Monroe in North Carolina is a vivid and developing city serving as a center of government, retail, industry, and culture in Union County, in close association with Charlotte.
It maintains a beautiful historic downtown, with an impressive bell tower and a lovely downtown district, its stores radiating a 1940s vibe.
Film crews have also used the backdrop of the Union County courthouse and the appeal of Main Street in major motion pictures.
Historic downtown Monroe has unique shopping experiences, with boutiques, restaurants, live bands, car shows, outdoor movies, and festivals in its revitalized heart.
People have come flocking to its downtown businesses and tree-lined streets as they continue to become a prime family destination.
With its picturesque landscapes, winding roads, sprawling pastures, diverse community, and friendly people, the city has plenty in store for those who come looking.
If you want to explore Monroe in North Carolina, check this curated list of the best activities in the city.
Escape to Treehouse Vineyards
Treehouse Vineyards is a family-owned vineyard and winery that opened to the public in 2010 after five years of hard work, offering handcrafted wines.
Their name comes from the beautiful treehouses placed throughout the vineyard, overlooking the lovely 200-year-old grounds.
Owners Phil and Dianne Nordan planted their first vines in the spring of 2005 and soon after planted eight varieties of Muscadines.
They took soil samples, prepared the soil, then installed the vine trellis system and planted 50 vines of 2 varieties, Carlos and Noble.
Try out their Just One More Thing Merlot, a smooth round flavor with hints of spice, or their Her Way Cabernet Sauvignon, a full-bodied taste with a hint of fruit.
Test their Liquid Sunshine, a delicious blend, or their Rock Quarry Riesling, a bright aromatic semi-dry.
Visit their Date Night treehouse, hoisted 30 feet in the air, their Papa’s Dream treehouse, a delightful escape for couples, or their Horsefeathers Hideaway, a great crew hideaway.
Bring Your Children to Aw Shucks Farms
Aw Shucks Farms is a popular fall destination for the family, known for its popular fall attractions such as a corn maze, pumpkin patch, hiking trails, hayrides, and more.
At the Animal Barn, feed the sheep and goats, pet the cute miniature horses, and say hello to Peaches the Pig.
Spend a cozy evening surrounded by the bonfire, trading stories and songs with your loved ones.
Delight in farm-fresh foods such as steaming off-the-grill burgers and hotdogs, fresh paninis, and festival treats like funnel cake and ice cream.
Indulge in sweet fall treats from their Apple Bin, such as caramel cups, candy apples, apple muffins, and apple cider.
Treat your children to a gem mining field trip as they rotate through five stations with rocks, gems, and minerals.
Hold children’s parties with different themes, such as Target Shoot Party, Fishing Party, Bonfires and S’mores, Little Farm Hands, and Soda Shop Party.
Bring your children to play areas such as the Kiddie Corral for youngsters and the 40 foot Grain Bin Slide for older kids.
Find pumpkins of many shapes, sizes, and hues at their Pumpkin Market.
If you want to immerse in farm life and have a fun learning experience for any age, take your kids to Aw Shucks Farms.
Have a Tee Time at Monroe Country Club
Monroe Country Club boasts a 1930s Donald Ross design in its front nine, giving challenge to golfers of varying skill levels, creating an opportunity to show off their golfing skills.
The characteristic Ross greens and subtle elevation changes are just a few features shaping Monroe Country Club into a veritable treasure.
Its back nine is a 1980 Tom Jackson edition, a free-flowing spectacle of tree-lined fairways, vast greens, and challenging doglegs.
It is home to a short game practice area, a driving range, 2 putting practice greens, Champion Bermuda greens, and four tee boxes.
Its Pro Shop is fully equipped with well-priced bags, clubs, shoes, shorts, golf balls, and everything one needs to play a fun game.
The Pro Shop’s snack bar has an indoor dining area perfect for kicking back and relaxing after an awesome round.
The club provides the best service and value in the region and is ready to host tournaments for all scopes.
Drink Wine at Hilton Vineyard
Hilton Vineyard produces some of the finest wine in town and has a gorgeous garden full of fruit trees and grapevines ripe for exploration.
They are a family-run business and one of the smallest vineyards in North Carolina that have received the “People’s Choice Award” for best-tasting wine from the Charlotte Observer.
They have 25 varieties of different kinds of wine that you can taste at the Hilton Vineyard Wine Bar and Retail Store, their flavors ranging from sweet to dry.
Over the years, owners Larry and Evelyn Hilton have experimented with countless grape and fruit flavors.
Hilton Vineyard grows all their produce, and their wines are handmade, grown, bottled, and fermented in Union County.
All of their wines are hand-poured and contain no concentrates, and their grapes, berries, and fruits grow in their vineyard.
Their special best-selling mango wine has ingredients sourced in Florida and tastes amazing with everything.
Go Shopping at Sweet Union Flea Market
Sweet Union Flea Market is the largest flea market in Charlotte, containing over 300 outdoor vendors.
