The largest city in North Carolina, Charlotte was famous as a major gold producer in the 18th century. Today it's better known for NASCAR and for the thriving industry and commerce the city has developed. Charlotte is a place where travel for pleasure is often mixed with business--and it shows. The city in the last decade has sprouted numerous skyscrapers and huge shopping malls that keep its economy humming.
Dining and Shopping
Charlotte has a beautiful night skyline that serves as a backdrop for dining and drinking at the EpiCentre, which claims it's "where Charlotte nightlife begins." Located in the uptown area, close to many business headquarters, the complex includes dozens of restaurants, shops and clubs spread over half a million square feet. The hub is accessible by the Lynx light rail line and is an ideal place for a business dinner, happy hour drinks or a night of clubbing. Restaurant options here include American, Mexican, Japanese Italian and more. The EpiCentre also houses an assortment of boutiques and shops selling everything from designer fashions to electronics.
Sports lovers find Charlotte a haven. There are places to play and places to watch, with many events happening here year-round. The PGA makes a regular stop in Charlotte and there are numerous golf courses spread over the area. There are also the NFL Panthers and the NBA Bobcats. There's a major NASCAR event at Charlotte Motor Speedway and racing fans will want to visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame located downtown.
As in any ambitious city that aspires to national prominence, the arts are well represented in Charlotte, with regular performances of ballet, Broadway shows and the symphony orchestra. Uptown, the Mint Museum has a well-regarded collection of American art, crafts and design, all housed in a building of dramatic architecture. If you're an aviation buff, the Carolinas Aviation Museum, adjacent to the airport, is a must-see. It has displays of historic planes, fighter jets, helicopters and more. Photographers and aspiring filmmakers will enjoy the Light Factory, one of only four museums in the U.S. dedicated to contemporary film and photography.
Kids will be riveted by the performances at ImaginOn, where new educational programs and exhibits open weekly. Also popular with young travelers is the Discovery Place science museum. There are hands-on exhibits, a massive aquarium and a tropical rainforest. The crowd favorite here is the hair-raising static-electricity demonstration. Also make sure to check out the IMAX Dome Theatre, which shows those amazingly immersive movies on its three-story screen.
If the kids get restless, take them to Carowinds, an amusement park that dubs itself "the thrill capital of the Southeast." Located near the south state line, it has 13 roller coasters, various other thrill rides, children's rides, a water park, family shows, restaurants, and numerous concession stands for corn dogs and cotton candy.
5700 Westpark Dr
130 North Tryon Street
4707 South Boulevard
3306 N. Davidson Street