My good bud, Kristen, is the live music diva of Charlotte. So I asked her to do some Smarty research on outdoor family entertainment. Here’s what she came up with:
One of our favorite things to do in the spring is to take the family out on a Friday night and listen to live music. We load the family up at around 6pm complete with blanket or chairs, juice boxes, wine, and if you are incredi-mom, a picnic dinner. There are so many outdoor music venues in Charlotte. Most of them are free and there is usually an area for kids to boogie and run around. We have often met another family (insta playdate) or some children just have a knack of making a new best friend for the night. These music weekends are all over town – often conveniently located near restaurants (for those who don’t cook on Fridays), shops, and the smart places have an ice cream shop. After a full week of school, work, and being mom, this is an inexpensive way to unwind without messing up the house or forcing children to sit at a restaurant. Take advantage while the weather is just right. Maybe we will see you there.
Please note: This list is subject to change so please double check the websites or phone #s before you pack up your whole fam! And some venues are more kid-friendly than others – a good rule of thumb is if the event starts after 7:30pm, it may not be the best place to bring itty-bitty babies, with the exception of Pops in the Park (my kids always enjoyed falling asleep to the symphony)!
–The Arboretum sometimes has live music by the fountain. It is conveniently located next to Qdoba and Ben and Jerry’s. Other nearby restaurants include: McDonalds, Chick-Fil-A, Taco Bell, Good Old Days, Phil and Tony’s, and Micky and Mooch.
–Ballantyne Village, “Mix at Six” 6-9 p.m. Wednesdays through May 30, in the shopping center at John J. Delaney Drive off Johnston Road. 704-369-5082
(Village Bistro sponsors the music; other restaurants include Jade, Table, Villa Antonia, Under the Grape, Panera, and Moe’s). This may be a good date-night spot – I’ve heard this gets pretty rowdy! Who would have thought people could get nutty at a happy hour venue?!
–Birkdale Village, 7-9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Sept. 29, in Huntersville off Interstate 77’s Exit 25. 704-895-8744; This from my Huntersville spy Carrie…
“Journey to the Stars” which is like an American Idol for kids ages 5-18. This has been held every Saturday from 12-6pm on may 3,10,17. This Saturday, the 24th is the finale. I heard that it was fun to watch. Birkdale always starts their concert series in May too. It is every Friday and Sat from 7-9pm. Normally it is a live band or a live singer playing the guitar- it is fun and gets a good turnout. The live Concert series starts Friday, May 23rd and last throughout the summer on the weekends. There is a really great website called www.LKNfun.com that has all the fun things going on in Lake Norman. It tells what singer is going to be where and what restaurants have something fun going on. It is a great resource.
-Blakeney. Friday and Sat. 7-10. (according to the sign) I couldn’t find a link but this is a terrific venue. Brixx, Five Guys, Encore, Chilis, McDonalds, etc. Lots of shops so bring your hubby to keep an eye on the kids while you pop in a few stores. There is a playground, fountain, and large grassy area.
–Charlotte Symphony Summer Pops series: Concerts with the Charlotte Symphony on Sundays in June at Symphony Park by SouthPark mall, 4400 Sharon Road. Preludes at 7 p.m.; concerts at 8:15. Also at select locations around the region on other nights. 704-972-2003.
-Cotswold Village Shops. May 9-Sept 13. Friday 6:30-9:30/Sat. 7-9 704-364-5840 Charley’s, Salsaritas, Starbuck’s, Mama Fu’s,etc. The venue is narrow (good for keeping little ones in check) but it is all brick/concrete.
–Center City Alive After Five, 5:30-9 p.m. Thursdays through Aug. 30, uptown Charlotte at Wachovia Plaza at Tryon and Second streets. 704-339-0100. This one may be another good date-night spot – not so kid-friendly!
–Davidson, Concerts on the Green, free concerts 6-8 p.m. on occasional Saturdays and Sundays on the Davidson Town Green, through Sept. 23. 704-892-2118.
–Matthews, Saturday Night Live at Stumptown Park on 120 S. Trade St., free concerts and movies at 7 p.m. Saturdays through July 29. 704-321-7275.
