Where To Go
In recent years Uptown has become the Queen City’s cultural hub, with numerous museums, bars, and restaurants sprouting up. Cranes almost outnumber skyscrapers here as new buildings are erected at a rapid pace. A new light rail system debuted in 2007, and noteworthy sights include the EpiCentre, Levine Museum of the New South, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
South End and Dilworth
Once home to rows of textile mills and warehouses, South End, Charlotte’s design district, is now a mix of interior-design firms, furniture showrooms, hip condos, restaurants, and design shops. Dilworth has a number of dwellings that show up on the National Register of Historic Places. Walking along the tree-lined streets here is the best way to appreciate the unique architecture, which dates back to the 1900s. Locals jog and walk their dogs in Freedom Park, visit historic homes–turned-restaurants to nosh on international cuisine, and shop the boutiques for unique treasures.
Plaza Midwood and NoDa
Widespread neighborhood revitalization has turned Plaza Midwood into one of the hippest hoods in the city. Cute cottage homes have been restored and new businesses are taking a chance on the up-and-coming neighborhood. NoDa, the nickname given to the Historic Arts District because of its location on North Davidson Street, used to be an industrial area teeming with textile mills. Now the neighborhood is brimming with galleries, restaurants, and boutiques. Gallery Crawls on the first and third Fridays of each month are a big draw for culture aficionados.
Elizabeth is the site of the city’s first public park—Independence Park—where the original rose garden still blooms. True to its roots, Elizabeth remains a residential neighborhood. Families flock here for its historic charm. Shops and restaurants are located in historic homes to retain the residential feel of the neighborhood.
Myers Park is one of the most impressive neighborhoods in Charlotte and has been designated a National Historic District due to the number of picturesque homes on the tree-lined streets. The neighborhood also features the Mint Museum of Art and Freedom Park.
In South Park, shopping is a sport. Upscale national retailers share space with posh boutiques, and area restaurants serve up creative dishes to help shoppers refuel after a marathon session at the mall.
Some of Charlotte’s most notable sights, restaurants, nightlife, and lodgings are outside of the main neighborhoods. Explore Ballantyne, a planned community located in the southernmost corner of Charlotte, or venture to University City, on the north side of town to walk the trails at Reedy Creek Park and Nature Preserve.
The cities of Concord, Kannapolis, and Mooresville make up NASCAR Country. The fast-paced, four-wheeled action is the main draw to the area, which also boasts several racing-themed museums. Make sure to see a NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, tour the shops of racecar drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr., and drive along The Dale Trail.
Excursions from Charlotte
Charlotte is just a short distance from some of the most spectacular locales in North Carolina. In the picturesque beach town of Wilmington, relax in the sand and tour stunning antebellum homes; go to Blowing Rock to drive the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway; and spend an afternoon in Winston-Salem, taking in the historic settlement of Old Salem.
© Jodi Helmer from Moon Charlotte, 1st Edition