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Charlotte - United States
Dubbed "The Queen City," after Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III, Charlotte is an undeniably historic American city. Today, it is one of the top 20 fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the United States, and home to an endless array of interesting attractions, popular restaurants, and raging late-night hotspots.
Known for its fine dining and great nightlife, skyscrapers line the streets and provide a "big city" feel to this charming Southern metropolis. If you're visiting Charlotte during football or basketball season, be sure to grab tickets for a Carolina Panthers game at Bank of America Stadium or a Bobcats game at Time Warner Cable Arena. Before you walk though the stadium gates, have pre-game drinks at Ri Ra Irish Pub, a locals' favorite bars.
It is easy to dine well in Uptown, with an upscale choice like the Mimosa Grill. If you're looking for something light on the wallet but heavy on the stomach, Mert's Heart and Soul is a well-loved spot to grab some grub.
This historic section of Charlotte combines a glimpse of the old with a taste of the new. Beautiful southern homes share the boulevards with tattoo parlors, cafes, art galleries, and record stores. "Historically hip" would be the best way to describe this Queen City neighborhood.
Plaza-Midwood provides enough food options to satisfy even the pickiest eaters. Some of the more notable establishments include Diamond Restaurant, Portofino's, and Dim Sum Chinese Restaurant. For drinks and after-hours eats, Plaza-Midwood doesn't disappoint. Right across the street is the Thomas Street Tavern, another late-night watering hole that will warm your belly after a long day of art perusal and window shopping.
Located in the Northeastern part of Charlotte, University City is one of the most densely populated parts of the city. Comprising over 200,000 residents, University City also encompasses the campus of UNC Charlotte and all its students and faculty.
Join students, faculty, and more than 15 million other people and wander through the shops at Concord Mills. This shopping center is over one million square feet of wallet-opening, window-shopping fun, and declares itself North Carolina's number one tourist attraction.
Just outside University City, NASCAR fans get their fill of heart pounding excitement at Lowe's Motor Speedway, one of the most distinguished race locations in the world. Concord is considered the center of NASCAR with 90 percent of the official NASCAR racing teams located within just 50 miles of the Oval.
The 1920s construction boom brought the commuter neighborhood of Myers Park, which is home to some of Charlotte's oldest houses. Lacking the usual grid design, the oak tree-lined avenues of Myers Park are curved to match the landscape, giving it a unique, relaxed feel.
Myers Park was originally a "streetcar suburb" because of the electric trolley that brought commuters to and from work. This same trolley still provides quick and efficient travel, making this highly desirable Charlotte neighborhood easily accessible.
NoDa, named for a section of North Davidson Street, is Charlotte's equivalent to NYC's SoHo neighborhood. Located directly north of Uptown, NoDa has been transformed from its textile-manufacturing past to an area that oozes creativity. With an extensive collection of art galleries, theaters, hip restaurants, and bars, it is easy to make this your home base. Citizens from all over the region flock to NoDa's twice-monthly Gallery Crawl, in which all the businesses and galleries in the neighborhood open their doors for an upbeat neighborhood-wide party.
While you're in NoDa taking in the creations of Charlotte's best artists, take time to savor some of the Cajun and Creole dishes at Boudreaux's. Finally, venture into the Dog Bar, a neighborhood bar-room where Rover can lap up a few drinks alongside his owner.
This area of Charlotte is crowded with seriously upscale shoppers looking to do some damage. Though mostly a residential neighborhood, SouthPark boasts its fair share of high-end stores. Drop by the Dean & Deluca Wine Room for a tantalizing selection of reds and whites from all around the world. Jerald Melberg Gallery will satisfy your art genes. And After Hours will provide you with the attire you'll need for a proper night on the town in SouthPark.
The restaurants in SouthPark tend to be a little on the fancy side as well, with such noteworthy fine dining establishments as The Palm, Upstream, and Zebra lining the boulevard.
The historic area known as South End was once the site of many industrial buildings and cotton mills. Today those buildings have either been revamped or replaced by a number of restaurants, offices, shops and condominiums. These attractions are easily accessible via the Charlotte Trolley, whose origins can be traced back to this particular section of Charlotte.
If you grab a slice at Fuel Pizza, you can walk while you eat, window shopping all the while.
The true-blue neighborhood feel of this Charlotte district makes it one of the more desirable areas in which to live. As with most sections of Charlotte, Dilworth is historically and architecturally significant. Just outside of the city limits, Dilworth was a "streetcar suburb" as well. Houses here date back to the early 1900s, and their architecture goes well with the tree-lined streets of the neighborhood. Businesses here fit right into the history-laden scheme of things as well.
Elizabeth is yet another Charlotte neighborhood steeped in history. Originally named after Elizabeth College, an all girls' Lutheran university, Elizabeth began to rapidly evolve around the turn of the 20th Century. During that period, the completion of a trolley line transformed this particular part of Charlotte into a readily accessible section of the city. When one thinks of Elizabeth, they also tend to think of Independence Park. This was the first public park in the city of Charlotte. On most sunny days, and maybe some not-so-sunny days, this is where you'll find Elizabeth residents enjoying the fresh North Carolina air. Like it was back in its heyday, Elizabeth remains a very fashionable part of Charlotte. This is reflected in the businesses and restaurants located within the district. Some of the more notable establishments include such restaurants like Carpe Diem and the Cajun Queen.
Located on the south side of Charlotte is the area known as Ballantyne. In recent decades, this part of the city has been blessed with some heavy growth. Ballantyne homes are beautifully structured and historically significant to the city as a whole. This is yet another neighborhood in Charlotte that has done well by mixing the old and the new. Amidst the age-old residential parts of Ballantyne are new restaurants like the Cajun Yard Dog, bars like Arooji's, and businesses like the Dana Rader Golf School. Indeed, if golf is your thing, this is the neighborhood for you, what with the Golf Club at Ballantyne Resort and Olde Sycamore Golf Plantation right around the way.