Home to the corporate headquarters of Bank of America and the East Coast operations of Wells Fargo, Charlotte is the second-largest banking center in the United States and one of the nation’s fastest-growing major cities.
As the largest city in the state, the Queen City is home to celebrated sports teams, including the NFL's Carolina Panthers and the NBA's Charlotte Hornets, as well as NASCAR races at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the PGA's Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club.
Over the past decade, Charlotte’s blend of Southern charm and cosmopolitan bustle has made it a family-friendly metro area on the rise with a growing nightlife, shopping, and music scene.
- Children's Theatre of Charlotte: One of the city’s top kid-friendly attractions, this theater hosts imaginative productions to nearly 300,000 families every year.
- Carowinds: Located just off Interstate 77, this 407-acre amusement park features some of Charlotte’s most beloved seasonal events, such as Scarowinds during Halloween and WinterFest during the holidays. Carowinds operates from late March through December, and admission includes entry to its neighboring 27-acre water park, Carolina Harbor.
- NASCAR Hall of Fame: The roots of NASCAR run deep in Charlotte, and so attending races is a common local pastime. While in town, you can explore the NASCAR Hall of Fame and its high-octane theater, racing simulators, and Heritage Speedway.
- Discovery Place: As one of the leading science centers in the country, this family-friendly STEM museum helps kids gain a greater understanding of nature, technology, and engineering through fun and interactive exhibits.
- Freedom Park: Located about three miles from Charlotte’s downtown area, this park features a seven-acre lake, a playground, and several paved trails. You'll also find sports fields, tennis courts, and volleyball courts.
- US National Whitewater Center: This outdoor facility is the perfect spot to enjoy some of Charlotte’s best recreational and athletic activities, including live music events, whitewater rafting, biking, and zip-lining.
Here are some tips on a few unique destinations worth checking out while in Charlotte:
- North of Davidson: Also known as NoDa, this neighborhood is one of the city’s most artistic sectors. It’s home to up-and-coming art galleries, chic boutiques, and trendy performance venues. NoDa has the city's second-highest concentration of craft breweries, alongside its counterpart South End.
- Carolina Raptor Center: This educational nonprofit center focuses on the rehabilitation of injured raptors and the conservation of birds of prey, including hawks, vultures, falcons, and owls. It features outdoor trails with live raptors as well as flight shows and indoor exhibits.
- Carrigan Farms: Located just 45 minutes from Charlotte, this family-owned farm in Mooresville is the perfect spot for a family weekend. Here, you can enjoy hayrides, swim at the quarry, hike up to the falls (in October), and pick out your own produce.
- Lake life: Located near Charlotte are the two small man-made lakes: Lake Wylie and Mountain Island Lake. The city is also several miles southeast of Lake Norman, the largest man-made lake in the state.
- Mac’s Speed Shop: A local favorite for delicious barbecue, this joint lets you get a taste of good beer and Southern comfort food, including grits and mac 'n' cheese.
- Coffee crawl: Both locals and visitors often take part in the city's popular java trails. Some of the featured cafes on the largest one—the Boco Coffee Crawl—are Boquete Mountain Coffee, Smelly Cat Coffeehouse, The Daily Press, Crown Station, Pure Intentions Coffee, Not Just Coffee Uptown, and Mugs Coffee.
- Common Market: At this backyard eatery, you can taste some of the best local brands, hang out on the patio, enjoy regular live music, and become part of the local community.
How to get around
If you're looking to get around the city in a fast and efficient way but don’t have a car, navigating Charlotte and its surrounding area is relatively easy with public transportation. You can take advantage of its speedy light rail system, multiple bike-sharing and ride-sharing services, and bus routes.