Things to do

Your 5-minute guide to the best things to do in Charlotte | April 12-18


Spend a relaxing evening enjoying an outdoor picnic with friends and family at the 3rd Annual Pop-Up Picnic by the Catawba Lands Conservancy. This community picnic is free and open to all — you can either bring your own picnic meal, enjoy dinner from an on-site food truck or pick a pre-ordered picnic basket meal from more than 20 of Charlotte’s top restaurants including Good Food on Montford, Stagioni and more. All pre-ordered picnic baskets contain a meal for two people, and proceeds will benefit Catawba Lands Conservancy and the Carolina Thread Trail. 6 – 8:30 p.m. Mint Museum Randolph. Free.

Celebrate National Jazz and Poetry Month with the April edition of Art After Dark at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. You can choose to take part in the poetry writing and performance workshop, see a snippet of the upcoming BNS production of August Wilson’s 1979 play “Jitney,” get an introduction to vinyl records, enjoy live music by local jazz vocalists and musicians, create your own mixed-media abstract art and more. 6 – 10 p.m. 551 S. Tryon St. Free (but donations are welcome).

Experience two days of cultural fun in Rural Hill at the 2019 Loch Norman Highland Games. There will be highland dancing and athletics, bagpipe bands, Scottish merchants, historic reenactments, kilted running events, Scottish merchants, Celtic rock performances and of course, plenty of haggis. Beer, wine and whisky will be available for purchase. Friday at 5 p.m. through Sunday 4 p.m. 4431 Neck Rd. Tickets start at $11.


Enjoy unlimited samples of more than 100 different wines — as well as local and regional craft beers and ciders — at the University City Wine Fest. Stroll the boardwalk around the lake at The Shoppes at University Place while sipping your samples, tasting food from top area restaurants, and listening to live music at this annual festival benefiting the University City and Sugar Creek Libraries. 2 – 6 p.m. (or 1 – 6 p.m., for VIPs). 8708 JW Clay Blvd. Tickets start at $35.

Don’t miss the kick-off of Buzz-a-thon, a special week-long event taking place over Spring Break at the Discovery Place. Both children and adults can learn about insects and their life cycles from egg to adult, in addition to crafting insect exoskeletons, building robot bugs, playing bug game shows and more. April 13 – 20. Discovery Place. Free for members, or $19 for non-member adults and $15 for non-member children.

Moo and Brew Fest, a festival that celebrates that classic pairing of beer and burger, is back in it’s fifth year. VIP tickets are sold out, but general admission tickets are $40 and include samples from 50 breweries, many of them local. 2-6 p.m. Burgers will be available for purchase from a variety of vendors, and bands will play throughout the day (the event is headlined by Everclear). 2-6 p.m. 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd.


Bring the kiddos to the Northlake Mall for Photos with the Easter Bunny in “Bunnyville,” a charming and festive photo setting boasting a 24-Carrot Bank, Hoppin’ Fresh Bakery and a Hare Salon. You’ll leave with high-quality digital photos, as well as a $25 promo card from Shutterfly. 12 – 6 p.m. 6801 Northlake Mall Dr. Photo packages start at $24.99.

Further your appreciation for black cinema with the latest installation in The Classic Black Cinema Series, “For Love of Ivy.”In this 1968 film, drifting gambler Jack Parks (played by Sidney Poitier) and Austin family maid Ivy Moore (Abby Lincoln) are set up by the Austin family children in hopes that a romance will blossom. 2 p.m. Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. Free for members, $9 for non-members.


If you’ve always wanted to learn how to salsa dance, but you weren’t sure where to start, then Movimiento Dance Academy’s new Beginner Salsa Dancing Classes at Camp North End are for you. You can stop by on Monday, April 15 or next Monday, April 22, to take advantage of this hourlong introductory class. 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. 1824 Statesville Ave. $5 per person.


The third segment of the Mint Museum Uptown’s new “Constellation Series,” Crista Cammaroto’s “Terra Forms,” celebrates its opening night this Wednesday. Opening night is free and open to the public, and the exhibit’s large scale prints will be on view in the atrium until Sunday, April 28. 7 – 9 p.m. 500 S. Tryon St. Free.


Charlotte Vegfest is an annual event hosted by VeganCLT, the hub for all things vegan in the Queen City. The event itself will be hosted this fall, but Vegfest Jr. is happening this Thursday at Goodyear Arts to raise funds for the main 2019 event. Explore the all-vegan food court featuring small bites from Nourish, Fern, Move That Dough Baking Co. and many more, as well as performances by AerialCLT and a stacked raffle. 7 – 9:30 p.m. 301 Camp Rd. Free entry.

[Related: 3 reasons to go vegan, and where to find support if you do]