Visiting a museum is always a unique experience, as each one has its own distinct characteristics, style, and of course, content. Museum subjects vary greatly from city to city, and can range from firefighter's museums to fine art, to sports. If you need help making a selection, our 10Best list highlights the top spots to visit in Charlotte.


Discovery Place
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Discovery Place is a great way to spend a day, whether you're by yourself or with a group, young or old. Indeed, it's a safe bet that everybody will walk away from a day at Discovery Place knowing a few things they hadn't known before. The facility features exhibits on anatomy, physics, natural science, machines, and much more. If you're alone, browse the halls listening to some of your favorite music. Be sure to take in the aquarium, rain forest, planetarium, and various activity rooms.

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30 minutes from the heart of Charlotte, the Schiele Nature Museum features exhibits that show the evolution of life, the natural history of North Carolina, and rare artifacts of North American Indians. The planetarium soars over 50 feet, and the living nature trails wind over 16 acres.

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The Mint Museum Uptown houses the internationally-renowned Mint Museum of Craft + Design, as well as outstanding collections of American, contemporary, and European art. Conveniently located in uptown Charlotte's Levine Center for the Arts, this striking facility features expansive galleries and a range of visitor amenities, including public spaces for learning, shopping, and dining. Reflect on exceptional works of art with a cell phone audio tour of the permanent collection and special exhibitions, release your child's inner artist in the Lewis Family Gallery, and discover what inspires you through a myriad of educational offerings. Complete your visit by enjoying a meal at Halcyon or browsing the museum shop's rich selection of pottery, glass, wood, and jewelry handcrafted by regional artists.

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This museum may be a bit on the small side but, nonetheless, it has some amusing attributes. With a variety of cars from the 1920s and on, Backing Up Classic Auto Museum also has a row dedicated to Mustangs. You will find a wide variety of cars here, including both muscle and standard. This is quite an intriguing museum!

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Located on the property of the Hezekiah Alexander Homesite, the museum offers various exhibits based upon the history of the city of Charlotte. A few of the exhibits are hands-on and make for a truly interactive experience. Learn bits of information about Charlotte that you won't find in textbooks.

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The stained glass windows of this restored building originally came from Little Rock AME Zion Church. Through these hallowed windows, you can see and hear the rich and historical exhibits that have become a showcase of African-American heritage. A theater, art gallery and amphitheater are venues for an ever changing, exciting array of culture.

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You've probably never been to a museum quite like this one before! It seeks to relay Southern history from the days after the Civil War but to do it in an entertaining way. Changing exhibits and complete interaction make the hands-on museum a place where learning and history are both fun and insightful. Try on period clothing from the post-Civil War era up to the present day, pretend to be part of a real WWII MASH unit, or record your own radio show. A great experience for the entire family!

Read more about Levine Museum of the New South →

Carolinas Aviation Museum

Aviation enthusiasts and history buffs alike will enjoy learning about the rich history of flight at the Carolinas Aviation Museum. Examine real aircraft up close, and check out exhibits on helicopters, military, civil and commercial air flight, with a special exhibit about the Miracle on the Hudson River.

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Located in a renovated train repair center, this museum encompasses the history of different types of transportation used in the region from the early 1800s to present day. Train rides are offered during warm weather season. The gift shop offers a variety of hard-to-find collectible trains. Guided tours are available by reservation. Admission may be charged for special events and train rides.

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Even if you're not a NASCAR fan, you're sure to get a thrill out of Charlotte's newest museum. The 150,000-square-foot facility features over 50 interactive experiences, authentic artifacts and fascinating educational films. The Race Week exhibit, a popular favorite, allows visitors to experience how teams and the NASCAR industry prepare for race day with a practice pit stop, race simulators and broadcast booths. There's also a banked ramp that simulates well-loved tracks like Talladega Superspeedway.

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