Uptown is the central business district of Charlotte. It is home to most of the city's major institutions, as well as being the historic core. It is also the geographic center of Charlotte, with the center point of the city at the intersection of Trade and Tryon Streets.
Technically part of Uptown, the four Wards were the original political divisions of the city. The axis that determines their boundaries is located along Trade and Tryon St., but few people consider the canyon of skyscrapers at the center of the city to really be identifiable as part of the Wards. Each Ward has its own distinct personality:
- First Ward -- Very heavily residential, but beginning to feed commercially off ambitious projects such as the light rail and arena. This area was almost entirely public housing for several decades, but was redeveloped with great success as a mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhood. Now it is a vibrant and well-kept neighborhood that seems quaint against the backdrop of skyscrapers nearby, and its attractiveness is verified by several major residential developments in the near future.
- Second Ward -- Currently the city's government center, this area was the victim of a short-sighted urban renewal project in the 1960s. Previously, it had been the Brooklyn neighborhood: a largely impoverished but self-sufficient African-American district that was deemed unsightly and dangerous by city planners. Today, Second Ward is by far the most lifeless quarter of Uptown after working hours, as government workers disperse quickly and head to other parts of the city to live and play. A good place to find parking at night, but a bit of a social vacuum that can be a bit isolated.
- Third Ward -- Unfortunately, much of Third Ward was lost to the decline of industry in the center city, but what is left still largely reflects a very blue-collar industrial heritage. Bank of America Stadium (home of the Panthers) is the Ward's most recognizable symbol, though a new park and a proposed baseball stadium have provided good reason to believe that this may be a major center of growth in coming years. Third Ward's largest current development is the gleaming Gateway Village, home to many offices and the Johnson and Wales University campus. Straddling W. Trade St. between Third and Fourth Wards, Gateway Village is one of the city's most bustling areas during the daytime.
- Fourth Ward -- The best-preserved part of Uptown, Fourth Ward is host to Charlotte's only remaining Queen Anne architecture. Shady streets and brick sidewalks make for some of the city's best walking, and the homes in this district are the object of envy. Fourth Ward Park is at the center of the neighborhood, and is a common ground for all kinds of city-dwellers. Several major condo projects have been proposed for this area, which will further densify it in the near future.
Almost all visitors arrive by car. Though Uptown is easily walkable and bike-friendly in most places, the I-277 loop makes travel into and out of the district difficult for anything other than auto traffic. There is also a brand new 10 mile stretch of the city's first leg of light rail. The LYNX light rail has already exceeded it's ridership expectations in its first year by thousands per day.
The largest artery in the area is I-77, which joins with I-277 to circle the city center. Most of the time these highways flow quickly; however, it is worth keeping an eye out for construction alerts. Roadwork, or even the most minor of accidents, can bring traffic to a crawl on the interstate. NC Highway 74 also forms part of the big loop; the eight-lane freeway becomes Independence Blvd. to the east and Wilkinson Blvd. to the west.
The city's Greyhound bus station is located on Trade St. near the edge of Uptown. It is a very direct, convenient walk from the center of the city.
Parking is usually abundant in the center city, though it has become something of an issue during large events that overload the area with cars. Visitors will immediately notice the large number of surface lots at the edges of Uptown, which makes finding a parking space relatively easy. However, these lots can be somewhat expensive; their prices will reflect their proximity to Tryon St. Savvy travelers can save money by parking in the cheaper lots ($3 near 277) and using a Gold Rush trolley to take a free trip to the attractions of their choice.
Parking decks are also available in most of the highrises near the center of Uptown. However, they are usually much more expensive than lots and often reserve spaces for regular visitors. If you are interested in taking panoramic photos, park on the top of the 10-story Seventh Street Station parking deck for an open-air view of the city and surrounding areas (but do it quickly, or security guards will shoo you away).
There are curbside parking meters along most streets inside the Loop, which are usually much less expensive than using a lot or deck, and are free on the weekend. However, these meters are usually deactivated during high-traffic hours. It is worth an attempt at finding a meter, especially if you are only making a brief stop.
Uptown Charlotte is very dense, and almost all attractions in this part of town are easily reached by walking. Remember that, as in the rest of the USA, traffic will approach from the left on a two-way street. Drivers are generally polite to pedestrians; with this in mind, remember that Charlotte does not have a long history as a large city. Stepping in front of a car is not a guarantee that it will stop.
