Charlotte is North Carolina's largest city, and the seat of Mecklenburg County. According to the US Census Bureau, Charlotte's population in 2009 was 709,441 while the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce insists that it has reached 756,912 in mid-2010. Charlotte is the eighteenth largest city in the United States by population. The residents of Charlotte are called “Charlotteans.” The city's nicknames are “Queen City” and “The Hornet's Nest.” The city has a humid subtropical climate, and has warm, humid summers and mild winters. January and March are usually the wettest months, while the month of April is the driest. Charlotte is located along the Catawba River with Lake Norman nearby, North Carolina's largest manmade lake. The two other lakes near the city are Lake Wylie and Mountain Island Lake. Charlotte has a total area of 242.9 square miles, according to the US Census Bureau. Out of this area, 0.25% is water. The economy of Charlotte is flourishing and has become a major financial center of the United States, and has been ranked as the United State's second largest banking center after New York. The largest financial companies headquartered here are the Bank of America and Wells Fargo that will soon be fully merged with Wachovia by 2011; at this time Charlotte will be the home of the East Coast Operations of Wells Fargo.
Charlotte was first occupied by the people from Europe in 1755 when Thomas Polk (uncle of future US President, James K. Polk), traveled with Thomas Spratt and his family and stopped and built his house at the intersection of the Native American trading paths between the Catawba and Yadkin rivers. In Tomas Polk's first decades of settling, the area became the community of Charlotte Town that was incorporated in 1768 as a town. In 1770, the surveyors marked off the streets of the new town for future projects and development.
The town of Charlotte and its county were named in honor of the German princess, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the wife of the British King George III. This is why Charlotte is also referred as the “Queen City.” The town name was chosen to win favor with the crown; however, tensions began emerging between Charlotte Town and the United Kingdom when King George enforced unfavorable laws on the townspeople in response to their desire for independence. On May 20, 1775, the citizens allegedly signed a proclamation which was called the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. Though never officially presented, a copy was sent to the Continental Congress after a year. During the Revolutionary War, Charlotte was an encampment site for the British and American troops. And during the battles that occurred between the British armies and Charlotteans, the town earned the nickname “Hornet's Nest” from Lord General Charles Cornwallis.
In 2007, Charlotte was recognized by Forbes as the third most undervalued real estate market in the United States. The prices of homes in Charlotte differ by zip code. The uptown is great for young professionals where there are smaller, affordable condominiums in the area. New construction and revitalization are also here and are in full swing, giving residents several options for homes from Fourth Ward Victorians to high-rise condominiums. The downtown living offers Broadway shows, dining, gallery openings, fun taverns, outdoor concerts, museums, shopping, and much more.
In 2008, Relocate-America.com chose Charlotte as the “Best Place to Live in America” based on criteria that include crime rates, jobs opportunities, and housing affordability. Charlotte was also acknowledged for its colourful lifestyles and new business opportunities, and was ranked eighth of the 100 Best Places to Live and Launch by CNNMoney.com. Charlotte attracts 500 newcomers every week, and one of four residents moved here in the previous decade. The reasons for these are the alluring lifestyle and opportunities in the city such as outdoor recreation, plenty of diversions, mild climate with four seasons, good schools, good jobs, business-minded people, and many others. Travelling in Charlotte is easy. The city has an international airport, good roads from the mountains, and a system of interstate highways. These make the city a popular spot for frequent travellers, North and South family trips, and weekend getaways.
Charlotte's economy is largely based on the financial industries, where the Bank of America and Wells Fargo are among the most popular with Charlotte jobs. The other popular companies are Tiaa-cref, IBM, and Deloitte. The most common careers in the city are management, professional and related jobs at 34%; sales and office jobs at 26%; and service jobs at 14%. About 77% of the employed population in Charlotte work for companies, 9% work for the government, and 5% are self-employed. The commonly listed jobs are risk management, information technology, operation, business analyst, project manager, and sales representative. Charlotte jobs have an average salary of $47,131 according to government data. Charlotte's unemployment rate is at 8.3%, compared to the 6.9% national average. Jobs in Charlotte have increased by 83% since December 2008.
