The largest city in North Carolina is one of the most charming cities in the American south, and it's been growing rapidly in the last few decades so it's taking on more unusual characteristics as well. The area is attracting well educated people and high tech workers at a rapid pace, and now many of Charlotte's historic central neighborhoods have been turned into trendy shopping districts filled with interesting restaurants.

What to do

Charlotte's central business district is known as Uptown, and this historic neighborhood is now filled with high rise buildings and corporate headquarters alongside some remaining bits of the past. This is where you'll find much of the city's high-end shopping, restaurants, and nightclubs, as well as many chain business hotels. There are several noted museums in the city including the Mint Museum of Art, the Levine Museum of the New South, and the children's museum Discovery Place.

Charlotte is also known for having an abundance of fine city parks, but some of the most prized green areas are its golf courses. The city has more than its fair share of fine courses in the area, and the green fees tend to be quite reasonable considering the quality.

Getting there

Thanks to it being the main hub of US Airways, it's usually quite easy to get a cheap flight to Charlotte. The huge Charlotte Douglas International Airport (code: CLT) is just west of town and it's much busier than most airports for a city of this size. There is no train that connects the airport to the city center, but taxis conveniently charge a flat $20 fee for a ride into the Uptown area.

Where to stay

There are plenty of hotels in Charlotte and they tend to be a bargain compared to other large American cities. Pay attention to the neighborhood your hotel is located in since some neighborhoods are packed with entertainment while others are more business oriented. There are no official hostels in Charlotte yet, but there are plenty of budget hotels from which to choose.