The season may be over for Georgia Tech, but that doesn’t meant there aren’t still games to be seen. This week we’re following the ACC championship and going up to the home of Nascar, the Panthers, and Carowinds. We’re talking Charlotte.
Charlotte is a big city with plenty of fun activities. There is a reason most people think Charlotte is the capital of North Carolina (it’s not, that would be Raleigh). Charlotte shares many similarities to Atlanta, in the sense that there is something for everyone if you are willing to look for it. Today we’ll look at a few of the activities available to travelers stopping by in this great city.
Travel and Stay
If you’re coming from Atlanta then getting to Charlotte is pretty easy. You can either drive north on I-85 or cut across I-20 to Columbia South Carolina then drive north on I-77. The drive is about 4 hours long. You can fly (tickets average around $200), but for convenience I think the drive makes more sense so you can have a car available to explore the city.
There are plenty of hotels and airbnbs in the city because of how big it is. If you are driving up I recommend finding an airbnb and staying on the outskirts of the city so you can drive around the area. Airbnb tends to be cheaper, but you will likely give up some privacy by not staying at a hotel in the area.
Things to do in Charlotte
I am almost certainly going to miss something, so if you have any recommendations feel free to add your own thoughts in the comment section.
To get started, Charlotte is well known for its Nascar history. The Nascar museum in downtown is a must see if you are a racing fan. With many simulators and historical cars and memorabilia.
Given the name you wouldn’t think the Charlotte White Water center would be open in the winter. While I used a picture of the kayaking that the center is famous for, there is more to do than water activities. The White Water center offers nature trails for walking, ice skating, zip lines, ropes courses, and many other outside activities for the more outgoing travelers.
If you’re looking for a variety of food try the optimist food hall. The food hall has a variety of restaurants, breweries, and other food vendors to try all in the same location. If you want to get a taste of the city on one go try out the Optimist.
If you’re looking for a more focused experience for your drinking, try either the Olde Mecklenburg Brewing company (OMB for short) or the Victory Brewing company. While there are plenty of micro breweries in the city these are the two more well known ones. Both have large outdoor areas and some good selections of beers.
If you’re looking to do some Christmas shopping be sure to check out Concorde Mall which is one of the largest shopping malls in the area. After all, do you really want to do all your shopping online? Well... given our audience you probably do, but hey I wanted to throw the option out there.
There are also many gardens in the Charlotte area which are lit up for the holiday season. Check out the McGill Rose garden, or the Stowe Botanical garden if you’re willing to travel a bit outside of the city.
Like Atlanta there is really too much to list. I can’t even talk Carowinds outside of the city, since their hours and rides are limited during the winter season. If you come back in the summer check out the roller coasters... not so much the water park. My point is, do some extra research and look around, the bars, restaurants, and activities are everywhere in this city.
Pitt and Wake Forest are both coming into Charlotte to see who will be the first person other than Clemson to win the ACC since 2014. If you are in the area, and you’re not afraid of the cold, this might be a good game to go to. Tickets range from $30 to $120 a ticket depending on where you sit.
Bank of America stadium has plenty of parking if you want to set up for a tailgate. If you book a hotel downtown you may not even need to drive, you can probably just walk to the stadium. Pick your colors well, depending on who you support and which fanbase you want to spend time with. Wake Forest is closer (only 1.5 hours down the road), but Pitt travels well and they’re playing in a stadium made for the (Carolina) Panthers so both teams should make a good showing.
This is gonna be a fun weekend, even if Georgia Tech isn’t playing. Use this opportunity to get out and see some teams fight for their place in history. Whatever you decide to do, make some good memories this weekend.