14 Most Fun Things To Do In Shelby NC

Shelby’s captivating history and emergence as a renowned tourism hub testify to its rich heritage and diverse attractions. Initially established as a vital railroad junction in the late 19th century, Shelby quickly grew into a thriving community due to its strategic location and resource access. 

Its evolution from a railroad town to a vibrant cultural center is reflected in its well-preserved historic districts, showcasing architectural marvels from various eras.

Shelby’s fame as a tourism destination stems from its unique blend of attractions. The city boasts a world-class automobile museum, celebrating its deep connection to the automotive industry. 

Visitors are drawn to the annual Shelby Heritage Festival, a lively event celebrating the city’s heritage, arts, and culinary delights with exciting things to do in Shelby, NC.

Nature enthusiasts are captivated by the surrounding landscapes, including breathtaking hiking trails, serene lakes, and picturesque parks. The Shelby Botanical Gardens are a testament to the city’s commitment to preserving its natural beauty.

Regarding the weather, it experiences a temperate climate throughout the year. Summers (June-August) are warm and ideal for outdoor activities, while winters (December-February) are mild with occasional snowfall. 

Spring (March-May) and fall (September-November) offer pleasant temperatures and vibrant foliage. The best months to visit are April and October, when the weather is mild, and attractions are bustling.

Have you picked your month? When visiting Shelby, pack essentials like comfortable walking shoes, layers for varying temperatures, sunscreen, a water bottle, a city map, and a camera to capture its scenic beauty and historic charm.

However, the convergence of history, culture, and nature has made Shelby an irresistible tourist magnet. Its legacy as a railroad junction has seamlessly intertwined with its modern identity, creating a harmonious blend that continues to enchant travelers worldwide.

1) Earl Scruggs Center

The Earl Scruggs Center, located in Shelby, North Carolina, celebrates the legacy of Earl Scruggs, a pioneer of bluegrass music and the creator of the “Scruggs style” banjo playing. 

Earl Scruggs Center

The center showcases his life, music, and contributions to the genre, featuring exhibits, interactive displays, and educational programs. It serves as a hub for preserving and promoting the rich history of bluegrass music and its cultural impact.

The Earl Scruggs Center offers a captivating experience for visitors of all ages with musical things to do in Shelby, NC. Immerse yourself in bluegrass music through interactive exhibits and engaging displays highlighting Earl Scruggs’ extraordinary contributions. 

Discover the evolution of his iconic banjo playing technique, the “Scruggs style,” and its profound impact on the genre. 

Explore the center’s state-of-the-art facilities, including a theater for live performances, a gift shop offering music-related memorabilia, and educational programs that bring the history and culture of bluegrass to life. 

Whether you’re a music enthusiast or a curious learner, the center promises an enriching and enjoyable experience.


103 South Lafayette Street, Shelby, NC 28150, United States

2) Kings Mountain National Military Park

Kings Mountain National Military Park in South Carolina commemorates the pivotal Revolutionary War battle fought in 1780 when the Patriots defeated British loyalists, boosting American morale. 

Kings Mountain National Military Park

The park preserves the battle site and offers trails, exhibits, and educational programs, highlighting the historical significance of the battle and its impact on the war’s outcome.

Kings Mountain National Military Park has various attractions and things to do in Shelby, NC, to enhance your visit. Explore the well-maintained trails that wind through the scenic landscape, guiding you through the history of the pivotal Revolutionary War battle. 

Engaging exhibits and informative programs provide insights into the battle’s significance and role in shaping American history. 

Enjoy picnicking in picturesque settings, and use visitor centers for more in-depth learning. With a mix of educational experiences and natural beauty, the park caters to history enthusiasts and outdoor lovers, making it a captivating destination for all.


2625 Park Rd, Blacksburg, SC 29702, United States

3) Don Gibson Theatre

The Don Gibson Theatre is a historic venue in Shelby, North Carolina. Named after country music singer-songwriter Don Gibson, it opened in 2009. 

Don Gibson Theatre

The theater hosts various events, including concerts, plays, and films, focusing on music genres like country, bluegrass, and Americana. 

It has a seating capacity of around 400 and offers an intimate setting for audiences to enjoy live performances. The venue is known for its rich musical history and vibrant cultural contributions to the region.

The Don Gibson Theatre offers a range of top-notch things to do in Shelby, NC, making it a must-visit destination. With a seating capacity of around 400, the intimate setting ensures an up-close and personal experience during concerts, plays, and films. 

