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Planning A Trip To Charlotte? 4 Things You Need To Know



Charlotte is a diverse city, mixing the fast-paced East Coast lifestyle with the sweet, slow charm of the South. Don't expect this fast-growing metropolis to behave like other southern cities; its cultural identity is modern and eclectic. If a Charlotte getaway is in your future, here are four things to keep in mind when you plan your trip.

Time Your Trip For Hotel Deals
The city is hot, humid, and busy in the summer months; you'll get the best rates during the spring and fall. Remember, the Queen City is a major banking and business center, second only to New York City. Because of this, you'll pay significantly more for a room during the week than you will on weekends. In fact, Uptown business district hotels like the Marriott City Center and the Hampton Inn Charlotte Uptown usually offer deep discounts and special weekend packages to fill their empty rooms; enjoy the premium location at a budget price.

Don't Rely On Public Transportation
While Charlotte does have a bus and light rail system, it's not as robust as other cities comparable in size. In fact, unless you plan to spend most of your time in Uptown, you'll want a car. Fortunately, most of the hotels in Charlotte offer convenient parking options and oversized lots, and you'll find car rental companies both at the airport and in the downtown area. If you do forego a car, you'll need exact change ($2 per ride for adults, $1 for children) for the bus unless you purchase a pass, which are available mainly at neighborhood grocery stores. Check the CATS website (www.charmeck.org/city/charlotte/CATS) for locations and pass options. 

Plan To Attend A Sporting Event
Charlotte welcomed its NFL team, the Carolina Panthers, in 1995, and the city is full of passionate supporters. If you're in town on a home-game weekend, expect to find Uptown swarmed with boisterous football fans making their way to Bank of America Stadium. If NASCAR is your thing, you'll definitely want to visit in May or October to experience one of the major events at the Charlotte Motor Speedway; plan to buy your tickets months in advance unless you want to go broke on last-minute seats. Don't forget to check out the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Save Money At The Plentiful Free Attactions
One of the most popular attractions in Charlotte is Freedom Park, a 100-acre lakeside park about three miles from the hurly-burly of the city center. Dubbed the "Central Park of Charlotte," Freedom Park has miles of walking and bike paths, tennis courts, and picnic facilities. It's also the location of dozens of free festivals and events like the Kings Drive Art Walk.
Don't miss the 7th Street Public Market, in indoor marketplace showcasing local produce, flowers, edibles, and delightful Piedmont wines. Grab a slice of pizza at Pure Pizza, which makes its pies from ingredients sold right in the market. 
No matter what brings you to Charlotte, you'll fall in love with its unique southern flair and perpetually busy atmosphere.

Author Bio: 

Sheila Westin is a freelance travel writer and food blogger who writes about the charms, cuisine, and culture of the places she visits. A last-minute travel aficionado, Sheila spends her free time flying down the freeway or across the friendly skies for quick getaways. When she's not on the road, Sheila enjoys exploring the excellent restaurants and jazz clubs of her native Washington, DC. 

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