Granted, it was 1799 when twelve-year-old Conrad Reed lugged an odd yellowish 17-pound rock that he found in Little Meadow Creek, northeast of Charlotte, into the house.
The family didn’t know what they had when they decided that the stone, later to be America’s first documented gold discovery, would make a fine doorstop.
Since then it has been one gold rush of opportunity after another for Charlotte and the surrounding region. The city has also become a destination, evolving from a textile and transportation base into the nation’s second-largest financial center.
Well known for companies like Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Duke Energy, Charlotte has quietly been a major national media center as well, attracting many newcomers to work for networks like ESPN, SEC Network, Fox Sports 1 and NASCAR Productions.
Along with ESPN events, much of the country’s sports programming – college football and basketball, golf, auto racing, even ice skating – comes through Charlotte-based Raycom Sports. American City Business Journals publish business magazines in 40 U.S. metropolitan markets as well as the Sports Business Journal, NASCAR Illustrated and Inside Lacrosse.
Charlotte is a center for both spectator and recreational sports. The region is the spiritual and physical center of NASCAR racing, home to the majority of teams and drivers, as well as the Charlotte Motor Speedway which hosts the Bank of America 500, NASCAR Sprint All Star Race, and the Coca-Cola 600.
The 150,000-square-foot NASCAR Hall of Fame, located in Uptown Charlotte, is an interactive entertainment attraction, honoring the history and heritage of NASCAR. It’s lots of fun for all ages with its hands-on exhibits like the racing simulators and pit crew challenge, more than 1,000 artifacts, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame Gear Shop.
NASCAR ranks second only to the NFL, and Bank of America Stadium is home to the Carolina Panthers. Charlotte is back on the PGA Tour with the Wells Fargo Championship. The ACC Championship and Belk Bowl are played in December each year.
The area is home to two minor league baseball teams, the Class AAA Charlotte Knights and the Class A Kannapolis Intimidators, both affiliated with the Chicago White Sox. The Charlotte Checkers is an AHL hockey team. More teams include the NBA Charlotte Hornets, MLL Charlotte Hounds and USL Charlotte Independence.
If you’d rather play than watch, amateur leagues and groups abound for basketball, baseball, cycling, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball. There are more top-flight golf courses, public and private, than you can shake a two-iron at, including the ominously named Verdict Ridge on Lake Norman, and Old Sycamore, the Golf Club at Ballantyne, TCP Piper Glen and the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte.
Adrenaline levels can be kept under control by spending quiet time at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden.
This is the Carolinas’ garden for all seasons, providing guests a chance to reconnect with nature and to create lifelong memories with friends and family. Located within 380 acres on the banks of Lake Wylie, spectacular gardens, sparkling fountains, a conservatory dedicated to the display of tropical plants and orchids, a visitor pavilion, a garden store and nature trails await the visitor.
The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center with its many facilities is the showcase for the Charlotte Symphony, Community School of Arts, Charlotte Ballet, On Q productions, Opera Carolina, Studio 345, and Carolina Calouche and Company.
The city’s cultural community is sprawling with complexes like the Levine Center for the Arts, comprised of the Mint Museum Uptown, The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture and the Knight Theater.
Charlotte is also home to the Mint Museum Randolph, which was originally the first branch of the U. S. Mint, serving the South by coining over $5 million in locally mined gold, from 1836 to the outbreak of the Civil War.
While you’re here, explore Charlotte malls, boutiques, outlets and more. Must-sees include SouthPark Mall, Concord Mills and Charlotte Premium Outlets. As the largest city between Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, Charlotte’s got style and plenty of shopping.
Choose from high-ends peppered with designer labels like Narciso Rodriguez and Michael Kors, or check out local haunts for fashion, home décor, antiques, jewelry, accessories, art, gifts and, of course, IKEA.
Share this article: