Charlotte Tourist Activities
Charlotte Douglas International Airport is found just west of the city of Charlotte, in the state of North Carolina. It is a large U.S. airport, serving approximately 39 million passengers every year. The airport has a Welcome Centre that is useful to visitors of the airport who are arriving to enjoy the wide range of Charlotte attractions available. The centre can provide brochures regarding the most popular things to do in the city, and in the surrounding areas, and can provide assistance with the booking of hotel rooms and ground transportation.
The large city of Charlotte is the county seat for the state and has a population of over 500,000. It is found to the south of Winston-Salem and Greensboro, to the north of Columbia and to the west of Fayetteville. North Carolina also lies alongside the states of South Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. The city’s residents mainly speak American English. Charlotte is one of America’s most important financial centres, regarded second only to New York, and therefore boasts an impressive number of skyscrapers and high-rise buildings that house various kinds of businesses. However, although the city is important in terms of business, it also offers a good selection of tourist attractions that are appealing for visitors of all ages. Visitors of Queen City, the nickname by which Charlotte is sometimes referred, will also find numerous hotels at their disposal, with varying prices. Quite a large number of hotels can be found throughout the city centre and nearby to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
The Charlotte neighbourhoods and districts are a charming combination of older and newer areas, and contain a number of interesting sights. The Uptown District is where many of the main businesses of the city can be found, but is also an area that is appealing in terms of restaurants, bars and nightclubs. A couple of the main cultural attractions are found here as well, including Discovery Place, the Mint Museum of Craft and Design and the Hodges-Taylor Gallery. The Forth Ward District is of interest to visitors who enjoy history, as it has no less than eighteen historical places of interest. Spirit Square also has some fine art galleries and a performing arts centre. Further art galleries, along with trendy cafés, are found in the NoDa (North of Davidson) District, and the Plaza Midwood District is another area of historical significance. It is also the hip and fashionable side of town, with several antique dealers, fashion boutiques, bookshops, pubs and bars, and a good selection of restaurants. The Southend District dates back to the 1850’s, and has been renovated over the years to be quite attractive.
A couple of the most popular of Charlotte attractions include the Bank of America Stadium, the Bank of America Corporate Centre, the Carolina Raptor Centre, Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Paramount’s Carowinds. The stadium is found at 800 Mint Street, and is home to the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. It can seat up to 73,000 people, and is a popular venue for concerts and theatre performances, as well as various sporting events. Tours of the stadium can also be taken. The impressive building of the Bank of America Corporate Centre is one of Charlotte’s tallest skyscrapers, and from the sixtieth floor, spectacular views of the city can be seen. Historical portraits of Charlotte can be browsed within the building.
The Carolina Raptor Centre, at 6000 Sample Road, is dedicated to the conservation of birds of prey. The centre also takes care of injured birds, and facilitates their rehabilitation. There are some lovely displays that can be viewed by the public, and talks on various topics are regularly held at the centre. Auto racing enthusiasts must pay a visit to the Lowe’s Motor Speedway, along the US Highway 29. On racing days, not all parts of the facility can be explored by the general public, but tours can be arranged that take visitors to the attractions that are usually off-limits. Paramount’s Carowinds is Charlotte’s very popular amusement park, filled with fun rides of all varieties. There are rollercoasters, a water park, a Ferris wheel and many other attractions. Many spectacular shows are held at the park as well. The Paramount’s Carowinds is located at 14523 Carowinds Boulevard.
The Latta Plantation is one of landmarks/monuments of Charlotte, along with the Hezekiah Alexander Homesite, the James K. Polk Memorial and the Rosedale Plantation. The Latta Plantation is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and offers interesting tours by authentically-dressed tour guides. The tours include information regarding life on a nineteenth-century plantation. The Hezekiah Alexander Homesite is the oldest building in the country, and is humble stone house, and the James K. Polk Memorial is the birthplace and home of James K. Polk, the country’s eleventh president. He was born in 1795.
A large number of museum attractions are found in Charlotte. Of particular popularity is the Charlotte Museum of History, with many interactive exhibits, as well as Discovery Place, with an Omnimax theatre, a planetarium, the Challenger Learning Centre and an aquarium. It has rotating exhibits which can be entertaining for hours on end. The Charlotte Nature Museum features animals and plants of the region, and the Levine Museum of the New South is dedicated to post-Civil War Southern history and features many fun and hands-on activities. Visitors can even dress up in some of the period clothing, or record their own radio show. Further museums of interest include the Mint Museum Uptown at the Levine Centre for the Arts and the North Carolina Transportation Museum.
The city of Charlotte has many lovely parks and gardens as well, that include the McGill Rose Garden, the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, Ribbon Walk, the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens and the Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary. Charlotte attractions nearby include the Backing Up Classic Auto Museum, the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame, the Reed Goldmine State Historic Park, the Richard Pretty Driving Experience and the Schiele Museum of Natural History and Planetarium. Further details are available from the Welcome Centre of Charlotte Douglas International Airport, or from the Charlotte Convention and Visitors Bureau on South Tryon Street.