Charlotte is the largest city in the state of North Carolina. It is also the state's capital city and the seat of Mecklenburg County. It is home to almost 800,000 people, making it the country's 16th most populous city.
Charlotte is nicknamed "The Queen City" as the said city and its resident county, Mecklenburg, were named in honor of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who became queen consort of Great Britain following her marriage to King George III a year before the city's founding.
Make arrangement for a bus rental in Charlotte, North Carolina and have tons of fun in this regal city.
Charlotte is also called "The Hornet's Nest," derived from the American Revolutionary War, which was when British Commander General Cornwallis had occupied the city. Cornwallis was driven out by hostile residents, and this prompted him to write that the city was "a hornet's nest of rebellion."
However, Charlotte is far from being that and residents are far from being hostile. In fact, the city is prosperous and it is friendly to tourists. It will welcome you with open arms, through its world-class amenities and its many beautiful attractions.
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Whether you are looking for a place to take the kids and the entire family, or a place where you can have a good drink and do some dancing after a long day, Charlotte has just what you are looking for.
Theme park. Kids will surely love Carowinds, the premiere theme park in the state. The 100-acre Carowinds offers a variety of rides and attractions. There are rides for the kids, rides for the entire family, and rides for the thrill-seekers. Carowinds also has Boomerang Bay, which is a 20-acre Australia-themed water park with water slides, wave pools, a lazy river, a water jungle gym, a children's pool, tubing adventures, and cabanas.
Carowinds also has Dinosaurs Alive! This provides guests an immersive experience of the Mesozoic Era with hand-crafted, life-sized, moving animatronic dinosaurs. This theme park provides live entertainment, too.
You can also go to Ray's Splash Planet, a unique indoor water park that features a giant water slide, a vortex pool, a lazy river, and a water playground.
Night life. If you are looking for the adult-only kind of entertainment, you won't be disappointed because Charlotte has really hot night spots. It has many night clubs, dance clubs, comedy clubs, lounges, bars, and live music venues for you to choose from.
You can go to NC Music Factory, which used to be a thriving textile mill in the early 1900s but has been transformed into an entertainment district, where you can have a sizzling variety of music, art, entertainment, and dining options. Whether you just want a frozen cocktail, go on a romantic dinner date, or perhaps dance the night away, NC Music Factory is a great place to go.
You can also go to EpiCentre, which has unique bar and nightlife venues that promise you an epic night out with friends. It has SUITE, which is a trendy dance club, and Pavilion, a rooftop terrace that offers live music. EpiCentre also houses Dale Jr's Whisky River, Wild Wings Cafe, Howl at the Moon, Tin Roof Cafe, MEZ, Vida Cantina, and 10 different patios that provide a magnificent view of Uptown Charlotte.
Other night entertainment venues you can check out include:
Make sure you have a bus rental in Charlotte if you are going on a fun night out with friends. You don't want to skip on all the good beer or on the cocktails because you are driving!
Art is alive and well in Charlotte, with its many museums and galleries. There is the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, which focuses on mid-20th century European and American art. This museum is part of the Levine Center for the Arts, which also consists of the Mint Museum UPTOWN, the John S. and James L. Knight Theater, and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture.
The Bechtler Museum was named after the family of Swiss-born and later North Carolina resident Andreas Bechtler, who inherited and assembled a collection of over 1,400 artworks that were created by 20th-century modernists.
The Mint Museum, on the other hand, comprises Mint Museum Uptown and Mint Museum Randolph. Both of these Mint museums showcases hundreds of collections that center on art and design from around the world.
Mint Museum Randolph's permanent collections include Ancient American art, American art, American and European decorative art, American and European ceramics, North Carolina pottery, African art, Asian art, Contemporary art, historic costumes and accessories, historic maps, and photography. Its companion museum, the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, focuses on contemporary craft.
Meanwhile, Mint Museum UPTOWN houses collections of ceramics, glass, wood, and other material from the Mint Museum of Craft + Design. It also has Contemporary art, American art, and European art.
You can also visit the McColl Center for Art + Innovation, a contemporary art center located in a historic neo-Gothic-style church in Uptown Charlotte. This place houses nine artist studios and some 5,000 square feet of gallery space.
The Harvey B Gantt Center, on the other hand, showcases a permanent collection of works by 20th-century African-American artists.
Smaller art galleries in the city include:
Performance arts. Those who are looking to catch music, dance or theater performances can go to the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, which has six theaters under its management. Booth Playhouse, the Stage Door Theater, and the Belk Theater are physically part of the Blumenthal Center, while Duke Power Theatre and McGlohon Theater are both in the Spirit Square facility. The sixth one, the Knight Theater, can be found within close proximity to the Center. The Blumenthal also presents performances at Ovens Auditorium.
