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Planning Your Trip

Soak up the Old South while exploring the lively range of modern pleasures — from farm-to-table dining to buzzing galleries — in Charlotte, whose nickname “Queen City” is apt, given the city’s majestic array of charm and style.

Exploring the City

Charlotte is a four-season city, so check the weather and pack for a mix of comfort and convenience.




  • Despite its Southern location, Charlotte can be cold in winter. Summer is hot, but not without rain. Be sure to bring a lightweight raincoat and travel umbrella.
  • A good rule of thumb is to err on the side of underpacking for clothes but preparedness for shoes. Basic items like white shirts and jeans can be dressed up or down with the right accessories, but if you forgot to pack comfy flats or evening-appropriate shoes, you may find yourself shopping in Charlotte.
  • Finding the right daytime bag is worthy of your attention. Something that goes with everything and leaves your hands free, like a roomy leather tote or sleek backpack — is best for toting your essentials while you’re on the go.

Weekend Getaway

The typical dress code in Charlotte is relaxed and unfussy, so don’t be afraid to pack just the essentials to mix and match together.



  • Underpack when it comes to clothes. Basic items like button-down shirts, tees and minimalist jeans can be dressed up or down with the right accessories.
  • But be prepared with shoes: Plan ahead and make sure you have the right footwear (comfy flats, evening-appropriate, sneakers) for each activity.
  • Even for a quick trip, you won’t want to miss a trip to the spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte. Bring waterproof slides or flip-flops for the pool or sauna, plus sneakers and workout gear for the fitness center.
A river-rafting group laughs while being splashed

Day Trips

It’s a quick drive from here to many Southern attractions, including the barbecue paradise of Lexington, Dirty Dancing-famous Lake Lure. Here’s what to bring.


  • The U.S. National Whitewater Center offers rock climbing, kayaking, rafting, zip-lining and more. Bring active clothes, sneakers and water-appropriate wear.
  • Sure, there’s a decent camera in your phone, but where’s the fun in that? Take along a GoPro, flexible tripod or camera drone to bring some adventure to your photo and video memories.
  • In summer, don’t forget to bring along sunscreen, sunglasses, extra bottles of water and bug repellent.
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Don’t Forget

An expanding system of new routes — light rail, greenways, bike paths — make it easy to explore Charlotte’s chic enclaves and natural beauty. Just a couple of miles from Uptown lies Dilworth, Charlotte’s oldest suburb, which was reached by streetcar back in the 1890s. These days, be sure to pack flat shoes and a helmet because you can rent a bike from the Charlotte BCycle program for a relaxing ride from Uptown to Dilworth’s historic bungalows and eclectic boutiques. A 24-hour pass is just $8, and you can return your bike to any of BCycle’s 24 stations around town — including the one at Trade and Tryon streets, one block from The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte.

A walkable downtown, vibrant neighborhoods and a formidable dining and cocktail scene make the Queen City the ideal spot to soak up the new Old South.

Dining Reservations

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Locals know a great night out in Charlotte begins and ends at the Punch Room, where mixology legend Bob Peters infuses cocktails with ingredients from the garden atop The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte. Try one of the inventive punches — like Top of the Hill, a blend of TOPO gin, champagne, blackberries, Earl Grey tea, rosemary and lemon — while gazing at the city from the speakeasy-style den. Reservations are strongly recommended at Barrington’s, the Bruce Moffett institution beloved for its elegant seasonal plates, and at 5Church, the hip steakhouse crowned by an elaborate ceiling and Chef Jamie Lynch’s decadent menu.

Spa Appointments

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Experience the ultimate Southern charm with a customized pampering session that makes time stand still. Want to spa like a local? Do as the Southern belles do and reserve the city’s prettiest pedi: the ultimate honey and chocolate pedicure, an almost hourlong treatment that nourishes, repairs and transforms nails, feet and legs. If you’ve arrived from a long flight, ask the concierge to arrange for a Southern hot stone massage, which uses warm volcanic stones and intuitive pressure to hit reset on tired muscles and send you off to dreamland.

Day Trips

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North Carolina has several cities worth exploring, so save room in your itinerary for a day trip or two. Asheville, nestled between the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky mountains, is a two-hour drive from Charlotte and has emerged as a top destination known for phenomenal dining, creativity and nature. Hike the vast Pisgah National Forest or North Carolina Arboretum, then explore the city’s top-notch craft breweries and locavore restaurants and bars. Also within easy reach of Charlotte: Lexington, for aficionados of barbecue and wine, and Winston-Salem, where you can take in a NASCAR race, tour world-class art in a former tobacco baron’s mansion and sample Southern soul food.  

Outdoor Excursions

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Thrill seekers should visit the U.S. National Whitewater Center, a 1,300-acre complex devoted to outdoor adventure on the Catawba River. The center offers activities for all skill levels, from kayaking and rafting to zip-lining and rock climbing. Head to the lakefront oasis of Freedom Park to kick off local joggers’ favorite run, the 3-mile “Booty Loop.” The park is also a great place for a tranquil picnic or, in season, to see art; the next iteration of the annual Festival in the Park — Charlotte’s oldest arts event — takes place Sept. 21–23, 2018.

One of the great cities of the modern American Southeast, Charlotte, North Carolina was the country’s fastest-growing metro area between 2004 and 2014, attracting experiences for locals and visitors alike. The city pulses with the energy of a chic urban arts scene, a shopping destination complete with eclectic local goods and high-end stores, more than 40 craft breweries, and a variety of noteworthy dining ranging from food trucks to James Beard nominees. Just beyond the urban center lies myriad outdoor adventures and natural beauty. Relish every minute in this vibrant destination with The Ritz-Carlton as your home base.


Friends Getaway

The close proximity of exceptional restaurants, breweries, museums, shopping centers, and nightlife makes Charlotte the ideal destination for the urbane traveler. It’s also rife with adventure, as the home base for the high-octane sport of NASCAR auto racing and the site of the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Follow this itinerary to hit the top attractions for small groups.




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The Perfect Weekend

Charlotte takes its name from Charlotte Sophia, the wife of England’s King George III, and is often referred to as “the Queen City.” The regal nickname is particularly appropriate considering Charlotte is not only chic and charming, but also America’s third-largest banking sector. Locals and visitors alike enjoy the many amenities of this attractive, prosperous city, particularly in the walkable Uptown city center. Follow this guide to see it all in a weekend.


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