Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Charlotte, North Carolina: The Queen of the South

By Joe Volz and Kate Bird

Visitors to Charlotte will find a charming city that retains the best of southern hospitality of the former, but is progressive with a wide variety of cultural, entertainment and sports events. Charlotte has been regarded as one of America's "most liveable cities" by a number of organizations, including the US Conference of Mayors, Ladies Home Journal, and the American Foundation for the Blind.

The first settlers in the area arrived in Charlotte in the years 1730 and were greeted by friendly Catawba Indians. In 1740, a city gun manufacturer is the first Charlotte gun. George Washington called the favorite weapon of his gun, probably by using it to good advantage against British troops in the War of Independence.
Center City

Visit Downtown on foot or by one, rubber wheels Gold Rush trolley car takes passengers through the urban, diverse communities and business thriving downtown. Get out of the trolley and dine in fine restaurants, including those who specialize in Southern cooking. You can also browse through the antique shops that line the streets.

Downtown is home to many art galleries, including Clayworks at McColl Center for Visual Art and Wine Cuvee, and the Art Gallery where you can listen to pop-jazz, while admiring sampling wines and art.

Or, you can climb aboard Tram 85 (electric trolley car built in the Queen City in 1927) and take a two-mile tour through the city and its historic centre, South End. The guide will Charlotte's rise as an industrial and financial centre and talk about what is planned for the future while recalling the past with historic sites along the way.
The Mint Museum of Art

Charlotte the first art museum, the Mint Museum of Art, is well-known collection of Fine Arts in America. The Mint Museum of Craft + Design showcase of traditional crafts and contemporary glass, ceramics, metal, fiber and wood. Both museums feature special exhibits. Tickets are good for both museums visited while on the same day. Museums offer guided and self-guided.
Discovery Place

Discovery Place, also in the city centre, the South is the first practice on science and technology centre. It features 300 pieces, including a live rainforest. The Charlotte Observer OMNIMAX Theater surrounds viewers with numbers larger than life on a giant screen reinforced by the different sounds intriguing. The adults and children, is shown fascinating.
Nascar Racing

Ninety percent of all motor racing Nascar Nextel teams have their headquarters within fifty miles of Charlotte. The largest of stock car racing as the late great Dale Earnhardt have their headquarters in the region. Now, the son of Dale "Junior" continues the tradition of the race. And drivers like Earnhardt will be presented in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, has designated course to open in Charlotte in 2010.

Lowe's Motor Speedway is the home of the NASCAR Nextel Cup and the Craftsmen Bush and Truck series. For those who want something more active than watching a favorite stock car race is the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Here you can test your ability to drive on the Speedway's famous 1.5 miles from the runway or Over the Wall Tour, which takes you behind the scenes of the race.

Charlotte is home to other sports as well. The team of the National Football League, the Carolina Panthers - contenders for Super Bowl XXXVIII and winners of the 2003 NFC Championship - play in the City Center, Bank of America Stadium, in the open air, natural grass stadium.
Paramount's Carowinds

This 105-acre up-to-date water theme park and is close to Center City. Carowinds features 50 world-class and family thrill rides and movie-themed attractions and characters of Nicktoons. Carowind's 13-acre WaterWorks is a wonderland, the best choice for children. The park opens at the end of March and ends in early November.

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