for one of their trail rides on more than 16 miles of wooded terrain. The rides, which typically last 45 minutes to an hour, are slow and steady, offering a close up of North Carolina's wildlife on the gorgeous nature preserve. For a seriously picturesque version, opt for the Sunset Ride, which includes a ride as the sun sinks followed by a "Cowboy Dinner" around a barnside bonfire.
Luckily for Charlotteans, the mild weather here allows for ample time to spend outdoors yearround. For those who love to get outside, an absolute must is the U.S. National Whitewater Center. This 400-acre park just outside the city is a playground for the ultimate adventure lover. Ride the rapids in one of the 8-person whitewater rafting boats or opt for a single-person kayak. Afterwards, dry off and head to the Adventure Course where you’ll maneuver from one obstacle to another 20 feet in the air or opt for the Canyon Zip Line, each of which are 200 feet long.
A less active option is to take a stroll down Queens Road West in Myers Park, which boasts some of the most impressive homes and architecture in the South. Centuries-old oak trees tower over the sidewalk-lined streets providing a massive canopy, which allows for a comfortable walk even in the heat of the summer. A few turns off Queens Road West will bring you to the famous Duke Mansion. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the impressive all-white home was built in 1915 and was tripled by its most famous owner James Buchanan Duke. Since then, The Duke Mansion has been home and host to leaders of the 20th century not to mention a popular venue for weddings and events.