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Wine Fest, Craft Brews & BBQ in Charlotte, North Carolina

Best things to do in Charlotte North Carolina Shawn Cosner South End WineFest wine bottles and corks

I’m really excited to interview Shawn Cosner of 3rd Rock Events about Charlotte, North Carolina. We became great friends on the shared love of all things Kimpton and it is a pleasure to have him as a guest on this week’s podcast episode. Shawn’s tips for the best things to do in Charlotte are awesome because he understands all of the best foodie options.

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Best things to do in Charlotte North Carolina HopsFest

Charlotte Hops Fest

Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte is known as the “Queen City” and is one of the nation’s leading financial centers. It is a hub of commerce within North Carolina and its most populous city. Sports are a big contributor to the local economy with NASCAR races and Hall of Fame Museum, Carolina Panthers, and Charlotte Hornets all attracting out-of-state visitors.

Shawn says that the best times to visit are Spring and Fall to avoid the hot and humid summers. When you visit in April and October, you’ll be able to attend the annual festivals which are great fun and support local charities.

We share a lot of resources and local suggestions in today’s podcast, but you should also check out Charlotte’s Got A Lot, the local convention and visitor’s bureau. They are a wealth of information and can help you plan an itinerary based on your time, budget, and interests.

If you’d like to learn how to travel for free using airline miles and hotel points, check out my free 7-day email course.

Best things to do in Charlotte North Carolina Shawn Cosner Stoke donut made in-house

Stoke’s one-pound donut that’s made in-house

Getting around Charlotte

The local airport is Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), which is about 8 miles to downtown. The Charlotte LYNX light rail is an easy option to get back and forth from the airport to the city center. Use our Expedia tool below to find flight, hotel, and rental car options.

Shawn says that, if you’re staying downtown, there’s no need to rent a car. Uber and Lyft are excellent ways to get around. And I’ve personally found the downtown area very walkable.

If you need to rent a car, click here for the best offers from Avis, Budget, or Hertz.

If you only need a car for a couple of hours, you can rent by the hour with Zipcar. Join now to get $25 loaded into your account.

Best things to do in Charlotte North Carolina Shawn Cosner Essex Bar & Bistro Patio Spread

Enjoy delicious food while enjoying the patio at Essex Bar & Bistro

Places we talked about on the podcast

Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Shawn Cosner about Charlotte, North Carolina. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.

  • Red dots = best places to eat in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Green dots = best things to do in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Yellow dots = best places to stay in Charlotte, North Carolina

Who is Shawn Cosner?

Shawn Cosner is a producer and promoter of high-quality events. He arrived in Charlotte for work, then launched his company, 3rd Rock Events, thanks to the enormous opportunity for small businesses in the city. He loves the growth of the culinary and craft beverage scene in Charlotte and enjoys working with local brands to promote the city and raise money for charity.

I met Shawn several years ago while filming a video for Kimpton featuring their “Inner Circle” members, and we’ve been great friends ever since. We trade Kimpton reviews and the latest trends about our favorite hotel brand.

Best things to do in Charlotte North Carolina Shawn headshot

Here are a few of the events that Shawn produces throughout the year:

You can connect with Shawn Cosner at his website and on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.


Click here to download our one-page guide of Shawn’s tips for Charlotte.

Big thanks to today’s podcast partner – South End Wine Fest

This annual event happens every October for the 21 and over crowd. Your ticket includes wine, beer, and cider tastings plus live music from local bands playing cover tunes from your favorite artists. And when you get hungry, there are cooking demos and an assortment of food trucks to tempt your taste buds.

Ticket sales support Classroom Central, which is dedicated to helping students living in poverty so they can get the tools they need to effectively learn.

Visit for the full schedule of pre and post-festival events, links for hotel packages, and to learn more about this worthwhile cause.

Best things to do in Charlotte North Carolina Shawn Cosner South End WineFest wine supporting schools

The South End Wine Fest supports local schools in coordination with Classroom Central

Stay tuned for our next episode

Best things to do in Calgary Canada Tom Drake Stampede mascotListen to the next episode when Tom Drake of tells us about Calgary, Canada, and the best party and rodeo in the north – the Calgary Stampede. We hope you’ll join us when We Travel There.

What’s your favorite part of Charlotte, North Carolina? Send us a Tweet, let us know in the comment section below, or continue the discussion in our Facebook group!

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Related episodes

To learn more about North Carolina and the surrounding area, please listen to our other episodes: