15 Best Things to Do in Shelby, NC

Shelby, NC
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Shelby City in North Carolina is a thriving metropolis that attracts tourists with its numerous amenities, ranging from restaurants to concert halls to historic buildings and everything in between!

Named after an American officer who served in the Revolutionary War, Colonel Isaac Shelby, this city continued to flourish with a rich history!

This charming district is lined with trees that will make your visit relaxing and cool while walking down the streets.

Shelby welcomes all visitors to drop by their tourist attractions and destinations that reflect this city’s history with so much to learn from!

Interested to know more about this place?

Here are the 15 best things to do in Shelby, NC:

Visit the Earl Scruggs Center

Name sign at Earl Scruggs Center.
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Earl Scruggs Center is a cultural establishment dedicated to the life of a legendary, five-string banjo player and master known as Earl Scruggs.

This interactive museum celebrates his life and his innovative career after his success in adapting a three-finger playing style called “Scruggs Style.”

Exterior of Earl Scruggs Center.
Nolichuckyjake / Shutterstock.com

Mr. Scruggs was born and raised in a nearby community called Flint Hill, where he first learned how to play banjo, and this cultural center will tell interested guests all about it!

This man has been said to cross musical boundaries with his banjo skills and his redefinition of this musical instrument!

You can find engaging exhibits, educational material, and programs, as well as special events that will ensure an exciting experience for you at Earl Scruggs Center!

Front exterior of the Earl Scruggs Center.
Nolichuckyjake / Shutterstock.com

Watch Live Performances at Don Gibson Theatre

Shelby, North Carolina, has a vast history of music legends, and Don Gibson Theatre provides some of the best live entertainments in this state!

With its state-of-the-art concert hall, Don Gibson Theatre can accommodate up to 400 people.

Guests can also find a bar towards the back, where they can grab a refreshing drink while enjoying live performances.

This intimate concert hall brings in the best touring acts with renowned artists, such as Whitney Houston, who have made their way on stage!

They host a variety of genres, ranging from country to rock n’ roll to jazz, and so much more!

On other relaxing nights, you can also choose to sit back and watch a comedy show or a vintage series.

Make sure to buy a ticket to their shows before they’re all sold out!

Complete with a carousel, a small train, a playground, and open space, Shelby City Parks remains one of the most popular parks in Shelby City!

This lovely recreational area is a great place to spend with your family, where you can ride their restored wooden carousel, play some sports on their athletic field, or simply take a stroll under the warm sun.

One of the main attractions in this park is their “Rotary Special” train that you can ride for a small fee, and it’ll take you around the park.

Other amenities include a picnic table for meals and snacks, a small golf course, tennis courts, gardens, and more!

Guests may also bring their furry friends since this park is pet-friendly!

You can find a variety of things to do in this spacious park at the heart of Shelby City.

Take a Trip Down to Foothills Farmers Market

Foothills Farmers Market is best known for its wide selection of locally grown produce that visitors can purchase, usually during the summer and fall seasons!

Serving the community since 2008, this market graciously offers various meats, cheese, baked goods, and other products to interested buyers.

They’re not limited to food items either, as they also sell body products such as soaps and skillfully made artisan crafts.

On certain Saturdays, you may even catch some live entertainment or two to keep busy buyers entertained as they stroll up and down the market.

Make sure to drop by this farmers market to see what the vendors and other sellers have to offer!

Do Some Outdoor Activities at Broad River Greenway

Broad River Greenway features a natural walking trail that stretches for over 2.2 miles that guests can use for biking, hiking, or riding their horses!

This area covers over 1,500 acres of protected land, with numerous connecting trails you can explore.

Since its establishment in 1994, this recreational park has been attracting tourists with its picnic areas, fishing piers, a playground, and the bordering river where you can take a swim.

You can also find a variety of hosted events that change regularly, including fishing activities, mile trail races, equestrian poker rides, and others that are suitable for you and your family.

It’s best to visit this nature venue on a sunny day so check the weather before you visit!

Grab a Beer at Newgrass Brewing Co.

As the only brewpub in Cleveland County, Newgrass Brewing Co. is the go-to destination for grabbing a refreshing pint of beer!

This establishment was formally the Hudson Department Store located in a historic building that’s been renovated into what is now the brewing company.

This brewery is devoted to serving handcrafted, artisan beers made fresh from ingredients that are sourced from all over the world!

Newgrass Brewing Co. is an indoor dining brewhouse that hosts live music.

Bring your friends and family to the first and only brewery in Shelby City to create some good memories over a lovely pint of beer!

Discover the Best Barbecue in Shelby at Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge

Also known as “Bridges BBQ,” this family-owned business has been operating since 1946.

Their former name was “Dedmond’s Barbecue” before moving to Shelby City in 1949 and changing their brand to Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge.

