If you’re looking for a weekend getaway in the Southeast of the United States, then Charlotte is a great vacation spot. It’s a metropolitan area that is the second largest city on the Southeast. If you’re a sporting fan, then Charlotte is a must-visit city. I’m going round up some of the most useful information in this ultimate travel guide for Charlotte, NC. I’m going to cover everything from the best time of year to visit to the bars and restaurants that you have to try.
- About Charlotte NC
- When Is The Best Time To Visit Charlotte?
- How To Get To Charlotte
- The Best Places To Stay In Charlotte
- The Best Places To Eat In Charlotte
- The Must-Visit Sites in Charlotte
- When Are You Going to Charlotte?
About Charlotte NC
Charlotte is the home of the NFL team, the Carolina Panthers, and the NBA team, the Charlotte Hornets. It also plays host to the NASCAR All-Star Race and the PGA Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament. The city has a vibrant cultural scene, with a collection of museums to visit.
It is nicknamed ‘The Queen City’ in honour of Charlotte, the Queen Consort of King George III, for whom the city is named after.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Charlotte?
The ideal time to visit Charlotte to get the best weather is between April and early June. You can enjoy pleasant weather without it being too humid. The temperatures in Charlotte can be volatile. It experiences both cold winters and extremely humid summers. Temperatures hit over 90 degrees during July. The least busy time to visit Charlotte is during late October and November. If you’re looking to get away before the holiday season, then Charlotte is a great spot to go to.
How To Get To Charlotte
Getting to Charlotte is a relatively easy process. If you’re planning to drive, you can take the Interstates 77 and 85. If you’re head over from the West Coast, you can travel across Interstate 40.
North Carolina has its own airport – the Charlotte Douglas Internationally Airport – which has 700 daily departures including nonstop flights to over 160 destinations. If you’re coming from overseas and can’t get a direct flight to Charlotte, you can likely get a connecting flight from either the East Coast or West Coast.
With Amtrak, you have three options. If you’re coming from New York, you can take the Carolinian route, and the Piedmont route from Raleigh. The Crescent connects New York and New Orleans, with Charlotte on the route.
You can get a bus from virtually any of the nearby cities, including Richmond and Atlanta. There are services every day with Greyhound buses, as well as cheaper alternatives like Megabus.
If you’re planning to stay within the city, you’re in luck! Charlotte has its own LYNX Blue Line light rail which connects 26 stations. You can get a round trip for less than $5 and easily jump from one part of the city to another. Before you visit, you’ll want to download the CATS Pass app so that you can buy your ticket, as well as to keep track on the bus and rail timetable.
The Best Places To Stay In Charlotte
One of the most popular areas in Charlotte for accommodation is Uptown. You can find everything from Hilton hotels to a Westin. If you’re intending to spend a weekend in Charlotte, then it’s the perfect location. You can see most of the sights on foot, especially the local museums. To help you find the perfect accommodation for you, I’m rounding up five of my top hotel picks for Charlotte.
The Ballantyne is a luxury hotel that offers everything from a spa to tennis courts. It’s the ideal spot to go to unwind and relax. You can sample one of the largest whiskey collections in North Carolina and even indulge in an afternoon tea. The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle around the local area to get you to and from other restaurants and attractions. With The Ballantyne, you can enjoy both indoor and outdoor pools
If you’re visiting for a game at the Bank of America Stadium, or for an event at the Convention Centre, then the Westin is a great hotel to stay in. You can relax in the tranquillity of the hotel rooms that offer Westin’s ‘Heavenly’ beds. The hotel has a fitness studio, several restaurants, a café that serves Starbucks and 24-hour room service. The Westin is also a pet-friendly hotel if you want to bring along your four-legged friend.
For tourists who want the convince of being in the city centre, the Marriott is a great choice of hotel. You’re within walking distance of the Bank of America Stadium, and you can easily jump into an Uber to visit other areas of the city. Their restaurant, Stoke, offers a menu full of Southern cuisine. If you need to work during your trip, you can visit their Event Hub.
With this hotel, you’re as close to the Spectrum Centre as you can get. You also have a Whole Foods just next door. You’ll also be within walking distance of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. If you’re looking for the convenience of somewhere that’s in the centre of the action, then the Embassy Suites are a perfect pick. Your stay includes a free breakfast and complimentary evening reception with free snacks and drinks. You can enjoy views of the Charlotte skyline from the terrace of this hotel while enjoying a glass of your favourite wine.
The Holiday Inn is a budget-friendly option in Uptown Charlotte. You’ll be right in the centre of Charlotte, with the Mint Museum on your doorstep. This hotel is eight miles away from the airport and has the Spectrum Arena as it’s neighbour. If you’re bringing your kids along, then great news! Kids under 18 get to stay for free when sharing a room with a parent.
The Best Places To Eat In Charlotte
Charlotte is a foodie’s paradise.
