Charlotte City Guide
The city of Charlotte is located halfway between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. A trip to Charlotte takes you to the largest city in North Carolina.
Charlotte and its surrounding county are named after the German Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg, who was the Queen Consort of the United Kingdom.
Charlotte is today the second most important financial center in the US and home to major banking institutions like the Bank of America and Wells Fargo.
Additionally, this evolving Southern city is also home to prominent sports teams like the Charlotte Panthers (NFL) and the Charlotte Bobcats (NBA) as well as several sports and cultural attractions, which render it to be popular tourist destination in Southern USA for vacationing.
Charlotte is also known for its ever evolving arts scene and is nicknamed the ‘Queen City’ after Queen Charlotte who was also a major patron of the arts.
Where to stay in Charlotte
The downtown area of Charlotte, which is the heart and soul of the city, is known as Uptown or Center City. This primary business and cultural hub hosts most of the luxury hotels in Charlotte along with vibrant restaurants, nightclubs, boutique shopping and prominent attractions like the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the Mint Museum Uptown and Discovery Place. Charlotte's other main neighborhoods extend out in all directions from Uptown.
NoDa, which is an acronym for North Davidson, lies to the east of Uptown and is the heart of Charlotte's art scene. The South End is an urban corridor located just south of Uptown and was once a rundown mill district that now hosts the city’s best nightlife and entertainment options. Further south are mainly residential and affluent districts of Myers Park and South Park, while the northern edge of the city is known as University Place as it is home to the sprawling campus of University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Charlotte hotels can be found in all neighborhoods of the city though a concentration of diverse hotels is situated in the Uptown district of Charlotte as the area continues to be the number one choice for accommodation for both business and leisure visitors to the city.
Places to see in Charlotte
The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
The verdant oasis of the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden extends over 380 acres on the banks of Lake Wylie and offers nine themed, bloom filled show gardens that aim to reconnect visitors with nature.
One of star attractions of this garden is its Orchid Conservatory, which rises to a height of five floors and offers stunning displays of orchids and other tropical plants spread over an area that measures more than 8000 square feet.
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
This museum is located in the heart of Uptown near the attraction of the Mint Museum and houses the private collection of the Bechtler Family. This collection consists of exquisite American and European works of great contemporary artists like Picasso, le Corbusier, Miro, Degas and others.
If you are vacationing in Charlotte with your children then the Carowinds amusement park should be on your must-visit list for Charlotte vacations. This amusement park offers more than fifty diverse rides and provides much fun and entertainment for kids and adults alike. Some of the most popular rides include the Drop Tower, which has a 100-foor freefall and the Intimidator, which is one of the longest and fastest roller coasters in the south.
Other attractions at the park include the Carowinds Action Theater, the Australian themed Boomerang Bay water park and the Carowinds Camp Wilderness Resort that offers camping facilities.
The Harvey B Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture is named after a prominent award-winning architect, who was responsible for designing several outstanding edifices in Charlotte. This center is located on the premises of the AME Zion Church and seeks to promote and preserve African–American culture, history and art and offers facilities like an outdoor amphitheater, an indoor theater and two galleries. The center hosts art exhibits, drama camps and jazz evenings periodically.
Freedom Park is Charlotte’s very own Central Park. This lush, verdant park, which extends over 100 acres, is the epicenter for all recreational activities in Charlotte. Freedom Park, like its sibling in New York City, offers drama, music and movie festivals during the summer months and is equipped with several added attractions like a Naturescape Trail and a seven-acre lake.
NASCAR Hall of Fame
Charlotte is known as the home of NASCAR and hosts, among its prime attractions, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which features several interesting exhibits, a theater aptly called the High Octane theater that shows informational films, interactive racing simulators and practice timed pit stops, which bring alive the excitement of NASCAR racing for both adults and children.
Discovery Place which is located in the Uptown district of Charlotte is yet another must-do attraction for visitors heading for Charlotte vacations with kids. This museum endeavors to make science fun for children and offers numerous interactive activities and exhibits along with an added attraction of an aquarium, a 3D theater and OMNIMAX.