Relative to most large cities, Charlotte's central district is fairly auto-friendly. Unless there is a major event, you should have no problem making your way around the district in a car (provided you have the patience to wait at frequent stoplights). However, be aware that "cruising" (circling the district repeatedly) is against the law and is being targeted by local police in an effort to reduce other criminal activity, especially at night.
Uptown is laid out in a grid, with numbered streets running east-west with few exceptions. Streets running north-south have proper names. From any direction, it is fairly easy to know where you are relative to the central intersection of Trade & Tryon St. If you are using a paper map, you might note that the street grid is technically aligned at a 45-degree angle relative to the compass; "North" streets technically go northeast.
Taxis are fairly common in Uptown, and you can usually hail one from the curb. See "taxis" in the main Charlotte article for more information.
- Gold Rush Trolleys. These minibuses designed to look like historic streetcars circulate around Uptown on the weekdays from about 7AM-6PM along two lines (red and orange), and are totally free. The red line runs along Trade Street while the orange runs along Tryon. Unfortunately they do not run during weekends or evening hours (a nod to local cabbies), but are definitely a fun and relaxing way to avoid sore feet and possibly parking fees.
- Charlotte Trolley. At the moment, the trolley only runs once an hour on Saturdays from 10AM-5PM and on Sundays from 10:30AM-5:30PM. The Charlotte Trolley, an actual electric streetcar line, is a charming way to travel between Uptown and South End and is a great way to experience the southern end of Uptown. It's also worth talking to the conductors, who are usually fountains of local trivia. Fare is $1.30 each way.
By public transit
The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) operates buses throughout the city, including Uptown. The central bus terminal is located across Trade Street from the Bobcats Arena. Bus fare is $2 with a transfer, or $6 for a day pass. If you have not checked the departure time in advance, allow at least 30 minutes' wait for your route to arrive.
In addition, there is the LYNX Blue Line light rail service, which connects Uptown to the South End and neighborhoods further southwest. In Uptown, LYNX uses the same route and most of the same stations as the Charlotte Trolley line. Frequency varies from 7-10 minutes on weekdays to 20-30 minutes on weekends. Fares for LYNX are $2 one-way (seniors and youth receive a discount), $4 for a round trip and $6 for a day pass.
- Rickshaws, ☎ +1 704 777-4508. Currently they run Wednesday through Saturday nights, 7PM-2AM. In the past few years, rickshaws have begun to appear in Uptown as an alternate mode of transportation. They are mostly a novelty for tourists, though they can actually be quite useful in avoiding the steep hills that slope away from the Square. They are recognizable blue carriages with a cyclist in front. At night they use blinking lights and bells to attract customers. $5 for a one-way ride.
- Carriages. Horse-drawn carriages are becoming increasingly popular as a romantic form of transport around Uptown. They can be rented for either short- or long-term trips, and will not require reservations as long as you can find one vacant. Typically they will only run during the warmer months, when tourists are present and the climate favors open-air rides. There are a few carriage rental companies available, including Southern Breezes Carriages, picks up on Tryon between 6th and 7th, +1 704-301-5111.
Architecture in Charlotte
Charlotte's "biggest" attraction is its skyline. Dominated by the Bank of America tower (a Cesar Pelli masterpiece), the skyline is largely composed of striking modern towers. Tucked into the inner avenues are shorter, historic towers; however, only a few of these remain. The result is that Charlotte has a highly recognizable skyline that has been in a state of flux for about 30 years. Visitors to Tryon St. often note that the preponderance of huge towers makes it feel like a slice of Wall Street, though the illusion fades quickly only a few blocks away.
When visiting Tryon St. it is worth spending some time in the Bank of America lobby, which is dominated by three expansive frescoes by North Carolinian Ben Long. Another Long frescoe is inside a dome at the Transamerica building only a short walk down the street.
Another major architectural attraction is the Hearst Tower, which puts a modern spin on Art Deco. Its impressive facade and unusual profile have made it something of a cult favorite among students of architecture. It has often been said that the Hearst Building and Bank of America tower are a scaled-down version of New York City's Chrysler and Empire State Buildings.
Not all of Charlotte's architectural energy is spent on Tryon St. Most of the middle-ring neighborhoods have retained their historic styles. 1920s bungalows dominate the old mill-village neighborhoods, while large 19th-Century country estates are to be found in Myers Park. Though these are far more understated than the huge corporate towers Uptown, they are indicative of Charlotte's real architectural heritage.
