From thrilling adventures to moving artistic performances, family play dates and magnetic nightlife, Charlotte holds something for everyone.
“The Queen City”, “Crown Town,” “Buzz City,” “The QC,” “home”—whatever you call Charlotte, welcome. We hope you’ll stay a while. But whether you’re here for a pinch or have planted roots, we invite you to fall in love with the city in all the ways we have.
What makes us a standout on this great, big map of phenomenal places? We’re not just one of a kind; we’re one of every kind.
From the diversity of our residents to our colorful history, which you’ll find represented in every corner, Charlotte is a melting pot. We’re a heaping spoonful of natural beauty and metropolitan splendor. We’re a blend of inventive chefs, talented artists, fierce athletes and mission-minded gamechangers. We’re equal parts funky and eclectic, traditional and charming. We’re a mix of night owls, early risers and all-day adventurers. We’re a dash of every different language and a sprinkle of the world’s cultures.
Want a taste of the town? Order a plate of barbecue or a banh mi sandwich from one of the food trucks roaming the streets. Admire the rare artwork housed in our many museums. Snap a selfie with an 18th-century statue. Sip something crafty at a South End brewery. Take in a Broadway show in Uptown. Shop stylish threads in South Park. Scale Crowders Mountain. Ride the Booty Loop in Myers Park. Groove to live music in NoDa. Toast cocktails in Plaza Midwood. Get behind the wheel of a race car in Concord. Celebrate at a cultural festival in Dilworth. Whatever you do in Charlotte, we invite you to make it your own.
The Catawba Native Americans were the first known historic tribe to settle Mecklenburg County (in the Charlotte area) and were first recorded around 1567 in Spanish records. By 1759 half the Catawba tribe had died from smallpox, which was endemic among Europeans, because the Catawba had not acquired immunity to the new disease. At the time of their largest population, Catawba people numbered 10,000, but by 1826 their total population had dropped to 110.
The European-American city of Charlotte was developed first by a wave of migration of Scots-Irish Presbyterians, or Ulster-Scot settlers from Northern Ireland, who dominated the culture of the Southern Piedmont Region. They made up the principal founding European population in the backcountry. German immigrants also settled the area before the American Revolutionary War, but in much smaller numbers. They still contributed greatly to the early foundations of the region.
Mecklenburg County was initially part of Bath County (1696 to 1729) of New Hanover Precinct, which became New Hanover County in 1729. The western portion of New Hanover split into Bladen County in 1734, its western portion splitting into Anson County in 1750. Mecklenburg County formed from Anson County in 1762. Further apportionment was made in 1792, after the American Revolutionary War, with Cabarrus County formed from Mecklenburg.
In 1842, Union County formed from Mecklenburg’s southeastern portion and a western portion of Anson County. These areas were all part of one of the original six judicial/military districts of North Carolina known as the Salisbury District.
The area that is now Charlotte was settled by people of European descent around 1755, when Thomas Spratt and his family settled near what is now the Elizabeth neighborhood. Thomas Polk (granduncle of U.S. President James K. Polk), who later married Thomas Spratt’s daughter, built his house by the intersection of two Native American trading paths between the Yadkin and Catawba rivers. One path ran north–south and was part of the Great Wagon Road; the second path ran east–west along what is now Trade Street.
Why is it called the Queen City?
Nicknamed the “Queen City”, like its county a few years earlier, Charlotte was named in honor of German princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who had become the Queen Consort of Great Britain and Ireland in 1761, seven years before the town’s incorporation. A second nickname derives from the American Revolutionary War, when British commander General Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis occupied the city but was driven out by hostile residents. He wrote that Charlotte was “a hornet‘s nest of rebellion”, leading to the nickname “The Hornet’s Nest”.
Today, find statues of the queen on North College Street and in front of Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
Experience it: Follow Uptown’s Charlotte Liberty Walk, a series of bronze plaques and monuments that detail the city’s vital importance during the American Revolution, or the Trail of History on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, which highlights the key people who’ve contributed to the area’s growth.
Why is it called Uptown not Downtown?
Charlotte’s main street, Tryon, predates the city’s Colonial roots. The street follows the Nations Path—the great trading route of the Catawba and other Native American tribes—and runs along a low ridgeline with a diagonal slant. As such, if you walk toward Independence Square at the heart of Center City, no matter which way you approach it, you’ll be moving gently upward. In recent years, there was a formal declaration proclaiming Uptown the official name of the district.
Why are there references to bees everywhere?
They’re hornets, and they’re the mascot of the Charlotte Hornets, the city’s NBA team. Beyond that, they’re also a symbol of the city’s unconquerable spirit. When British General Cornwallis came through the area during the Revolutionary War, he encountered more than he bargained for and dubbed the area “a hornets’ nest of rebellion.” The nickname stuck, and that’s why you’ll see hornet’s nest symbols all over town, including on police officers’ uniforms.
Why do people keep talking about banking?
Strict laws limited banks to one state until Charlotte began working toward a new vision. In 1982, mogul Hugh McColl led a team from Charlotte’s North Carolina National Bank, who found a way to legally buy a bank in Lake City, Florida. That opened the door. In 1985, he helped craft the Interstate Banking Compact, which allowed banks in the Southeast to expand across state lines. By 1998, McColl sat at the helm of Bank of America, the nation’s first coast-to-coast bank. Today, it’s the largest U.S. bank, and it’s still headquartered in Charlotte. And with major banking players like Wells Fargo and Fifth Third Bank in town, Charlotte is the third largest financial center in the country, behind New York and San Francisco.
Who is Captain Jack?
In May 1775, more than a year before Patriot leaders signed the Declaration of Independence, Charlotte made its own statement of defiance against Britain. The Mecklenburg Resolves of May 31, 1775, declared the “authority of the King or Parliament” to be “null and void.” Tradition holds that there was even a full-blown Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence created on May 20, 1775. Although no evidence of those papers exists, it’s said that in June 1775, a local tavern-keeper named James Jack carried them to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Locals and visitors can admire a statue of brave Captain Jack on horseback galloping along Little Sugar Creek Greenway, just east of Uptown. And he’s been known to make an appearance during Meck Deck Day festivities, held May 20 every year.
No matter your distance—regional, national or international—there’s a quick and stress-free way to get to Charlotte. Whether by plane, train or automobile, we’ll help you find the route that gets you where you need to go. Once you’re in town, navigating the city is a breeze. With a speedy light rail system, multiple bike-sharing and ride-sharing services, and bus routes that traverse the region, you’ll have plenty of ways to get you from point A to point B, C and D.
Carolina blue skies can be seen year-round in Charlotte. With an annual average temperature of 61.5 degrees and the annual average precipitation of 43 inches distributed evenly throughout the year, weather in the Queen City is fair and mild. Winter is welcoming, spring and fall are transformative, and summer is sunny and bright.
Charlotte is home to the corporate headquarters of Bank of America, Truist Financial, and the east coast operations of Wells Fargo, which along with other financial institutions has made it the second-largest banking center in the United States since 1995.
Among Charlotte’s many notable attractions, some of the most popular include the Carolina Panthers (NFL), the Charlotte Hornets (NBA), the NASCAR All-Star Race, the Wells Fargo Championship, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the Charlotte Ballet, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Carowinds amusement park, and the U.S. National Whitewater Center.
Charlotte has a humid subtropical climate. It is located several miles east of the Catawba River and southeast of Lake Norman, the largest man-made lake in North Carolina. Lake Wylie and Mountain Island Lake are two smaller man-made lakes located near the city.
First Down Funding is one of the top funders in the area.