Your 5-minute guide to the best things to do in Charlotte | May 20-26

·6 min read

Editor’s note: CharlotteFive has limited coverage of in-person, indoor events to help prevent community spread of COVID-19. Masks are required at many Charlotte venues for indoor spaces or close settings.


Head to The Square at Trade and Tryon in Uptown to celebrate Meck Dec Day, the 247th anniversary of the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. This year’s celebration will include military and colonial re-enactors, historic readings, toasts, musket and cannon firing, military parades and more. Noon. Free. The Square, 100 N. Tryon St.

Experience Armenian food and culture at the annual Armenian Festival. Authentic Armenian dishes including beef and chicken kebabs, side dishes, homemade pastas, pastries and more will be available with an option to pre-order online for curbside pickup. Friday, 5-9 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m. Free. St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church, 7000 Park Road.


Enjoy ice-cold Cheerwine in the town where it originated 105 years ago, along with Southern cuisine, family-friendly activities, local craft vendors, live music starting at 2 p.m., including legendary rock bands including Blues Traveler, Grammy-nominated Spin Doctors and more at The Cheerwine Festival. Noon-10 p.m. Free. Downtown Salisbury. 217 S. Main St.

The Cheerwine Festival on May 21 will feature Blues Traveler and Spin Doctors.
The Cheerwine Festival on May 21 will feature Blues Traveler and Spin Doctors.

Explore the secret, urban gardens of Uptown in the historic Fourth Ward neighborhood. The walkable, self-guided tour showcases a variety of private gardens and includes food and beverage tastings in gardens and restaurants along the route, as well as electric golf cart rides with Ride Charlotte. The tour will also highlight public art, historic homes, the historic Elmwood/Pinewood Cemetery and special points of interest. The historic St. Peter’s Episcopal Church at 7th and Tryon Streets will also offer tours of its gardens each day during tour hours, as well as a free performance by the Charlotte Choir School in the sanctuary from 1-1:30 p.m. on Saturday only. Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22 from 12-4 p.m. $30 for day-specific tickets. $40 for a weekend flex ticket. Purchase tickets online. Historic Fourth Ward, West 9th Street and North Poplar Street.

Enjoy unlimited samplings of beer and bourbon at Charlotte’s 15th annual Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival, along with live music, barbecue from multiple vendors, games, shopping, seminars with Southern Master Distillers, Pit Masters and Brewmasters and more. 2-6 p.m. VIP tickets are sold out, but there are still some General Admission tickets available. $42. Purchase online. Designated driver tickets are sold on-site for $25. Ballantyne’s Backyard. 11611 N. Community House Road.

If you’re a sweets lover, you won’t want to miss Dessert Wars, a (delicious) competition between more than 50 local vendors vying to be voted as your favorite dessert. Ticket holders will sample some of Charlotte’s best cookies, cakes, doughnuts, ice cream and other treats, then vote for their favorite dessert. General admission is $45 + fees and tax and includes 30 tickets for dessert samples, a “go-box” and 4 p.m. event entry. VIP tickets are $65 + fees and tax and include 50 sample tickets, a “go-box” and 3 p.m. event entry. Children 2 and under are free. Purchase online, as there are no tickets at the door. Park Expo Center, 2500 E. Independence Blvd.

Entrance to Dessert Wars includes tickets for samples and a “go box” for taking the extras home. (Sorry, you can’t bring your own.)
Entrance to Dessert Wars includes tickets for samples and a “go box” for taking the extras home. (Sorry, you can’t bring your own.)


Planning for a future wedding and need a little inspiration? Check out the Best of Charlotte Bridal Show, a boutique-style bridal show featuring a curated selection of vendors presented by Charlotte Bride Guide. 1-5 p.m. $5. Purchase tickets online. Lenny Boy Brewing. 3000 S. Tryon St.

For a day of shopping from women-owned businesses, food, cocktails and more, check out the Girl Tribe Pop Up in the Garden. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $5 in advance. $10 at the door. Purchase tickets online. Alexander Homestead, 4717 Shamrock Drive.


Experience a night of fun blending regional comedians with poets and spoken word artists from around the country at Laughs and Stanzas, presented by Blumenthal Performing Arts. 7:30 p.m. Free with registration. Register online. QC Social. 300 N. College St.


Catch stand-up comedy with an environmental justice theme at Hattie’s Tap & Tavern from regional comedians at the “There’s Nothing Funny About Climate Change” comedy tour, hosted by Dogwood Alliance. Free but $10 suggested cover. Doors at 7 p.m. Show at 8 p.m. 2918 The Plaza.


Bring your alien-themed VHS movies — the more obscure the better — for a special double-feature event at VisArt Video, VHS Potluck (Alien Edition). Free but donations appreciated. 7:30 p.m. 3104 Eastway Drive.


Soak in the spring weather and enjoy live music outdoors at the last evening of the Shoppes at University Place’s Spring concert series. Free. 6-9 p.m. 8929 J M Keynes Drive.

Mark your calendar

If alcoholic seltzer is your adult beverage of choice, you won’t want to miss the second annual Seltzer World Festival on Saturday, June 4, featuring unlimited samples of over 100 seltzer varieties and craft beer, food trucks, live DJs, local vendors and more. 1-5 p.m. General admission tickets: $30-40. VIP Lounge tickets: $45. Purchase online. South End. 200 E. Bland St.

Map out your selections for Untappd. The June 18 festival features unlimited beer samples from more than 300 choices provided by 100 of the social networking platform’s highest rated breweries — including some of your local favorites. Live music and souvenir cups are included. Session one VIP entry starts at 11 a.m., with doors open for general admission at noon and closing at 3:30 p.m. Session two VIP entry starts at 5:30 p.m., with general admission starting at 6:30 p.m., and wrapping up for the night at 10 p.m. General admission is $60, while VIP entry is $150. American Legion Memorial Stadium, 1218-1238 Armory Drive.

Tickets are on sale now for the inaugural Queen City Jam Sessions, a multi-day music festival from Aug. 19-21, presented by MaxxMusic and NoDa Brewing Company. See Greensky Bluegrass, Oteil and Friends, and Infamous Stringdusters and more at NoDa Brewing. A general admission three-day pass is $189. VIP passes are $299 and include express entrance, premier seating, two beers per day and private bar access. Admission is free for children under 7. Purchase tickets online. NoDa Brewing Company, 2921 N. Tryon St.

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