“People are much more friendly and polite than they were in NYC,” says reader Jeebs, one of the biggest contributors to our thread of Charlotte, NC travel tips. That might be a low bar, but friendly Charlotte readers (including some redditors from /r/Charlotte) left over 100 comments listing the best of their city. Here are their best tips.
Each Monday on Hack Your City, we ask readers for your best tips on a city: driving tips, restaurant recs, things to do, and any other advice for visitors and locals. Then on Thursday, we present the best comments. We’re working our way around the U.S. and around the globe.
“Our metropolitan area is called Uptown, not Downtown. (It’s a thing from the 80s trying to make it sound fancier.)”—Jonathan Carpenter“Prepare to do a lot of driving. Charlotte has a lot to offer but it’s so sprawled out that it’s difficult to get to everything. Pick up a Creative Loafing Paper first chance you have to get an idea of the goings on while you’re in the area. In preparation for a trip, check out their 2017 ‘Best of’ Issue for some good ideas. I can tell you the critics and readers are both on point for the majority of the picks.”—Th3DudeAbides“The 485 loop is referred to the ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ as well as directionally. Just remember that the “inner” loop is the one going clockwise and the ‘outer’ is counter clockwise and you should be set.”—AtomicSnowman“Epicentre [the shopping mall] is very overrated unless you really want to party/club hard. If I were uptown I’d stick around the Latta Arcade area which is close to some cool spots.”—elbbubria2“Avoid Concord Mills like the black plague when it’s NASCAR season. That area gets overcrowded very quickly.”—I-am-Solid-Snake“I stay away from Uptown (bros), South End (yuppies), and University (woo girls). But as always, there are diamonds in each area if you know where to look.”—Amanda“If you are flying in/out of town, be sure to return to the airport early enough to enjoy the rocking chairs on the concourse. The most comfortable airport I’ve ever had a layover in.”—Cheryl K“Be careful about street names changing several times, and at seemingly arbitrary points.”—Zach“The light rail is your best transportation friend when visiting. Start down at New Bern Station to have direct access to Hyde Brewing, Suffolk Punch, Triple C Brewing, Lenny Boy Brewing, and Sycamore Brewing.”—ArchitectQueenBitch
Things to Do
“Lake Norman is 30 minutes outside of Charlotte and is a great spot for boating but is very popular/oversaturated. Lake Wylie might be about the same or a little further out and is more ideal for kayaking and canoeing. VBGB is a fun spot for volleyball and great beer. Crowders Mountain is 45 minutes outside of Charlotte and is a great spot for a ~2 mile or ~4 mile hike, and a solid view.”—Jeebs“Charlotte is known for the Whitewater Center. Rock climbing (both free and attached), mountain biking, ropes courses, ziplining and white water rafting and kayaking are all available and it’s got a nice walking course. They also have events like live music and movie screenings during the summer and have two restaurants.”—haoleje“Levine Museum of the New South is a must do to learning experience about how the old South became the new South. An off-the-beaten-path gem is the Carolina Aviation Museum near the airport. It has the actual 1549 plane that went down in the Hudson.”—rb314636“The Discovery Science Museum is a cool spot for families with kids, and it’s in the heart of Uptown. Plenty of good food within walking distance.”—VT MikeO“Sleepy Poet Antique Mall, Paper Skyscraper, and Buffalo Exchange if you like to shop/like kitschy shit.”—GobyCow“Carowinds, Karting, Discovery Place and other museums if you have kids.”—cosmicspeed
“The Bechtler Museum has one of the best, private modern art collections in the SE. Warhol created portraits of the Bechtler family which hang in the lobby – at least they were there the last time I attended. Plus, the Niki de Saint Phalle Firebird sculpture out front is pretty distinctive. Research their family, very interesting.”—jaygee“The Charlotte Knight’s stadium has a fantastic selection of local breweries and very good food options, with a packed house most games. The view of the city skyline from the ballpark is pretty epic as well.”—ArchitectQueenBitch“We have a number of social sports, including LGBT-oriented (Stonewall Bowling/Kickball/Dodgeball/Volleyball, Charlotte Royals Rugby).”—haoleje“The Little Sugar Creek Greenway is a beautiful system for a walk or a jog. There is a nature museum in the woods in Freedom Park, which the Greenway runs through.”—Aaron B“Drive through the Lazy 5 Ranch and get a chance to feed the animals. Then take some time out to spend with the birds of prey at the Charlotte Raptor Center.”—Jeff“There’s an aviation museum, a large theme park including the 8th fastest roller coaster in the world (95 mph), an NBA team, and the US National Whitewater Center.”—The Waco Kid“While the city has had an influx of arcade bar openings (Lucky’s, Palmer Street, etc.), the only one that matters is Abari.”—Amanda“Go to Salud for hip hop yoga, waffle sammiches, and great beer.”—Senorcoconuts“The Rosedale Plantation is fun to see and you might see a ghost! The Charlotte Paranormal Society offers ghost tours of it in addition to the regular visits.”—haoleje
