Exploring the Queen City.

When you don’t have the mulaah to travel on New Year’s Eve, why not trapse about your local wonders? I’ve lived in The Queen City for the majority of my life. I’ve explored her main attractions in bits and pieces. When my parents suggested that we take New Year’s Eve off to have a fun family adventure, but added that we didn’t have the finances or time to skip town, I was pretty excited. Why not explore our home?

Now, we didn’t go to any of these places today, but for the sake of creating a definitive CLT visitor’s guide, I thought I’d mention our top three attractions. If you ever come to Charlotte, you’ll probably hear about these guys:

The White Water Rafting Center 

This U.S. National White Water Rafting center is an olympic training ground open to the public with man made white water rafting rapids to practice on, kayaking, hiking trails, zip lines, rope courses, an obstacle course, and more. It is like a theme park, but all the thrill comes from you, through hands on and physically exhausting activities. Though it is pricy to get a full day pass for all the sports, I’d say it is worth a visit. I spent an entire day with a friend and I feel like we only touched the surface of all the activities they have to offer. I am hoping to return as soon as possible.

The Billy Grahm Library 

Billy Graham is the Charlotte resident who has touched the most lives. Through his massive gospel campaigns and private meetings with presidents, this man has affected our nation in a big way. This place is more world class museum than library, with interactive exhibits and a strong gospel atmosphere. It is a must for ANY visitor.

Carowinds 

This is our second rate amusement park. Yes, they have my favorite roller coaster. It may or may not be worth admission just to ride on The Intimidator over and over and over again. If you live in a place (COUGH.California.COUGH) where there is  any form of competition for the quality of theme parks, you probably won’t be impressed. Honestly, I love rollercoasters and I got bored after a few hours last time I visited.

And there you have Charlotte’s biggest claims to fame. If you come, make sure to visit the Billy Graham Library and the White Water Rafting center. Maybe skip Carowinds. Also, we have a thriving arts community and wonderful symphony if you like that sort of thing.

(Better yet, just come to me and I will be your tour guide.)

Today I wanted to go on a “Rythm of the Street” tour. Charlotte is full of diverse neighborhoods, each with a very distinct character. That can make it a bit overwhelming to explore. I was hoping to hit a few more neighborhoods, ALAS TIME! This morning we enjoyed a small sampling.

NoDa 

We started out it NoDa, short for North Davidson and a shameless attempt to copy SoHo in NYC. This was a run down and borderline dangerous region that the artsy community adopted for themselves. Now it is filled with up and coming restuarants, artsy shoppes and unique places, and delicious eats. Basically, it is where all the hip young Charlotteans hang out. Plust me. Hip young Charloteans and Susanna.

Amelie’s is one of the best eats in Charlotte. It is a French bakery/coffee shop with a unique feel and lots of Frenchness. We decided to start our day here for a light breakfast and tea. It was probably the best decision we made all day.

After eating, we headed down the street to explore a tiny section of NoDa. It was cute and hip as always. The feeling in the air has a strong current upwards. Lots of old run down houses have been recently renovated. Property values are increasing by the month. No other place in Charlotte feels so much like an actively growing toddler.

Ornamental cabbages are a nice addition since last time I was here. We didn’t get to visit Area 15 on this trip, but it is one of the most charactery parts of NoDa, so I had to give it a shoutout.

Museum Of the New South 

We then headed to the Museum of the New South. The New South is the definition of Charlotte. Or Charlotte is the definition of The New South. Something like that. It basically means a place that is still finding itself and healing from the scars of the civil war and rascism. Charlotte is a new south success story. We have proudly moved up from our former Souther plantation economy to become the second largest financial hub in the nation. The whole story is compellingly told in this museum, my favorite museum in the region.

(It also explains why we call our center district uptown instead of downtown.)

I don’t care how old I am, when a museum offers dress-up clothes, I will oblige.

7th Street Market 

Just an up and coming marketplace with gingerbread houses on display and a piano anyone can play. It really is a unique and fun space with all sorts of bakeries, cupcake shoppes, sandwhich places, coffee, cheese, and more.

Grub

We were trying to get some local grub. First we tried Price’s Chicken in South End, but they were closed. Then we drove around South End searching for Penguins, made famous from Guy Fieri’s Drive ins and Dives show. Apparently the local of local places all close down for the holidays. So we ended up at a fancy hot dog shop and let me tell you, those were some good hot dogs.

Charlotte is ALWAYS improving itself. First we spent massive amounts of money to clean up her downtown area (and thus began calling it uptown, as part as the marketing campaign). Now they are working on creating more parks and nice public spaces. The self-improvement will never end. 

And there you have it, one morning’s worth of exploring in my beloved Queen City. You don’t have to go far to have adventures. 

Author: Susanna

I'm Susanna, a 20-year-old Christian girl incorrigibly addicted spontaneous adventures. My first dream was to become a pioneer. Unfortunately, I was born a couple centuries late, so I've decided to read, cook, run, and travel the world until my time machine is finished. You'll mostly likely find me getting into trouble and/or eating licorice. I am currently blogging the misadventures of a middle-school teacher in training. Come join me on my quest to become the next Ms. Frizzle!

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