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When my eldest, Kyle (Hi Kyle!) announced during his senior year that he would attend University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC), I tried to talk him out of it. Why would anyone want to go to the biggest city in NC when he could spend every day at the beach by attending UNC at Wilmington? His straightforward answer – he wanted to go into finance and Charlotte NC is where it’s at.

I set out to learn more about the city that he chose, and which honestly, I’m never going to get him back from. His love of Charlotte NC has dwindled his visits home even though we are just over two hours away. As a hub for American Airlines, travelers can easily get to Charlotte.

8 REASONS TO LOVE CHARLOTTE NC

The Ultimate Weekend in Charlotte NC featured by top travel blog, The Common Traveler: Charlotte piggy bank on white background

Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash

1.  Charlotte NC is a Financial Center.

Charlotte is the second largest banking city in the U.S. after New York City. Read that again – Charlotte is the second largest banking city in the U.S. after New York City. Bank of America and Wells Fargo are headquartered here. If you want to be where the banking action is without the high cost of living of New York, Charlotte is the answer.

The Ultimate Weekend in Charlotte NC featured by top travel blog, The Common Traveler: buildings in Uptown Charlotte
Photo by @kdjrzygrl via Twenty20

2.  Charlotte NC Uptown is Downtown.

People call the downtown area “Uptown.” In fact, if you call it “downtown,” people will automatically know that you are either a transplant or a tourist. On September 23, 1974, the City Council made it official by issuing a proclamation that the shopping and business area of the center of town would be known as “Uptown Charlotte.” Shopping and dining are great reasons to visit Uptown.

The Ultimate Weekend in Charlotte NC featured by top travel blog, The Common Traveler: Charlotte  people paddling on a blue whitewater raft
Me trying not to fall out of our raft! Photo by Bill Robbins

3.  Charlotte NC is Home to the US National Whitewater Center.

You might think that a place called the “U.S. National Whitewater Center” would be located in Colorado, or West Virginia, or in the mountains somewhere. But you’d be wrong. The 16th largest city in the U.S. (according to the U.S. Census Bureau) hosts this fabulous facility available to all. When the boys were younger, we used to bring the Boy Scouts here. You can climb, zip, go through a ropes course, mountain bike, and yes, whitewater raft at this great center. They also host events, like concerts, so you can spend the day. During the Rio Olympics, I recall hearing that several Olympians had trained at the USNWC. Go us!

The Ultimate Weekend in Charlotte NC featured by top travel blog, The Common Traveler: Charlotte Two pint glasses with reddish draught beer.
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s Copper.

4.  Charlotte NC has some Great Breweries.

The North Carolina craft brewery movement is alive and well in Charlotte. From Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, NoDa Brewing Company and Birdsong Brewing, to name a few, you can find any type of beer you like and a few that you didn’t realize that you would like! With over 22 breweries within Charlotte proper, you can create your own Beer Trail – but pace yourself! Or try the Bikes and Brews tour along Charlotte’s South End neighborhood breweries.

The Ultimate Weekend in Charlotte NC featured by top travel blog, The Common Traveler: Charlotte sign with Welcome to the King's Kitchen with light in front
Photo courtesy of the King’s kitchen

5.  You Can Do Good while Eating at Charlotte’s King’s Kitchen.

If you’re in the South, you’ve got to eat Southern food, right? So why not do it at a place that gives back. The food is delicious and 100% of the profits goes to feed the poor in the Charlotte region. Other non-profit partners provide training opportunities for those who need a second chance and additional assistance. The philosophy behind the food is “New Local Southern Cuisine.” As a guest, you’ll taste fresh, organic, local products featured in traditional Southern dishes. Think of pimento cheese, okra fritters, and shrimp and grits, just to get a taste of what is in store. Nourishment for the body and soul is at the heart of the King’s Kitchen.

The Ultimate Weekend in Charlotte NC featured by top travel blog, The Common Traveler: atrium at Charlotte Douglas Airport
Photo by @ialdog1909 via Twenty20

6.  Charlotte’s Douglas Airport is H-U-G-E.

Flying from Raleigh, we frequently connect through Charlotte Douglas International Airport and it is a hub for American Airlines. As of 2017, this airport ranked as the fifth busiest in the world, according to the Airports Council International. It never fails that I usually arrive at one terminal and have to run to a gate at a completely different terminal. But while it is big and undergoing renovations almost constantly, there are things to do if you’ve got some time. I noticed during our last trip that at the end of one of the terminals, there was a spot covered in AstroTurf and a fire hydrant in case you were traveling with your pet! My favorite part is the big windows with the white rocking chairs, where you can sit and watch the planes or people while waiting for your own flight. Most importantly for a traveler like me, you can go just about anywhere fairly quickly by flying out of Charlotte.

If you’ve got time or are not going through the airport, checkout the Charlotte-Douglas Airport overlook. Benches are lined up in a row along a low barbwire fence that separates spectators from the runways. You’ll be able to watch planes take off with great views of the Charlotte skyline in the background. It is a great spot for a picnic!

The Ultimate Weekend in Charlotte NC featured by top travel blog, The Common Traveler: light rail track station in Charlotte, NC
Photo by @jperryphotography via Twenty20

7.  Charlotte NC has a Light Rail System.

This 18.9 mile long system connects the UNCC Main Campus to I-485 at South Boulevard. There are currently 26 stations on the line through Uptown, with plans to add an additional 11 to expand the accessibility of the system.

As the mom of a student at UNCC, I especially appreciate the ability of my child to go explore Uptown using the Lynx without having to drive.

The Ultimate Weekend in Charlotte NC featured by top travel blog, The Common Traveler: NASCAR racetrack in Charlotte
Photo by @twestbrook26 via Twenty20

8.  Basketball, Football, and NASCAR!!!!

No matter which sport you like, you’ll find that Charlotte has a team. Catch a basketball game with the team owned by Michael Jordan – the Hornets. Attend a Carolina Panthers football game (the team is for sale, in case you’d like to purchase it!). Or feel the thunder by attending a true American pass time – NASCAR racing! Days of Thunder and Talladega Nights were both filmed here.

After spending some time in Charlotte, I understand why it makes so many lists. Forbes lists Charlotte #7 on “Best Places for Business and Careers.” U.S. News and World Report lists Charlotte #22 on “Best Places to Live In the U.S.” It also serves as a great starting point for exploring nearby areas, like Shelby or even as a start to the Ridgeline Craft Beverage Trail.

So what are you waiting for to give Charlotte a chance? See the sights. And if you’re interested in moving here, take a look at all the great homes for sale in Charlotte NC.

Happy travels,

Annick, The Common Traveler

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The Ultimate Weekend in Charlotte NC featured by top travel blog, The Common Traveler: All the things that make Charlotte, NC, a great place to live in and visit. #charlotte #queencity

Wondering whether to visit Charlotte, NC? Here are 8 great reasons to add Charlotte to your list of destinations!
Wondering whether to visit Charlotte, NC? Here are 8 great reasons to add Charlotte to your list of destinations!
Wondering whether to visit Charlotte, NC? Here are 8 great reasons to add Charlotte to your list of destinations!