A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Laughter and squeals of delight sing out on surround sound at Q’s Corner, an indoor gym on High Point’s Main Street. Here, the equipment is next-level. A toddler bumps giddily

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Laughter and squeals of delight sing out on surround sound at Q’s Corner, an indoor gym on High Point’s Main Street. Here, the equipment is next-level. A toddler bumps giddily

16 Stops for a Family Fun Day in High Point

Laughter and squeals of delight sing out on surround sound at Q’s Corner, an indoor gym on High Point’s Main Street. Here, the equipment is next-level. A toddler bumps giddily down a roller slide; a teen bops a ball suspended from a spinning tower; a 7-year-old braces himself inside a rotating rainbow roller and erupts into laughter when gravity gets the best of him.

When Candace Hayes, a mother of four, first came up with the idea for Q’s Corner, she was searching for a fun play space that met all her children’s needs. Typical bounce gyms weren’t cutting it for her oldest, Quintin, who is on the autism spectrum and would often leave feeling overstimulated and dysregulated.

Hayes embarked on a five-year journey to create a place where everyone could play. “We want inclusion for all children, not just kids on the spectrum,” Hayes says.

Q’s Corner is a dream come true, and in High Point, it’s in good company. Known as The Home Furnishings Capital of the World, this Piedmont town is more than a furniture mecca; it’s also a destination for families who want to get up off the sofa and explore — and the first Certified Autism Destination on the East Coast. Read on for a round-up of cultural, culinary, and glee-inspiring destinations fit for the whole family.


Kids can ride the carousel at Nido & Mariana Qubein Children’s Museum. Photography courtesy of Qubein Children’s Museum

Explore High Point’s new children’s museum.

Children will never guess that they’re learning as they splash in the water-play exhibit, scale the indoor “Courage Climber,” and join in a variety of other interactive exhibits at High Point’s expansive and award-winning Nido & Mariana Qubein Children’s Museum. Two of its play areas — “Ginormous” and “Kids Point” — have a distinct Furniture Capital flair.

“Ginormous,” designed to look like a child’s oversized bedroom, was inspired by the World’s Largest Chest of Drawers on Hamilton Street, just a few minutes’ drive from the museum. In this unique playroom, children can slide into a laundry basket, climb into dresser drawers, and play with the shadows under the bed.

“Kids Point” is a child-size town, including kid favorites like a market, restaurant, and fire truck. But it also has a few special High Point touches: the Furniture Design Studio, where kids can create their own designs with technology and textiles, and the Speed ’n Shop, where they can work on a race car as part of a pit crew.


Embrace the Blues.

Driving through High Point, you may pick up on a theme: Blue Water Grill, Magnolia Blue, Lulu and Blu, Blue Rock Pizza & Tap, and Blue Zucchini & Company. Each of these authentic local restaurants has a unique style and flavor.

Blue Water Grill offers a lovely mid-century vibe, and their menu features steak and seafood. The elegant Magnolia Blue serves versions of hearty Southern staples like shrimp and grits and chicken and waffles. The Italian-inspired dishes at Lulu and Blu include staples like chicken parmesan, plus other dishes that swing Southern, like their butternut squash ravioli.

For a more casual place to hang out, drop by Blue Rock Pizza & Tap. The funky restaurant is a great place to grab a craft beer from their ever-changing menu; adventurous eaters can try one of their specialty pizzas with rock-inspired names, like Stairway to Freebird or Harvest Moon.

The warm yellow walls and cozy atmosphere of Blue Zucchini & Company invite diners to make themselves at home and dig into a burger, salad, or sandwich — or a pimento cheese “sammich” with sliced tomatoes and bacon.


Rent a canoe at City Lake Park and take it for a paddle. Photography courtesy of VISIT HIGH POINT

Cool off at City Lake Park.

At City Lake Park, nestled at the southern end of High Point’s City Lake, energetic children climb ladders, swing from monkey bars, and crawl through tunnels. Nearby, families ride the carousel and play miniature golf.

While the playground and trails offer plenty of entertainment to keep your whole family happy, the main attraction is City Lake. Take advantage of the park’s kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, and paddleboards, all available for rent. You can even borrow a rod for the kids and teach them how to fish. Plus, be sure to bring along your bathing suits and towels to cool off at the park’s aquatic center, which features a newly renovated pool and waterslide, a splash pad, and more.


See the High Point Rockers play ball at Truist Point Stadium. Photography courtesy of High Point Rockers

Catch a fly ball.

If peanuts and Cracker Jacks are calling your name, spend an evening downtown at Truist Point Stadium with the city’s own professional baseball team, the High Point Rockers. Get a few scoops of Mayberry Ice Cream and enjoy the antics of Hype the rocking horse, the team’s mascot, between innings.


Come hungry to Stock + Grain Assembly, a food hall with a variety of vendors. Photography courtesy of Cana Development and Emil Moldoveanu

Check out High Point’s newest culinary destination.

Stock + Grain Assembly, a new food hall features two bars and nine independently-owned restaurants and take-out counters ranging from sushi to slow-cooked brisket.

Stock + Grain is just a short walk from Truist Point Stadium and Blessing Park, so it’s your ideal pre-Rockers destination. Head for Cahoots’ patio and enjoy a pint of craft beer — or swing by Pop’s Mini Doughnut Shop after a visit to the park’s splash pad to share some sweet treats with your little ones.


Foster an appreciation for art.

The Art Gallery, on the first floor of The Factory at Congdon Yards, is known for its visual arts exhibits. The acclaimed gallery also offers self-directed, walk-in art activities for children.


Order a loaded dog at The Dog House, a High Point institution. photograph by Anagram Photo

Eat like a local.

Slide into a booth at The Dog House and order a hot dog. Make it loaded if you want mustard, slaw, chili, and onions. Since 1942, this cash-only establishment has been the go-to spot for dogs and conversation in High Point.

Another long-time favorite, Kepley’s Barbeque, has served up eastern-style barbeque since 1948. (For folks new to the state, eastern-style ’cue features a thin, vinegar-based sauce.) Don’t leave without getting a piece of cobbler — choose from peach, blackberry, or cherry.


See incredible musicians play live at The John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival over Labor Day weekend. Photography courtesy of VISIT HIGH POINT

Watch the sunset.

When daytime begins to fade, head to Oak Hollow Festival Park, one of the best places in town to catch a brilliant sunset. The park’s North Overlook has impressive views of the water, plus a playground and picnic areas.

Oak Hollow Festival Park also serves as a lakeside venue, hosting events and festivals like High Point’s Uncle Sam Jam on July 4th. Fireworks cap off this evening of food, live music, and children’s games.

Each Labor Day weekend, The Coltrane Youth Workshop Band kicks off the The John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival, a celebration of the legend who grew up and learned to play saxophone in the city. Top musicians fill the park with jazz riffs and bluesy chords throughout the two-day event.


Satisfy a barbecue craving at Sweet Old Bill’s. Photography courtesy of VISIT HIGH POINT

Take it easy.

What better way to end your busy visit than at the award-winning Brown Truck Brewery? Take a moment to slow down and sip a pint of their No. 50 Brown Ale on the patio. Some nights you can listen to live music and other nights you can buy dinner from a food truck or grab food from Sweet Old Bill’s next door. But every evening, you can gather round the fire pit and recount your family’s adventures in High Point.

This story was published on Aug 17, 2023

Lara Ivanitch

Lara Ivanitch is a freelance writer who resides in Raleigh.