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143 miles SW of Raleigh; 91 miles S of Winston-Salem
In the past decade or so, Charlotte has been sprouting skyscrapers, including the 40-story, trapezoidal steel-and-glass tower of the Bank of America Plaza and the stunning 46-story Hearst Tower, which was completed in 2002. The city has attracted and taken to heart a professional football team -- the Carolina Panthers -- that was good enough to get to the Super Bowl in 2004 and nearly pull off an upset against the favorite, the New England Patriots. Suburban districts have mushroomed, with landscaped housing developments and enormous shopping malls springing up in every direction. This is the New South, built squarely on the foundation of the Old South.
The largest city in the Piedmont, Charlotte was named for George III's wife, Queen Charlotte. Evidently, however, its residents didn't take their royal affiliation too seriously. When Lord Cornwallis occupied the town briefly in 1780, he was so annoyed by patriot activities that he called it a "hornet's nest," a name that has been proudly incorporated into the city seal.
Indeed, more than a year before the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia, the Mecklenburg Declaration, proclaiming independence from Britain, was signed in Charlotte on May 20, 1775. The Captain James Jack monument (211 W. Trade St.) is a memorial to the man who carried the document on horseback to Philadelphia and the Continental Congress. According to Charlotte's citizens, Thomas Jefferson used their declaration as a model for the one that he wrote.
In 1865, Confederate president Jefferson Davis convened his last full cabinet meeting here. After the Confederacy fell and the local boys came home from war, the city set out on a course that eventually led it to a position of industrial leadership in the South. The Catawba River provided water power for the rapid development of manufacturing plants and textile mills. Today these mills and factories, bowing to foreign competition, have been closing at an alarming rate.
For years, the Charlotte region was also the nation's major gold producer. A branch of the U.S. Mint was located here from 1837 to 1913. The exquisite 1835 mint building, designed by William Strickland, is now part of the Mint Museum, which houses one of the southern Atlantic region's major art collections.
Today the city is booming, and business is just fine, thank you very much. The banking, insurance, and transportation industries keep feeding the economy. With all this growth, a new generation of Charlotteans is champing at the bit for recognition that their city has hit the big time. There's not much here for the casual tourist, but business travelers are certainly coming to town in droves.
With American Airlines flights to Charlotte, an unforgettable trip to the Queen City is just a few clicks away. Plus, we've made it easy to plan your stay with tips on things to do in Charlotte, from enjoying the beautiful outdoor setting (yes, playing golf counts) to exploring first-class museums.
Many activities in Charlotte take advantage of the city's ideal North Carolina location, which affords impossibly blue skies and more moderate summers than many other southern towns. Of course, there are multiple options for golfers. Charlotte boasts more than 40 public courses, each with dramatic settings. The Charles T. Myers Golf Course features bent-grass greens, scenic views and abundant wildlife. Once you see Renaissance Park Golf Course, you'll marvel that this beautiful land was once destined to become a landfill. Thankfully, today it features verdant fairways and challenging holes (including picturesque water hazards). And if you're traveling with kids, check out Paradise Valley Golf Course, which is a pitch-and-putt course that also features a fun miniature golf course that pays homage to the area's 19th-century gold rush.
If you're looking for outdoor things to do in Charlotte that get your adrenaline pumping, visit the U.S. National Whitewater Center. It's home to the world's largest man-made whitewater river! Choose to go whitewater rafting, flatwater kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding or whitewater kayaking. Landlubbers have options, too: mountain biking, hiking the trail system, rock climbing or touring the canopy on a zip line.
Did you know the nickname Queen City comes from the fact that the city was named in honor of Queen Charlotte, the wife of England's King George III? The city was founded in 1769, so it's full of history. One of our other favorite activities in Charlotte is discovering its rich heritage. At the Charlotte Museum of History, you can learn about the city's beginnings and view over 13,000 artifacts. The Mint Museum of Craft + Design in Uptown features studio craft and design in glass, metal, jewelry, furniture, wood and clay. Meanwhile, the Mint Museum Randolph is housed in the original branch of the United States Mint in Charlotte's historic Eastover neighborhood. It was the first art museum in North Carolina and its collections include artifacts from the ancient Americas along with art from Europe, Africa and Asia. And don't miss the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, which features a collection that was privately held by the Bechtler family of Switzerland. You'll be able to see works by artists including Joan Miro, Nicolas de Stael, Le Corbusier, Victor Vasarely and Pablo Picasso.
Charlotte holds many attractions for everyone, from thrill seekers to art enthusiasts. American Airlines makes it easy to fly to Charlotte so you can experience it all. Browse flights and start making plans to visit today!
|National Poetry Slam||Jun 2013 (annual)||Charlotte|
|Festival in the Park||Sep 2013 (annual)||Freedom Park|
|Charlotte Oktoberfest||Sep 2013 (annual)||Metrolina Expo Trade Centre|
|NFL: Carolina Panthers||Sep - Dec 2013 (annual)||Bank Of America Stadium|
|NBA: Charlotte Bobcats||Oct 2013 - Apr 2014 (annual)||Time Warner Cable Arena|
|Charlotte Wine and Food Weekend||Apr 2014 (annual)||Charlotte|
|Wells Fargo Championship||Apr - May 2014 (annual)||Quail Hollow Club|
|Charlotte Symphony Orchestra||Sep 2013 - May 2014 (annual)||Belk Theater of the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center|
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