- Discovery Place, 301 N Tryon St (between 6th and 7th), ☎ +1 704 372-6261. M-F 9AM-4PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. One of the nation's most acclaimed children's museums, Discovery Place focuses primarily on the sciences, though special exhibits may have a more general focus. Step into the rainforest, see and feel fish, watch a hydrogen balloon explode and a frozen banana hammer, or check out a movie in the IMAX Dome theater. $12 adults, $10 children/seniors (IMAX film extra).
- Levine Museum of the New South, 200 E 7th St, ☎ +1 704 333-1887. M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. An excellent introduction to the South's history and influences since the Civil War. Boasting an excellent standing exhibit with walk-throughs and hands-on experiences, this is a great museum for anyone even slightly interested in Southern culture and history. $8 adults, $6 seniors/students, $5 children, under 6 free.
- ImaginOn, 300 E 7th St, ☎ +1 704 416-4600. Tu-Th 10AM-7PM, F-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM, M closed. This library/theater is fantastic for families. Very attractive and safe, ImaginOn appeals to both younger children and teenagers, and is a relatively quiet refuge for parents. The library features an extensive area for younger children on the ground floor, and a teens-only (no adults allowed) top floor. Also, the Children's Theatre of Charlotte maintains cutting-edge facilities including a very comfortable theater. ImaginOn is truly underrated and should not be missed by those looking for an educational experience. Library use is free; theater ticket prices vary.
- Mint Museum of Art, 500 S Tryon St (between 1st and Stonewall St), ☎ +1 704 337-2000. Tu 10AM-9PM, W-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 1PM-5PM, closed M. An offshoot of the Mint Museum of Art with a particular emphasis on craft and design that has a much more accessible location in the center of the city. Its collection is outstanding and its staff quite knowledgeable. Visitors often express surprise that the museum's "niche" can be so interesting, especially due to its contemporary design collection. $10 adults, $8 seniors/students, $5 children/teen, free under 5.
- Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, 420 S Tryon St, ☎ +1 704 353-9200. M, W-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM, Tu closed. Housed in a striking bright orange building across from the Mint Museum and facing The Green, the collection includes works from some of the biggest names in modern art. Outside the front door is the dazzling Firebird sculpture by Niki de Saint Phalle. $8 adults, $6 seniors/students, $4 teens, children under 11 free.
- Harvey P. Gantt Center for African-American Arts & Culture, 551 S Tryon St, ☎ +1 704 547-3700. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM, closed M. Features a regular schedule of cultural events and exhibits, including theater and gallery productions. $12 adults, $10 seniors/students, $8 children, free under 3.
- Nascar Hall of Fame, 400 E Martin Luther King Blvd (at 2nd and Brevard), ☎ +1 704 654-4400. Daily 10AM-6PM. Housed in a cylindrical building across the street from the convention center, this slick museum has many interactive exhibits on the history of NASCAR, race cars, and simulators. $19.95 adults, $17.95 seniors/military, $12.95 children, children under 5 free.
- The Square, Trade and Tryon Streets. At the center of Uptown surrounding the intersection of its two main streets, this plaza is the bustling heart of the business district, hemmed in on all sides by towering buildings and holding fountains, statues, benches and food carts among its crowds of people.
- The Green, on Tryon between 1st and 2nd Streets. A fascinating literacy-themed park tucked between an historic church and a recent apartment/shopping center. Children love the highly interactive landscaping (including ceramic sofas and a splash fountain) and adults can appreciate the literary references. Conveniently surrounded by restaurants and a small library branch. Free.
- Fourth Ward Park. Though small, this central park is one of the city's most attractive. Tucked between the central business district and the Fourth Ward historic neighborhood, it is heavily traveled and safe at almost any hour. It features brick walking paths under shade, a gorgeous view of the skyline, and a booth with free maps for a walking tour of the Ward.
- Marshall Park. Located in the Second Ward near the government center, Marshall Park is a vestige of 1960s urban renewal. Though it offers an excellent view of the skyline and is a good place to eat carry-out lunch from nearby restaurants, it lacks the vibrancy of some other city parks. Though it should not be considered dangerous, wise travelers will find a way around it at night.
