Tucked halfway between the Smoky Mountains and the Atlantic Coast, Charlotte radiates graceful charm. Its nickname—“The Queen City”—can be traced back to before the RevolutionaryWar, to Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III. But while the city is brimming with historic neighborhoods, don’t mistake its Southern warmth for sleepiness.An explosion of business develop- ment has made Charlotte one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States and second only to NewYork City as a banking center.Much ofthat energy has focused in Center City, where meeting planners will find new hotels, restau- rants, and cultural and entertainment districts amid the skyscrapers surround- ing the 850,000-square-foot Charlotte Convention Center.And there’s more to come—Charlotte is buzzing as it prepares to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention in September. For more information, visit www.charlottesgotalot.com.
THE QUEEN CITY’S JEWELS: Charlotte’s glittering skyline reflects its rank as one of the fastest- growing cities in the United States. Uptown, as the central business district is called, is one of the hottest tickets in town—home to new hotels, shopping, restaurants, entertainment, and a cluster of new museums.
IS DOWNTOWN Residents call Charlotte’s down- town “Uptown”;
it’s also known as Center City. Trade and Tryon Streets divide the highly walkable Uptown into four historic wards. Uptown has EpiCentre restau- rant, dining, shop- ping, and enter- tainment center; The Levine Center for the Arts, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African- American Arts + Culture, Knight Theater, and the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art; and TimeWarner Cable Arena, home to the Charlotte Bobcats.
This whimsical, 1.5-acre pocket park is ringed by restaurants and is directly adjacent to the convention center. Among its
features: ceramic sofas, motion-acti- vated walls that chirp and ribbit, book-themed sculptures, giant fish fountains and a built-in hop- scotch path.