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Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers don’t just protect and serve the Queen City – they enjoy the best the region has to eat, drink, see and do, too.

We asked our recruiters, trainers and recent Academy grads where they spend their free time around town. They gave us their favorites, and now we’re passing them on to you.

But first, coffee

“If you are visiting Charlotte, I would highly recommend getting coffee at Archive CLT,” says Officer/Recruiter Jasmine Nivens. “The Foxy Brown iced latte is my favorite.”

Need a bite to eat to pair with your cuppa joe? Officer Nivens recommends the breakfast tacos at El Toro Bruto, which is tucked inside Resident Culture South End.

Come out and play

The late summer and early fall are the perfect time to explore the great outdoors in Charlotte (just don’t forget to pack the sunscreen).

Lake Norman, just north of Charlotte, and Lake Wylie, just south of the city and straddling the North Carolina–South Carolina state line, both earn CMPD honorable mentions for great ways to get outside.

If you’re looking for adventure, try rafting, rock climbing, zip lining and more at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, or get your thrill ride on at Carowinds amusement park.

Looking for something more relaxed? Pack a picnic and head to Freedom Park in south Charlotte.

Let’s stay in(side)

Not up for spending the day in the Southern sun? No sweat.

Officer/Recruiter C.M. “Kristy” Helms suggests checking out Charlotte’s interactive museums.

First up: Discovery Place. Visit the main science museum and IMAX theater Uptown, the nature outpost adjacent to Freedom Park, or the children’s museum in Huntersville.

While you’re Uptown, take a lap through the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Even if you’re not a diehard racing fan, you’ll enjoy testing your skills in hands-on experiences like the Pit Crew Challenge and Race Simulator.

All the good eats

If there’s one thing CMPD officers love to recommend, it’s a good place to grab delicious eats. Here are a few recruiter, trainer and recent recruit favorites:

Good for lunch / casual dinner

Cheat’s Cheesesteak

Comet Grill

JJ’s Red Hots 

Lebowski’s Neighborhood Grill (temporarily closed for renovations)

Midwood Smokehouse

Optimist Food Hall


Sandwich Max

Good for dinner / a little fancier

Epic Chophouse

Leroy Fox Kitchen & Cocktails

Little Mama’s


The Crunkleton

Trolley Barn Fermentory & Food Hall

Sweet treats any time of day

Suárez Bakery

Play ball

No matter the season, you’ll frequently find CMPD officers cheering on the home team somewhere in the Charlotte region.

Catch the NFL’s Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium Uptown in the fall. (The stadium doubles as home to Major League Soccer’s Charlotte FC, too).

The NBA’s Charlotte Hornets also play in the heart of Center City, as do Minor League Baseball’s Charlotte Knights.

You’ll find the American Hockey League’s Charlotte Checkers just outside Center City at Bojangles Coliseum, while Charlotte Motor Speedway – home of NASCAR’s Bank of America Roval 400 and Coca-Cola 600 – sits a short drive north of the Queen City in Concord.

Raise a glass – responsibly

Thirsty? Academy recruiters, trainers and grads agree: You’ve got to check out all of Charlotte’s breweries.

Charlotte is home to more than 100 breweries of every size and specialty. Whether you prefer IPAs or sours, pale ales or stouts, inventive upstarts or old-world traditions, you’ll find a beer to suit your taste here.

A few Academy favorites:

If you like your drinks with a side of competition, Officer/Trainer Andrea Mullins suggests Pinhouse, a self-serve taproom with duckpin bowling in Plaza Midwood.

Always drink responsibly, and don’t drink and drive.

“You will quickly find that there is a ton to do in this city,” says Officer Jeremiah Todman, who served as Recruit Class 193’s president. “If you were to stay for a week, you would feel you have done a lot, but there is still a ton to do.”

Charlotte-area recruits, did we miss a spot? Send us a message on Instagram to share your favorite local eats and sights.

Accelerate your career here

Ready to join the men and women of CMPD? Find a recruitment event near you, or start your new trainee, lateral entry or intermediate entry application today.