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Getting Here

Gastonia is the largest town in Gaston County, North Carolina and can be found just south of I-85 off of exit 17 in the center of the county. Hwy 321 runs north and south straight through town giving even better access to this booming metropolis.

Things to Do

A three-time All-America City and recipient of the U.S. Conference of Mayors top Livability Award, Gastonia is recognized as one of the area’s best places to live and work with an ideal combination of location, size, and quality of life. The city’s slogan: Great Place, Great People, Great Promise.

SCHIELE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
Located a little outside of the downtown but a "Must SEE" is the Schiele Museum of Natural History and Planetarium. This museum is one of 70 museums in the U.S. designated as an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and features the largest collection of mounted land mammals in the Southeast. Experience galleries with vivid natural history exhibits, plus outdoor recreations of a Catawba Indian Village and an 18th Century Farm. Discover our planetarium, Stone Age site, nature trail, live animal enclosures and many other interactive exhibits.

Other museums include the Alfred C. Kessell Center and the African American Museum of History & Culture both located in the renovated Loray Mill as well as the American Military Museum.

History

Gastonia began in 1873 as a small railroad depot. The combined effect of the realignment of the Atlanta & Charlotte Airline Railroad (now Norfolk Southern) from its original intended path several miles to the north of the City, and the Chester and Lenoir Narrow Gauge Railroad (now CSX) and the introduction of the steam powered textile mill. It was the crossing of these two railroads and the beginning of the City's textile industry which brought opportunity to the town.

Explore all there is to do in

Gastonia

Caromont Health Park

The Gastonia Honey Hunters are a professional baseball team in the Atlantic League based in Gastonia, a "partner league" of Major League Baseball. Their home base is the FUSE District Stadium.

M.O. Owens Worship and Fine Arts Center at Gaston Christian

Phillips Center & Park

Ranlo Park

Stowe Dairy Farms

Grass-fed beef, free-range eggs and sorghum molasses syrup. Agricultural events and educational programming are available.

African American Museum of History and Culture

Found in the Loray Mill, the African American Museum of History Culture provides visitors an opportunity to explore, examine, engage and encourage all to seek a better understanding and deeper appreciation for the community

Bit of Hope Ranch

This nonprofit pairs children with therapy teams that include a licensed professional, an equine specialist and a rescue horse.

Chuck E. Cheese

Chuck E. Cheese in Gastonia provides a wide selection of entertainment for kids and adults alike.

Gastonia Farmers Market

Sells produce, meats, eggs, dairy products, baked goods and fresh-cut flowers.

Lineberger Park

Gastonia’s first park provides both passive and active recreation opportunities on 18.5 acres.

Martha Rivers Park

Children head straight for “the castle” playground. The wooden structure houses a fort, a ship, a race car, slides and swings.

R.J. Rednour Farms

This farm is open to the public the first Saturday of every month. Visitors may hand feed the animals and guided horseback rides are available.

Sims Legion Park

Home to the Gastonia Grizzlies baseball team this facility makes a great location for your next event.

The Schiele Museum of Natural History

Visiting the Schiele Museum is a fun and educational experience for all ages! Experience galleries with vivid natural history exhibits, a Catawba Indian Village and an 18th Century Farm and planetarium.

Alfred C. Kessell Center

Housed in the renovated Loray Mill the Alfred C. Kessell History Center features a multimedia exhibit on the history of the Loray/Firestone mill as well as its employees and surrounding mill village.

Carolina Speedway

Roaring to life with spectacular dirt track races the Carolina Speedway is known as “The Action Track”.

Crowders Ridge

Welcome to camp. Crowders Ridge is a ministry to provide camp experiences for everyone. Summer camps. Retreats. Christian school retreats.

George Pappas’ Liberty Lanes

George Pappas Liberty Lanes is a 32 lane bowling center. We offer Bumper Bowling, cosmic bowling, birthday and corporate parties. We offer league bowling for everyone regardless of age and skill level.

Loray Mill

Monkey Joe’s

Rankin Lake Park

The 80-acre lake, complete with fishing pier and boat dock. Canoes, kayaks, johnboats and pedal boats are available to rent.

