Gastonia and the surrounding areas feature several notable attractions.
The Schiele Museum of Natural History features a number of permanent exhibits, including the Hall of North Carolina Natural History and the Henry Hall of the American Indian. The museum is also home to the James H. Lynn Planetarium, the only planetarium in the Charlotte area.
The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is located just southeast of the city in Belmont on .
The U.S. National Whitewater Center (on the Catawba River) is located east of the city in neighboring Mecklenburg County.
Crowders Mountain State Park is located west of the city, near Kings Mountain. The park offers a number of hiking trails, as well as campgrounds, picnic areas, rock climbing, and fishing.
The Gastonia Grizzlies play baseball at Sims Legion Park. The team is part of the Coastal Plain League (CPL) featuring players at the collegiate level. The season runs from the end of May to August.