If you’re visiting Charlotte, then you have to try their barbecue food. You will want to visit Bar-B-Q King which has been around since 1959. It even appeared on ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’ on the Food Network Make sure to order their Bar-B-Que fried chicken. For fans of Texas-style brisket, you need to take a trip to Dickey’s Barbecue Pit. The original store opened in Dallas in 1941, and there are now franchises in over 42 states. Their Texas-style brisket is slow smoked on-site.
There’s no denying that brunch is everyone’s favourite meal of the day. If you’re visiting for a weekend, then you’ll want to indulge in a signature Charlotte brunch. Fahrenheit gives you stunning views of Charlotte from its rooftop patio. Their menu mixes together all your childhood favourites with classic brunch food.
For those with a finer palette, Sophia’s Lounge is a great brunch spot. The cocktail bar is inside the Ivey’s Hotel. It takes it’s inspiration from Queen Charlotte and gives you a royal experience. If you’re taking a trip to Charlotte with your girlfriends, then this is a must-visit. You can experience a touch of European flair with the opulent cocktail menu and small plates.
Charlotte is an area with dozens of breweries on its doorstep. Fans of craft beer will be in their element. The NoDa Brewing Company offers IPAs, craft spiked seltzers and everything in between. They hold regular tours of the brewery, as well as live music. Sugar Creek Brewing Company is located on the lower south side of Charlotte. It creates a unique blend of Belgian-inspired ales that bring together modern taste buds with traditional recipes to create a craft beer that is developing a cult-following.
Some of us prefer wine to craft beer. If you fall into this category, then you also have plenty to explore in Charlotte. The Dilworth Tasting Room has an active social scene and sits in a 1940s style building. You can sit on the private patio or inside their wine bar. You can sample European wine while enjoying a cheese plate or the more savoury options on their menu.
If you want some small plates with your wine, then Corkbuzz Restaurant and Wine Bar is your perfect spot in Charlotte. They run regular offers during the week, including a half-price champagne discount at the weekends.
For tourists with a sweet tooth, you need to visit Amelie’s French Bakery. It has two locations in Charlotte that are open 24/7, meaning you can head there in the small hours of the morning after a night out! Their French inspired pastries and savouries are a hit amongst Charlotte natives.
The Must-Visit Sites in Charlotte
For fans of NASCAR racing, the NASCA Hall of Fame is a must-see attraction. It’s an interactive attraction that gives you hands-on exhibits that honour the icons of NASCAR. You can even take part in a pit crew stimulation. If you have a need for speed and want to get on the track, you can visit the Victory Lane Indoor Karting. It offers a 1/3 mile indoor track, as well as a bar and grill.
You can plan your vacation to coincide with a NASCAR race and visit the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Did you know that 85% of NASCAR race ships are in Charlotte? You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding what souvenirs to bring home.
For NFL games, you can visit the Bank of America Stadium, which is home to the Carolina Panthers. If you’re looking for NBA games, you can visit the Spectrum Centre, which is the hom of the Charlotte Hornets.
Perhaps sports isn’t your thing, and you’re an arts and culture person. Don’t worry, Charlotte has plenty to offer you as well! The McCall Centre for Art and Innovation is in Uptown Charlotte and sits inside a neo-Gothic church. It’s the perfect way to discover new up-and-coming contemporary artists.
If you are looking to spend an afternoon at a museum, visit the Mint Museum Uptown. It is the home of contemporary art, including glass work, jewellery and sculptures. You can expect to find plenty of mixed mediums here. For keen art fans who are likely to want to visit multiple museums, you can purchase the Levine Centre of the Arts Pass. This costs just $20 and gives you access to four museums for 48 hours.
For the outdoor thrill seekers, you can visit the U.S National Whitewater Centre. This fitness centre has all-day programs, classes and runs outdoor events. It sits on 1,300 acres. You can do everything from flat water kayaking to white-water rafting and mountain biking.
No travel guide is complete without putting a spotlight on the shopping facilities on offer. In Charlotte, you can visit the Concord Mills Shopping Mall, which is a Simon Centre. It has over 200 stores and is the biggest outlet and retail destination in North Carolina. You can expect to find classic American brands like Michael Kors, as well as discounts at stores like the Nike Factory Outlet. If you’re after a bargain, you can also visit the Charlotte Premium Outlets. There are over 100 stores on offer, and you can find stores like Under Armor, Coach and UGG.
When Are You Going to Charlotte?
I hope that this travel guide has piqued your interest in visiting Charlotte. It’s a great vacation spot if you want to get away for the weekend or to enjoy a sporting event. The city truly has something to offer everyone, and the food alone is reason enough to visit. If you’re planning your travel itinerary, then I recommend booking three-nights at a hotel in Uptown Charlotte so that you can fully immerse yourself in everything that the city has to offer. The ‘Queen City’ is also an unlikely spot for anyone looking to plan a bachelorette party or trip with your girlfriends. The city is full of references to Queen Charlotte – and Sophia’s Lounge is a must-do experience for any cocktail fan.
Whether you’re a NASCAR fan or someone who enjoys the finer things in life, Charlotte is one city that you have to add to your US travel bucket list.
For other US cities, check out Washington DC Travel guide from an insider