- Carolina Panthers (NFL), 800 S Mint St (Almost no on-site parking; several lots are adjacent but fill quickly on game days), ☎ +1 704 358-7000. The local NFL team plays in the 73,000 seat Bank of America stadium. Due to a sudden surge in popularity, it is becoming more difficult to find tickets to home games. This is especially the case late in the season, when the team is expected to be in the playoff hunt. Scalpers roam the sidewalks in front of the stadium, so it is possible to find game day tickets at a premium cost. It is technically illegal to charge more than a small percentage above the face value of a ticket, though this law is generally unenforced. $43-220.
- Charlotte Hornets (NBA), 333 E Trade St (park in adjacent lots and decks; they are generally easy to spot), ☎ +1 704 688-8600. Charlotte's new NBA team plays in the brand-new Time Warner Cable Arena located Uptown. Support for the team has been inconsistent due to an ugly divorce with the original Charlotte Hornets franchise in 2003. Ticket prices are low and it is generally not a problem to purchase a ticket on game day. $16-154.
- Charlotte Checkers (Ice Hockey), 333 E Trade St (It is usually easy to find parking in adjacent lots and decks for hockey games), ☎ +1 704 342-4423. Minor-league hockey team, playing in Time Warner Cable Arena. This is perhaps the best entertainment value in Charlotte, with very low ticket prices for a relatively upscale experience. Charlotte was the first city south of Baltimore to host professional hockey, and has had a team for most of the last 50 years. The team is an affiliate of the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes. $15-100.
- Time Warner Cable Arena, 333 E Trade St, ☎ +1 704 688-9000. This venue has become the primary destination for big-name concerts in Charlotte, especially in the colder months when an indoor venue is necessary. The location in the heart of Uptown's entertainment district makes this a great place to catch a show. Even "nosebleed" seats aren't very far from the stage.
- CIAA Basketball Tournament. Will come to Charlotte in early March for the next several years. Historically-black colleges from across the country bring their teams, alums and fans to Uptown for a week of games, which are held in Time Warner Cable Arena. Other events take place throughout the city, including a festival along Tryon St.
- St. Patrick's Day Parade. Is not on the scale of Boston or NYC, but always well-attended and a fun time to visit the Irish restaurants Uptown. The parade goes up Tryon St., and the best place to view is at the Square.
- In mid-May, Speed Street brings half a million people to Uptown for major musical acts and events related to the NASCAR All-Star Race, which is held at nearby Concord. This event shuts down several major streets, and covers the entirety of Uptown with crowds after sundown. Parking is usually stretched to the limit, and hotels will be difficult to find. However, this is an excellent time for hard partiers to see the city at its most active.
- Taste of Charlotte. Festival in June is far and away the best time to bring an appetite to the city. Tryon St. closes down for the weekend and many of the city's best restaurants are represented with samples of their signature dishes.
- Fourth of July Fireworks Display has shifted locations several times lately, but is always located somewhere in Uptown. This event draws nearly 100,000 visitors to the center city at once; be prepared to sit in gridlock, especially during the display when streets will come to a complete halt. If coming in from another district, using public transit to park-and-ride is recommended.
- Also in July, comic book collectors meet for the annual Heroes Convention at the Convention Center.
- Charlotte Pride. Is a general gay-pride festival in August. It has shifted locations, most recently to South Tryon Street. It has grown significantly since its inception.
- September is one of the best times to visit the city. The city's Labor Day Parade along Tryon St. is modest, but a well-established annual event. The Charlotte Film Festival is a collaboration between the city's most prominent theaters in and around Uptown.
- The Charlotte International Auto Show brings various dealers and buyers together. Located in the Convention Center and usually in November. Adults $8, kids free.
- Carrousel Thanksgiving Day Parade. Is one of the city's most beloved annual events. Televised regionally, this parade has run along Tryon St. for half a century. A great time to visit.
- For college football fans, the Belk Bowl is a chance to catch a great game as well as a football-themed festival. An ACC team and an SEC team close out their seasons in Bank of America Stadium. Price varies year-to-year.
