As one of the nation's largest and fastest-growing cities, Charlotte is not only a city on the rise, but also a premier destination for meetings, conventions, trade shows, and planners aiming to impress. With its big-city amenities and small-town charm, the Queen City invites both visitors and locals to make themselves at home.
With diverse attractions, professional sporting venues, and thousands of hotel rooms, it's no wonder small and large groups from all over the world host national and international meetings, conventions, trade shows, and sporting events at the city's central hub - the Charlotte Convention Center. The 550,000-square-foot facility is located in a compact convention district in Uptown (how locals refer to the downtown area), connected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame via an over-street walkway and within a block of Whole Foods. In summer 2019, the Convention Center will undergo a $115 million expansion, bringing in an additional 50,000 square feet of meeting room and prefunction space, bringing the total sellable square footage to about 600,000 square feet. The expansion will bring the total individual breakout spaces to 54 (up from 40) and add the ability to divide the 35,000-square-foot Richardson Ballroom into four 7,700-square-foot breakout spaces, a pedestrian walkway to the 700-room Westin Charlotte Hotel, and more. The facility will remain open and able to accommodate groups in the unaffected meeting and exhibit spaces.
Accessibility is one of Charlotte's finest attributes. With one of the 10 busiest airports in the world by aircraft movements, the Charlotte Douglas International Airport brings in an impressive 700 flights daily. Sixty percent of the country is within a two-hour flight of the Queen City, and most destinations on the East Coast are within a day's drive or ride on Amtrak, making Charlotte an accessible hub and a magnet for growth. Both Center City Charlotte and the Charlotte Convention Center are just 7 miles from the airport. An average cab ride from the airport is $25 and average shuttle fare is $18, but Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing services are also available. While Charlotte is both walkable and bike-friendly, public transportation options include the LYNX Blue Line light rail (the state's first light rail system), the City LYNX Gold Line streetcar, and CATS buses, offering easy ways to get around town.
There's no shortage of hotel rooms in Charlotte. Through 2020, there will be more than 7,600 new hotel rooms slated for the area. In 2019, the new Stonewall Station project in Center City is expected to open two new 181-room hotels - a Home2 Suites by Hilton and an EVEN Hotel. A 270-room InterContinental Hotel will also open atop the historic Carolina Theatre in Uptown. And just down the street, the 254-room Grand Bohemian Charlotte will add to Charlotte's skyline in 2020.
Every free minute in Charlotte is one meant for exploring. While in Uptown, take a culture break at one of the many celebrated exhibit halls, which are located just steps from one another. For starters, the NASCAR Hall of Fame offers both new and die-hard fans the ultimate behind-the-scenes tour of NASCAR and its history. From there, walk to the Levine Center for the Arts, which houses the Mint Museum Uptown, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. With multiple theaters, including Uptown's Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, featuring everything from Broadway hits to ballet performances and music venues such as jazz club The Imperial, sit back, relax, and enjoy the touring talent throughout the city.
For live action, don't miss out on rooting for one of Charlotte's home teams, including the NBA's Charlotte Hornets, NFL's Carolina Panthers, and Triple-A affiliate Charlotte Knights, at Spectrum Center, Bank of America Stadium, and BB&T Ballpark, respectively. Outdoor activities are within minutes of Center City. Feel the rush of a NASCAR race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, be adventurous and go whitewater rafting at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, view the beautiful, lush scenery at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, or try hands-on activities and explosive experiments at Discovery Place Science.
Charlotte's nightlife is magnetic. The city buzzes with speakeasies such as Dot Dot Dot, which serves carefully crafted cocktails; stand-up comedy and unforgettable live shows at the AvidXchange Music Factory; bowling, movies, and bars at the Epicentre entertainment district; and karaoke and pizza slices at 8.2.0. Throughout each of the Queen City's neighborhoods, visitors are able to do everything from tasting Southern delicacies at high-profile restaurants such as Kindred to discovering new activities including ax-throwing at Axe Club of America.
Charlotte is what's now and what's next. Come find out why.
*This information was last updated April 2019.