South Fork River Park

This 44-acre park has 800 feet of river frontage, equipped with a kayak launch and a1-mile paved walking trail.

Adventure Landing

Adventure Landing in Gastonia offers miniature golf, arcade and batting cages.

American Military Museum

The American Military Museum has an extensive collection of authentic U.S. military and related memorabilia from past wars and time periods. This museum offers limited hours.

Center City Park

Center City Park is a small but beautiful green space right in the middle of downtown Gastonia.

Gastonia Conference Center

Designed to pay homage to the surrounding architecture and heritage of the area, Gastonia Conference Center is the premier destination for local, regional, and state-wide conferences and events, from metro-Charlotte based corporate meetings, to state-wide conventions, to local and community events, to memorable weddings.

Hang Time Golf

HangTime Golf is a driving range located in Gastonia, North Carolina.

SIGNATURE EVENTS

'Vintage Christmas' Holiday Lights in Downtown Gastonia

Recapturing past magic, Gastonia’s Downtown is displaying vintage-style Christmas lights and decorations throughout the holiday season.

Gaston All American Fair

June

The Gaston All American Fair is 9 days filled with spectacular rides, live music, food, crafts, jewelry, games, art, music, entertainment, eating contests, a spectacular fireworks show and Soapbox Derby Races. Admission is always free! Beer and wine garden will be available on Friday and Saturday nights.

Bug Day

May

Explore the wild world of insects, spiders, and other interesting arthropods on Bug Day at The Schiele Museum of Natural History. Learn all about bugs by meeting entomologists, have hands-on opportunities with live insects, and enjoy insect-themed crafts, games and activities.

Spring on the Farm

April

Celebrate the arrival of spring on The Farm! Meet baby farm animals, explore newly planted gardens and enjoy outdoor activities and displays. The event happens at The Schiele Museum of Natural History in Gastonia.

Gaston MAX

March

The City of Gastonia and Gaston County Public Library host Gaston MAX (Multicultural Arts Xperience) at the Rotary Pavilion in downtown Gastonia. This event and showcase art, music, literature, and culture with food trucks, cultural and artistic vendors, cultural dances and activities, artists, authors, and musical performances.

Fossil Fair

February

Travel back through time by exploring fossils, rocks, minerals, and the ancient stories they tell. Mine for gemstones, visit our Dino Safari and Tiny Titans exhibits, search for tiny fossils from the Carolina coast, and even meet some living fossils at The Schiele Museum of Natural History.

UNIQUE DINING

Pita Wheel

Serving funky creative pitas in a casual place. Not only can you get your favorite pita fix but craft beer are on tap too.

Tony's Ice Cream

Tony's Ice Cream is a long-running mom-&-pop ice cream parlor offering a large array of homemade flavors & American eats.

Hot Plate Soul Eatery

Located in downtown Gastonia, this is a southern comfort food restaurant with a Cajun-inspired cuisine with a casual atmosphere

Viva Tequis

Viva Tequis serves up delicious Mexican street food in downtown Gastonia.

Barrister's

Barrister's located in the boutique Esquire Hotel in Gastonia where the food is locally sourced and the decor is thoughtfully appointed.

Webb Custom Kitchen

At Webb Custom Kitchen in Gastonia the ambiance takes on its former existence as a theater, plus they serve great food and craft cocktails.

HIKE & BIKE THESE TRAILS

Avon/Catawba Creeks Greenway

Paved, Sidewalk

Easy

2.4 Miles One Way

This greenway is paved for its entire length, and much of it is lined by mature trees on both sides of the trail.

Highland Rail Trail

Paved, Gravel

Easy

1.5 Miles One Way

A ten foot wide, paved surface trail constructed along the historic Carolina and Northwestern Railway.

Highland Rail Trail Downtown Sidewalk Connection

Paved

Easy

.5 Miles One Way

This 0.5-mile downtown sidewalk trail connects downtown Gastonia to the Highland Rail Trail.

Rankin Lake Park Trail

Walking, Jogging

Moderate

1.9 miles

This trail runs through Rankin Lake Park.