Tips for Travelers
As the second-largest banking center in the nation, Charlotte attracts a lot of business travelers. Most hotels have on-site business centers complete with computers, printers, and fax machines. FedEx Office has several locations throughout Charlotte, including stores at 237 South Tryon Street (704/338-5911) and 1512 East Boulevard (704/358-8008). There are also UPS Store locations across the city for your shipping needs.
As Charlotte has become a more cosmopolitan city, it has become a more appealing destination for international travelers. It’s located in the Eastern Time Zone, the same time zone as New York and Washington, D.C. English is the language spoken and U.S. dollars are the currency. As the headquarters for Bank of America and Wells Fargo/Wachovia, the city has no shortage of bank branches where travelers checks can be cashed.
International House (322 Hawthorne Lane, 704/333-8099, www.ihclt.org) is a great resource for visitors from other countries. The nonprofit organization offers social and cultural programs, language lessons, and ethnic clubs.
When it comes to women traveling solo, the Queen City is no different than other cities of its size. It’s important to exercise caution, but most neighborhoods are populated and well lit. There is a strong police presence in the Uptown entertainment district at night, making it safer to walk between restaurants and clubs. After dark, it’s best to go out in a group or to call a taxi.
Gay and Lesbian Travelers
Charlotte might be one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the South, but it’s also located in the heart of the Bible Belt and, sadly, attitudes toward the LGBT community can be less than welcoming. The influx of residents from other, more progressive, areas of the country have helped the Queen City become a little more liberal. Even so, PDA among LGBT couples is likely to draw unwelcome attention.
Charlotte doesn’t have a designated Gayborhood, though NoDa and Plaza Midwood are decent substitutes. The few gay bars in the city are located in odd areas, outside of major neighborhoods. LGBT-owned restaurants, bars, cafés, and boutiques are scattered throughout the city.
In previous years, Pride Charlotte (704/333-0144, www.pridecharlotte.com) has been held in July. The 2010 event is being held in October. The annual event draws a small crowd for a festival, fun run, entertainment, and vendors. There is no pride parade in Charlotte. The Gay and Lesbian Community Center (1401 Central Ave., 704/333-0144, www.gaycharlotte.com) is a good source of information about local events.
Travelers with Disabilities
Travelers who use a wheelchair or have mobility impairments will find Charlotte a reasonably easy city to navigate. Most of the streets have curb cuts and parking lots offer dedicated handicapped spots. In Uptown, opt to park in a parking garage (all have elevators) instead of attempting to find street parking, as there are no curbside handicapped spots in the neighborhood. Due to the age of some of the historic buildings in Charlotte, not all are accessible. If in doubt, call ahead to confirm.
The CATS website (www.charmeck.org/departments/CATS) provides detailed information for riders with disabilities. The visitor information center (330 S. Tryon St., 800/231-4636, www.charlottesgotalot.com) is a good source of information and resources.
Traveling with Children
Charlotte is a great destination for families with children. The city is filled with interactive attractions, hands-on exhibits, and fast-paced activities designed for pint-sized travelers.
See the Charlotte’s Top Attractions for Kids page for more detailed descriptions and links to Charlotte’s top kid-friendly attractions.
Except at historic inns and high-end restaurants, kids can be found with their parents almost everywhere in the Queen City. Travelers who are coming to Charlotte with their kids during the humid summer months should consider booking a hotel with a pool or setting aside some time to visit some of the water parks in the area.
Traveling with Pets
The plethora of dog parks, walking trails, and pet boutiques located throughout Charlotte has earned the city a reputation for being a pet-friendly destination. There is even a bar that caters to canines. Most restaurants with patio seating welcome well-behaved pets to lounge at your side while you’re eating. Several hotels also welcome pets.
See the Dog-Friendly Charlotte page for specific recommendations for Fido.
Be sure to call in advance to find out about possible restrictions and/or additional pet fees. The website www.dogfriendly.com offers lists of dog parks and dog-friendly accommodations.
© Jodi Helmer from Moon Charlotte, 1st Edition