- The Shops at Founders Hall, 100 N Tryon St, ☎ +1 704 716-8649. M-F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-4PM. Founders Hall, the atrium of the Bank of America Building, has several upscale shops, including Bank of America Heritage Center and Company Store, an unusual store selling bank memorabilia and featuring a small museum, as well as plenty of clothing and gift stores like Belle Ville, blis, Burke & Co., Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Julie's Too, and The BookMark, an independent bookstore. The atrium itself is spacious and comfortable, and contains a few restaurants. It generally gets little traffic from outside the Bank of America complex, making it somewhat unknown (even among locals) as a shopping destination. Before 1PM on weekdays, you might consider touring the WBTV Studio, which hosts live morning and noon broadcasts.
- The Overstreet Mall is part of the Wells Fargo complex at Tryon and 2nd St. It is not a "mall" in the traditional sense, but an indoor network of retail and service shops that connects several office buildings. Though it lacks the glamor of streetside shopping, it makes a good alternative to walking outside on cold or rainy days. Its most prominent entrance is through the Wells Fargo Atrium on the corner of Tryon & 3rd St., though several other entrances are convenient as well. Overstreet Mall's tenants include Dean & Deluca, Merle Norman Cosmetics, Blackberry Store, Just Fresh! Market, Julie's, Belk Express, the Center City YMCA, as well as plenty of restaurants and a variety of other services, including dry cleaning, salons, shoe repair, etc.
- Center City Green Market opens on Wednesdays and Fridays 10AM-3PM and Saturdays 9AM-2PM during the warmer months at Trade and Tryon.
- Epicenter. Is a fairly new area of downtown, located right next to the Charlotte Transportation Center. In this complex you have dining, entertainment and shopping. There is a bowling alley and movie theater located here. Offers restaurants such as Jason's Deli and shopping such as AT&T Store and CVS Pharmacy. On the College Street side it connects to the Bank of America building via a pedestrian bridge.
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- Green's Lunch, 309 W 4th St, ☎ +1 704 332-1786. M-F 7:30AM-4PM, Sa 9AM-2PM. One of Charlotte's oldest establishments, and Uptown's oldest restaurant at over 80 years. A relatively simple diner atmosphere, with city memorabilia covering the walls. Order your hot-dog or hamburger "Carolina Style", and don't forget that it's cash-only!
- Fuel, 214 N Tryon St and 500 S College St. M-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 11AM-9PM. A fast-growing, homegrown chain that started in a converted gas station (if you're curious, visit the original location on Central Ave. to see it for yourself). Fuel sells pizza by the slice, making it convenient and cheap to stop for a quick bite. There are two Uptown locations, both convenient to major attractions.
- Simmons Soul Food, 516 N Graham St, ☎ +1 704 334-6640. M–Sa 11AM–9PM, Su 11AM–6PM. A more down-home alternative to Mert's, located not far away in the middle of the historic Fourth Ward neighborhood. The walls are covered with pictures of famous patrons, including star players from the Panthers, Hornets and Bobcats. Located in a shopping center that is full of African-American owned businesses.
- Open Kitchen, 1318 W Morehead St, ☎ +1 704 375-7449. M-Th 11AM-10PM, F 11AM-11PM, Sa 4PM-11PM, Su 4PM-10PM. Once the only restaurant in Charlotte to serve pizza (back when it was considered an exotic delicacy), this restaurant continues to thrive on the outskirts of Uptown. It's not difficult to find three generations of patrons at a single table.
- Tic Toc Coffee Shop, 512 N Tryon St, ☎ +1 704 375-5750. M-F 7AM-3PM. Easy to miss among the skyscrapers and bistros of N Tryon St. If you're uptown for the day, this is a good place to step away from the crowd and have a cup o' joe.
- Showmars, 130 W 3rd St; alternate locations at 214 N Tryon St, 201 S College St, 600 E 4th St, ☎ +1 704 333-7469. M-F 6AM-4PM. These are the most central locations of the home-grown chain that has made a name for its excellent Greek "fast" food. Don't be put off by the odd concept or gaudy neon signs; this chain is successful for a reason. Mouth-watering Greek fare and excellent sweet tea.
- Cosmos, 300 N College St, ☎ +1 704 372-3553. M-F 11AM-2AM, Sa 5PM-2AM. A survivor of the days when Uptown rolled up the sidewalks after sundown, Cosmos has thrived as a hip spot to grab dinner before the clubs open. Artsy decor and creative entrees have kept the doors open, and now Cosmos reaps the benefit of its location near the heart of the entertainment scene. Prices are slightly higher than average, but there are lower-priced options available.
