Eight Uniquely Charlotte Experiences
Dynamic, evolving and energetic are three words that could be used to describe Charlotte, N.C. The Queen City offers visitors plenty of choices when it comes to arts, culinary, adventures and history. However, there are some experiences that should be on everyone’s list.
Whether you are coming in for a full weekend or half of that time, here are eight uniquely Charlotte experiences that shouldn’t be missed.
1. It’s not too often that you have the opportunity to overnight in a former mansion. Tucked away in Myers Park neighborhood is Duke Mansion, a historic 20-room boutique inn and meeting place. Built in 1915, it is considered to be one of the finest examples of Colonial Revival architecture. However, in 1919, the home's new owner, James B. "Buck" Duke, founder of The American Tobacco Company and Duke Power Company, increased the size to 32,000-square feet (its current size today) and expanded the grounds to 14-acres (it's now 4.5-acres.) Even though the property was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, the "Grand Dame of Myers Parks” faced some tumultuous times before it opened as a boutique inn in 1998.
Visit the second floor not only to enjoy complimentary coffee/tea/water and perhaps some cookies but also to learn more about Duke Mansion’s history. In the evening or after enjoying the inn’s full breakfast, take a leisurely stroll through the grounds to view the various gardens.
2. Charlotte is home to the only USDA certified micro-organic brewery in the state that also happens to be the only company in the Southeast producing certified organic kombucha. Head to Lenny Boy Brewing Company’s tap room to sample kombucha and organic beers. Owner Townes Mozer entered the Charlotte brewing scene in 2011 with kombucha, a non-alcoholic fermented beverage with health benefits. Two years later, he expanded to include craft beer. Today, Lenny Boy Brewing Company produces six kombucha flavors along with six organic beers and around three wild ales.
3. Levine Museum of the New South focuses on the South, post-civil war to present. The museum’s main exhibit, Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers: Reinventing Charlotte and the Carolina Piedmont in the New South details the changes and the continued growth the region as well as North Carolina has experienced. However, don’t think this is a walk-through-and-look-at-exhibits type of museum. You can be part of the experience if you chose. For example as you walk down main street, stop in an early Belk store, or take a seat on a stool at the counter and listen to those who participated in sit-ins. The museum also hosts traveling exhibits as well as talks and other events.
4. The 7th Street Public Market is one of those finds that you’ll be talking about for a while and wish you had something like it where you live. The indoor market features various food and food-related items. Chat up purveyors as you pop in for a cup of from Not Just Coffee and a treat from either Local Loaf: Bakery & Restaurant or Cloud 9 Confections. Soak in the local culture when you grab lunch at either Hazelnuts Crêperie or Pure Pizza and then go shopping to find something to try out at home.
5. Follow along Billy Graham's transformation from a farm boy to America’s Pastor in “A Journey of Faith” at Billy Graham Library. Multi-media exhibits highlight pivotal moments in Graham’s life. Take your time to view different memorabilia like the Louis Zamperini display, a letter from U2 lead singer Bono, and Graham’s honorary knighthood medallion. Afterward peruse the bookstore or enjoy a quick bite at Graham Brothers Dairy Bar. The 20-acre site also includes the Graham Family Homeplace that is open for tour as well. Take a break and explore the peaceful Memorial Garden.
6. With a culinary scene as impressive as Charlotte’s, you aren’t at a loss for a good meal. However, if you want to have an unforgettable meal, make reservations for Halcyon, Flavors from the Earth. Located in the Mint Museum Uptown, the restaurant exudes a chic-yet-casual atmosphere with its artisan touches that is more relaxing than intimidating. Take in the view offered from the floor-to-ceiling windows as you enjoy a dish or two off the seasonal menu.
7. Even if you don’t consider yourself a NASCAR fan, don’t think the NASCAR Hall of Fame won't hold your interest. There are plenty of interactive exhibits to engage in. For instance, you can call a race, rev an engine and check parts, or walk through the Transporter simulator. The hall itself explores the history and heritage of the race through artifacts, exhibits and videos.
8. Uptown Charlotte is filled with details that make it special. There is The Green, a whimsical park featuring sculptures, literary touches and more. Art is a huge part of the city and in Uptown you can go on a self-guided walk to see the different sculptures/outdoor art. Another interesting feature is the Charlotte Liberty Walk. The path highlights 15 of the city's Revolutionary War sites with informative markers.
The Firebird by Niki de Saint Phalle
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
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