Located in the southern Piedmont region of North Carolina, Charlotte is known as the Wall St. of the South with numerous banks and other companies headquartered in North Carolina's largest city. Although Charlotte isn't always thought of as a vacation destination, there is an amazing variety of sights to see and a wide range of activities here, with sports at the forefront.
Sports are at the forefront of entertainment here in Charlotte. Carolina Panthers football, Charlotte Bobcats basketball, Charlotte Knights minor league baseball, and NASCAR racing at Lowe's Motor Speedway offer enough events for any sports fan. In addition to large spectator sports, there are over 50 golf courses in the county and hundreds within a relatively short drive, most of which being very good quality courses. Outdoor recreation opportunities abound here and include nearby Lake Norman, the U.S. National Whitewater Center which offers world-class whitewater rafting in the largest artificial whitewater river in the world, and an abundance of city and county parks.
Begin a tour of the sights at Center City to view the skyscraper homes of large national corporations. Take your choice of an array of art and history museums including Levine Museum of the New South, Mint Museum of Art and Mint Museum of Craft & Design, with collections of ceramics, glass and wood from around the world.
Charlotte Nature Museum focuses on animals and plants of the Piedmont region while its sister museum, Discovery Place, is an interactive science museum which frequently holds amazing exhibits that are not to be missed. Historic sites around Charlotte include the Fourth Ward, a historic neighborhood of 19th century and early 20th century homes and historic Latta Plantation in nearby Huntersville.
The Charlotte area is home, naturally, to several sports museums including Carolina Boxing Hall of Fame, North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame, Memory Lane Motorsports and Historic Automotive Museum, Dale Earnhardt Inc. Showroom, and the upcoming NASCAR Hall of Fame which is scheduled to open in 2010.
Accommodations in Charlotte are mostly geared to business travelers but weekend rates can be especially attractive because of this. From chain motel/hotels to the Hilton Charlotte or Omni Charlotte Hotel, options are many.
Dining is also varied with options ranging from the extremely nice to the casual local restaurant. Try The Open Kitchen downtown for local fanfare or Zebra's in the SouthPark area for something more upscale. Nightlife in Charlotte is awesome and growing quickly. Options include coffeehouses and Irish pubs, to Carolina beach music at O'Hara's or ultra-hip, modern and progressive night-clubs like Whisky River and Suite.
Charlotte is located in south central North Carolina, about three hours southwest of Raleigh, NC off I-77 and I-85.