Around Town

10 things you MUST do around Charlotte in February

This is a Valentine’s-free list. Sure, there’s some fun V-day stuff happening around Charlotte. Chef Alyssa at Atherton Market offers several great Valentine’s Day cooking classes (go to the one with the truffles), and the “I Would Cuddle You So Hard: Valentine’s Day Bar Crawl” promises to be hilarious debauchery. But there are 28 other days this month that deserve their fair share of attention.

Consider this your list for what to do in February when you’re not cuddling or eating chocolate.

(1) Pull for the Panthers

Robert Lahser

THE PANTHERS ARE IN THE SUPER BOWL. If you are not wearing black and blue, dabbin’ at every opportunity and obnoxiously screaming “Luuuuke” on Sunday, Feb. 7, then you’re doing “being a Charlottean” wrong.

(2) Sip and sample at Queen City Brewers Festival

QCBF 2015 – 080
Tom Henderson Photography

This is the fifth year of this hyper-local beer fest (25 participating breweries and brewpubs are all within a 30-minute drive of uptown Charlotte). Held at the Fillmore on the Saturday of Super Bowl weekend, the festival features live music, food and beer samplings at two three-hour sessions in the afternoon and evening.

Already have tickets? Join the C5 team and BREWPUBLIK at one of the free pre-parties for good beer, hot dogs from JJ’s Red Hots and games. Details and RSVPs here.

Here’s the catch: It’s one of Charlotte’s most exclusive beer fests, which means that it’s already sold out. Missed snagging the weekend’s second-hottest ticket? Look for giveaways this week.

(3) Feel (extra) frigid at the Whitewater Center

As if February wasn’t chilly enough, on Feb. 13 at the U.S. National Whitewater Center you can join in at the fourth-annual Frigid 5K Run & Plunge, which includes running on the center’s new Greenway Trail before plunging in to the whitewater river. In summary, you wake up early on a Saturday, run 3.1 miles at 8 a.m., and then jump in a freezing cold river. You do you, crazy athletes.

(4) Toast Mardi Gras with a colorful concoction

Sure, you could do the whole King Cake or colorful beads thing, but everyone knows the real beauty of Bourbon Street’s revelry is indulging in cocktails with names like Hurricane and Gator Juice. To laissez les bon temps rouler in Charlotte, head to Elizabeth Neighborhood’s Cajun Queen for the 7th Street Stumbler made with grain alcohol, peach schnapps, pineapple juice, and blue curacao.

(5) Take a taste of Brazilian Carnaval in NoDa

OK, Bank Town. This is your chance to throw off those blue shirts and put down your Miller Lites. NoDa’s Neighborhood Theatre is playing host to the culture-soaked “A Night In Rio,” which includes authentic Brazilian food and drinks (one caipirinha, por favor), as well as live music and dancing (you can samba, right?). Tickets are $15.

(6) Hit the clubs for CIAA

Old School -New School Day Party @ Tempo
Paul Williams III

Some people will tell you that Charlotte’s annual CIAA tournament is about basketball. Don’t listen to them. This is the city’s most celebrity-packed week of the year and it’s all about the parties — especially the ones hosted by hip hop stars. There are brunch parties, day parties, happy hour parties and late night parties with famous performers. You could literally party for 24 hours a day this week. Or you could go to basketball games. Your call.

(7) Experiment with your social life at Discovery Place

Spending your Friday night at a bar is so 2015. For $8 you can get a ticket to Discovery Place’s “Science on the Rocks: Fire & Ice” on Feb. 19. This monthly evening gives the 21-and-up crowd access to the museum to play with all the fun science toys and games — with a drink in hand. It’s ridiculously fun. And not to get all Valentine’s-y, but add on the IMAX movie at 7p.m. ($5) and you’ve got yourself a great date.

(8) Indulge in a chocolate covered pretzel — beer

Full disclosure: Triple C’s Chocolate Covered Pretzel Stout is one of my favorite Charlotte beers. Fuller disclosure: I like to drink it while eating chocolate. OK, I’ve shared too much. But seriously, this beer tastes uncannily like salty pretzel mixed with rich chocolate. On Saturday, Feb. 13, the South End brewery is hosting a release party with food trucks and live music — and, most importantly, this year’s version of the 9.2% brew available on draft and in bombers.

[Related: Meet the guy who brews Triple C’s delicious beers.]

(9) Laugh out loud at “Matilda: The Musical”

Observer arts and entertainment columnist Lawrence Toppman named this playful Broadway musical coming to the Belk Theater among the things in Charlotte’s arts scene he’s looking forward to the most this year. Plus, it was TIME Magazine’s #1 Show of the Year and the New York Times called it “even more glorious than promised.” Sold yet? You can check out the musical based on the Roald Dahl novel about the imaginative Matilda Feb. 9-14.

[Related: Listen to Toppman talk about the arts scene and other upcoming shows on this episode of The Good News Is podcast.]

(10) Play a round of (disc) golf at The Ballantyne Hotel

Robert Lahser

Ready to take those disc golf skills you’ve been showing off in the backyard to the next level? Sign up on Disc Golf United for the PDGA B-Tier Tournament happening Feb. 21 at The Ballantyne Hotel’s Golf Course (holes 9-17). It’s $125 to enter, which gets you breakfast, lunch, golf carts for the course, and the chance to win cash prizes.

Photos: Robert Lahser/Charlotte Observer; Queen City Brewers Festival; Charlotte Observer file.