Charlotte in North Carolina combines all the amenities of a modern city with the hospitality and lifestyle of the Southern soul. In other words, it is so much more than simply a name on the map or the home to the mighty Bank of America.
This time, we will do our sightseeing tour differently though. Other than visiting places that I have researched in advance, I decided to simply wander around in search of snapshots, that would describe my personal image of Charlotte best. A mixture of futuristic architecture and urban decay that pretty much underline that the city combines modernism, art and heritage so well, that it would definitely be a miss if you never made your way here.
A great place for picturesque skyline views (day and night) is Marshall Park across the street from Mecklenburg County Courthouse.
If you love car racing, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is the right place to go to. Not only from the outside a beautiful piece of modern architecture.
Maybe not so interesting as a general sightseeing spot, but beautiful in the simplicity of its layout and construction, the Charlotte Convention Center.
Actually a nice place to hang out on a sunny day and enjoy a coffee to go while reading a book or simply listening to the water fountains, the small plaza in front of the Charlotte Hilton Center City.
The Green is a small public park off S Tryon Street, Charlotte´s main avenue. It is a favorite lunch time meeting spot and features a selection of sculptures including the famous colored signpost.
If you love art, Charlotte will surprise you. There is quite a collection of internationally renown museums such as the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and the Mint Museum. Both located on S Tryon Street, across from The Green. Particularly the Bechtler is an eyecatcher with its bright orange facade and the glittering “Firebird” by French artist Niki de Saint Phalle in front of it. For cool souvenirs, make a visit to the Mint Museum Shop!
A beautiful contrast in architecture are the sharp bell tower of St. Peter´s Church and the modernistic tower of the Duke Energy Center. The latter looks a bit like an upstanding eye of a needle and is one of the city´s most recognizable highrises. In the night and for special holidays or events, the tower is illuminated in different colors. Speaking of architecture, Charlotte does have quite a sleek skyline along S Tryon Street.
I would not call it a typical sightseeing spot, but the BB&T Ballpark stadium is in my opinion a perfect role model of how a baseball field should look like. Around, a few interesting buildings.
Make sure to halt at Not just Coffee on S Church Street for a cold brew and an avocado toast. It is one of my favorite cafés in Charlotte!
Close by, at the corner of E 4th Street and S Church Street, the street level space is regularly converted into a pop up shopping space which is always nice to check out.
Next, I headed down towards N Graham Street past the beautiful Court House on W Trade Street.
North Graham Street is a great spot for a few urban decay shots that stand in direct contrast to the sleek and minimalistic uptown Charlotte skyline.
Particularly beautiful to visit is the Fourth Ward neighborhood with its colorful wooden houses with cute little porches grouped around pretty side streets, spreading over four blocks (N Graham to N Poplar St & W 10th St to W 8th St).
While Fourth Ward looks like a street scene from “Desperate housewives” and you would not think that you are just a few minutes walk from downtown Charlotte, I decided to head back towards the city center again.
So, what do you think? Boring place to visit? I really like the city. It is not as hectic and claustrophobic as other financial centers and the Southern hospitality and charm are omnipresent. And the climate is quite mild year round, even during winter time.