Where to Eat
“Soul Gastrolounge (fusion), Carpe Diem (upscale date spot), Midwood Smokehouse (BBQ), Kindred (if you can get to Davidson – constantly gets awards), Bonterra (more upscale, 300+ different kinds of wine), Niko Sushi (young hip sushi place) all great options. Beef and Bottle is a hole in the wall steakhouse that is incredible.”—Jeebs“Go to Gastonia, and hit up Kyle Fletcher’s BBQ, Blacks BBQ, and get you a couple containers of RO’s to bring home with ya.”—TeamplayerTimothy!“It’s not worth going to Charlotte if you don’t eat at BBQ King at least once. Bill Spoon’s is a distant second.”—cmoak“Price’s Chicken Coop (1614 Camden Road) is great fried chicken. Bring cash because they don’t take cards. Also check out Mr. K’s (2107 South Blvd.) for a great burger and milkshake.”—GM3711“There’s a great British pub called Big Ben just south of uptown that serves a real shepherd’s pie with lamb (just tell them no cheese).”—AtomicSnowman“The Shepherd’s pie at Tyber Creek, across the South from Big Ben, is way better, and also made with lamb.”—GregGuy“Lupie’s Cafe is amazing. Go on Thursday for some chicken & dumplings or any other day of the week for a meat and three or some world-famous chili.”—Amanda“Go to Seoul Food! Korean inspired BBQ—not Korean BBQ. If you want Korean BBQ, go to their new restaurant next door, Let’s Meat. All you can eat Korean BBQ.”—allen13uga
Where to Drink
“Breweries are like bars here. The thing to do is day drink on the weekends and hop around to different breweries. Breweries are also dog heaven!”—allen13uga“Old Mecklenburg, (most popular), Wooden Robot, and Sycamore (most popular) are all great breweries to check out. I’ve also heard good things about Triple-C and Unkown Brewery. Old Meck feels like a beer garden you would see in Munich.”—Jeebs“Spend an afternoon in South End walking to the various breweries. Be sure not to miss Wooden Robot. Sycamore is great, but the vibe can be a little frat-house. Great dining options in that area as well, with Seoul Food being a favorite.”—JJR“Grab a rental bicycle (B-Cycle for docked bikes; Ofo, Lime, Spin for dockless rental bikes) and doing a self-guided brewery tour is a great way to see any of the urban neighborhoods. If you just want to sit in one place with all the options, Craft (in Southend), Helles and Dunkel (Southend) or Flight (in uptown) are great.”—haoleje“Charlotte is also very LGBT friendly. We have a number of bars serving the LGBT community: 316, Boulevard 1820, Chasers (drag and strippers), Sidelines (sports bar), Argon (dance club), Woodshed (leather), Scorpio’s, and more. But most places in Charlotte are so LGBT-friendly that the gay bar is going away.”—haoleje“Hoppin’ is a cool concept bar where the walls are lined with taps and you can pour your own beer by scanning a bracelet.”—allen13uga
Where to Coffee
“Amelie’s French Bakery, NoDa location: Open 24/7/365 in the artsy district, this coffee shop and bakery has room after quirky room filled with funky decor and varied furniture for individuals and small groups to relax, hang out, or get some work done. They have baked goods and sandwiches and whatnot… the real can’t-miss standout is their caramel covered brownies.”—Saralinda“Cuplux offers an amazing sour cherry espresso on tap in the summer.”—Amanda
Getting Out of Town
“I recommend driving 15 miles north of the city to the small Lake Norman towns (Davidson, Cornelius and Huntersville). Tons of water sports, beautiful parks and great restaurants (Hello, Sailor and Kindred to just name two favorites). Hello, Sailor should open their tiki bar on the lake soon too.”—TheBobCat1“Asheville and the other towns around the Blue Ridge parkway if you like mountains, trees, and beer. The Triangle area (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill—‘Raleigh-Durham’ is not a city) for the arts, food, and beer. The Outer Banks for beaches and beer.”—Andy Simmons
And that’s it! Read more tips in the original thread, leave your own below, and come back Monday when we’re going to Ireland.