Charlotte is known for its banking industry, professional sports teams, and exciting attractions including the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Nearly riding the border between North and South Carolina, Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina and one of the top 25 largest in the United States. Carrying the name of the “Queen City,” this is a cultural and commercial center of the state. Charlotte is known for its prominence in the banking industry and professional sports, covering a wide range.
What Is Charlotte Known For?
When you step into Charlotte, NC, you’ll likely hear the city’s motto: Charlotte’s got a lot! And, it’s true! With the largest population of any place in the state, Charlotte is a hub of restaurants, venues, and entertainment in the state’s Piedmont region.
Conveniently located between the beautiful Appalachian Mountains and the NC beaches, Charlotte is a great kickoff point for travelers interested in visiting other parts of the state.
The following are some famous things to start your exploration of what Charlotte is known for! So make sure you don’t miss out on what this unique city has to offer.
History, Culture, And Traditions Charlotte Is Famous For
The Queen City
What is Charlotte known for? It’s all in the name! Charlotte takes its name from Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, prominent as queen during the rule of King George the III of Great Britain. When Charlotte NC was incorporated officially in 1768, this was common practice.
Since then, it has become part of the city’s identity and not just through the name. There is a fifteen-foot bronze statue of Queen Charlotte at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. In the statue, Queen Charlotte balances precariously on a ball, blown back as if by one of the planes taking off.
Banking Capital Of The South
If you’re in the financial sector, you might have a different perspective of the city. Charlotte has been recognized as the second-largest financial industry center in the entire country, growing further in recent years. The uptown skyline is an apt reflection of this.
Historically, North Carolina has been a banking center as well, since Bank of America was founded through the North Carolina National Bank merger. The state’s prominence in the banking industry has also brought many other opportunities to the greater Charlotte area. Now, Charlotte is famous for being a hub of the start-up industry in the South.
Lots Of Sports
Charlotte has more than its fair share of professional sports. No matter the season, you’re likely to be able to catch some live sports in this bustling Southern City.
From the Carolina Panthers in the NFL, the Charlotte Hornets in the NBA, the Carolina Hurricanes in the NHL, and the Charlotte FC in MLS, there is literally something for everyone in sports in Charlotte.
It doesn’t even stop there! Charlotte has more sporting options if you open the door to the minor leagues.
The Charlotte Knights baseball games are popular in the warmer months, playing at the outdoor stadium downtown. The Charlotte Checkers offer minor league hockey for fans closer to the downtown center than their professional counterparts, the Hurricanes.
NASCAR Hall Of Fame
If all of those sports weren’t enough, perhaps you’re more of a car racing fan.
One of the famous landmarks in North Carolina is none other than the NASCAR Hall of Fame of course! Located on the edge of uptown Charlotte, this exciting venue provides a unique, interactive experience for visitors.
Since its opening in 2006, the NASCAR Hall of Fame has been part of what Charlotte NC is known for. It’s a modern museum, incorporating elements of tech to educate and entertain visitors with the inner workings of professional car racing and artifacts of the sport.
It also has a NASCAR Hall of Fame gear store, where true fans shouldn’t miss the opportunity to load up on unique race gear!
Districts And Areas Charlotte Is Known For
NoDa, shorthand for North Davidson, is a lively historic, arts and entertainment district that Charlotte NC is famous for. This area is full of galleries, small boutiques, and restaurants. There are plenty of interesting murals decorating the brick walls of the neighborhood, bringing the artsy vibes to life.
If you want to hit some of the Charlotte favorites in the area, try Pura Vida Worldly Art for gifts, clothing, and art from different areas around the world. If you’re more interested in an eclectic bakery, check out Amelie’s, which brings French favorites and funky decorations together.
No matter what you do, make sure that you don’t miss this area.
South End is one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in Charlotte, bustling with young professionals and vibrant businesses. It is a hub of nightlife that Charlotte is known for, with its streets lined with craft breweries, pubs, and restaurants.
If you’re looking for a cute cocktail spot or a laid-back brewery, South End is definitely your spot!
To satisfy your cravings for delicious North Carolina food, some of the best eats in town can be found in this neighborhood. A few of the local favorites include Futo Buta, the Waterman Fish Bar, and Rai Lay. You can even take the light rail from uptown to South End, if you don’t feel like driving.
Freedom Park is one of the most beautiful parks in the city and definitely something Charlotte is known for. This park is nearly 100 acres, located between two historic neighborhoods near downtown, Dilwroth and Myers Park. It features a 7-acre lake, with a walking trail surrounding it, as well as playsets, sports areas, and grassy areas.
One of the most popular features of the park is a coal-burning steam train, permanently installed in a play area of the park. Kids love playing on the train, which is now fully repainted and named the “Freedom Park Express.” It’s a great place to get out and enjoy some fresh air.
Easily the most famous theme park in either of the Carolinas, Carowinds is a fun place to get out in Charlotte, NC! This park, spanning more than 400 acres, is definitely part of what Charlotte is known for.
