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Charlotte - Orientation

Getting Around, Basic Info,...

Charlotte is North Carolina's largest metro area and enjoys quite a few distinct neighborhoods and districts with their own vibes and attractions to offer visitors. Take a minute to read through the tabs below and gain a better idea of Charlotte's layout and what is offered where.

Overview

Charlotte, being the largest metro area in the Carolinas, reflects the urban growth tendencies of the late 20th Century when it saw its rapid growth. Urban sprawl is easily noticed in Charlotte, however, the city differentiates itself from its other large neighbors within the South by enjoying a very dense urban nucleus within the Uptown area. Because of this, the center of the city draws the largest numbers of tourists and business travelers, however attractions and entertainment exist throughout the area and do not disappoint.

Within the I-485 belt-line being built that will encircle all of Charlotte exists nearly a dozen unique areas or districts offering different options in entertainment and activities. Just outside of the belt-line exists other amazing options such as the U.S. National Whitewater Center, nearby Lake Norman and the racing complex at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Charlotte Districts

Uptown
This is the nucleus of Charlotte and the heart that exudes the city's pulse. Uptown is the central district and home to large corporations and city-life. The district is home to several Fortune 500 companies and enjoys the shopping, fine dining, museums, parks, and hip nightlife of a modern day big-business city center. The area around Tryon St. is the main drag with most attractions within walking distance. Panthers games, Bobcats games and special events hosted Uptown bring quite a few people to the area and create an electric buzz that gives the area a real big-city feel.

NoDa
NoDa, short for North Davidson St., is one of the more laid back and eclectic neighborhoods of Charlotte. NoDa, also known as the Historic Arts District, is only two miles north of the Uptown district. The area sports many old brick buildings and traditional mill houses from the early to mid-1900s as well as numerous art galleries and several other unique shops and restaurants including The Dog Bar, where you can bring your dog to socialize and enjoy a drink. There is a "gallery crawl" held the first and third Friday of the warmer months that attract many visitors to the area.

South End
The South End district of Charlotte is currently enjoying a new growth and burst of lively energy. The trolley and light rail systems installed within Charlotte have this small neighborhood bustling with hip, semi-upscale entertainment and attractions. The area is probably the most children and family friendly section of Charlotte as it offers ice cream shops, a trolley museum and several stores geared for kids. Also becoming more prominent in the are are design influenced shops and galleries. The area also features a "gallery crawl," much like the NoDa district.

Plaza-Midwood
Paralleling the NoDa and South End districts in several ways, Plaza-Midwood is a very locally focused area and a little more rough around the edges comparatively speaking. The neighborhood is a very lively and fun substitute for the upscale scene of Uptown. Within the area exists a somewhat gritty feel and sense of rebellion against the refined feeling of new-age development.

Myers Park
This area of Charlotte is traditionally where the prominent families of the downtown Charlotte area call home. Myers Park is where one would find beautiful tree lined streets and large beautiful homes. The area is perfect for a casual driving tour or a lazy day in Freedom Park. If you're not familiar with the area, have a map nearby as this neighborhood has some interesting road layouts and intersections.

Dilworth
As Charlotte's first suburb accessible by streetcar, Dilworth has traditionally been an attractive neighborhood to call home and still carries that distinction today. As the times have changed, Dilworth has grown into an upscale neighborhood with many classy dining options and local businesses. The area is also a decent option to enjoy an afternoon stroll to enjoy the charm of a Southern city.

SouthPark
The SouthPark district in south-central Charlotte is where some of the city's most upscale dining options and attractions exist. The district is the area's second-largest business district SouthPark and possesses a high-class feel. Enjoy a first-class steak at Del Frisco's or a day of shopping at the SouthPark Mall.

Elizabeth
This neighborhood just outside of Uptown transitions between the elegance of Myer's Park and the old-age feel of Plaza-Midwood. Containing both tree-lined streets and residential areas as well as vibrant commercial blocks, the area is currently growing and becoming a much more visited area.

University City
The University area has experienced dramatic growth since the early 90s and is focused on the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The area is located on the northeast fringe of the city and nearly merges with nearby Concord. University City can be considered its own "downtown" district and offers a lot in the areas of nightlife, lodging, dining, and other entertainment options to reflect the large student body living in the area. Hang out and enjoy a concert at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater or cruise over and attend a racing event at nearby Lowe's Motor Speedway.

East Charlotte
The area of East Charlotte represents the largest district in the area. The area contains many immigrants and is mostly a middle- to lower-class area. Crime here has become a problem within the last decade and casts a bad image on the area. However, in positive light, the area is home to the most diverse choices of ethnic foods and cultural development.

Ballantyne
This district is Charlotte's newest development and is located near the southern edge of the city. The area is sprawling in nature and possesses upscale development projects with shopping, dining, large hotels and corporate buildings, and a list of distinguished residents. The area really doesn't offer much in terms of tourism destinations other than a world class country club and golf course and upscale shopping and dining, most of which will be found around the intersection of Johnston Rd. and Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.

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