Belk Theater is the largest of the six, with a seating capacity of 2,097. It also has state-of-the-art equipment and production capabilities. It can host events of all types, from grand opera, to Broadway productions, to corporate meetings. Booth Playhouse, on the other hand, is a courtyard-style proscenium theater with cabaret and is more intimate, with only 434 seats. Stage Door Theater is also intimate, having only 172 seats. Meanwhile, Knight Theater has a capacity of 1,193 and is part of the Levine Center for the Arts. McGlohon Theater and Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square have a capacity of 716 and 190, respectively. The Ovens Auditorium can seat up to 2,400 people.
You may also want to check out ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center and Tremont Music Hall.
The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra is the largest and the most active professional performing arts organization in the region. The Charlotte Symphony plays around 100 performances every season and it serves as the resident orchestra for Opera Carolina and the North Carolina Dance Theater. Its principal home is the Belk Theater.
Opera Carolina is a professional opera company located in Charlotte. It presents three main stage productions in the Belk Theater during every season.
Other stage or theater companies and groups in the city include:
You might also find The Robot Johnson Show greatly entertaining. It is a weekly sketch comedy show that is put together by the members of Robot Johnson and whose format consists of sketches, song and commercial parodies, and original comedy songs.
Festivals and cultural events. The Carolina Renaissance Festival is one of the country's biggest renaissance-themed events. It is held every year, in the weekends of October and November. The festival is set in the fictional village of Fairhaven and features jousting tournaments, comedy shows, circus, an arts and crafts fair, a village market, and music performances using traditional and period instruments like bagpipes, harps, and drums.
You can check out the Queen City Brewers Festival at the Bojangles Coliseum in January. Or the Queen City Bike Fest in September. Or perhaps the Vintage Charlotte Winter Market.
Charlotte is a wonderful place to dine and shop. It will surely not disappoint.
Restaurants. The city will give you a feast of flavors through its many restaurants and dining options.
If you are looking for a great-tasting mix of American, International and eclectic cuisine, you can head to Carpe Diem Restaurant, The Asbury, Mimosa Grill, or to 300 East. And if you want American, French, Italian and Continental food served in one restaurant, you can go to Fig Tree.
When it comes to good old American food, local favorites include The Capital Grille, The King's Kitchen, Chicken Salad Chick, Duckworth's Grill & Taphouse, Village Tavern, Dresslers Metro, Mac's Speed Shop, Mert's Heart & Soul, 131 Main, Nana's Soul Food Restaurant, La'wan's Soul Food Restaurant, Gallery Restaurant at Ballantyne Hotel, and Heist Brewery. Meanwhile, you can get great-tasting barbecue at Midwood Smokehouse, McKoy's Smoke House and Saloon, Bobbee O's BBQ, and Brookwood Farms BBQ.
Those looking for juicy, mouth-watering slabs of meat can check these steakhouses: Del Frisco's, Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, Brazz Carvery and Steakhouse, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, The Palm, Sullivan's, and Carolina Prime Steakhouse.
The city also has restaurants that serve different foreign or international cuisines.
If you want Cajun & Creole, you can go to Cajun Yard Dog or Cajun Queen. For French food, you can head to Georges Brasserie, Zebra Restaurant & Wine Bar, or Amelie's French Bakery. And if you are craving Italian, you can try Oggi Ristorante Italiano, Maggiano's Little Italy, Aria Tuscan Grille, Luce Restaurant & Bar, Vapiano Charlotte, Villa Antonio, and Mama Ricotta's.
There is also Ru-San's Sushi, The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar, Soul Gastrolounge, and New Zealand Cafe for sushi. Greek Isles and Zeitouni's are the perfect places to get some Mediterranean. You can also go to Zen Asian Fusion, Enso Asian Bistro, Red Bowl Asian Bistro, and Yama Asian Fusion for Asian food; to Lang Van, Basil Thai Restaurant, and Saigon Palace for Thai or Vietnamese fare; to Copper Modern Indian Cuisine and The Blue Taj for Indian dishes; and Baoding and Chinese Wan Fu for Chinese.
Meanwhile, you can try new and exotic tastes at Mama's Caribbean Grill, Chima Brazilian Steakhouse, and Azteca Mexican Restaurant. There is also Bistro La Bon for a mix of Mediterranean and Scandinavian, Cabo Fish Taco Baja Seagrill for Southwestern dishes and seafood specialties. And Halcyon - Flavors from the Earth, Dandelion Market, Beaudevin for tapas. Viva Chicken serves great Peruvian food, and Good Food on Montford serves mouth-watering contemporary fare.
Those who want healthy, organic or vegetarian food can check out Pizza Fusion or Luna's Living Kitchen.
Shopping. SouthPark Mall is the premier luxury shopping destination of the Carolinas. It is home to one of only two Nordstroms in the region and to its first Neiman Marcus. Aside from these two, the mall is also anchored by Macy's, Belk, and Dillard's. You can also find high-end shops and stores here like Louis Vuitton, Tory Burch, Burberry, Hermes, Cole Haan, Tiffany & Co., Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade, and Lilly Pulitzer.
