The Queen City of North Carolina, Charlotte has been the benefactor of a royal facelift of late. Once sleepy, sprawling suburbia, it sat back with true Southern patience and observed massive reconstruction and unprecedented expansion unroll at its feet.
The city vies for the attention of local and international tourists alike. The midpoint between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic, Charlotte enjoys a temperate climate best spent across the region's rolling green hills.
The centre of Charlotte divides into many districts, each with their own personality. Uptown is home to many museums, theatres, and nightclubs amongst Fortune 500 company buildings, while North Davidson Street, known as NoDa, is an eclectic and artistic area of funky restaurants, shops, and art galleries.
South End is a gentrified mill district with hip, upmarket entertainment and attractions. The 'old money' mansions of Myers Park are worth a drive to see, while University City, as the name suggests, is home to many students and a few shopping malls.
There are plenty of parkland and pedestrian thoroughfares, while an extensive array of shopping and dining options are great for retail therapy. The refurbished urban core of Charlotte's city centre has created a well-nourished nightlife network, and even peripheral neighbourhoods are alive with plenty to do and see.
Charlotte's not-to-be-missed cultural, entertainment, sporting, and historical mainstays make it a great destination for families, young professionals, and pensioners. A large student population keeps things youthful and fun, balancing out the historic charm of the city.
Charlotte has a humid subtropical climate, characterised by hot, humid summers and mild winters. Charlotte is a rainy city, with rainfall evenly distributed throughout the year, but it still gets plenty of sun.
In summer, between June and August, temperatures average between 64°F (18°C) and 89°F (32°C); and in winter, between December and February, temperatures average between 30°F (-1°C) and 54°F (12°C). Some snow falls in winter, but it's seldom heavy and only occurs on a handful of days a year.
Public transport is comprehensive in Charlotte, including light rail, bus, and trolley services. The LYNX Blue Line Light Rail connects southern Charlotte with museums, shopping, and entertainment venues in the city centre. It operates every day between 5.30am and 1.30am, stopping at 26 stations.
The Sprinter Bus services the airport and city centre every weekday, one-way tickets costing $2.20. The Gold Rush trolleys provide free transport through the city centre between 7.34am and 5.23pm on weekdays.
The CATS bus service operates more than 40 county-wide fixed bus routes, costing $2.20. Taxis are also available in Charlotte. Despite all this public transport, many visitors still prefer to hire cars.