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Charlotte Memorial Day activities

Even at night, the U.S. National Whitewater Center provides picturesque scenes.
Even at night, the U.S. National Whitewater Center provides picturesque scenes.Charlotte Communities Online

Memorial Day weekend is coming up, but you don't have to hit the beach to have fun this year. Skip the crowded sandy shores and stay in town. There are plenty of things you can do right here in Charlotte to make your long weekend unforgettable. Try one of these fun events

1. Coca-Cola 600

Rev your engines this Memorial Day weekend and head to the Charlotte Motor Speedway for the 55th running of the Coca-Cola 600. Spend the evening cheering on drivers as they race 600 miles on Sunday, May 25. Before the race, make sure you check out the military tribute and concert by country music star Brantley Gilbert.

2. Carowinds

Spend the weekend plunging down rollercoasters at Carowinds. This year the park has added two new water slides to Boomerang Bay, which opens Memorial Day weekend. The slides are more than four stories high and will add 600 feet of sliding fun to the amusement park. If you are or have been in the military, you will get free admission May 24-26.

3. U.S. National Whitewater Center

This year the Whitewater Center is hosting a Memorial Day Celebration. The event, which will take place May 25, is free to the public. It kicks off with an 8- or 5-mile trail race in the morning, followed by a cornhole tournament, food, drinks and live music. The event will end with a bang as the center launches a star-spangled display of fireworks.

4. Sweet Sips Wine Tour

Sunday is actually National Wine Day, so feel free to use your long weekend to savor a glass of red. You'll find a number of wine tours that travel to cozy Charlotte-area wineries. Try the Sweet Sips wine tour from Wine Me Down on May 25. The cost is $49 per person and you'll get to visit two wineries in three hours and enjoy more than 20 sweet North Carolina wine samples.

5. NC Hops & Roots Fest

Not a fan of wine? Don’t worry, this Memorial Day beer festival has you covered. The event, taking place May 24 and 25, will feature local craft breweries, vineyards, farms and musicians. This year the NC Hops & Roots Fest will also have a home brewing competition in which every beer must have a locally grown ingredient.