The continuing trends reveal that the top high demand jobs in the city are for project managers; assistant managers; cashiers; business analysts; sales associates; physical therapists; occupational therapists; restaurant and food delivery drivers; Java developers; registered nurses; assistant restaurant and food service managers; sales representatives; staff accountants; data analysts, and restaurant and food service team members. The top hiring companies are Food Lion, Bayada Nurses, IBM, Novant Health, Medical Connection, Inc., AppleOne, TEKsystems, Tenet Healthcare Corporation, and CDI Corporation.
Charlotte has its own charm in the dining scene. Dining establishments vary from ethnic eateries, to casual grills and sophisticated restaurants. These are some of the best places to wine and dine in the city of Charlotte. Luce has an original artwork that makes the restaurant more inviting.
This is located at the base of the Hearst Tower where an outdoor patio accommodates more diners. Its kitchen boasts a savory Tuscan cuisine. Noble's in Morrocroft Center is a beautiful dining establishment with interiors of granite counters, open kitchen, and dining area decorated with stone work, and welcomes guests with its delicious starters like tomato basil bisque. The restaurant serves irresistible Northern Italian dishes such as grilled leg of lamb with cannellini beans, rosemary chevre mashed potatoes, and several unique pizzas. Thai Orchid is situated behind the Fresh Market. The establishment serves palatable signature seafood dishes and stir-fry blends. Pie Town is usually a place for young professionals. They gather here after work for a taste of satisfying Asian-inspired dishes like stuffed quail, tempura, scallops, lamb shank, and salmon sashimi. Nikko serves a wonderful dining experience of sushi. The restaurant has been satisfying the appetite of the locals and frequent visitors for several years already. The delicious rolls are prepared before the diner's table.
The tourists and locals can get a glimpse of the amazing collection of art pieces in Charlotte. There are several museums to go to for a day of learning history and appreciating art works. Young children will get to have a fun learning experience in the museums that are dedicated to them. Visitors and the denizens have enjoyed these marvelous museums. The Mint Museum of Art is the state's oldest and most prestigious museum of art, covering over 81,000 square feet, has a collection of American, pre-Colombian, European, Spanish colonial and local regional art. This museum also stored the most collection of porcelain and ceramic art. The Afro-American Cultural Center has stained-glass windows that came from the Little Rock AME Zion Church, where visitors can see through the rich exhibits showcasing the African-American heritage. The place is a theater, amphitheater, and art gallery venue.
The Charlotte Museum of History is situated on the property of Hezekiah Alexander Homesite. This museum displays several exhibits inspired on the history of Charlotte. Other exhibits are hands-on for an interactive experience. The Levine Museum of the New South displays Southern history during the Civil War periods. There are changing displays and hands-on exhibits that make learning history insightful and fun-filled. This place provides a great experience for the whole family.
Charlotte offers enthralling and captivating attractions for the tourists and locals alike. These places are frequently visited by several people on their vacation or weekend getaways. These are some of the great attractions in the city. The US National Whitewater Center offers exciting adventures for the family or group of friends, like kayaking, rafting, and paddling. The area is also a place for mountain climbing, rock climbing, and taking rope courses. And after a long day of great fun, the River's Edge Bar & Grill satisfies hunger. The Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre is the venue for outdoor concerts and the stage is graced by the performances of Faith Hill, Dave Matthews, Linkin Park, and others on summer nights.
The Freedom Park has it all. Outdoor recreation for the entire family is here. Basketball and volleyball games can be enjoyed at this park. Walking from Sugar Creek down to the duck pond is great for those who are in the mood for relaxation. Another great attraction is the Carowinds which is nothing but fun. The 100-acre park has all the usual amusement park adventures from rollercoaster, Ferris wheels, special effects shows, and a water park. Flying-a-fighter-jet can be experienced in the Afterburn rollercoaster, which riders really enjoy; and the Boomerang Bay waterpark is the venue for cooling down. The McDowell Nature Center and Preserve, Wing Haven Foundation Gardens and Bird Sanctuary, McMullen & Lower McAlpine Creek Greenway, Reedy Creek Dog Park, UNC-Charlotte Botanical Gardens, McGill Rose Garden, and RibbonWalk Nature Preserve, are the other great places to see as well.
