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Charlotte, NC

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Charlotte

Downtown Charlotte

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Charlotte

Mountains near Charlotte

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Charlotte

Downtown Charlotte

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Don't expect to hear many Southern accents in this melting pot, the biggest city in the state. Visiting Charlotte is much more of an urban experience than a down-home one, but that's all part of the fun of being in this bustling, forward-focused place. Here, local custom is not to preserve the old, but build new. While controversial, this tradition is responsible for the ultramodern feel of the city's Uptown. With little doubt, it's also why Charlotte is home to so many brand-new sports complexes, museums, and chic lofts. This lack of dwelling in the past brings people from across the country to start new lives—and also to start restaurants, galleries, and high-concept bars.Things are always in motion here, but history lovers shouldn't despair. Bits and pieces of Charlotte's past still linger. With their antique architecture and shaded streets, neighborhoods like Dilworth and the Fourth Ward offer lovely glimpses of what once was. Other areas, like hip Plaza Midwood, are becoming a fusion of the new and old. There, historic houses have been converted into wine bars and late-night eateries.Be aware that heavy development has created some typical urban problems throughout town. Yes, the traffic and parking can be terrible, and restaurants are packed on weekends. But don't let that scare you away from the Queen City. When visiting the Piedmont, Charlotte is not to be missed.

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Place
Mecca of Motorsports
Samantha's Pick Mecca of Motorsports

This city is NASCAR Central. Take in a race, visit the Hall of Fame or Dale Earnhardt’s collection at the “Garage-Mahal.”

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Image Credit

David Madison / Getty Images

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Want to Get Loose? (Tea, That Is)
Samantha's Pick Want to Get Loose? (Tea, That Is)

As an avid tea drinker, I love a cup in the soothing atmosphere of the Urbana Cityspa & Teabar. It’s cheaper than a massage and you feel just as refreshed.

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Image Credit

Jake Curtis / Getty Images

Place
Stay Near the Beast of the Southeast
Samantha's Pick Stay Near the Beast of the Southeast

There are plenty of great hotel options near the Speedway. Just be sure to book way in advance since the rooms (like the cars) go fast.

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Image Credit

VisionsofAmerica / Joe Sohm / Getty Images

Place
See the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
See the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

Niki de Saint Phalle's The Firebird is the gatekeeper of this spectacular collection of 20th century art. Pay a visit and marvel at the modern masters.

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Panoramic Images / Getty Images

Place
Have Lunch at the Historic Rosedale Plantation
Have Lunch at the Historic Rosedale Plantation

Built in 1815, this preserved piece of Federal architecture makes for a pleasant picnic spot. Go on a sunny afternoon, and relax in the gardens.

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HIRO/a.collectionRF / Getty Images

Place
Hit the Links at Olde Sycamore Golf Plantation
Hit the Links at Olde Sycamore Golf Plantation

For golfing enthusiasts, a round at the Olde Sycamore Golf Plantation is a must. Tee off at the award winning greens, and take in the surrounding beauty.

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Image Credit

Andrew Penner / Getty Images

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