Charlotte also has Northlake Mall, where you can shop at Anthropologie, Apple, Coach, H&M, Sephora, Pandora, and J.Crew. And there is EpiCentre, which offers a unique combination of retails stores, restaurants, cafes, and late night spots. You may also want to check out Park Road and Phillips Place, which both have some retail stores for your shopping enjoyment.
If outlet shopping is your cup of tea, then go to the Charlotte Premium Outlets, where you can find brands like Adidas, Banana Republic, Converse, Eddie Bauer, J. Crew, Guess, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, and many more.
You can also find antiques and lovely vintage items at the Sleepy Poet Antique Mall, Kitsch-y-Cool Vintage, and Classic Attic Consignment.
Golf. If you would like to tee off you can go to Renaissance Park Golf Course, an 18-hole golf course with expansive bent grass greens and a beautiful landscape. Charles T. Myers Golf Course is a public golf facility that is ideal for players of all levels. Paradise Valley Golf Course, on the other hand, is a lovely chip-and-putt-style 18-hole par-3 course which is perfect for beginners to learn the sport yet challenging for expert golfers.
Other golf courses in the city include Dr. Charles L. Sifford Golf Course at Revolution Park and Sunset Hills Golf Course.
Other sports. Charlotte serves as home to two major professional sports franchises: the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association and the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League. The Hornets play their home games at the 19,077-capacity Time Warner Cable Arena while the Panthers play theirs at the 74,455-seat Bank of America Stadium.
Other sports teams include:
Other sports venues, stadiums and arenas in the city where you can catch games, matches and other sports-related events include the Bojangles' Coliseum, Halton Arena, Grady Cole Center, Jerry Richardson Stadium, and Transamerica Field.
Charlotte has a rich past and this is evident in the number of historical sites and landmarks in the city.
You can learn more about Charlotte's history by visiting historical museums. You can start with the Charlotte Museum of History, where you would learn more about the history of the city and of the region. Its permanent exhibits include the Hezekiah Alexander Homesite, the American Freedome Bell, and other items from the 18th to the 19th centuries.
You can also go to the Billy Graham Library, a public museum and library that documents and highlights the life and ministry of Billy Graham, a Christian evangelist. The main galleries showcase a number of presentations, music, pictures, voices, and artifacts from throughout Graham's ministry.
Then there is the Historic Rosedale Plantation, which was built in 1815 and is a grand and timeless home, surrounded by exquisitely landscaped grounds and majestic, century-old trees. The house is one very fine example of Federal period architecture.
The Levine Museum of the New South is also a history museum that centers on the life in the North Carolina Piedmont after the American Civil War. It features exhibits on a range of Southern-related topics.
Charlotte also has many sites and venues that have been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. These include historic districts like the Croft Historic District, Dilworth Historic District, Elizabeth Historic District, Myers Park Historic District, Pharrsdale Historic District, and Wesley Heights Historic District.
The city also has historic houses, plantations, farms, and estates, including White Oak Plantation, VanLandingham Estate, Frank Ramsay McNinch House, John Washington McKinney House Mayes House, Hayes-Byrum Store and House, Bishop John C. Kilgo House, Hamilton C. Jones III House Liddell-McNinch House, Grier-Rea House, Elizabeth Lawrence House and Garden, Fritz Seifart House, Edward M. Rozzell House, Rosedale, Green Morris Farm, Robinson Rock House Ruin and Plantation Site, Overcarsh House, and James Buchanan Duke House.
Meanwhile, historic buildings, establishments, hotels and government structures include:
You can also check out historic churches like First Presbyterian Church and Grace A.M.E. Zion Church, and historic schools such as Palmer Fire School and Siloam School. You may also want to see the Seaboard Air Line Railroad Passenger Station and Steele Creek Presbyterian Church and Cemetery.
Charlotte has many parks and recreational venues where you can play, run, have picnics, relax, enjoy the scenery, and engage in other outdoor activities.
You can check out Freedom Park, a 98-acre park that is centered on a 7-acre lake. It has tennis and volleyball courts, a picnic area, paved trails, sports and athletic fields, and a playground. Throughout the summer, the park shows free films and musical performances at the pavilion. And in September, the park hosts a five-day long festival called "Festival in the Park," which features many fun activities and attractions for everyone.
If you love gardens and flowers and all sorts of greens, then you should make time for the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, known as the Carolinas' Garden for All Seasons. It is a 380-acre property on the banks of Lake Wylie that feature breath-taking gardens, sparkling fountains, a visitor pavilion, and a conservatory that houses tropical plants and orchids.
Other parks in the city include:
You can take the kids and the entire family to Discovery Place, which is a science and technology museum that features hands-on interactive exhibits, experiments, thrilling activities, a larger-than-life IMAX Dome Theater, and many educational programs.
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