Toward the end of September Charlotte, North Carolina captured negative national attention for being the latest city rocked by protests in the wake of the shooting death of an African-American man at the hands of the police.
Two days after the incidents I went to Charlotte to visit family, and I thought that while Charlotte, North Carolina was on people’s minds, I’d give my readers a glimpse into the city.
- Charlotte was the site of the nation’s first gold rush. In 1799 gold was discovered to the east of the city and prospectors flocked to strike it rich.
- In 1835 Congress approved plans to build the first branch of the U.S. Mint in Charlotte, North Carolina. Before that the gold had to travel to the mint in Philadelphia.
The gold and the mint helped foster a banking industry. Today Charlotte is the nation’s second-largest banking center after New York City, with institutions such as Bank of America headquartered here.
- The banking industry helped the expansion of the textile industry. Today, just like in Durham, the old brick mills have been converted to trendy shopping areas and restaurants.
On the Saturday I was there we went to O-Ku, a new sushi restaurant in Atherton Mills. I had never before seen sake served in a wine glass and the sushi came with twists like being garnished with cilantro.
O-Ku started in Charleston, South Carolina and expanded to Atlanta before coming to Charlotte. The owners must know their client’s preferences, and I have no problem with chefs adapting another cuisine to local tastes and presentations.
- These converted mills are in Charlotte’s South End, which has light rail and will be connected to the North End by light rail next year.
- Near the South End is Price’s Chicken Coop, a Charlotte institution. It’s a take-away place only and a must-try.
- Michael Jordan, originally from Kinston, NC, now lives at the most premium address in the city and has a penthouse view. He has a major stake in the Charlotte Hornets.
- Speaking of sports, the city is home to NASCAR and Charlotte Motor Speedway. For the driving experience $199 will get you three laps around the course in your dream car, and the prices go from there.
- Carowinds is an amusement park famous for the world’s tallest and fastest giga- coaster, the Fury 325. I have no problem going to Uzbekistan. I do have a problem getting on the Fury 325. Won’t happen. The video is terrifying enough:
- The U.S. National Whitewater Center has a wide variety of outdoor sports, including a man made rapids that parallels the Catawba River.
- Greenways are a network of spaces for walking and biking that extends all throughout the city. Of the 20,000 acres of county-owned parklands, 6980 are designated as nature preserves.
This is the urban section of Little Sugar Creek greenway, with the Charlotte, North Carolina skyline in the background.
I hope Charlotte can find a way forward to achieve racial justice and balance.
See also: My Travel Blogs
This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen