A Charlotte Family Summer Bucket List

What’s on your family’s summer bucket list this year?
What’s on your family’s summer bucket list this year? Getty Images

I love the idea of a summer bucket list for kids…fun, motivational, aspirational. Keep the kids engaged and focused all summer long and stave off boredom. But last year my daughter’s list included the following:

Swim with dolphins

Meet Luke Kuechly

Go to a Taylor Swift concert

None of those happened and the summer bucket list went the way of new year’s resolutions in my life….another opportunity to experience a mom fail.

Lesson learned. I’ve realized that just like those resolutions, Summer Bucket lists need to be reasonable, doable and manageable. So this summer we’ve adopted a more realistic family list instead that includes all the elements that make summer fun - music, art, food, tv, Charlotte, and, of course, donuts. Here’s the list along with 3 options for each adventure that awaits.

Pack a picnic and enjoy an outdoor movie or music

1 - Charlotte Symphony Summer Pops

Sundays in June (6/12, 6/19. 6/26) at 8:15pm. $11, free under age 18. Symphony Park, 4400 Sharon Road. 704-714-5112.

2 - Romare Bearden's Party in the Park

A weekly free concert series set in Uptown’s favorite park that runs Wednesdays through Sept. 14. 6 - pm. Free. Romare Bearden Park, 300 S. Church St.

3 - The Town of Matthews Summer Concert & Movies Series

Saturdays all summer long (6/11, 6/18, 6/25, 7/2, 7/9, 7/16, 7/23, 8/13) at 7pm for the concert and 8:30pm for the movie. Free. Stumptown Park, 120 South Trade Street in Matthews.

Taste test all the delicious donuts we can find

The Krispy Kreme versus Dunkin’ Donuts debate has heated up recently with the introduction of new homemade doughnut shops around the Queen city. We plan on solving the question of where to get the best doughnut once and for all!

1 - Your Mom’s Donuts

Farm to table donuts are served early, but only Wednesday - Sunday until 1pm. The off hours are worth it - the donuts are delicious and include a menu that changes daily.11025 Suite F Monroe Road Matthews

2 Duck Donuts

Warm & made to order. Kids love watching their own donuts being cooked and prepared and can create their own concoction by choosing a coating, a topping and a drizzle. 1710 Kenilworth Ave

3 Sugar

Homemade gourmet donuts features fun flavors (!menu/c161y) like Chocolate Salted Caramel, Lemon Poppyseed Glazed, and Mapel Bacon, among other traditional favorites. Cinnamon rolls and popovers can often be found on the daily menu as well. 11914 Elm Lane

Also keep your eye out for Joe’s Doughs opening June 18 ( and Pepperbox Donuts (

Create some family art

1 - Dish It Out & Art Space Studio

Pottery painting at it’s best. Why not let everyone make their own plate or cup?

2 - Painting with a twist & The Tipsy Paintbrush

Let your inner Picasso out - grab a brush and a canvas and let the instructors guide you and the kids in the art of making art.

3 - Michaels

There’s more than just crafts to be found here. Classes range from jewelry to paper crafting to cake making and more.

Get fresh food at a local Farmers Market

1 - Kings Drive Farmer’s Market

2 - Atherton Mill Market

3 - Charlotte Regional Farmer’s Market

Check out a new part of town

Stay tuned for our new weekly Charlotte Family Field Trip series as Sosha Lewis and I give you the low-down on exploring new parts of the Queen City.

Spend an entire day in our pajamas

Of course, all of the above require effort and leaving the house. Part of any good bucket list should include minimum mom-effort, which is why this is on our list as well.

Binge watch an old series

My kids love watching tv and I love shows from the good old days of my own childhood so this summer we’ve agreed on episodes of I Love Lucy. Check out these other ideas for oldies but goodies.

What will be on your family’s summer list this year?