The venue boasts excellent acoustics, providing an immersive auditory journey for all attendees. The historical significance of the theater, named after the iconic country music artist Don Gibson, adds cultural depth to the experience.

Visitors can explore local shops, dine at unique restaurants, and soak in the town’s vibrant atmosphere. The theater’s event calendar is packed with diverse performances, catering to various interests and providing something for everyone, from country and bluegrass music to theater productions.

Whether you’re a music enthusiast, a theater buff, or simply looking for a memorable night out, the Don Gibson Theatre promises an unforgettable experience.

Therefore, go and immerse yourself in the arts, revel in history, and enjoy the lively ambiance of the theater and the surrounding town.


318 South Washington Street, Shelby, NC 28150, United States

4) Shelby City Park

Shelby City Park, established in Shelby, North Carolina, offers a rich history and diverse attractions. The park dates back to the late 1800s and features a beautiful carousel built in 1919. 

Shelby City Park

It remains a cherished community space with recreational amenities like tennis courts, picnic areas, and walking trails. The park’s cultural significance, family-friendly activities and things to do in Shelby, NC, make it a beloved destination for locals and visitors alike.

Wander through the lush greenery, enjoy picnic spots, and explore walking trails that wind through the park’s picturesque landscapes. The enchanting 1919 carousel is a timeless attraction for visitors of all ages, providing moments of joy and laughter. 

Revel in recreational activities like tennis, basketball, and miniature golf while the park’s amphitheater hosts concerts and events, adding to its vibrant spirit. 

Educational programs and art exhibitions also cater to curious minds because of its natural beauty, historic charm, and engaging activities, which makes it an irresistible destination for leisure and enrichment.


850 West Sumter Street, Shelby, NC 28150, United States

5) Foothills Farmers’ Market

The Foothills Farmers’ Market is a vibrant local market that showcases a variety of fresh produce, artisanal foods, and handmade crafts from the surrounding region. With a focus on supporting local farmers and businesses, the market offers diverse products, fostering community connections and promoting sustainable practices. 

Foothills Farmers' Market

Visitors can enjoy a unique shopping experience while contributing to the local economy’s growth and enjoying the area’s flavors. 

The Foothills Farmers’ Market is an inviting destination offering many amenities and things to do in Shelby, NC. The market boasts a charming atmosphere where visitors can explore stalls brimming with farm-fresh fruits, vegetables, and delectable artisanal treats. 

Beyond the delightful shopping experience, guests can engage with local producers, gaining insight into their crafts and fostering connections with the community. Enjoy live entertainment, cooking demonstrations, and workshops highlighting sustainable practices and culinary creativity. 

Families can relish kid-friendly activities, while everyone can savor gourmet food trucks and diverse offerings, making this market a perfect blend of leisure, education, and local culture.


126 West Marion Street, Shelby, NC 28150, United States

6) Cleveland County Historical Museum

The Cleveland County Historical Museum in North Carolina preserves and showcases the region’s rich history. It features exhibits, artifacts, and documents highlighting the area’s cultural, economic, and social evolution. 

Cleveland County Historical Museum

Through its displays, the museum offers insights into the lives of early settlers, industrial growth, and notable events. Visitors can explore the diverse heritage of Cleveland County, gaining a deeper understanding of its past and its contributions to the broader historical narrative.

The Cleveland County Historical Museum has many things to do in Shelby, NC, that ensure a fulfilling visit. Visitors can dive into the region’s captivating history with its interactive exhibits and engaging displays. The museum boasts state-of-the-art facilities, including guided tours, educational programs, and special events. 

It also features a gift shop to find unique souvenirs and books about the area’s history. The museum’s engaging presentations, immersive experiences, and family-friendly atmosphere make it an ideal destination for individuals of all ages. 

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or just curious, the museum promises an informative and enjoyable adventure into Cleveland County’s past.


111 South Washington Street, Shelby, NC 28150, United States

7) Broad River Greenway

The Broad River Greenway is a scenic area in North Carolina, USA, known for its natural beauty and recreational opportunities. Since its establishment in 1993, it spans 1,500 acres along the Broad River, offering hiking, fishing, picnicking, and wildlife viewing. 

