Get Away to Charlotte, the Queen City

Get Away to Charlotte, the Queen City

Charlotte skyline

North Carolina’s largest city impresses visitors with its unique blend of cosmopolitan urban life and friendly downhome charm. It’s ideal for a family getaway, an evening on the town or an escape with friends. Named for a British queen, Charlotte has made a name for itself as one of the nation’s largest financial centers and an emerging business hub. The city is home to NFL and NBA teams, plus the NASCAR Hall of Fame, values its cultural core, and possesses a can-do spirit infused with a healthy dose of Southern hospitality.

Stroll the streets near the square at 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 N.C. Music Factory, another popular nightspot, is located in Charlotte’s historic Third Ward and offers indoor and outdoor music venues, partnered with bars, clubs and places to eat.

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, Knight Theater and Mint Museum Uptown. Within a few blocks are four Blumenthal Performing Arts venues, home to a constant parade of Broadway, musical, dance and theater performances.

Jump on the LYNX light rail train and head to South End with its eclectic mix of retail and restaurants, or head out North Davidson Street to NoDa, a funky art and entertainment neighborhood. A ride down Central Avenue takes you to Plaza-Midwood where crowds stroll the streets in search of food adventures and night-time fun.

Head south of the city center and you’ll weave your way through the tree-lined streets of historic Myers Park, and can check out the restaurants and shops of Dilworth. Continue on to SouthPark to enjoy the region’s premier shopping mall, home to retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks, Tiffany, Burberry, Louis Vuitton and more. The area also is home to the city’s original Mint Museum, which opened its doors in 1936 as the state’s first fine art museum.

Heading down I-77 from the central city, you’ll find Carowinds, which bills itself as the thrill capital of the Southeast.

To the north, sightseeing opportunities range from scenic spots such as Lake Norman and the charming college town of Davidson, easily accessible from I-77, to Charlotte Motor Speedway, Great Wolf Lodge and racetrack-shaped shopping mecca Concord Mills mall, all located at Exit 49 on I-85.

Charlotte’s west side is home to the U.S. National Whitewater Center, where outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy kayaking, rafting, mountain biking, zip lines and hiking. Farther west, outdoor adventurers can find more to enjoy at Crowders Mountain State Park in neighboring Gaston County.

The range of lodging options in and around Charlotte makes planning easy, allowing you to choose from quaint bed & breakfast inns in historic settings, to luxury digs and resorts that will pamper you. The city’s broad-based selection of eateries is ever expanding, with virtually every type and style of cuisine represented. Locals are always happy to offer recommendations, whether you’re looking for barbecue or gourmet fare.

A good place to start making plans is Visit Charlotte’s detail-packed website, which offers plenty of guidance on things to see and do throughout the bustling Charlotte region.

Gary Carter

Request your Travel Guide

Download or order FREE guides and maps

Discover Project Project 543

Explore unique spots across North Carolina