Charlotte's nightlife is as vibrant as its city lights. Outdoor concerts, from acoustic to jazz to rock gather fans from all over the corners of the city and neighbourhoods. The clubs and friendly bars keep the night partying with overwhelming fun. Those who want an evening with friends for catch-up conversations can definitely enjoy the city's restaurants. Sir Edmund Halley's Restaurant & Freehouse is a place for chilling out and getting cozy after a day of work. After-work drinks of single-malt scotch, a pint of stout or a glass of wine are available here. This is one of Southeast's best places for a late-night satisfying of appetite. Ostrich meatloaf and pork tenderloin will surely quiet one's heart.
The Cosmos Café is a more seductive rendezvous after sunset. Palates of stylish patrons in their 20s and 30s can be satisfied here. The place offers terrific music, interesting artwork, and exceptional martinis, and food services like made-to-order sushi, and wood-fired pizzas. Another great restaurant is Alexander Michael's, which is one of the city's best secrets. This is a restaurant and bar great for friends who just want to enjoy a relaxing night eating nachos, fried pickles, and burgers. If partying is a choice, The Forum is the place to be. With a rooftop garden for a view of the skyline, and spacious dance floor, this is a fantastic place to spend a long evening.
Charlotte is overflowing with malls and shopping districts. The trendsetters can have a blast in their shopping from the many affordable shops to upscale boutiques, and fashion is surely in-style. Tourists who like to have souvenirs will enjoy looking for some at the wide selection of specialty shops in the malls and shopping districts of Charlotte. The Northlake Mall is anchored by Belk, Dillard's, Macy's, and Dick's Sporting Goods. The modern, two-level shopping complex is located north of Charlotte. There are a variety of special shops here that capture the heart of every shopper.
This is a popular destination for its easy access and attractive design. Another destination is the SouthPark Mall, which is associated with fashion and style. This is known to be one of the top malls in the Southeast for the continuing reinventions and keeping in pace with the latest trends in fashion. Anthropologie, Apple, Origins, and MontBlanc are among the mall's specialty shops; and anchor stores include Macy's Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Belk, and Dillard's. The Park Road Shopping Center opened since the mid-50s. This is a shopping destination for the neigborhoods living south of Uptown like South End, Myers Park, and Dilworth. The crescent-shaped shopping center continues to offer its fabulous mix of shops, eclectic restaurants and services.
Tourists and residents who like to get pampered after a long-day of touring or working, and simply want to treat themselves to a good massage and relaxation can check out these places in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Ritz-Carlton Spa and Wellness Center offers a luxurious body, mind, and wellness experience. This is the spa where senses are relaxed and awakened in a peaceful sanctuary.
The place is a 13,000-square foot sanctuary. The Spa and Wellness Center of Ritz-Carlton features a couple's treatment room; three other treatment rooms; and separate ladies' and gent's Vitality Lounges fully equipped with steam, sauna, and showers. The fitness center has private televisions attached on the cardio equipment; a swimming pool; an Aqua Lounge with whirlpool; and a movement studio. The spa treatments for rejuvenation are welcomed in an environment accented with modern décor and complete sensory stimulation. Visitors can truly enjoy a great treatment and fantastic spa experience. Another terrific option is the MC3 Salon and Wellness Center. This is a venue to give hair and body a nice treatment. Their hairstylist, massage therapist, nail technician, personal trainer, nutritionist, and aesthetician guarantee satisfaction to please every client by providing the best beauty, health, and fitness services.
When traveling to Charlotte, North Carolina, consider staying at the historical Dunnhill Hotel. This hotel has been a part of Charlotte's charm since 1929 when it was first opened as the Mayfair Manor. The hotel is also part of the Historic Hotels of America. The hotel was designed by Louis Asbury, Sr. The hotel offers accessibility to Charlotte's many of cultural activities such as the Blumenthal Center for the Performing Arts, Discovery Place Science museum, Spirit Square Center to the Arts and many other museums.
The Ballantyne Resort is located a block away from shops, restaurants, and entertainment at the Villages at Ballantyne. If you are a golfer, consider staying here and learn golfing instructions from the golf professional Dana Rader. If you are a sports fan you might want to stay at the Hilton Charlotte Center City, which is just two blocks away from Bobcats Arena, Charlotte's NBA teams' home court. This is a great place to stay if you wanted to enjoy watching your favorite team. If you are visiting Charlotte for work-related reasons, you should consider staying in The Blake Hotel located in the business district. This hotel is only four blocks from the convention center and a few minutes away from the Carolina Panthers home stadium. Attention NASCAR fans: If you want a hotel that is close to the NASCAR Hall of fame, then stay at the Aloft Charlotte Uptown at the Epicentre. This hotel is only a block away from the many entertainment opportunities available in Charlotte.