- Brixx Pizza, 225 E 6th St, ☎ +1 704 347-2749. M-Sa 11AM-1AM, Su 11AM-11PM. Critically acclaimed and very family-friendly, Brixx goes far beyond the norm with its pizza selection. Lots of variety on the menu, including pasta dishes and full-size salad options. Very conveniently located at the bottom of the massive 7th St. Station parking deck, and only a couple of blocks from Bobcats arena. Very busy on game days, but the service is quick.
- Mert's Heart and Soul, 214 N College St, ☎ +1 704 342-4222. 11AM-3PM daily; Tu-Su 3PM dinner start, Sa Su 9AM brunch. Upscale soul food located very near the city's entertainment center. Charlotte's most prominent African-American owned restaurant, Mert's is a favorite among people of all walks of life. The hip decor matches its proximity to clubs and Bobcats Arena. Don't count calories.
- Ri Ra, 208 N Tryon St, ☎ +1 704 333-5554. M-Sa 11:30AM-2AM, Su 11:30AM-midnight. As authentic as Irish pubs get without requiring plane tickets; Ri Ra has come up with the clever idea of physically relocating Irish pubs to the United States. A highly authentic menu and beer selection complement the warm surroundings and reasonable prices. Very convenient to nightclubs and the arena. Be ready to fight for a seat on St. Patty's Day.
- SoHo Bistro, 214 N Tryon St, ☎ +1 704 333-5189. M-Th 11AM-10PM; F Sa 11:30AM-11PM; Su 11:30AM-10PM. Big-city visitors might smirk at the lack of Chinese options Uptown, but SoHo Bistro does its best to help fill the void. Not the kind of place to stop for a cheap box of noodles, but excellent if you're looking for a quality lunch or dinner.
- French Quarter Restaurant, 321 S Church St, ☎ +1 704 377-7415. One of the best restaurant locations in all of Charlotte, as part of historic Latta Arcade. Give some thought to passing by this restaurant, even if only to grab a drink. The ambience and service are both excellent, and the food quality is very high.
- Rock Bottom Brewery, 401 N Tryon St, ☎ +1 704 334-2739. M-Th 11AM-11PM; F Sa 11AM-midnight; Su 11AM-9PM. Aside from its beer menu, this place has developed a reputation as one of Uptown's better places to grab a bite to eat. The burgers have an especially high reputation. Note that the kitchen closes a couple of hours before the bar.
- Bentley's on 27, 201 S College St, ☎ +1 704 343-9201. M-Th 11:30AM-2PM, 5:30PM-9:30PM, F 11:30AM-2PM, 5:30PM-10:30PM, Sa 5:30PM-10:30PM. If you're looking for a "wow" factor with your meal, this is it. Bentley's offers upscale dining from the 27th floor of the Grant Thornton building uptown. Panoramic views of south Charlotte accompany your meal. Has a reputation for being a bit overpriced, though for obvious reasons.
- Alexander Michael's, 401 W 9th St, ☎ +1 704 332-6789. M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F Sa 11:30AM-11PM. If you're touring Fourth Ward, a stop at "Al Mike's" is a must. The building is nearly a century old, and has probably never looked better. The menu is somewhat expensive but the food is good, and the beer selection is one of the best in the city. A slightly dim, pubbish atmosphere creates ambience. Kids are welcome but this is probably a better place for a date.
- LaVecchia's, 214 N Tryon St, ☎ +1 704 370-6776. M-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F Sa 5:30PM-11PM. This upscale seafood restaurant deserves its reputation as one of Uptown's best. Very convenient to the arena and the 10-story 7th St. station parking deck. The prices are a bit high, but you enjoy first-rate seafood, live jazz music and excellent decor.
- The McNinch House Restaurant, 511 N Church St, ☎ +1 704 332-6159. Tu-Sa 6:30PM-midnight. An award winning restaurant in Charlotte's historic Fourth Ward neighborhood. The restaurant has operated since 1988 and serves a highly choreographed seven-course Continental and Southern dinner in a turn of the century Queen Anne Victorian Home. Well known for pairing wines with the courses. More than a dinner, it is truly an event. Reservations required, valet parking available.
- Blue, corner of 5th and College (inside the Hearst Tower, with a streetside entrance), ☎ +1 704 927-2583. M-Th 5PM-10PM, F Sa 5PM-11PM. Trendy but not overbearing, this bar has gained a reputation among Charlotte's high-rollers as a place to rub elbows. A bit lower key than some of its neighbors, this is a good place to relax and have a signature blue martini. Cocktails in the $10 range with $6 martini specials.
