Living Here Guide

From ballet to NASCAR: Charlotte’s arts and culture scene has it all

The Charlotte Ballet in performance.
The Charlotte Ballet in performance. Charlotte Observer file photo

Charlotte is home to a vibrant arts and cultural community with ways to engage that are both small – neighborhood art galleries – and large– massive museums.

Get started with these big names in our city’s arts and culture scene.


Blumenthal Performing Arts Center

Blumenthal oversees an array of venues with performances ranging from jazz to slam poetry. Venues include Belk Theater, Knight Theater, McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square, Booth Playhouse, Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square and Stage Door Theater. It’s also the organization behind the Broadway Lights Series, which brings massive touring productions like “Hamilton,” “The Sound of Music” and “The Color Purple” to Charlotte.

Charlotte Symphony

Our city’s symphony was established in 1932. Today, the symphony is the largest arts employer in the region, with 62 full-time musicians led by music director Christopher Warren-Green. You can catch the Symphony in a variety of ways, from their performances at the Blumenthal’s Belk Theater to their Symphony Pops summer concerts at SouthPark's Symphony Park.

Performance by a section of the Charlotte Symphony. Observer file
A section of the Charlotte Symphony performs for school children. T. Ortega Gaines

Charlotte Ballet

Under artistic director Hope Muir, this dance ensemble offers high energy performances including both classical ballets and innovative contemporary works. The 2017-2018 season brings titles like “The Nutcracker” and “The Most Incredible Thing.”

Opera Carolina

This professional opera company led by conductor James Meena brings performances and educational programs to venues like Knight Theater and Blumenthal’s Belk Theater, as well as to community schools. The 2017-18 season features the shows “Right Words; Wrong Man,” “Some Sins Can’t Be Swept Under the Rug” and others.

The Mint Museum

500 S. Tryon St., Charlotte; 2730 Randolph Road, Charlotte.

Between its two locations in Charlotte, the Mint collects, conserves, exhibits and develops educational programming around art and design from around the world.

The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

420 S. Tryon St., Charlotte.

This museum, designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta, houses a collection of mid-20th century modern works by Picasso, Calder, Warhol and others. The collection was amassed by the Bechtler family.

McColl Center for Art + Innovation

721 N. Tryon St., Charlotte.

Housed in an historic, neo-Gothic church, this art institution hosts artists-in-residence programs, Open Studio Saturdays, events and exhibitions focused on contemporary art.

Children’s Theatre of Charlotte

CTC strives to bring exceptional theatre experiences to young generations and encourage them to explore their world's wonders. The organization offers more than 250,000 experiences for children and families each year through its professional productions in Charlotte and on tour around the region, and through its variety of education programs like summer camps and creative drama classes.

Theatre Charlotte

501 Queens Road, Charlotte.

For its 2017-18 season, this volunteer-based theatre company established in 1927 is presenting “The Grapes of Wrath,” “Nerd,” “A Time to Kill” and more.

Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte

In its 28th season, this performance group spotlights top plays from around the country. In the 2017-18 season, enjoy “Green Day’s American Idiot,” “Hand to God” and others. Performance venues vary.


Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture

551 South Tryon St., Charlotte.

The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture hosts art exhibitions, performances, education programs and events that celebrate the contributions of Africans and African-Americans to our nation's culture.

Levine Museum of the New South

200 E. 7th St., Charlotte.

This interactive museum presents exhibitions and education programs around a comprehensive interpretation of post-Civil War Southern history. The centerpiece exhibit is “Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers.”

Billy Graham Library

4330 Westmont Drive, Charlotte.

This barn-shaped establishment on 20 acres of land showcases Billy Graham’s transformation from a farm boy growing up around Charlotte to a religious leader. Visitors can tour his home and take “A Journey of Faith” tour to experience photos, memorabilia and more from his life.

Carolinas Aviation Museum

4672 First Flight Dr., Charlotte.

This museum at Charlotte Douglas International Airport hosts exhibitions that explore both early flight and contemporary aviation. Exhibitions range from helicopters to the “Miracle on the Hudson” plane.

Charlotte Museum of History

3500 Shamrock Dr., Charlotte.

Charlotte Museum of History seeks to interpret and preserve Charlotte's history through programming and exhibitions like “Charlotte Neighborhoods,” “A Focus on Sports” and “On the Way To Here: Adventures in Photography, Music, and Life.” The museum also oversees the 1774 Hezekiah Alexander Home Site.

Outside the Hezekiah Alexander House. Photo by Daniel Coston, Observer file
Take a tour of the Hezekiah Alexander house. Daniel Coston Charlotte Observer file photo

Historic Latta Plantation

5225 Sample Road, Huntersville,

This 52-acre site holds a plantation home and 11 outbuildings through which visitors can explore North Carolina life from 1800-1865. Enjoy guided house tours, events, re-enactments and more.

Civil War Camp at Historic Latta Plantation. Photo by Marty Price, Observer file
1st Sergeant Matthew Gamble, 15, fires a musket as the Confederates defend “Bloody Lane” during the last day of a Civil War camp at Historic Latta Plantation in Huntersville. Marty Price Charlotte Observer file photo

Historic Rosedale Plantation

3427 N. Tryon St., Charlotte.

Rosedale was built in 1815 by a merchant, postmaster and tax collector on a 919-acre plantation, later run by a doctor and slave families. Today, visitors come here to experience the architecture, decorative arts and lifestyles of the 19th century.

NASCAR Hall of Fame

400 E M.L.K. Jr Blvd., Charlotte.

This interactive space shares the history and heritage of NASCAR with artifacts, exhibits, a broadcast studio and more.