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10 things you MUST do around Charlotte in March

9/26/00: An aerial photo of Crowder's Mountain 
State Park (in foreground, Gastonia in background) in Gaston County. (JOHN D. SIMMONS/ STAFF)
9/26/00: An aerial photo of Crowder's Mountain State Park (in foreground, Gastonia in background) in Gaston County. (JOHN D. SIMMONS/ STAFF)

Consider this your month to mix things up. From a must-see symphony performance to a notoriously rowdy bar crawl, Charlotte’s offerings are varied in March. Music spans from Jason Isbell to Rihanna, and culinary options range from making prosciutto wrapped burrata to drinking green beer. March is Charlotte’s — and your — month to get outside the box.

(1) Take a Hike Up Crowders Mountain

The first day of spring is Sunday, March 20, which means it’s time to get outside. One of the best local spots to do this is in Crowders Mountain State Park, just half an hour outside of Charlotte. The hike to the park’s Kings Pinnacle is four miles round trip and strenuous at times, but worth every step. On a clear day, you can see the Charlotte skyline from one side of the peak and the Appalachian Mountains on the other.

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10/13/96 1L ROBERT LAHSER/Staff The sun rises over the flatness of eastern Gaston County, as seen from the top of Crowders Mountain. A county whose residents traditionally share many characteristics is growing increasingly as diverse as its topography. (UNPUBLISHED NOTES:) (10/10/96ROBERTS) For Townships package. Sunrise from atop Crowder's Mountain eastern Gaston County. ROBERT LAHSER/STAFF ROBERT LAHSER

(2) Work, Work, Work with Rihanna

Famed performer Rihanna is set to shine bright like a diamond when she hits the stage at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 20 as part of her Anti World Tour. Catch the Barbadian pop star now because once a good girl goes bad, we die forever. (Ok, I’m stopping. Mostly because I can’t figure out how to incorporate umbrella ella ella into this entry.)

2016 MusiCares Person Of The Year Honoring Lionel Richie – Backstage And Audience
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 13: Singer Rihanna performs onstage during the 2016 MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Lionel Richie at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS) Christopher Polk Getty Images for NARAS

(3) Toast Craft Brews at Brawley’s Black & Blue 7

This annual local beer festival sells out within hours every year — including this one. If you weren’t lucky enough to snag a ticket to the March 5 event at Visulite Theatre, keep an eye out this week for giveaways. Hosted by Michael Brawley of Brawley’s Beverages, the perennially favorite festival features an impressive lineup of North Carolina craft beers accompanied by bluegrass tunes.

(4) Join the World’s Largest Pub Crawl

Speaking of drinking beer, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for it on March 12 during the 16th annual Rich & Bennett’s St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl. In years past, almost 20,000 people have participated in this day of drinking — a number that will be of no surprise to anyone who has seen the green-clad masses enjoying Shamrock aluminum Bud Lights around Charlotte. Your T-shirt is your ticket and don’t forget to download the event’s app for details like participating bars and transportation info; $20.

(5) Go Green at the U.S. National Whitewater Center

For a different twist on celebrating the Irish holiday (or for the serious revelers, part one of two celebrations), head to the sixth annual Green River Revival at the Whitewater Center. The day includes a morning Color Me Green 5k where participants are splashed with green dye as they run the trails, the river being turned green in the afternoon, live music, and, of course, plenty of beer.

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CharlotteFive archives TODD SUMLIN THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER

(6) Watch the Realish Housewives of Charlotte

No, we’re not talking about a Sunday afternoon at Whole Foods. This week (March 1-6) at the Blumenthal’s Booth Playhouse you can catch an amusing look at Charlotte through the performances of Rovanka, Claudia Louise, Gwen, Desiree, Brooke and host Randy. Basically, this means you get to watch the on-stage equivalent of a hilarious reality show and then tell your friends you went to the theater. Seems like a win-win.

(7) See Jason Isbell and Shovels and Rope

He’s a former member of rock band Drive-By Truckers, but these days Jason Isbell doesn’t seem to need that introduction. For serious music lovers — especially those of the Southern variety — Isbell as a soloist is being hailed (including 2016 Grammy wins for Best Americana Album and Best American Roots Song). Pair him with special guest Charleston folk duo Shovels & Rope at Ovens Auditorium on March 4 and you’re set for an impressive night of music.

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Jason Isbell on stage at Rupp Arena, opening for the Avett Brothers, on Oct. 1, 2015. Photo by Paul Hooper | Lexington Center Paul Hooper

(8) Get In the Spring Culinary Spirit with Chef Alyssa

If you haven’t been to one of Chef Alyssa’s classes in Atherton Market yet, you’re really not being fair to your taste buds. The enthusiastic chef leads class members through a variety of meals, like March 23’s “Spring Time Italian” dinner featuring grilled prosciutto wrapped burrata, wild striped bass, and strawberries with sweet whipped custard. It’s BYOB so bring a bottle of your favorite spring wine and enjoy the best part—eating your creations.

(9) Flashback to Middle School Dances with the Charlotte Symphony

As part of the symphony’s Pop Series they’re performing with Boyz II Men — yes, the real Boyz II Men! —  March 12. The best-selling R&B group, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary (cue me feeling old), is behind hits like “End of the Road,” “I’ll Make Love to You,” and “One Sweet Day.” Try to resist belting out the lyrics (we know you know them) during the symphonic concert in the Belk Theater.

(10) Play For a Day at Carowinds

Don’t let the kids have all the fun. When the local amusement park opens for the season on March 25 there’s plenty of new stuff to keep any adult entertained. Boomerang Bay has been expanded into the new Carolina Harbor Waterpark; there are new 3-D game experiences; they’ve opened a 3,000-square-foot Starbucks; and it’s the second season of Fury 325, a roller coaster that guarantees a rush—and likely some screams.

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Roller coaster riders enjoy their experience on Carowinds' new Fury 325, the world tallest and fastest giga coaster, during media day on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. David T. Foster, III dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com
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