- Cedar Street Tavern, 120 N Cedar St, ☎ +1 704 333-3448. Su-W 11AM-midnight, Th-Sa 11AM-2AM. Like the Corner Pub, Cedar Street Tavern is primarily a neighborhood bar. Friendly service, reasonable prices and an approachable crowd make for a good low-key drinking atmosphere.
- The Corner Pub, 335 N Graham St, ☎ +1 704 376-2720. Tu-Sa 5PM-2AM, Su M 5PM-midnight. Simple, unpretentious, and friendly. The Corner Pub is exactly what it sounds like, and feels disconnected from the trendy crush of College Street nightclubs. A great place to go for easy, uncomplicated drinking in a neighborhood atmosphere.
- Dixie's Tavern, 301 E 7th St, ☎ +1 704 374-1700. M-Sa 11AM-2AM. One of the city's most appealing restaurant-bar combos. Good Cajun food and reasonable drink prices make this a great place to begin a night of Uptown bar-hopping. Frequently has live music acts, and occasionally hosts large events in the parking lot.
- Fox & Hound, 330 N Tryon St, ☎ +1 704 333-4113. 11AM-2AM daily. This bar has quickly gained a reputation among the hard-partying Uptown crowd as a place to shoot pool, get good beer and be able to have an audible conversation. Great place to watch a UFC fight. Somewhat casual, but still very trendy and safe.
- Hartigan's, 601 S Cedar St. "Irish" pub located on the edge of Uptown near the football stadium. A good place to grab a sandwich for lunch, Hartigan's has solid traffic as a bar after sundown. Upstairs is mostly casual dining and drinking; downstairs is Charlotte's best-known all-lesbian bar. Gay-friendly, but very welcoming of straight clientele.
- Rock Bottom Brewery, 401 N Tryon St Ste 100 (look for the red neon sign), ☎ +1 704 334-2739. M-Sa 11AM-2AM, Su 11AM-11PM. A local franchise of a small national chain, several beers are brewed on site. It's also a restaurant with pretty decent food. $3-5/pint.
- BAR Charlotte, 300 N College St (the main entrance to the bar faces the alley in back of the building), ☎ +1 704 342-2557. Th-Sa 9PM-2AM. A survivor in the competitive nightclub market, this is now a mainstay on College St. More a dance club than a bar, this is always a hot spot on weekends. Dress code is enforced, and be prepared to dance. Recently, the club has opened on Monday nights for kids up to 18.
- Tilt on Trade, 127 W. Trade St, ☎ +1 704 374-0111. M-F 4PM-2AM, Sa-Su 7PM-2AM. Fashionable and tenured, Tilt is one of Charlotte's most well-reputed clubs. House and industrial music keeps the crowded dance floor moving, but the bar and lounge are still comfortable and spacious.
- Aloft Hotel, 210 East Trade St, ☎ +1 704 333-1999, fax: +1 704 333-0699. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. A modern hotel that is part of the Starwood family, it is located atop the EpiCenter entertainment complex. $80-150.
- Crowne Plaza, 201 South McDowell Street, ☎ +1 704 372-7550. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. A pet friendly hotel with complimentary WiFi, outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, business center, restaurant and lounge. $160.
- Courtyard by Marriott City Center, 237 S Tryon St, ☎ +1 704 926-5800, fax: +1 704-926-5801. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. For value and location, this might be the best deal in town. Located only two blocks from the Square, literally around the corner from the Bank of America and Wachovia headquarters. Immediate access to an array of restaurants, clubs, and other attractions. Pool, breakfast buffet, parking deck ($10/night). $89-170.
- Marriott City Center, 100 Trade St, ☎ +1 704 333-9000, fax: +1 704 342-3419. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. A good value with immediate access to the center of the city. Only short walk from the Convention Center and many other attractions. Location is excellent for nightlife, as it is on one of the safest and best-lit blocks in the city. A bit pricey, but surprisingly luxurious for its price range. Valet, restaurant, pool, parking deck. $99-169.
- Holiday Inn Center City, 230 North College St, ☎ +1 704 335-5400, fax: +1 704 376-4921. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Renovated in 2007, this hotel feature a roof-top pool. Located close to the arena. $90-230.