The Mint Museums
Charlotte has two Mint Museums; namely the Mint Museum Randolph and the Mint Museum Uptown. The Mint Museum Randolph is located in historic Myers Park of the city and hosts a collection that features celebrated costumes and textiles, and much ancient and Native American Art while the newer Mint Museum Uptown showcases Contemporary, American, and Craft and Design along with constantly changing temporary exhibits.
Best time to visit Charlotte
The weather in Charlotte is characterized by four main seasons and the city usually experiences warm, humid summers with temperatures registering average highs of 100°F(38) quite frequently. Winters in Charlotte are relatively mild with average highs in the 40 F but snowstorms are not uncommon. The winters in Charlotte usually extend from December to February and are not popular months for tourists as a result of which you can get the best hotel rates if you choose to visit at this time.
Most visitors tend to head to Charlotte in the late spring or early fall when the temperatures in the Queen City are more amenable. This tourist influx usually drives up both airline and hotel rates however if you plan to do your hotel booking for Charlotte via the hotel reservation options offered us at Fare Buzz, you can be assured of the best hotel deals at all times.
Getting around in Charlotte
With an international airport that receives more per capita flights than any other US city, taking the aerial route to Charlotte is often the best way to reach the city. Fare Buzz makes travelling ever more fun and economical. Explore out cheap air tickets to Charlotte from across the destinations and find savings straightaway.
Charlotte has a public transit system that largely serves its main neighborhoods like Uptown and the South End. The Charlotte public transport system consists of the LYNX light rail service and bus system called CATS that operates on 40 routes throughout the county.
Besides these public access modes of transport, Charlotte is also well served by a fleet of metered taxis, which need to be ordered on the phone rather than flagged down in the street. Many visitors on Charlotte vacations choose to hire a car since the city is quite well laid out in a grid system and easy to navigate. We at Fare Buzz also arrange car rentals so while you are making your hotel booking; be sure to ask about car rentals in Charlotte and get your own set of wheels for Charlotte.
Where to shop in Charlotte
Charlotte offers a variety of shopping options at its many malls, boutiques, stores and open-air shopping areas. Fashion apparel, home décor, antiques, jewelry, art, gifts are just some of the wide array of products offered by Charlotte’s many shopping locales.
The South Park Mall located in the heart of the city’s SouthPark area, is a premier shopping destination in Charlotte that hosts anchor tenants like Dillards, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus along with outlets of various upscale brands like J.Crew and Tony Bahama. The mall also hosts a buzzing food court, several restaurants, an amphitheater and the Symphony Park, the home of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.Another high-end shopping destination in the South Park area is Philips Place, an open-feel mall that hosts outposts of well-known luxe brands like Allen Edmonds, Brook’s Brothers, Taylor Richards and Conger, Windsor Jewelers, Coplon’s and more.
Yet another upscale shopping enclave in Charlotte is Ballantyne Village which is located in the southern part of the city and hosts several boutiques that offer products like clothing, gifts, intimate apparel, cigars, crystal, china, home furnishings and outdoor gear along with much entertainment, fine dining and salon and spa services. In addition to these temples of high-end retail, Charlotte also offers avenues for more down to earth shopping at locales like the Northlake Mall, the Eastland Mall and the Concord Mills outlet mall.
Where to eat in Charlotte
Charlotte’s dining scene is surprisingly diverse and the city hosts myriad restaurants that serve a selection of local as well as international cuisines. The list of the best restaurants in Charlotte is known to change frequently, though it currently includes eateries like Barrington’s Restaurant and the Fig Tree(both New American), Los Paisas (Latin American), Luna’s Living Kitchen(Vegan), Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Terra(Italian/French), Woodland’s (Indian) and Ben Thanh(Vietnamese).
Nightlife in Charlotte
Charlotte offers a thriving nightlife scene populated with bars, breweries, nightclubs, lounges, live music venues and more. Nightlife haunts in Charlotte are launched and shuttered frequently though favored nightspots in Charlotte currently include joints like Cloud 9 Martini and Tapas Bar, Dandelion Market, Dixie’s Tavern, Connolly’s Irish Pub (all bars), NC Music Factory(a dance club and music venue), On the Roxx and TILT on Trade(both dance clubs) and the Common Market(a sports bar).