Getting Oriented

North Carolina’s dramatic mountains and beaches tend to overshadow the state’s central regions. However, visitors who take the time to experience the woodlands and hills that grace the heart of the state will find themselves enchanted by the same sturdy beauty that has nurtured generations of intellectuals and artists, from early-20th-century wit O. Henry to the modern humorist David Sedaris.

  • Raleigh. Something new and hip is always on the horizon, yet the old-world charm of the capital city remains.
  • Durham. People know Durham as “Bull City” for the tobacco industry that once dominated here.
  • Chapel Hill. Centered around the University of North Carolina, the nation’s first public university, Chapel Hill is a college town through and through. In spite of growing into a city of close to 60,000, it retains that small-town feel that truly makes it a special place.
  • Greensboro. The third-largest city in North Carolina, Greensboro has a long and rich history as a center of commerce.
  • Winston-Salem. Winston-Salem is literally a tale of two cities that merged in the early 20th century.
  • High Point. The world's largest furnishings industry trade show happens here each spring and fall.
  • Charlotte. There are many facets to the city of Charlotte. The business and cultural center, Uptown, is bustling during the week and a little quieter on the weekends, except for when there's a big show or game in town. The North Davidson Arts District, also known as NoDa, is Charlotte's artsy enclave. It's where you can explore art galleries or catch an acoustic live-music show. Another area to explore is Plaza Midwood. Once a streetcar suburb of Charlotte, Plaza Midwood is where you'll find vibrant street art, funky vintage shops, locally made artisan goods, comfort-food eateries, low-key dive bars, and places to hang out until the wee hours of the morning. And the area known as Greater Charlotte has numerous offerings in which to enjoy nature. The rolling hills outside the city are filled with golf courses, nature preserves, and outdoor recreation opportunities galore, including the U.S. National Whitewater Center.

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