- Hilton Charlotte Central City, 222 E 3rd St, ☎ +1 704 377-1500, fax: +1 704 377-4143. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. There are Hiltons scattered across town, but this one has the swankiest location. Part of the complex containing Wachovia Bank's national headquarters, this hotel offers access to an indoor mall and YMCA (reportedly, rooms there include a complimentary guest pass), and is directly across the street from the Convention Center. Excellent views from the upper floors, except those facing the adjacent office tower. Fitness center, restaurants, pool, parking deck. $75-199.
- Dunhill Hotel, 237 N Tryon St, ☎ +1 704 332-4141, fax: +1 704 376-4117. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation, this is one of only a handful of historic high-rises in Charlotte. Its attractive location on Tryon St., 19th-century decor, and high-end restaurant (the Monticello) make this boutique hotel a favorite for honeymooners and other romantics. $199-269.
- Omni Hotel, 132 E. Trade St, ☎ +1 704 377-0400, fax: +1 704 347-0649. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. It doesn't get more central than this; the shard-shaped Omni is located directly on the Square. Aside from its excellent views and relatively affordable package deals, the Omni is also located on top of an indoor mall area. In addition, it is connected to the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center and features a rooftop pool with excellent skyline views. Most rooms have great views, except those on the backside of the building. Business travelers tend to favor this one for location. Pool, sauna, fitness center, restaurant, airport shuttle, sauna. $99-229.
- Residence Inn by Marriott, 404 S Mint St, ☎ +1 704 340-4000, fax: +1 704 358-1211. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. A favorite for visitors to Panthers games. Features a large number of suites, making this a favorite of celebrities who are in town for the game. Most rooms face the stadium and it is a short walk to the game and surrounding amenities. The hotel is only 5 years old, so the rooms have a very “new” feel. Restaurant, fitness center, continental breakfast. $144-289.
- Westin Hotel, 601 S College St, ☎ +1 704 335-2100, fax: +1 704 375-2623. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Charlotte's largest hotel, and one of its best-located. The distinctive shape of the hotel gives an indication of its prominence in connecting Uptown and South End, both of which are within walking distance. An added bonus: the streetcar stops right at the base of the hotel and the Gold Rush trolley passes close by. The in-house restaurant has an excellent reputation. Fitness center, pool, grand ballroom. $119-209.
- The Ritz-Carlton, 201 East Trade St, ☎ +1 704 547-2244, fax: +1 704 549-4179. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. The newly opened Ritz is Uptown's first 5-star hotel, and with LEED Gold certification, the greenest Ritz ever built. On site spa and BLT Steakhouse. $200-$1,800.
The city of Charlotte has mandatory 10-digit dialing, so you must include the area code even on local calls. Charlotte has two area codes: 704 and 980.
There are some public pay phones scattered around the city, but they are becoming increasingly rare with the predominance of cell phones. It is not safe to assume you will be able to find a pay phone at any given time.
All ZIP codes in the city of Charlotte begin with 282. The central district's code is 28202.
The main branch of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library is located on North Tryon St, a short walk from the central Square. It is easily recognizable by its green copper roof, and the authorial quotes which adorn its columns. Among its resources is an internet cafe which offers free visitor access. On the third floor is a special library of local and regional history, including old maps and photographs of the city. The library is one of the best places to get directions if you need them.
Permanent public restrooms are relatively rare in Charlotte, though portable restrooms are usually provided for major public events. It is generally o.k. to duck into a bar or restaurant to use the restroom, though it is considered good etiquette to make at least a trivial purchase to compensate the business.
- First United Methodist Church, 501 N Tryon St, ☎ +1 704 333-9081. Based in an historic neo-Gothic building in the center of the city. Very convenient if you are staying in an Uptown hotel.
- Little Rock AME Zion Church, 401 N Mcdowell St, ☎ +1 704 334-3782. Uptown location with a distinctive modern steeple. One of several AME Zion churches in a small radius.
- St. Peter's Catholic Church, 507 S Tryon St, ☎ +1 704 332-2901. Not to be confused with St. Peter's Episcopal only a few blocks away. Immediately next door is a small park with shops and restaurants.
- St. Peter's Episcopal Church, 115 W 7th St, ☎ +1 704 332-7746. Historic church near the city's major tourist district. One of the oldest continually-operating religious communities in the city.