Vibrant Piedmont Cities
Charlotte: The Queen City
North Carolina’s largest city has much to offer both first-time and repeat visitors.
Named for a British queen and located in the south-central part of the state, Charlotte has made a name for itself as the nation’s second-largest financial center and an emerging energy hub. The city is home to NFL and NBA teams, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and a can-do spirit infused with a healthy dose of Southern charm and hospitality.
Stroll the streets near Trade and Tryon – once the intersection of two Native American trading paths and now the city’s center – to discover local favorites such as Mert’s Heart and Soul, King's Kitchen and Dandelion Market. Just blocks away you’ll find the EpiCentre, an entertainment hub that features restaurants, nightclubs, bowling, movies and more. The NC Music Factory, another popular nightspot, is located in Charlotte’s historic Third Ward and offers additional bars, clubs and places to eat as well as indoor and outdoor music venues.
Also uptown is the Levine Center for the Arts, a cultural campus that includes the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, John S. and James L. Knight Theater and Mint Museum Uptown. Within a few blocks are four Blumenthal Performing Arts venues, home to a range of Broadway, musical, dance and theater performances.
Head south of the city and you’ll weave your way through the tree-lined streets of Myers Park and the restaurants and shops of South End and Dilworth. Continue on to SouthPark to enjoy the region’s premier shopping mall, home to retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Tiffany, Burberry, Louis Vuitton and more.
Nearby you’ll find Carowinds, which bills itself as the thrill capital of the Southeast, which includes Boomerang Bay water park with the price of admission. Just over the state line, visit “The Castle,” home of the region’s minor-league baseball team, the Charlotte Knights.
East of center city, explore yet another arts and entertainment district in the Plaza-Midwood community, and enjoy just about any type of ethnic food you can imagine on the busy and diverse Central Avenue. The east side of Charlotte also is home to the city’s original Mint Museum, which opened its doors in 1936 as the state’s first fine art museum.
To the north, sightseeing opportunities range from scenic spots such as Lake Norman and the charming college town of Davidson, accessible from Interstate 77, to Charlotte Motor Speedway, Great Wolf Lodge and racetrack-shaped shopping mecca Concord Mills mall, all located at Exit 49 on Interstate 85.
Charlotte’s west side is home to the U.S. National Whitewater Center, where outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy kayaking, rafting, mountain biking, ziplining and hiking. Farther west, outdoor adventurers can find more to enjoy at Crowders Mountain State Park in neighboring Gaston County.
Visit Charlotte’s Got A Lot for more on things to see and do in the Charlotte region.
added: December 17, 2008
updated: February 11, 2013