Broad River Greenway

Local authorities manage the Greenway, and features diverse ecosystems, including forests, meadows, and riverfront areas. It serves as a cherished community space for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

The Broad River Greenway invites visitors to experience a blend of nature and recreation. Spanning 1,500 acres, this North Carolina gem offers diverse ecosystems, from tranquil forests to open meadows. 

Hiking trails wind through scenic landscapes, providing opportunities for exploration, wildlife spotting and outdoor recreational things to do in Shelby, NC. The Broad River entices fishing enthusiasts while picnicking areas offer relaxation amidst nature’s beauty. 

With well-maintained facilities, visitors can immerse themselves in the outdoors. Birdwatching and photography are also popular activities, capturing the vibrant array of species that call this haven home.


126 Broad River Dr, Shelby, NC 28152, United States

8) Uptown Shelby Historic District

The Uptown Shelby Historic District, located in North Carolina, is a charming area rich in history and architecture. Dating back to the 19th century, it showcases well-preserved buildings that reflect the town’s growth as a textile and agricultural hub. 

Uptown Shelby Historic District

This district boasts a mix of commercial and residential structures, contributing to its unique character. Visitors can explore its cobblestone streets, quaint shops, and diverse architectural styles, providing a glimpse into the region’s past while enjoying a vibrant present.

The Uptown Shelby Historic District offers a range of facilities and things to do in Shelby, NC, for visitors to enjoy. Discover an array of charming boutiques, art galleries, and local eateries that cater to various tastes. 

The district’s cobblestone streets and beautifully preserved architecture create an inviting atmosphere for strolls and photography. Engage in community events, festivals, and live music performances celebrating the town’s culture and heritage. 

Additionally, the district’s proximity to parks and green spaces allows for outdoor relaxation, so go and experience history, art, and a vibrant community all within the Uptown Shelby Historic District.


211 S Trade St, Shelby, NC 28150, United States

9) Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge

The Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge, located in Shelby, North Carolina, is a historic barbecue restaurant established in 1946. Renowned for its traditional wood-fired barbecue, it has gained a loyal following over the decades. 

Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge

The Lodge’s distinctive red bridge entrance and rustic atmosphere add charm to it. The restaurant is known for its pit-cooked pork and signature sauce. At the same time, it continues to be a popular destination for locals and tourists seeking a taste of authentic Southern barbecue.

You’ll find a welcoming atmosphere steeped in history and flavor at the Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge, with tasteful things to do in Shelby, NC. Enjoy mouthwatering pit-cooked pork paired with their signature tangy sauce, crafted from a decades-old secret recipe. 

The rustic setting features the iconic red bridge entrance, adding a touch of nostalgia to your dining experience. Revel in the aroma of wood-fired barbecue, savoring each bite in the cozy lodge-style interior. 

Whether you’re a barbecue connoisseur or a first-time visitor, the Lodge offers authentic Southern cuisine that will surely delight you. Make your visit memorable with the rich heritage and irresistible flavors that define Red Bridges.


2000 East Dixon Boulevard, Shelby, NC 28150, United States

10) Shelby Country Club

The Shelby Country Club holds a rich history as a premier recreational destination, offering an array of amenities, including a meticulously designed golf course, tennis courts, swimming pools, and exquisite dining facilities. 

Shelby Country Club

With a legacy of NC, it remains a cherished hub for leisure and social gatherings, embodying luxury and community for its members and guests.

Shelby Country Club boasts a range of world-class amenities and things to do in Shelby, NC, that promises an exceptional experience for members and visitors. The meticulously crafted golf course presents a challenging yet enjoyable environment for enthusiasts, while the state-of-the-art tennis courts invite casual and competitive players. 

Multiple swimming pools cater to various preferences, offering relaxation and recreation. Beyond sports, the club’s exquisite dining options provide culinary delights complemented by stunning views. 

Social events, fitness centers, and spa services enhance the vibrant offerings of Shelby Country Club, which remains a haven for leisure, luxury, and camaraderie.


3885 Laser Rd, Shelby, OH 44875, United States

11) Livermush Festival (annual event)

The Livermush Festival is an annual event celebrating livermush, a Southern delicacy made from pig liver and other ingredients. It originated in Shelby, North Carolina, in the mid-1980s to promote the local livermush industry. 

Livermush Festival (annual event)

The festival features food stalls, live music, contests, and a parade. Visitors enjoy tasting various livermush dishes and participating in quirky activities and things to do in Shelby, NC, centered around this unique treat. The event continues to attract locals and tourists, fostering a sense of community and culinary tradition.

