Every city has its quirks, and Charlotte definitely has a few of our own. Don’t get us wrong, we are proud of our city and the small peculiarities that make us unique. Visitors from other cities may think we are weird when we do these nine things, but our Charlotte neighbors completely understand why and do them too!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Refer to the Downtown as Uptown.
When people move to Charlotte they quickly realize it's a faux pas to call the city "downtown." Charlotte locals have been referring to the Center City area as Uptown since the 1980s, when city officials decided the name Uptown might make the city more hip and trendy to those looking to move here.
Since then the name has stuck, and while visitors might scratch their heads when someone points them in the direction of Uptown, true Charlotteans know exactly where they are going.
2. Place bets on what color the Duke Energy building will be on any given day.
Anybody who is from Charlotte knows that each night when you look up at the city skyline, you will see the Duke Energy Center lit up in a certain color or color combination. These colors represent holidays, celebrations, sports teams, community organizations, and can be requested to be displayed by any community member in Charlotte.
The Wells Fargo Lights, named for the property owner of the building, even have their own Twitter page where Charlotte locals can see what the lights are representing on any given night! On Sundays in the fall, the building is always lit Carolina Panthers Blue, and around Christmas time you are bound to see red and green lights at least a few times. If you want to know what the lights are representing tonight, follow them on Twitter
3. Tailgate all day (or longer) to see only a few hours of NASCAR.
Charlotte is the home of NASCAR, and you can bet that any local you ask has probably been to a race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Charlotteans love the sound of a loud motor and feeling the breeze in the air as cars whip by on the long oval track. We love the smell of auto fuel and burning rubber and feed on the adrenaline rush we feel right before the cars get ready to "go racin".
Although most NASCAR races only last a few hours, Charlotte natives know how to make NASCAR a full weekend event. On a race weekend, thousands of people will flock to the Speedway to camp out and tailgate until the race. Bearing the hot sun and humid conditions, you can't stop a true NASCAR fan from getting to the track early to enjoy the excitement.
4. Go drinking with our dogs.
Charlotte is a pet-friendly city and many residents couldn't imagine leaving their four-legged friends at home while they go out for a night on the town. This is why Charlotte has at least 3 bars that are specifically built for dogs and their owners, and numerous other restaurants and establishments allow pets on their patio.
Lucky Dog Bark & Brew, with locations in both Charlotte and Cornelius, is a great place to head out with your pup for a drink and some fun. Dogs are allowed off-leash and there are tons of areas for them to run, play, and climb with other dogs.
Noda Dog Bar on N. Davidson St. was Charlotte's first dog bar and is a great spot to be if you want to enjoy a cold beer and do some people (and dog) watching. It's getting to the point where you might see as many dogs as you do people when you are out on one of Charlotte's popular restaurant patios. Locals have just come to expect it and dog-lovers can't get enough of it!
5. Watch planes take-off at the Charlotte Douglas Airport.
The Charlotte Douglas Airport has actually found a way to bring people to the airport even when they are not traveling. Many Charlotte locals have been to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport Overlook to watch planes landing and taking off at any point during the day. The Overlook, which offers a great view of the main runway, offers visitors picnic tables and park benches where they can sit to observe the planes going in and out. It is open from 8 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. daily. The art of watching planes has become a huge pastime in Charlotte and people young and old make a point to see what it is all about.
6. Order the most ridiculous Bloody Marys you can imagine.
Have you ever had a Bloody Mary with a burger on it? You will if you decide to stay for a while in Charlotte. One thing Charlotte residents do well is brunch, which has made the local restaurants in the area very creative and competitive in their Bloody Mary offerings. You can find a Bloody Mary Bar at almost every restaurant on Sundays where you can build your own drink with all traditional garnishes, like celery and olives, or unique add-ons like bacon, pickled okra and more.
And you've gotta have an appetite if you want to try to take down this Bloody Mary from Moo & Brew on Central Ave. Made with Tito's vodka and topped with an Angus slider, bacon, fried green tomatoes, and TWO grilled cheese sandwiches, this drink for one in the QC would be considered lunch for four anywhere else.
7. Refer to Charlotte as "Buzz City" during basketball season.
Charlotteans are basketball fans, and by the time basketball season comes around you will have heard locals refer to the city as "Buzz City" a time or two. The Charlotte Hornets have been our beloved NBA basketball team since 1988. The "original" Hornets played here from 1988 to 2002 and had a major role in growing support for pro sports teams in the city. In 2002, the team was relocated to New Orleans, and in 2004, the Charlotte Bobcats took their place. The Bobcats carried on the NBA-loving tradition and Charlotte residents always enjoy getting out to a ball game.
In 2014, when it was announced that the Hornets would move back to Charlotte, the city went crazy and has been "Buzz City" ever since. Even the Charlotte police force shows their love with a hornets nest logo appearing on the side of their cars!
8. Insist on seeing the McAdenville lights every Christmas.
McAdenville is a small town just 20 miles south of Charlotte, and it's well known as "Christmas Town USA." McAdenville has become famous for the spectacular Christmas lights and displays you can see during the holiday season. Christmas Town USA kicks off the weekend following Thanksgiving with a tree lighting ceremony on their main plaza.
The whole town comes out for this tree lighting and visitors flock to McAdenville to drive down the sparkling streets. Residents go all-out in this town, and the amount of lights and decorations on each structure is outstanding. More than half a million Christmas lights are on display each year, and Charlotte locals and other visitors - about 600,000 in total - make it a tradition to pile into their cars and see the lights each Christmas season.
9. Eat pimento cheese on everything.
If you're from Charlotte, you know we eat pimento cheese on everything. Burgers, dogs, nachos, fries, as a dip, on a sandwich, on crackers, and with a spoon. This spread is one of our favorites and there's a good reason why: Charlotte is the pimento cheese capital of the world and it ranks as one of the biggest markets in the nation for homemade and store bought pimento cheese.
Ruth's Salads, the first company to ever produce pimento cheese for grocery store chains around the nation, has been located in Charlotte since the 50s and takes pride in serving Charlotte residents their pimento cheese as the top producer in the country.
What weird things do you do as a Charlottean? Let us know what we might have missed in the comments!