The Queen City of North Carolina, Charlotte has been the benefactor of a royal facelift of late. Once sleepy, sprawling suburbia, it sat back with true Southern patience and observed massive reconstruction and unprecedented expansion unroll at its feet.
Charlotte skyline © John Ashley
The city vies for the attention of local and international tourists alike. The midpoint between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic, Charlotte enjoys a temperate climate best spent across the region's rolling green hills.
The centre of Charlotte divides into many districts, each with their own personality. Uptown is home to many museums, theatres, and nightclubs amongst Fortune 500 company buildings, while North Davidson Street, known as NoDa, is an eclectic and artistic area of funky restaurants, shops, and art galleries.
South End is a gentrified mill district with hip, upmarket entertainment and attractions. The 'old money' mansions of Myers Park are worth a drive to see, while University City, as the name suggests, is home to many students and a few shopping malls.
There are plenty of parkland and pedestrian thoroughfares, while an extensive array of shopping and dining options are great for retail therapy. The refurbished urban core of Charlotte's city centre has created a well-nourished nightlife network, and even peripheral neighbourhoods are alive with plenty to do and see.
Charlotte's not-to-be-missed cultural, entertainment, sporting, and historical mainstays make it a great destination for families, young professionals, and pensioners. A large student population keeps things youthful and fun, balancing out the historic charm of the city.