-Pineville: Rockin’ and Reelin’ summer concert and movie series at 7 p.m. on occasional Fridays May 25-Sept. 21 at Pineville Lake Park on Johnston Drive in Pineville. 704-889-2400. All events are at Pineville Lake Park. Preshow at 7:00; Movie at dusk. Concerts tune up at 7:00. (This is a huge park with lots of area to picnic however there are not any restaurants within walking distance and I am not sure on the alcohol policy at the park).
June 6: Bee Movie
June 7: Charlotte Symphony
June 20: Air 5 (Christian Rock)
July 11: ET (movie)
Aug. 8: Key West (Jimmy Buffet Tribute Band)
Aug. 22: HS Musical 2 (movie)
Sept. 12: Travis Allison Band (classic rock/ current music)
Sept. 26: Enchanted (movie)
–Promenade on Providence: 7 to 10 p.m. every Fri.-Sat., through Sept. 29. 704-342-9035; We often attend this because it is close. Wolfman Pizza is across the street (pick it up on your way), Wolfgang Pucks, Sushi 101, Macaroni Grill, Aroojis Wine Bar, The Q Shack, and the ever-popular Cold Stone Creamery. Large fountain, grassy area, and beverages sold on site.
–Rivergate: 7-10 p.m. Saturdays June 2-Aug. 25, at the shopping center in Steele Creek, on South Tryon Street at the Catawba River. 704-343-4385
–The Summer Concert Series at University Place, Thursdays 5:30pm – 8:30pm June – July (lakeside) Free Concert Series, Corner of Harris Boulevard & Hwy. 29 (I-85 Exit 45A), across from University Hospital. Also here: 5 to 9 p.m. Sundays, June 3 through July 29 at the paddleboat area of the shopping center at 8929 J.M. Keynes Drive. 704-549-4811.
–SouthPark mall: 6 p.m. every Saturday through Sept 29 on the west plaza at Joseph-Beth Booksellers at SouthPark, 4400 Sharon Rd., 704-364-4411.
–Stonecrest At Piper Glen: 7-10 p.m. every Fri.-Sat. on the fountain plaza, through Sept. 1 at the shopping center at Interstate 485 and Rea Road, 704-621-2469; We have been here several times also. The music is great but it is all fountain and concrete…no grass. Dean and Deluca, Wendy’s, Chick-Fil-A, Nothin’ but Noodles,
Morganton, TGIF Downtown Concert Series, 7 p.m. Fridays through July 27. Courthouse Square, 102 E. Union St., 828-438-5280.
Concord, Union Street Live! 6-9 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month through Sept. 20, lawn of the Historic Cabarrus Courthouse. 704-784-4208.
Kannapolis, Summer Concert Series, 7 p.m. Saturday evenings twice a month at the Village Park amphitheater (between West A & C streets off Dale Earnhardt Blvd.) June 2 through Aug. 11. 704- 920-4343.
Hickory Alive, 7 p.m. Fridays in downtown Hickory, June 1-29 (more dates expected). 828-322-1121
Shelby: Sundays on the Square, 4-6 p.m. in the uptown Square. May 20, June 24 and Sept. 23. 704-472-5990; firstname.lastname@example.org
Blues Out Back at the Gaston County Museum of Art & History, 6:30 to 8 p.m. second Friday of the month, June 8 through Oct. 12. 131 W. Main St., Dallas. 704-922-7681, ext. 105.
Gastonia’s Downtown Alive, 5:30-9 p.m. occasional Thursdays May 31 through Sept. 6, Rotary Centennial Pavilion at the end of South Street, downtown Gastonia. 704-865-5044.
Lincolnton, Downtown Development Association Live After Five Concert Series, 6-9 p.m. last Thursday of the month, May 31 through Sept. 27, Main Street at Court Square. 704-736-8915.
Monroe, Music on Main, 6:30-9:30 p.m. June 28 and Sept. 27. On Main Street. 704-292-1705.
Rock Hill, Main Street Live Series, first Thursday of each month through Sept. 7 at 5:30 p.m. on East Main St. in downtown, 803-324-7500.
Tega Cay Outdoor Summer Concerts, While you are unable to BYOB…there are several vendors that offer food and drink.
Let us know if you have any additional scoop on live music venues!