Here you will find traditional wooden roller coasters, modern steel coasters, and other traditional theme park attractions & games. It is a family-friendly outing for anyone in the area, easily accessible from Interstate 77.
Carowinds is open throughout the year, due to the Carolina’s relatively moderate climate. If you’re around during Halloween or the winter holidays, it can be an especially fun place to enjoy seasonal favorites. Plus, Carowinds sits on the state line between North and South Carolina, giving visitors the chance to take fun photos with one foot (literally) in each state.
U.S. National Whitewater Center
If you think you can’t go whitewater rafting in Charlotte, you’d be wrong! Charlotte is known for being home to the world’s premier outdoor center, the U.S. National Whitewater Center.
With over 1,300 acres to explore and activities ranging from rafting and hiking to climbing and cycling, the Whitewater Center is a destination for outdoor lovers in the area.
If you don’t identify as an outdoors lover, don’t worry; the U.S. Whitewater Center has something for you as well. The beautiful area also hosts events and live music throughout the year, including festivals and concerts. Make sure you check their schedule before your visit to see if you can catch one of these magical events.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens
Interested in getting a little outside of the city? The Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens are an escape that Charlotte is known for. These botanical gardens have over 350 acres of natural beauty for you to explore.
There are 30 acres devoted specifically to gardens of different types and themes. These include a garden for children, a conservatory of tropical plants & orchids, as well as sculptures and fountains throughout the gardens.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens are located on the lakefront in Belmont, NC. The rolling meadows, gardens, and tranquil lake provide an extremely tranquil atmosphere, which is why HGTV ranked it among the top 20 gardens in the US.
If you need a breath of fresh air, this is definitely the place to go while in Charlotte!
Landmarks And Architecture Charlotte Is Famous For
Mint Museum (Uptown & Randolph)
The Mint Museum is so much a part of what Charlotte is known for, and it has two locations! These museums cover modern and contemporary arts, with locations in Uptown and the Randolph neighborhood.
The Randolph location houses pieces on Europe and Africa, arts of the ancient Americas, and various crafts; while the Uptown location specializes in American and contemporary art.
The Mint Museum was actually the first art museum in North Carolina, established in 1936. Since then, it has been a leading cultural institution in the state. With rotating exhibitions and special events, it is certainly part of the lively arts and culture community that Charlotte, NC is famous for.
If you’re wondering, “what food is Charlotte NC known for?” stop by Optimist Hall in downtown and find out! This popular food hall includes several popular restaurants and retailers local to the area. From authentic Italian cuisine at Ava to the southern barbecue on offer at Noble Smoke barbecue, this food hall has plenty of options for different palettes.
This popular destination also houses a brewery, a Chicago-inspired cocktail spot, and several retailers. It makes a great place to spot for a meal, grab a drink, or pick up a gift for someone back home. Make sure you don’t miss out on eating like (and where) the locals do!
Bechtler Museum Of Modern Art
The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is a great option for art lovers visiting the Charlotte area. While the museum is relatively small compared to others around the country, the Bechtler collection houses key pieces from the most important art movements and schools of thought.
Exhibition pieces range from the mid-20th century to after WWII, so there is plenty of variety to explore. The museum is expertly curated and beautifully kept, with eye-catching sculptures outside to catch the attention of passersby.
There are even other cultural events on-site throughout the year, such as film events and jazz nights. If you’re interested in the arts, make sure you carve out some time to check out this gem that Charlotte is famous for.
Discovery Place Science
Discovery Place is an interactive science museum and center, geared towards education and fun! It is one of the leading hands-on science museums in the country and has developed to become part of what Charlotte is known for.
With interesting permanent exhibits, as well as ever-changing rotating exhibits, there is always something new to explore at Discovery Place!
The museum caters to science lovers of all ages, with a sensory room for small children up to full exhibits and an IMAX Dome Theater anyone can enjoy. Throughout the day, the museum conducts live talks and demonstrations that are insightful to attend.
If you’ve got kids in town (or an itch to explore the sciences), Discovery Place is certainly one of the attractions to check out.
An hour to the west of Charlotte (just 32 miles), you can find Crowders Mountain State Park, one of the natural landmarks North Carolina is known for. Crowders Mountain State Park offers hiking trails, camping sites, picnic areas, climbing pitches, and more! You can catch phenomenal views of the Blue Ridge Mountains when trekking around this area.
The most popular hike in the park is the Pinnacle Trail. This is a 4.2-mile out-and-back trail that takes you to a beautiful outlook point on the mountain. That said it does involve an uphill ascend, so make sure you’re well-fueled before you take on the Pinnacle trail.
Discovering More Things Charlotte Is Known For
Although the city’s name reflects its royal heritage, modern-day Charlotte has plenty of activities to offer and fun neighborhoods to explore. As the city sits perfectly between the mountains and the ocean, this is a great way-station if you’re trying to get to other beautiful escapes and historic sites in North Carolina.
But even if you are planning a different vacation, make sure you plan a few days to get to know Charlotte! From the local restaurants, outdoor escapes, and fun neighborhoods, you can discover your own unique answer to the question “what is Charlotte known for?”