This restaurant is one of the few places left in this city that serves award-winning, slow-cooked pork.

This booming business serves other sides and meals that go along well with their barbecue that’ll leave you wanting more!

Explore a Historic Home at Webbley

Exterior of the Webbley.
Upstateherd, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Also known as the “O. Max Gardner House,” this historic home was the residence of one of the most prominent leaders in the early 20th century, Oliver Max Gardner.

Webbley is also a part of the Central Shelby Historic District and also one of its focal points that guests visit because of its significance, architecturally and historically.

Since its establishment in 1852, this Colonial Revival-style home has served this governor and his family for generations.

You can drop by and learn more about this influential family at this preservation site!

Admire Various Artworks at Cleveland County Arts Council

At Cleveland County Arts Council, you can find a lot of artwork displayed all throughout the venue created by community members themselves!

Their goal is to promote an inclusive and vibrant community, where individuals can develop their creative sides and practice their skills in the art.

This non-profit organization is conveniently located in the heart of Uptown Shelby, making it a hotspot for tourists and locals alike.

There’s so much to learn and do in this art gallery, and it's guaranteed that you'll discover new skills.

Cleveland County Arts Council opens its doors regularly to accommodate visitors who wish to view their various exhibits, take their art classes, and meet the artists behind the masterpieces!

Learn about the History of Linemen and the Electrical Industry at The International Lineman's Museum

This museum is dedicated to honoring the linemen who have contributed to the electrical industry!

They have a hall of fame to honor these people (both living and deceased) and induct new people each year who are deserving of recognition!

These people have a passion for the electrical industry, and their devotion to this line of work has ensured its safety and security.

In the Memorial Gardens, you can see the legendary names who have dedicated their lives to making notable contributions in this industry.

You can also find interactive exhibits and displays and find a lot of educational information regarding the linemen’s work in this museum!

Practice Your Golf Skills at Deer Brook Golf Club

This golfing facility covers about 6,950 yards of land, perfect for practicing your skills!

As one of the top golf courses in all of North Carolina, Deer Brook Golf Club’s fairways and greens are suitable for all golf skill levels, whether it’s your first time or if you’re a seasoned player.

More than just a golf course, they also offer high-quality dining options at their restaurant to keep you full while playing!

This establishment is maintained well and in good condition to ensure quality experience.

Polish up your putt skills here at Deer Brook Golf Club!

Conveniently located at the heart of this city, Buffalo Creek Gallery is home to a wide variety of arts. ranging from paintings to wooden crafts, pottery, and more!

Their gallery displays over 50 local and regional works by various artists and accommodates numerous art styles and types.

Buffalo Creek Gallery is a warm, inviting studio where guests can purchase the items from the artists themselves!

This hidden gem has unique hand-woven bags and handcrafted jewelry perfect for gifts for loved ones!

This art gallery contains one-of-a-kind items that you wouldn’t want to miss!

Do Some Adventurous Activities at Challenger 3 Fun Zone

For those who love the thrill of adventure, Challenger 3 Fun Zone is the place for you!

Packed with tons of activities to do, you can find go-karting, bumper boats, and batting cages at this entertainment area!

For those who prefer something a little more light, they also have mini-golf and arcade games.

This amusement park also has food bars where you can grab a snack.

Guests can also choose to sit back and relax on their picnic tables after a tiring day!

Challenger 3 Fun Zone is bound to give you a fun-filled day, complete with new experiences on your trip to Shelby City!

Catch a Movie at Sunset Drive-In Theatre

This drive-in movie theatre is the perfect place for quality time with friends and family, a romantic date, or a relaxing evening!

Open only during certain seasons, Sunset Drive-In Theatre features a wide variety of movies and films, including mainstream and classic ones!

This old-fashioned movie house gives guests a nostalgic feeling while watching the movie onscreen and sitting comfortably inside their cars.

Don’t forget to come early to secure a nice parking space, as well as some pillows and blankets to keep you snug!

Eat a Freshly-Made, Gourmet Sandwich at J-Bird’s Deli & Ales

With a passion for creating hand-crafted sandwiches, J-Bird’s Deli & Ales is the go-to place for securing a mouth-watering snack!

They feature brand new sandwiches. too, so you never run out of different combinations to try out!

This deli is also complete with a bar where you can purchase a hand-crafted beer to complement your sandwich, or if you’re not a fan of tap, a nice glass of freshly-squeezed fruit juice are also available.

Dedicated to serving the community with high-quality American crafted beer and delicious sandwiches, J-Bird’s Deli & Ales will not disappoint!

Final Thoughts

Shelby City is the place to go if you’re looking to have a fun-filled day.  

Complete with recreational parks, museums, affordable eateries, performance venues, and boutiques and markets, there’s always something fun to do for everyone!

There’s so much to learn and explore in this bustling city, so book a trip now!