Explore Charlotte

'Hail to the Queen' With This Charlotte Itinerary

Here is our guide to exploring the Queen City in a royal manner.

Charlotte is known as the Queen City, and rightfully so. It is named for Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1744-1818), the wife of King George III.

Queen Charlotte and the king were so respected by North Carolina's early settlers that they named the city for her in 1763. Loyalties to the Crown turned by May 1775, when colonists were massacred by British soldiers in the Battle of Concord and Lexington. Local patriots met and drafted the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, which a young tavern owner named Capt. James Jack carried on horseback through British lines to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.  

Learn about these events and Queen City's role in the American Revolution by strolling along the Liberty Walk, then follow our guide below as a starting point to explore all this beautiful city as to offer.   

Captain Jack statue
The Captain Jack Statue at Kings Drive and 4th commemorates the patriot's role in declaring Mecklenburg County's indpendence from British rule. (©Andy McMillan)

Dine Like a Queen

For the royal treatment, Ballentyne Hotel and Lodge offers a lovely afternoon tea from 1-4 pm Saturdays, pouring a variety of blends that are served with traditional tea sandwiches. 

But don't stop there. James Beard-nominated chefs like Joe Kindred and Bruce Moffett are serving up their own delectable dishes like Spring Onion Rigatoni at Kindred Restaurant and prosciutto-wrapped NC Trout Saltimbocca at Stagioni, respectively.

Dine on southern classics like fried chicken from Price's Chicken Coop, or enjoy dinner with a heart at The King's Kitchen and Bakery. The casual uptown, not-for-profit restaurant serves up locally-sourced southern staples like Old State Shrimp and Grits or Noble's Tomato Bisque with goat cheese crostini and gives 100 percent of the proceeds to local charities that feed the poor.    

Grace Stirs Up Success
Girls can give their dolls the royal treatment at the American Girl Store at SouthPark Mall. (Courtesy American Girl)

Shop Like a Queen

Charlotte offers plenty of shopping options to fit any budget. SouthPark Mall features luxury brands like Neiman Marcus, Tory Burch and Nordstrom. Princesses will likely enjoy a visit to the mall's American Girl for shopping, doll hairstyling and tea or milkshakes.

Freshen up the queen's wardrobe at Charlotte Premium Outlets. This outdoor shopping center features dozens of popular stores like Coach, Guess and Michael Kors, and many stores feature deep discounts. 

If it's time to spruce up the castle, head to Ikea for some affordable inspiration. Boutiques like LaDonna Antiques and Interiors and High Cotton Home Company offer more unique finds. 

Billy Graham Library Charlotte North Carolina
The flower garden at the Billy Graham Library. (©Todd Dack/Visit North Carolina)

Get Cultured Like a Queen

Walking through the Mint Museum Randolph's doors is history itself: It's in what was the original branch of the U.S. Mint, opening in 1936 in Charlotte’s Eastover neighborhood as the state’s first art museum. Collections not only feature American art through WWII and fashion, but also large sculptures worth seeking out around town.

Experience living history from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War at Historic Latta, Rosedale and Brattonsville plantations—each has a different story to tell. Or take a tour of the city by carriage, Segway or bus

Fans of Billy Graham will want to visit the Billy Graham Library, which pays tribute to the evangelist's life and ministry. It includes his childhood home, personal library and a custom mural painted by Thomas Kinkaid. 

Carolina Panthers Charlotte Bank of America Stadium
The Carolina Panthers play in Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium. (©Charlotte's Got a Lot)

Get Sporting Like a Queen

Charlotte has a plethora of sporting events to entertain any sport-loving queen. It's the home of the Charlotte Motor Speedway and the NASCAR Hall of Fame

NFL fans may want to catch a Carolina Panthers game at the Bank of America Stadium—August visitors will be just in time for the Panther's Fan Fest. Michael Jordan owns the Charlotte Hornets—catch their games at the Spectrum Center.

For minor league action, check out a Charlotte Knights game at BB&T Park, the Charlotte Checkers at the Bojangles Coliseum and the USL's Charlotte Independence at the Sportsplex at Matthews.