Weekend in Charlotte

Old Feb 2nd, 2009, 07:55 PM
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Weekend in Charlotte

Hi everyone - We are considering a move to Charlotte and are going to be driving through the area in a few weeks, so I was hoping that those familiar with the city could help with the planning! It will be my husband, 3 kids, ages 6-9 and myself, probably arriving on a Friday and departing Sunday. Nightlife is not important (kids)though we may take in an event at the Bobcats Stadium on Sat night. It would be great to get a taste of Charlotte by staying in a hotel that is convenient yet maybe not in the city center, as I've read the nightclubs can be very loud. After some research, my choices are uptown and the South Park area, though I'm leaning towards the uptown area since many of the hotels in South Park seem to be around the mall or Phillips Place - places we can see at home. (If I am incorrect in thinking this way, please advise.) Are there any hotels in the uptown area that are located in more "unique" sections? Local cafes and restaurants would be great. Are there any hotels in uptown that are within walking distance of the Bobcats stadium? Would it be safe for us to walk there at night or should we take our car? Thanks as always for your help!
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 03:18 AM
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You can easily walk to Bobcats arena, or catch the free Gold Rush bus, if your hotel is a bit away. I would bid on Priceline or Hotwire for a central city hotel. I cannot feature that a night club would be loud in Charlotte, to disrupt a hotel room.
The South Park area would also be fine. Yea, it is a mall, but youdon't have to go. It is about a 15 miunte drive to uptown.
For your kids, you might see if there is a Children's Theater production at Imaginon. Frog and Toad Together is on right now to mid February. In any case, you will WANT to see Imaginon and the Children's Library that is there.
Downtown is also Discovery Place (a Circus exhibit right now that is VERY nice), Museum of the New South, and Mint Museum of Craft+Design. Ride the trolley.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 03:50 AM
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I always recommend the Dunhill as it is well situated & right in the middle of the Uptown area. I've never known noise to really be an issue there. Very close to Discovery Place, The Mint Museum (one of them), Imaginon, the Library, Reids grocery, the Arena, the Theatre & the Train. If you have the time, hop the train to Southend. Also, Uptown is very safe to walk around, no problems there. My Daughter & I were just down there for a Bobcats game, & my son & I will be down there for the 'Monster Truck' show in a couple of weeks. The Checkers (hockey) also play there & are members of the ECHL (the same league as the Chill used to be in, in Columbus). (I know I duped some of G's stuff) Enjoy !
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 04:54 AM
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I'm a huge fan of The Park Hotel in Southpark. It is near the mall but in a residential area.

The residential area near and around Southpark is very upscale and beautiful. It isn't your typical 'mall' neighborhood area. The Southpark/Meyers Park area is the most exclusive neighborhood in Charlotte.

I've also liked the convenience of staying at The Doubletree in the mall parking lot.

I think it would be a better fit for you and your family than uptown.

Google earth the Southpark Mall and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Good luck either way! People that move to Charlotte absolutely fall in love with the place.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 05:01 AM
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I normally recommend that people stay uptown, but with the age of your kids, and the purpose of your visit, I think the Southpark area will be more convenient. Not that Uptown is a bad place for kids, but if you're trying to get an idea of the neighborhoods and livability of Charlotte, you'll want to spend less time uptown, and more time in the neighborhoods.

As vibrant as Uptown has become, it's still is mainly a work destination or a once in a while event destination for folks with families.

