Central North Carolina: Places to Explore

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Charlotte

Don't expect to hear many Southern accents in this melting pot, the biggest city in the state. Visiting Charlotte is much more of an urban experience than a down-home one, but that's all part of the fun of being in this bustling, forward-focused place. Here, local custom is not to preserve the old, but build new. While controversial, this tradition is responsible for the ultramodern feel of the city's Uptown. With little doubt, it's also why Charlotte is home to so many brand-new sports complexes, museums, and chic lofts. This lack of dwelling in the past brings people from across the country to start new lives—and also to start restaurants, galleries, and high-concept bars.

Things are always in motion here, but history lovers shouldn't despair. Bits and pieces of Charlotte's past still linger. With their antique architecture and shaded streets, neighborhoods like Dilworth and the Fourth Ward offer lovely glimpses of what once was. Other areas, like hip Plaza Midwood, are becoming a fusion of the new and old. There, historic houses have been converted into wine bars and late-night eateries.

Be aware that heavy development has created some typical urban problems throughout town. Yes, the traffic and parking can be terrible, and restaurants are packed on weekends. But don't let that scare you away from the Queen City. When visiting the Piedmont, Charlotte is not to be missed.

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