Books, paper, pencils and a dedicated staff are all pieces of the vast puzzle that go into making a good education system. As many cities know the education of their children is the means with which the future of the city can be guaranteed to be entrusted into capable and educated hands. Charlotte has been strong in the fronts of the education war for some time now though it was the efforts of a rather overzealous Judge that really turned around the system and bring it to the point where it was earning honors often. Judge Howard Manning Jr took education very seriously and was none to please when the court ordered busing was stopped and the students from the low-income school began to suffer greatly. Perhaps it was this one man's determination along with the sense of pride and not wanting to see their children suffer any further that prompted the parents and the teachers to do what they needed to do.
From that time in 2005 Charlotte has made leaps and bounds in improving their public school system. To the point now there it can be noted to be among one of the best in the nation, with the district even winning the NAEP Awards in 2009. So now thanks to the people of the city and it seems one man the education in the city of Charlotte has greatly improved and seems to only have aspirations to continue improving. Now the children and parents of Charlotte can rest assured that they are receiving one of the best educations in the state, not just the city. Regardless of their financial situation or their location they will still get a quality education. This makes for the choice of moving to Charlotte an easier one, especially if there are children of the school age.
Traveling about a city is like exploring a new land, filled with wonders and history that could lead to stories for years to come. There is no better way in exploring a new city to see just what it was that they were about, what made it tick and set it apart from all the others. A city's transportation is the life blood that flows through it and carries those within to where they desire. A great way to see and feel all of that is usually by something unique that a city offers unlike any others, a means of travel that has a history that is as rich and engaging as the city itself. The trolley car system is one of those things that bring back memories of simpler times and cheaper means of travel.
When visiting Charlotte it would pay off dearly to take a trip through the city via trolley, at least in the warmer weather, even in the colder weather as long as there was no snow on the ground. The slow and easy pace of the trolley as it chugs along calmly on its tracks while the friendly conductor comments here and there on the places of historical note that is passed. Makes the trip more than worth it and gives them the ability to have a guided tour without having to do much walking, good for the elderly and of course small children. There is a level of safety that comes as well with traveling this way as they are less likely to fall prey to a street predator for there are people on the trolley with them, usually, so there is no fear of being caught alone anywhere in an unfamiliar city. Yes should a person find themselves traveling to and then through Charlotte taking the time to ride the trolley is sure to be an experience that they will remember fondly for years to come.
Charlotte's council is made up of the mayor, the mayor pro tem, three councils at large, and seven councilors or district representatives. In order to serve the citizens in the most effective way, the Charlotte government has chosen to focus on five key areas, namely Housing and Neighborhood Development, Transportations, Environment, Community Safety and Economic Development and Planning. These five focus areas help the staff of the local government in directing their actions based on the plans set by the City Council and the mayor.
The Housing and Neighborhood Development Focus Area deals with the issues involving the quality of life in Charlotte. The committee includes the neighborhood, as well as the business areas. The Community Safety Focus aims to reduce the occurrence of crimes in the community and increase the safety of the citizens in the area. The Transportation Focus Area involves the development of the transportation infrastructure and services. This mission is particularly important as the city is a growth center in the region. The Economic Development Focus Area has a goal to have an educated, trained and skilled work force in the city. It promotes partnerships that help the city's economic growth, attract investors in the country and support business development. The Environmental Focus Area is constantly improving ways to maintain and preserve the environment.
Other minor committees that the city council has created to address other issues are the Budget Committee, Restructuring Government Committee and the Government Affairs Committee. If one wishes to speak before the council during the council meeting, he or she may call the City Clerk's Office at 704-336-2248 or visit the office in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, 7th floor, 600 East Fourth Street. On the first Monday of each month, an unlimited number of speakers are allowed, but on the fourth Monday, only a maximum of ten people are allowed to speak. For more information about the local government of Charlotte, North Carolina, visit http://charmeck.org/.