My next stop is Charlotte, NC for the NCAA Semifinals. I had a chance to walk around and here’s my opinion of Charlotte. It’s like when you buy a brand new car. It looks nice. It smells nice. But there is still something about it that you have to get used to. You don’t know where the windshield wipers are. You don’t know how to pop the trunk. But damn does it look good! And that is Charlotte in a nutshell.
As I walked around at 4pm on a Tuesday, the one thing that struck me was that Charlotte is under heavy construction. I don’t know this for fact, but I’m getting the feeling that Charlotte is no longer the secret city of the south. Apparently people are moving in. And with the amount of condos I spotted, they’re moving in at a high rate of speed. According to my waitress Stephanie at the Rock Bottom (she’s studying real estate, so I assume she would know), Charlotte is one of the few cities in the country that isn’t having a problem selling its land and homes. Stephanie also has a twin sister who is also a waitress and is studying cosmetology…but I digress.
Charlotte was founded in 1768 by Scots-Irish Presbyterians. They built a lot of churches and then apparently they started building skyscrapers. There are some nice looking churches in Charlotte, and they are surrounded by very large buildings that look shiny and new. There are a ton of restaurants, lots of outdoor art and a lot of people in suits. Hell…they even have a monorail train! Needless to say, if you like new stuff, Charlotte seems to be the place to go.
But I like a good mix of historic and new, and that is where Charlotte is flawed (as far as I can tell). As I walk around, I don’t get the feeling that Charlotte has been around for over 300 years. Which is somewhat unfortunate. A city that has been around as long as it has should have some sense of its heritage. From what I could find in the downtown area, the only thing that had any historic value was the Settlers’ Cemetery which has been in place since 1776. And that has become a great place to let your dog go take a crap. Not cool.
It also has a discovery museum with an aquarium and an Imax theatre. Unfortunately, so does every other city in America. But it gives the tourists (like me) something to do. I went to said museum and was not impressed. However the kids that were there for a field day really seemed to be having fun. I thought it was pretty weak. But the Norman Rockwell presentation (which is a travelling show) was pretty cool! If it comes to your town…go check it out!
Something else about this city is…I feel safe here. Although there seems to be quite a few homeless (let’s get real America…the homeless situation in our country has gotten out of control), I don’t think I would have a problem walking the streets at night.
So…I have definitely been to worse places than Charlotte. But it loses points because a city needs to have personality. I don’t get that here. It’s just a big, shiny car on the lot, waiting for you to hop in and take it for a ride. Unfortunately…all that’s in it is the frame and some doors. We’re still waiting for the engine to be put in place.