I'd do as Gretchen says and bid for a high star hotel (but in SouthPark). You can ignore the mall if you want, but it will be less of a hassle getting into and out of with parking and traffic than Uptown hotels.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 05:50 AM
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I'm still on the fence about where to stay, as I think you all have valid points about location. Maybe if I tell you what we'd like to do while in town, it'll be more clear. We will not be getting there until Friday night, but then on Sat, we'd like to explore the different areas of Charlotte, ride the trolley (maybe even go to Lake Norman just to see what that's like), have lunch somewhere fun, and then go to a game at the arena that evening. On Sunday, it would be fun to visit the Discovery Museum (if they are not open on Sun, we'll do this Sat instead), and then continue on our way to S Carolina, our final destination. Because we will be going to 2 areas in the city, would it be best to stay there, so we can just walk to the arena and museum, or is driving from South Park and parking at these locations not that big of a deal? I look forward to your replies.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 06:04 AM
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Well from that post, it sounds more like you'll be playing tourist than doing research of neighborhoods, so I'll change my rec to Uptown where you can walk to Discovery Place and the Arena no problem.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 06:10 AM
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I always say Uptown for 2 reasons - I like Uptown & lived near there for over 10 years, & I absolutely loathe the SouthPark area. The traffic, the Malls...eech. Probably my least favorite part of town. There really isn't much to see at Lake Norman unless you are looking for neighborhoods to reside in. If you are up that way, take a look @ Davidson, although that part of town is not my area of expertise. http://www.discoveryplace.org/home/d...place-home.php & also www.charlotte.com
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 06:14 AM
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If you are heading to SC (via I-77 I am assuming) it would not be too far out of your way to head out 7th (from Uptown) which will take you straight to Matthews. Fropm there you could jump on 485 to take you to 77, you could also hit Fort Mill going that way, soon after you cross into SC.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 06:28 AM
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Maybe we'll skip Lake Norman this time around. Based on what you're saying, I think we will stay in Uptown. I'll try my luck at hotwire - there is 4 star location in uptown for a great price. Yes, we will be doing some touristy things while in town, but our main purpose is to get a feel for Charlotte. We're not at the point where we can look at specific houses, just general locations, which I think we can do during the day on Sat. SansParis - yes, we will check out Matthews on the way out of town - we will be travelling along I-77. How about a fun family restaurant before the game? I've read some other Charlotte posts, but many of them are a few years old. Brixx sounds ok, though it doesn't always get glowing reviews. Any other suggestions? Alexander Michaels sounds fun, though maybe for lunch, since it is not near the arena. Any restaurants with good food and maybe an interesting theme or atmosphere? (Not a national chain.) Thanks!
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 07:26 AM
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Brixx is a chain, but very good (Pizza & sandwiches). Alexander Michaels is a great place for lunch, as it turns into more of a bar @ night. Very kid-friendly & located in 4th Ward (& perhaps walkable depending on where you land). If you like pub food, we often go to RiRas & they may have a band. Should be OK for kids for when you will be going. There are lots of new places, so I will defer to others on this topic. Fuel Pizza also is very good.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 07:30 AM
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Just a side note re: travel in CLT. All the road names change. So, get a good map. From Uptown 3rd will turn into Providence, 4th will turn into Randolph, 7th will turn into Monroe & so on. Get a map or GPS or you'll be wondering where you made a wrong turn...when you didn't.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 07:45 AM
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I would stay uptown as well. I don't think any of the bars/clubs will be so loud as to affect your stay. Almost all of the hotels in uptown are within walking distance to the arena and discovery place. With hotwire, see what you can get, but the Courtyard Marriott (on Tryon and 3rd)), the Hilton (on College and 3rd), the Dunhill (at Tryon and 5th), and the Omni (at College and Trade) would be the closest to the things you would want to see and do.

Alexander Michaels is great for dinner and lunch. It's in 4th Ward (at 9th and Pine- I believe). Brixx is on 6th and is very convenient to the arena. It is good pizza and very kid friendly. Rira is also worth trying out. Earlier in the evening/lunch time you will see families. Note, it does turn into a bar at night. Great place for a pint of guiness.

In the new epicentre there are several new establishments. It does become a hot spot for those people who are out on the town at night, but for dinner or earlier, it should be family friendly. There is a new Wild Wing Cafe- pretty good wings. Black Finn has decent food as well.

Of course, there are several other high end places in uptown with fabulous food, but I'm not sure what your budget is for a family of four.

If you guys want to hop on the light rail and go down to Bland Street Station, the southend offers several very family friendly places. Tavern on the Tracks (at bland and Tryon) is one of my personal favorites. I see children in there a lot- there is a wide variety on the menu and it is economical. If the weather is pretty, sit outside. You could also pick up some fried chicken at Price's chicken coop- AWESOME fried chicken. They don't have tables, so you'd have to carry out, but you often see many people crowded around their cars or on the curb eating the chicken out of the box.

