Charlotte is located in Mecklenburg County, part of the Piedmont region of the American state of North Carolina. Situated alongside the Catawba River and bordering the state of South Carolina, the geography that Charlotte finds itself in makes for the perfect midpoint between mountains and coastal lowlands.
Charlotte is a cultural and historic powerhouse. Home to America’s first gold rush, the city has a rich history that’s exemplified by its many museums and art exhibits, which complement its variety of outdoor amenities.
In the rest of the article, we’re going to explore in some detail Charlotte’s people, history, reputation, and the places in Charlotte that you can visit and stay in.
Who Are the People of Charlotte?
Charlotteans number at 874 579, with over two and a half million people living in the greater Charlotte metro area. Charlotte is the most populous city in the state of North Carolina and 16th most populous in the United States.
The first settlers of the standing city were of Northern Irish origin and took with them their Presbyterian religion. This faith was instrumental in its foundation, but it has also been supplemented with a diverse range of churches since then.
Equally diverse are Charlotte’s ethnic roots. Currently similar to White and Black, the city has a growing Hispanic community, measuring at over 16% at the last census. No ethnic group in Charlotte makes up the majority of the population.
What is the History of Charlotte?
The first European settlement of Charlotte occurred in 1755, succeeding in incorporating 13 years later. The early 1800s saw the first gold rush in the United States, which was centered around the Charlotte area following the discovery of a 17 pound rock with a very high gold content.
The city experienced multiple population booms in the 20th century. One of the big ones was around the First World War, when the United States military established infrastructure in Charlotte. Another big growth spurt was in the 70s, when the city’s banking industry became a truly national contender and the main challenger to New York City’s dominance in the sphere.
What is Charlotte Known For?
Charlotte is America’s second most important city for banking, being behind only New York City. Bank of America was formed through a merger involving the North Carolina National Bank, and it’s this corporate move that led to BoA’s headquarters’ location in Charlotte.
When Charlotte-based Wachovia was acquired by Wells Fargo, the Californian bank used this new infrastructure to place their East Coast headquarters in Charlotte. Truist Financial, the tenth largest bank in the United States, is also headquartered in Charlotte.
Where Should a Visitor to Charlotte Go?
The attractions in Charlotte are as diverse as its population. The arts and culture scene has both public artworks and museums to suit a variety of interests, including the famous NASCAR Hall of Fame, and the geography of the area lends itself to both adventures and fine dining.
NASCAR Hall of Fame
If you have an interest in NASCAR, Charlotte is an almost mandatory pilgrimage. The museum has a number of attractions, including a racing simulator that gives you a taste of what it’s like to be a NASCAR driver and theaters where you can watch races on the big screen.
Arts and Culture
Charlotte has a network of public art exhibits, ranging from sculptures to more subtle artistic displays. These artworks range from traditional human sculptures, like those at Independence Square, to exhibits of modern art, like the colossal Ascendus at the airport, to more abstract pieces, like The Writer’s Desk, which you can find uptown.
If you’re interested in a bit more of an in depth look, Charlotte has a range of museums to intrigue any visitor. The Mint Museums take their heritage from the old Charlotte Mint that opened after the gold rush in the region, but now they offer a collection of art in a variety of media that exemplifies the city’s equally vibrant nature.
Whether you like biking, jogging or simply walking to take in the scenery, Charlotte has a host of trails to match your needs. The beauty of these trails is that a lot of them are within the city limits, including the Skyline Trail, which winds through uptown, and the 49ers Trail, which connects the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with the heart of the city.
If you’d prefer to go for a less urban environment, Lake Norman, lying just to the north of Charlotte, is a great way to spend a day around some water in a more laid back setting. If you fancy something even wilder and don’t mind the trip, Crowders Mountain State Park is less than an hour’s drive from Charlotte and offers scenic hikes of exemplary beauty.
Dining and Drinking
Charlotte’s diverse nature lays the foundation of the broad range of eating establishments it offers. Famed for its sushi bars and Thai restaurants, the Asian cuisine that Charlotte offers is just one example of the global menu you can find in the city.
If you want something more quintessentially local, Charlotte has a host of breweries, each offering a beer that’s unique to the city. For something a bit more classy, Charlotte is surrounded by a variety of vineyards, and you can sample these local wines at many establishments in the city.
Where Can a Visitor Stay in Charlotte?
The plurality of places to stay in Charlotte are situated uptown, but even those make up only one sixth of the city’s hotels. With options including the classic hotel arrangement, temporary accommodations that will make you feel like a local, resorts to bathe you in luxury and immerse you in the atmosphere you choose, and quaint B;Bs, you’ll always find something to meet your needs.
With Charlotte’s status as both a secret banking powerhouse and a city of exceptional historical significance, it’s definitely a place to visit for anyone who enjoys a bit of cultural tourism to go with their outdoor adventures.