It also has an expansive indoor area and plenty of food vendors selling scrumptious wares from food trucks such as churros and hand-dipped ice cream.
It is open every weekend and contains all kinds of special, unique finds and affordable goods.
It is a fantastic place to look for collectibles, bargains, and hidden treasures.
It has its own unique atmosphere, with many Hispanic vendors reminiscent of the markets in Mexico and South America.
Here, find plenty of Mexican food trucks and specialties reminiscent of small Mexican towns.
Hunt for distinctly Mexican items such as frilly brassieres, embroidered pants, tooled boots, and cactus paddles.
Have a Brew at Southern Range Brewing Co.
In historic downtown Monroe, Southern Range Brewing Co. is the area’s first craft beer bar.
It is a cozy hangout space for beer enthusiasts and anyone who wants to relax and chill with a cold mug of their favorite drink.
There are 16 taps at the bar and flights of 4 on offer, and multiple visitors can enjoy a 64-ounce growler, meat platters, and the ‘BBQ Sundae.’
The BBQ Sundae is a cup filled with barbecue meat layered with coleslaw, mac and cheese, baked beans, and barbecue sauce.
Try their Ice Cube’s a Pimp, an India Pale Ale (IPA) with citra, mosaic, and falconer’s flight, or their Blood Orange Wheat, a light wheat ale with added blood orange.
Taste their Cookie Doh!, an imperial stout with cookie dough flavors, their Deranged Red, a refreshing amber ale, or their Energizer Blondie, brewed with coffee and vanilla.
Play Together at Stonebridge Golf Club
Stonebridge Golf Club is a wonderfully maintained 18-hole championship course in Monroe.
Architect Richard P. Osbourne, known for his naturalist projects incorporated into the local environment, designed Stonebridge.
He built it in 1997 with a mission of taking 650 pristine acres and finding the course that was already there.
Stonebridge Golf Course came to life amidst the scenic views and is now known as one of the best Charlotte area courses.
It has spectacular vistas carved amidst thriving Carolina forest lands, including 6950 yards from champion tees.
Aside from the 18-hole course, it also has a wide practice place with a chipping facility and a great clubhouse with a golf shop and a grill.
Its Operation 36 Golf is a program for golfers of all abilities, reaching up to 10 levels.
At its Golf Academy, you can learn from Nick Jacobi, who takes pride in growing the game.
Learn from Fred Bond, who dedicates himself to providing world-class instruction, or Fred Churchill, who believes in tailoring the game to individual needs.
Light Up a Cigar at The Cigar Shop
The Cigar Shop, formerly known as the Union Cigar Company, is the lone real tobacconist in Monroe.
It offers a wide range of cigar and tobacco bundle premium brands and a large host of pipes, pipe tobacco, and other accessories.
They store their products in a large walk-in humidor, with something for every enthusiast’s budget and taste.
Hang out at their comfortable private lounge with a warm fireplace, leather chairs and sofas, and a coffee bar.
Meet other tobacco enthusiasts, gather with like-minded people, watch a game together, or have a private meeting.
Whether you want one cigar, 5-packs, boxes, boutiques, major brands, or hard-to-find varieties, The Cigar Shop is ready to meet your needs.
Some premium cigar brands they carry are Aladino, Gurkha, MonteCristo, Enclave, Isla Del Sol, Oliva, and Nica Rustica.
Observe Critters at Why Not An American Ark
Why Not An American Ark is a 125-acre combination petting zoo and horse riding school with a wide pasture room, well-structured courses, and guided trail rides.
Founded by Amy and Jeff Wylie, WNAA started as an animal rescue center where they took in creatures that had nowhere else to go.
Over the years, Amy and Jeff became encouraged to develop the land, sharing the experience with anyone else who wanted to get close to nature.
The Ark is home to Two By Two Petting Zoo, which houses a large variety of animals, including donkeys, zebras, goats, camels, and bunnies, encouraging interaction with them.
Experience trail riding on their bridle trails with gentle barn horses and spot bald eagles, cranes, deer, and other exotic animals.
Enhance your child’s visit with a ride on Red the Pony, which is the perfect size for youngsters.
WNAA has three rings and offers a host of equestrian services, from the rental of the arena to cross-country schooling and ring schooling.
Two By Two can also bring the zoo to your home, school, daycares, church, and senior events, bringing a diverse selection of domestic and exotic animals.
In the springtime, the Ark teems with gorgeous creatures available for adoption.
The Ark is also open for all kinds of photo sessions, where you can make the most of the farm setting, the beautiful animals, and the incredible sunsets.
Hang Out at Fox’s Alley Bowling Bar and Grill
Fox’s Alley Bowling Bar and Grill is a gathering spot for Monroe bowling enthusiasts and a popular meeting place for the whole crew.
Fox’s is an awesome place for a group outing, a neighborly jaunt, or a date.
Anyone can stop by and drink, eat some grub, play a game, and enjoy excellent food, drinks, atmosphere, and service.
Fox’s has an outdoor patio where adults can relax and enjoy outdoor events and music, and kids can enjoy a game of corn hole or beach volleyball.