I'll try to brain storm some more family friendly places and activities. With the growth of uptown, the arena and convention center, and the light rail, I have seen MANY families venturing into uptown on the weekends. I would definitely go by the children's library on 7th and Discovery Place.

As for the advice to take 7th Street (Monroe Rd) out to MAtthews, then 485 around... that's REALLY out of the way... but you would get to see parts of Elizabeth, Sardis, Matthews, etc. If you go that way, stop at Lupie's for lunch.

I hope this helps and I'll try to think of more.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 07:58 AM
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Lupies is the ultimate dive, but the food IS awesome. Your best bet is the quiche of the day or the veggie burger. You'll go right by it on 7th/Monroe. They only take cash, btw.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 08:57 AM
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Have to agree about going to Matthews to get on I77, when you can go 4 blocks on Trade street and get on, umm I77!! ;o)
Don't miss Discovery Place. It will be open on Sunday afternoon.
If you don't have enough to occupy the kids, go to Ray's Splash Planet--swim pool uptown, with cute stuff to do.
DO go to Imaginon just to see what you will have to offer your kids if you move here.
South Park is just not that difficult--puhlease. I don't particularly like to go inside the mall any more but the area is easy to navigate, and has lots to offer.
And the Park is no more--can't remember the name. It is, of course, still there.
For economy, the Courtyard Marriott can be a good value.
Lake Norman is very much a residential area with absolute traffic gridlock, and particularly on weekends. If you're looking for real estate, go, but otherwise it will eat up your time with little to show for it.
It is not difficult to park uptown for Bobcats games. Lots of parking lots. And do remember, if you get an uptown hotel, there will be a daily parking charge that you won't have in the South Park area.
You could EVEN ride our new light rail to downtown from one of the stations--unfortunately not close to South Park but not difficult to get to.
If you wanted an historic visit for the kids, Latta Place is a restored plantation house in northern part of the county (20 minutes from downtown) that is lovely--has animals, and is also near the raptor center which is also interesting for kids. LOTS of eagles!!

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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 09:11 AM
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Just trying to 'sell' my little piece of Charlotte.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 10:02 AM
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I know, but you need to be up front with it. That would add an hour to the trip to the SC line--that is the truth of the matter. AND all stop and go traffic. I would not be happy. ;o)
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 10:09 AM
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OK, I booked on Hotwire and the result was the Westin @ 601 S College St. For the most part, it gets good reviews other than the nickel and diming, but those extra charges will probably not apply to us anyway. It looks like the Westin is only 4 blocks from the arena (great!) If we went to Brixx before the game, could we walk from the hotel to Brixx? (I did a mapquest - driving directions inquiry and it said it was a little over a mile, but the route was not going directly up College. Instead, it takes us down Stonewall St. to Caldwell and then back up 6th. Maybe there are one way streets involved? It seems to me we could just walk up college st and then turn rt on E. 6th St, cutting off .5 miles. After the game, we'll just walk home from the arena, I'm assuming. Can you also suggest some areas we should look on Sat in case we do decide to move here? Currrently, we live in a golf course community where homes range from 600,000 to 1,500,000. We like newer homes, though ones with some character. We wouldn't be opposed to looking at an older home, though it would have to be updated. A golf course within the neighborhood is definitely not a deal breaker. Trees are great, but we would be most interested in finding a neighborhood that has lots of kids closeby. Obviously, schools are very imporant as well, though I realize the public school system in Charlotte is very different than in Columbus. We would definitely like to check out Matthews, as I've heard great things about it! If you all wouldn't mind highlighting some area/ communities that meet our criteria, I'd appreciate it!
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 10:17 AM
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I almost forgot - sidewalks and little traffic within a neighborhood are a must for us!
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 10:20 AM
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Westin is a good hotel, if slightly set off from the center of town. You can walk to Brixx from the Westin, but it is a decent hike (10-15 minutes depending on your walking speed). College isn't the greatest street, and there is a good amount of construction going on there, so you may want to detour a block north to Tryon which has more to see on the way.

If you don't want to walk that far, the Mimosa Grill is only a couple of blocks away and is pretty good upscale southern food. Not sure if they are open for lunch on weekends though. Have fun.
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