Sure, there’s nothing better than a lazy summer day. But when the season kicks off this month, you’re going to want to get out and play. From baseball games to live music performances to some sweet swimming spots, we’ve found the city’s top 10 ways to soak in summer’s fun this month.
(1) Take in the tunes at Summer Pops.
You can’t officially call yourself a Charlottean until you’ve spent a summer Sunday evening in Symphony Park (4400 Sharon Road). Here’s how to kick off this cultural rite of passage, which starts June 4:
– Order your $12 advance tickets online.
– Arrive with your blanket at 5 p.m. to snag a spot.
– Bring your own dinner and drinks (or grab some from Reid’s Fine Foods).
– Settle in for the soothing sounds of the symphony under the stars.
(2) Say cheers to beers at Brew Stash Bash.
Let’s be honest — the U.S. National Whitewater Center (5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.) is basically a grown-up playground. From zip lines to whitewater to obstacle courses, it puts those kiddie swings and sandboxes to shame. For this sixth-annual festival, mix in live music and the chance to sample a large selection of regional and national craft beers. Just consider June 17 the best recess ever.
(3) Kick it with Cam Newton for a cause.
Need to get your Cam Newton fix before the season starts in September? For $5 you can watch the famed quarterback, his teammates and other local celebs compete in a kickball tournament at American Legion Memorial Stadium (1238 Armory Drive) June 9. This third-annual game raises money for Newton’s foundation, which helps children economically, educationally and emotionally.
(4) Make a splash at a local swimming spot.
Craving cool water as summer kicks off? We’ve got a few suggestions. Check out The Quarry at Carrigan Farms where you can leap from cliffs into deep, blue water (admission is $12 and open dates are limited—check the website). Those in search of a workout can head to the Whitewater Center’s Thursday night Open Water Swim in the Catawba (brightly colored swim caps required). Prefer a more relaxed dip? Plan an afternoon at Ramsey Creek Park on Lake Norman, which features a sandy beach and is open daily.
(5) Feast on local fare at Taste of Charlotte.
Pull on your elastic waistband pants — there are more than 100 samples from local restaurants at this three-day uptown festival June 9-11. Sure, there’s other entertainment: You’ll find live music, street performances, shopping and various kids’ activities spread over six blocks of Tryon Street. But the focus here is food. Admission is free and coins are available for purchase to use for tasty samples of bites and beverages.
(6) Take yourself out to the ball game at BB&T Ballpark.
There’s nothing like a warm summer night in Uptown pulling for the Charlotte Knights — and not just because BB&T Ballpark offers one of the city’s most Instagrammable views. This month, grab a friend, a beer and a hotdog and cheer on the home team when they take on Durham, Louisville, Indianapolis, Columbus and Gwinnett.
(7) Kick start summer hiking season at a National Trails Day celebration.
Whether you’re a serious climber or just prefer the occasional stroll down a local trail, you’ll want to lace up your hiking shoes for this free celebration June 3 at McAdenville’s South Fork Trail (119 Willow Drive, McAdenville). Hosted by the Carolina Thread Trail, the family-friendly day features guided nature hikes, free kayak rentals for paddling on the Catawba, yoga on the lawn, live bluegrass music, and food and drinks available from Mayobird, Blue Blaze Brewing and King of Pops.
(8) Dig in to farmers market fare at the Atherton Market Grand Re-opening.
Everyone’s favorite South End market is making a temporary move across the parking lot into the historic Atherton Mill (2000 South Blvd.). To celebrate its new digs, the market is hosting a kick-off party June 3 featuring live music with pastries from Carolina Artisan Bread to start the day and a Lowcountry boil from Southend Stew and beers from Happenstance being served starting at 11 a.m. — all alongside the usual vendors and market staples like Not Just Coffee.
(9) Shop till you drop at Vintage Charlotte Summer Market.
On June 3 grab your girlfriends and your wallet and head to Camp North End (1776 Statesville Ave.) for this sixth annual pop-up market featuring more than 80 of the region’s top vintage and handmade vendors. Not in the mood to shop? There’ll also be coffee, brews and food trucks like The Dumpling Lady and Bleu Barn Bistro, as well as live music to enjoy as you soak in the scene. General admission is $2, but for $20 you can get VIP early access from 6-8 p.m. the night before the market.
(10) Soak in the arts scene at Long Live Arts Festival.
This second annual festival June 3 brings together the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, the John S. and James L. Knight Theater, and the Mint Museum Uptown for an afternoon of fun — and free — art and entertainment. Peruse the galleries, which are all open for free, and indulge in food truck fare and live performances from drum circles to salsa dancing.
Photos: Courtesy of Charlotte Symphony; Diedra Laird/Charlotte Observer; Vintage Charlotte