Levine Museum of the New South#6 in Best Things To Do in Charlotte
The term "New South" relates to the people, places and a period of time – from 1865 to today. The Levine Museum of the New South is one of the most comprehensive post-Civil War history museums in the country. Permanent exhibits like the 8,000-square-foot "Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers" focuses on history specific to the Charlotte area, with six different "environments" or spaces that use careful set design to illustrate how the South has changed since the Civil War. While touring the exhibit, visitors have the chance to see the Good Samaritan Hospital chapel, one of the first Black hospitals in the South, and sit at a lunch counter and hear personal accounts from local sit-in leaders, among other activities. Along with this ever-popular exhibit, the museum also offers a rotating roster of temporary exhibits, all serving to educate and challenge the museum's visitors. Past exhibits have included "It Happened Here," which relies on research from the Equal Justice Initiative to tell the story of Mecklenburg County's (where Charlotte is located) two recorded lynchings and memorialize the victims.
Though the museum's focus may be more skewed to Charlotte and the surrounding Carolina Piedmont, recent visitors said you don't need to be a resident of the Queen City to appreciate the carefully curated displays. However, travelers do note that younger children may not find the museum quite as interesting as the neighboring Discovery Place, located about a 5-minute walk northwest.
You'll find the Levine Museum of the New South in downtown Charlotte, on East Seventh Street. If you're taking advantage of Charlotte's Lynx system, the museum is a short walk east of the 7th Street Station. For those who have their own set of wheels, the museum offers validated parking for visits that are less than two hours on weekdays. On weekends, you can park for free with no time restrictions. The museum welcomes visitors Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Admission for adults costs $10; senior and student admission costs $8 and children (ages 6 to 18) get in for $6. Children younger than 5 enjoy free admission. For more information about current and upcoming exhibits and events, check the museum's website.
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#1 U.S. National Whitewater Center
Take your pick between more than 30 different land and water activities at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, a 1,300-acre facility northwest of downtown Charlotte along the Catawba River. At the world's largest man-made whitewater river, you'll have your choice of a variety of activities, including kayaking (both flatwater and whitewater), stand-up paddle boarding, and, of course, whitewater rafting. If you'd prefer to stay dry, the center can accommmodate you there, too: land activities include mountain biking, rock climbing and zip-lining, with plenty of running trails and obstacle courses for those with a competitive edge.
Past travelers said the center is a great place to take your family for the day – though visitors admit tickets can get pricey.
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