On its menu, have yummy quesadillas, flavored fries, chicken wings, pork rinds, burgers, sandwiches, or monster tacos.
Fox’s attracts many bowling enthusiasts who are league bowlers and even has a senior league that competes every Friday.
Serious players can even book lanes in advance, with single bowlers, couples, and group options available.
Eat Barbecue at The Smoke Pit
For the tastiest barbecue in Monroe, come and drop by The Smoke Pit.
They freshly cook their meat every single day, smoked slow for up to 18 hours, smoked to perfection with local hickory, and butchered in the best quality.
They have fantastic sides and sauces and meat of excellent quality that will remind you of a backyard grill at home.
Start with their appetizers like fried pickle chips, buffalo chicken nachos, and Texas twinkies.
Check out their blueberry chicken salad or BBQ salad and have a taste of their smoked turkey sandwich or burnt ends sandwich.
Feast on their barbecue plates with classics such as pulled pork, Texas brisket, smoked turkey breast, and smoked sausage.
Indulge in their 7 meat feast, which includes hickory-smoked pulled pork, chicken quarters, and an entire rack of ribs.
Have a Workout at Xtreeme Challenge
If you’re ready for outdoor adventure, spend a great weekend at Xtreeme Challenge, a 17-acre adventure park full of challenging activities.
This Monroe park can hold up to 10-75 members per group and is chock-full of team-building exercises.
Their Challenge Walk for Schools combines science, math, physical fitness, language arts, and technology to help students solve individual and team-building challenges.
Their Challenge Walk has excellent high ropes and low ropes courses that help a team focus on collaborative skills with critical thinking processes.
Their Zip Line Arena is a 750-foot path where anyone can pick a ball of choice and shoot while zooming at 35 mph, scoring, and competing in teams.
The Build A Challenge activity has a team create a one-of-a-kind challenge through barges, boats, bridges, waterways, scavenger maps, mystery boxes, flags, cargo nets, and more.
Their High Ropes course converges into the twin zip lines, racing at 35 mph over the lake and into a cargo net landing.
Their Low Ropes course takes you on the tire traverse, the multi-line traverse, the floating islands, the suspended logs, the heebie jeebie, and more.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Take a Wild Ride at the U.S. National Whitewater Center
The U.S. National Whitewater Center is about a 40-minute drive from Monroe and is well worth the trip.
It takes up 1300 acres of protected land on the Catawba River and offers plenty of flat water, whitewater, and land recreations.
It has over 30 different recreational activities supporting an all-encompassing involvement in the outdoor lifestyle.
It also hosts international competitions, festivals, and events, in a variety of sports.
The river comprises four sections of whitewater: Freestyle, Instruction, Competition, and Wilderness section channels, where you can experience class II-IV whitewater.
At its zip lines, fly above the rapids and into the forest at the Whitewater Center.
Also discover natural wildlife and waterways through stand-up paddleboarding and flatwater kayaking on the Catawba River and Long Creek.
Create your own adventures while paddling and exploring the U.S. National Whitewater Center.
Bask in Nature at Cane Creek Park
The most popular park in the county, Cane Creek Park, is located 20 minutes away from Monroe in a cool and shady forested spot by the lake.
Its crown jewel is the 350-acre trophy bass lake surrounded by a pleasant beach and a fully-equipped recreational facility.
The lake is home to some of the top largemouth bass fishing in North Carolina, as well as catfish, bluegill, and crappie.
Cane Creek Park is a great escape for anyone who wants to go camping, fishing, swimming, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, or relaxing outdoors with their peers.
It also has disc golf areas, playgrounds, ball fields, boat rentals, and a multi-use mountain bike and horse trail.
It has wilderness camping areas, family camping areas, group camping areas, and rustic cabins.
For larger events, the festival area or amphitheater and the lakeside lodge are available.
Pick Strawberries at Wise Acres Organic Strawberry Farm
Located 13 minutes from Monroe, Wise Acres Organic Strawberry Farm is a USDA-certified family-owned u-pick organic strawberry and pumpkin farm.
The strawberry season is from mid-April to early June, the sunflower season is from early June to early July, and the pumpkin season is from mid-September to early November.
They grow excellent strawberries using natural methods to yield the healthiest and freshest produce for their customers.
A visit here gives your kids the chance to run their natural obstacle course and meet and feed their chickens.
They can also climb on the recycled tire playground and read books at their Little Free Library.
Pick your own pumpkin, meet the animals, wander the corn maze, go on a wagon ride in the woods, and take your kids to the barrel train.
When you need a break, try their popcorn, cotton candy, organic fruit juice, pizza, and tasty all-natural strawberry slushies.
If you want a special treat, try their locally sourced Wise Pie pizza, cooked in a 900-degree wood-fired oven.
Monroe is a center for family hangouts, shopping adventures, indoor comforts, outdoor havens, and exciting recreations.
Consider this multi-faceted city for your next vacation destination and start checking off items from this list the next time you’re in North Carolina.