Aside from being known as NASCAR’s unofficial hometown and having near-idyllic weather, not a lot is said about North Carolina’s largest city.
And the city has a lot more to offer than chain restaurants and shiny skyscrapers. Here are some great attractions to check out next time you find yourself on a business trip to “Queen City.”
For a hearty southern breakfast, try the Terrace Cafe. With locations in both Ballantyne Village and Southpark, it should be nearby no matter where you stay. And if your morning is packed, no worries -- they serve breakfast (including red velvet waffles) all day long.
Have a break between meetings? Drop by Ballantyne Village, a boutique shopping center in south Charlotte. It includes an art house theatre, dozens of restaurants, and a fitness center, in addition to high-end shopping.
Or enjoy the city's gorgeous weather with a stroll around 98-acre Freedom Park, which is home to 12 tennis courts, a band shell, and a 7-acre lake.
Charlotte is known for its cuisine, from classic southern cooking to modernist fare. Impress a co-worker with lunch at Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar at SouthPark mall. The fusion restaurant's 'burgushi' menu includes 'sushi rolls created using burger components, and pick-up style sandwiches created using sushi components,' according to the restaurant's website.
Get cultured at Charlotte's Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, whose collection includes works from Picasso, Warhol, and Miró. The museum is open on weekends and a great place to visit on a longer business trip.
If you can't make it to the Bechtler, Charlotte's Mint Museum -- with locations in Uptown and Randolph -- also has a fantastic collection of contemporary global art. Both facilities are open until 9pm on Wednesdays, making it a great spot for a post-work tour.
No visit to Charlotte is complete without a stop at Charlotte Motor Speedway, considered the home track for NASCAR and host to regular races throughout the year. In addition to a 1.5-mile oval track, the Motor Speedway is home to the only all-concrete, four-lane drag strip in the U.S.
But if golf is more your sport, reserve a tee time at one of the 50 public courses in and around the city. Favourites include Larkhaven, a challenging course built in 1958, and Renaissance Park, a former landfill with reasonably priced golf packages.
If you're in town over a long weekend, explore the great outdoors at the 400-acre U.S. National Whitewater Center. Visitors can whitewater and flatwater kayak, rock climb, or simply run on miles of trails.
Depending on the season, you can pick up tickets to cheer on one of the local professional sports teams. The Panthers play football at Bank of America stadium, and the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats play at the nearby Time Warner Cable Arena.
Wind down after a long day visiting clients or colleagues at The Fig Tree Restaurant in Charlotte's Elizabeth neighbourhood, known for its excellent wine selection. The restaurant, in a landmarked home, won Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence for seven straight years.
Or head to the Flying Saucer for a great selection of beer. The bar has more than 240 craft beers on the menu, and a great selection of appetizers and sandwiches. Cool off on the outdoor patio after a long day of work.
If you're on an expense account, indulge in an excellent Southern meal at McNinch House Restaurant in Charlotte's historic Fourth Ward. The $US150-a-head price-fixe dinner is a splurge, but is sure to impress anyone you're visiting in the city.
Another great dinner option is 5Church restaurant, a trendy steakhouse. It was named the best overall restaurant by Charlotte Magazine and one of 2014's hottest restaurants in the country by OpenTable.
Satisfy your sweet tooth Crave Dessert Bar, a swanky venue that quadruples as a tapas restaurant, dessert bar, actual bar, and hookah lounge.
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