You can enjoy a variety of mouthwatering livermush-inspired dishes from food stalls manned by local vendors. Groove to the rhythm of live music performances, showcasing the region’s musical talent. 

Engage in entertaining contests and activities that revolve around the beloved livermush theme, fostering a sense of camaraderie and fun. Explore the vibrant parade that adds color and excitement to the event. 

Immerse yourself in the festival’s rich history and cultural significance, gaining insights into the heritage of Southern cuisine. Take advantage of this opportunity to indulge in a unique gastronomic adventure while embracing the local community spirit.


Mush, Music & Mutts, Washington Street, Shelby, NC 28150, Shelby, United States

12) Royster Memorial Golf Course

Royster Memorial Golf Course was established in 1957 and designed by Edmund B. Ault, offering an 18-hole course featuring scenic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The course provides a challenging yet enjoyable experience for golfers of all levels. 

Royster Memorial Golf Course

With its rich history and well-maintained fairways, Royster Memorial is a popular destination for golf enthusiasts, combining natural beauty and engaging play.

Royster Memorial Golf Course is a haven for enthusiasts and a delightful retreat for leisure seekers. Its modern facilities include a fully equipped pro shop, driving range, and practice greens for honing skills. 

After a round of golf, relax at the clubhouse, which offers delectable dining options and things to do in Shelby, NC. The serene ambiance and stunning Blue Ridge Mountain views provide an ideal backdrop for weddings and corporate gatherings. 

Explore nearby attractions such as the Thomas Jefferson Monticello and Virginia Wineries for a well-rounded experience. Whether perfecting your swing or savoring the surroundings, Royster Memorial promises an unforgettable escape.


850 W Sumter St, Shelby, NC 28150, United States

13) Keeter Stadium

Keeter Stadium, located in Shelby, North Carolina, is a historic baseball stadium. It has been home to the American Legion World Series since 2011. Named after Harry L. Keeter, a prominent supporter of American Legion baseball, the stadium has hosted numerous national and international baseball events. 

Keeter Stadium

With a seating capacity of around 4,000, it continues to be a beloved venue for baseball enthusiasts, fostering the spirit of sportsmanship and competition.

Keeter Stadium in Shelby, NC, offers visitors fantastic facilities and things to do in Shelby, NC. Attendees can relish a top-notch experience with comfortable seating, excellent sightlines, and modern amenities.

Whether you’re a baseball fan or simply seeking a delightful getaway, Keeter Stadium and the surrounding area offer a perfect blend of sports and leisure activities. So plan a game, gather your friends and have a sparkling competition. 


George Blanton Memorial Stadium, 230 E Dixon Blvd, Shelby, NC 28152, United States 

14) Buffalo Creek Gallery

Buffalo Creek Gallery is a renowned art space established in 2007 in Colorado’s scenic mountains. The gallery specializes in contemporary and Western art, showcasing various mediums and styles. 

Buffalo Creek Gallery

With a focus on local and regional artists, it has become a cultural hub for artists and art enthusiasts. 

The gallery hosts regular exhibitions, workshops, and events that celebrate creativity and foster a sense of community. Its mission is to promote and support art appreciation in a captivating natural setting.

Buffalo Creek Gallery has many artful activities and things to do in Shelby, NC, to create an immersive artistic experience. The spacious gallery features well-lit exhibition spaces that house a captivating contemporary and Western art collection. 

Visitors can explore diverse artworks created by local and regional talents, from paintings to sculptures. Engaging workshops and art classes are regularly held, allowing participants to unleash their creativity under expert guidance. 

The serene mountain location enhances the atmosphere, providing a tranquil backdrop for art appreciation. Whether attending art talks, mingling with fellow enthusiasts, or simply soaking in the beauty of the surroundings, Buffalo Creek Gallery promises an enriching and inspiring visit.


104 East Warren Street, Shelby, NC 28150, United States

Best Hotels To Stay In Shelby, NC

These hotels in Shelby, NC, offer comfortable accommodations, friendly staff, convenient locations, and various amenities such as complimentary breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and well-maintained rooms. 

Whether on a business trip or leisure travel, these options provide a pleasant stay to enhance your experience in the area.

  • Morgan and Wells Bed & Breakfast
  • Hampton Inn Shelby
  • Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Shelby, NC
  • Super 8 by Wyndham Shelby
  • AmericInn by Wyndham Shelby
  • Comfort Inn Shelby