Charlotte's craft breweries, art museums, public parks, recreational activities, and varied neighborhoods make it a year-round destination, with over 50 million visitors annually. Compared to most of the country, the weather is tolerable 12 months out of the year. That said, the best time to visit the city is in the spring when the flowers are in full bloom, the patios are open, Triple-A baseball is in full swing, and you can take advantage of recreational activities in and outside of town. It's also before the summer's brutal heat and humidity set in. Fall is also a great time to visit the city, with parks in all their splendor, ideal temperatures, fewer crowds, plenty of outdoor festivals, and options for short getaways to the nearby mountains.
Weather in Charlotte
Located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina and in the southern part of the state, Charlotte has a humid, continental climate. It's proximity to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean does create some unpredictable weather patterns, but in general, temperatures are moderate year-round. The annual high temperature is 71 degrees F (22 degrees C), while the average low temperature is 49 degrees F (9 degrees C). Annual rainfall is approximately 3 to 4 inches per month.
Spring has average highs ranging from 59 degrees F (15 degrees C) in March to a warm 81 degrees F (27 degrees C) in May, with low temperatures comfortably above freezing. Note that there are frequent rain showers in the spring, so come prepared with a rain jacket and waterproof shoes. Summers are hot and humid, with temperatures soaring to 90 degrees F (32 degrees C) frequently. But it's also a great time to take advantage of the area's water-based activities, like kayaking, paddle boarding, and swimming.
Fall is also an excellent time to visit, with fewer visitors, and temperatures ranging from highs in the low 80s F in September to upper 50s F in November. Lows hover around 60 degrees F (15.5 degrees C) at the beginning of the season and drop to 32 degrees F (0 degrees C) by December. There is also less rain in the fall, which will give you the option to explore the area's many outdoor activities as long as you wear layers. Winters are mild, with temperatures ranging between 30 to 60 degrees F (-1 to 16 degrees C). Winter also brings fewer crowds, cheaper hotel rates, and cheaper plane fares.
For more information about Charlotte's weather and seasons, see our detailed guide.
With ideal temperatures and highs in the 60s and the upper 70s F, the entire city in bloom, and outdoor and other attractions operating on extended hours, spring is the perfect time to visit Charlotte. Note that hotel rates are at their highest during the season and you may fight crowds for popular destinations, so buy your tickets and make your dinner reservations in advance. Also plan on packing layers, as evenings can be quite chilly, especially in the earlier part of the season.
Events to check out:
- Tuck Fest: The U.S. National Whitewater Center celebrates the beginning of the outdoor recreation season with a three-day festival each April. Spectate or participate in everything from rock climbing to kayaking, yoga, and stand-up paddleboarding along the river and grounds. There are even kid-friendly activities like a family obstacle course. Other highlights include over 80 outdoor gear vendors, plus on-site food and drink from local restaurants and brewers, and a capstone concert with headliners ranging from Tyler Childers to the Milk Carton Kids.
- North Carolina Brewers and Music Festival: Enjoy craft beer from over 40 state breweries like NoDa Brewing Company and live music from acts like the Steep Canyon Rangers, all on the scenic grounds of Historic Rural Hill in Huntersville, about 14 miles north of the city. The event also includes food trucks, children's activities, and on-site camping options.
Summers can be oppressively hot and humid in Charlotte and crowds at major attractions like Carowinds, the U.S. National Whitewater Center, and Lake Norman can be overwhelming. Pack rain gear if visiting in August, as it's the city's wettest month. But with plenty of air conditioning and water-based activities, it's still a great time to visit the city.
Events to check out:
- Taste of Charlotte: This annual, three-day celebration of the city's food and drink scene takes place every June in Uptown. With food from over 100 local restaurants, chef demonstrations, live music, beer and wine tents, and activities for the littlest foodies, it's a fun event for the whole family.
- Summer Pops Concert: Each summer, the Charlotte Symphony presents six low-key, family-friendly shows inside the Belk Theater as well as outdoors at Symphony Park. With themed concerts ranging from hip hop to Star Wars, there's something for everyone. The outdoor events are perfect for packing a picnic and enjoying music under the stars.
- Fourth of July Celebration at Whitewater Center: Celebrate the nation's birthday with two days of outdoor activities ranging from stand-up paddleboarding and rock climbing to yoga, live music, food and drink vendors, and a large fireworks show each night.
- Fan Fest: Celebrate the home town team, the Carolina Panthers, and the start of football season with the day-long event at Bank of America stadium. Tickets include a practice session, performances by the Black & Blue Crew, and a fireworks display.
Fall marks another ideal time to visit Charlotte, as temperatures cool off, family travelers retreat for the school year, and hotel prices come down from spring and summer rates. If you're looking for fall foliage or a side trip to the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains or mountain towns like Asheville, plan on visiting from mid- to late October to see the leaves at their peak. In Charlotte proper, you can expect comfortable temperatures in the 60s and 70s F for most of the season and lots of fall-themed events.
Events to check out:
- Festival in the Park: From painting and glasswork from local artists to live music, a children's art area, food vendors, and more, this Freedom Park event has been a neighborhood tradition since 1964.
- Carolina Renaissance Festival: Go back to medieval times with this annual fall festival, which includes everything from an artists' market to juggling, dancing, live jousting tournaments, and the obligatory turkey legs.
- The Great Pumpkin Fest: Head to the Carowinds amusement park for fall-themed fun Saturdays and Sundays from late September through Halloween weekend. Activities include a hay bale maze, costume parade, rides, and family games.
- Kings Drive Art Walk: Held on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway at its namesake Kings Drive, this neighborhood festival celebrates emerging artists with artists booths, live music, arts and crafts activities, and more.
Late December through early March are Charlotte's coldest months, with highs in the low 50s F and lows hovering around freezing. Christmas through January is a quiet time in the city, with fewer tourists, cheaper flights, and lower hotel fares.
With less than an inch of annual snowfall, the city isn't exactly a winter wonderland, but it is within close driving distance to the mountains and winter sporting activities.
Events to check out:
- New Year's Eve Trail Race: Run into the new year with this annual event at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Race options include a 5K and 10K, and the festivities kick off at 11:45 p.m.
- Charlotte St. Patrick's Day Parade and Charlotte Goes Green Festival: Don your green and head to Uptown for the city's annual St. Paddy's day event, which features bagpipers, Irish dancers, and plenty of beer and snacks. The parade starts at North Tryon and 9th Streets, with the accompanying free festival taking place on South Tryon Street.
- Green River Revival Festival: Held at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, this all-day event around St. Patrick's Day features several outdoor activities, including the Color Me Green 5K, yoga, live music, and white water rafting down the river, which is dyed green for the holiday.
North Carolina Commerce. "NC Commerce: Visitor Spending in North Carolina Grows At Near Record Pace." May 7, 2019.
U.S. Climate Data. "North Carolina and Weather Averages Charlotte." Retrieved February 22, 2021.