Charlotte, the largest city in North Carolina, was named for the consort of England's King George III; but during the Revolutionary War, Charlotte citizens harassed the British so unmercifully that they were referred to as "a hornet's nest".
Today, Charlotte tops many of the "best places to live" lists, and is a popular tourist destination thanks to its many fine attractions, inviting climate and friendly people.
Whether you're a NASCAR or Panthers fan, a museum addict, a student of colonial history or a whitewater rafter, Charlotte has something just for you.
Attractions in Charlotte
It would take more space than we have here to list all of Charlotte's fun things to do and see, so consider this a "highlights" list, and find more information at the links below.
NASCAR Hall of Fame - See interactive exhibits of your favorite race car drivers, and see historic cars. Try the racing simulator ride, but hang on. The Hall offers two restaurants and a gift shop.
U.S. National Whitewater Center - Tours and classes in whitewater rafting, plus biking, kayaking or climb a 57-foot tall rock wall. Ready for more? Try the 40-foot free fall known as "Mega Jump". If you still have an appetite after that, head to the River's Edge Bar & Grill on the premises.
Discovery Place - Walk through a festival of live butterflies, see an IMAX film or a 3D movie experience, and learn more about the world we live in. For all ages, but there are also special programs just for kids.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden - More than 100 acres of lush greenery, including nine distinct themed gardens. Don't miss the Orchid Conservatory. Picnics and coolers welcome anywhere on the grounds.
Shopping and Restaurants in Charlotte
Dining: Perhaps only in Charlotte can you pig-out on fried pickles one day, and Chateaubriand Bouquetiere the next. This city's dining scene is eclectic, from elegant Southern cuisine to wood-fired pizza and sushi. And you must try the distinctive North Carolina barbecue.
Shopping: Charlotte has all the big-city designer names you can handle, plus outlet malls and unique boutiques selling everything from African art to antiques and fine crystal and china.
North Carolina has made a name for itself as an important outpost of Hollywood; head west to Wilmington for a tour of EUE/Screen Gems Studios. Past productions include "Dawson's Creek" and numerous big-budget movies.
Flights to Charlotte
Flying to Charlotte is simple, and so is finding cheap flights to Charlotte, especially if you use FareCompare's search site to save; the city's user-friendly airport has numerous nonstops throughout the U.S., and to Europe, making it a popular destination as well as jumping-off point.
Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT): This is a hub airport for US Airways, and is also served by Lufthansa, Air Canada Jazz and numerous domestic airlines, both legacy and low cost carriers. If traveling has you stressed, look for the glass enclosed Atrium (just past security) and settle into one of the many comfortable white rocking chairs.
More Information on Charlotte
For more information on Charlotte's many attractions and other what-to-see-and-do "musts", please check out the following visitor sites:
Visit Charlotte: This official tourism site's motto is, "Charlotte's got a lot" and this guide proves it: see scores of attractions, places to stay, and dining options; it also offers plenty of good maps and a schedule of events throughout the year, including the Charlotte Irish Festival. Look for deals and discounts here, too.
Charlotte Mecklenburg: This is the official government site for both the North Carolina city and its county (Mecklenburg); in addition to popular tourist spots, it lists recreation hot spots including parks and greenways with walking and bike trails.
Charlotte Chamber: Besides the usual attractions, this site provides news-you-can-use: its compact "Looking For..." guide focuses on area transportation, health care, hotels, restaurants, golf courses and more.