Charlotte, North Carolina Travel Guide
- Steeped in history -- historic homes, a former plantation, and the Mint Museum of Art
- Lively restaurant and bar scene
- Cultural hub, with a well-known opera and symphony
- Lots of green spaces
- Home to NBA and NFL teams
- Where the NASCAR Hall of Fame can be found
- Beautiful 18th-century architecture interspersed among the skyscrapers
- Major business center
- Laid-back, Southern charm
- Numerous golf courses
- US National Whitewater Center offers kayaking and whitewater rafting
- Many fishing spots
- Tons of traffic
- Hot, humid summers
- Higher crime rate than the national average (as expected in a big city)
- Public transportation is not particularly safe or reliable
What It's Like
Charlotte is the epitome of the "New South." Now the second largest banking center in the U.S. (topped by New York City), Charlotte has been transformed into a bustling business hub, with skyscrapers dominiating the skyline. The city still maintains its Southern charm and history, however, and is quickly becoming a popular tourist destination as well. Historic homes sit on tree-lined streets in neighborhoods such as Myers Park and Eastover, and the Rosedale Plantation boasts almost nine acres of fields and gardens. Green spaces abound in Charlotte, in the Daniel Stowe Bontanical Gardens, Freedom Park, and the many popular golf courses, which are frequented by amateurs and professionals alike. (The Wells Fargo Championship takes place in Charlotte every spring).
Charlotte has also proved to be a highly cultured city, with a symphony and opera that are among the best in the nation. Many museums and performance centers can be found in Uptown Charlotte, including the Center for African American Arts and Culture, a multi-purpose center that hosts special events and exhibitions. Those looking for a less traditional museum may consider checking out the highly popular NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Known as "the Queen's city" and "the hornet's nest" (in reference to a British occupier's take on the Charlotteans' rebellious nature during the American Revolution), Charlotte offers much more than just a booming business district. The city is steeped in culture and history, and has a developing nightlife scene, with gourmet restaurants and lively bars. As proof of Charlotte's up-and-coming vibe, it was chosen to host the upcoming 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Where To Stay
Uptown Charlotte is home to the majority of the city's hotels, as well as its business district and numerous museums and parks. Many Uptown hotels are within walking distance of museums such as the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Uptown also boasts the Bank of America Stadium where the Charlotte Panthers play. (They made it to the Superbowl in 2004.) South End, the recently gentrified art and entertainment district, is a popular spot for dining and shopping, and offers more budget hotel options.