National Local Life

Get to Know Charlotte, North Carolina, Through TV and Movies

More than 3,000 TV shows and movies have been filmed throughout North Carolina since the beginning of the 1900s—and the state’s largest city, Charlotte, has played host to a substantial number of them. 

For years the Queen City held a prominent role in the entertainment industry thanks to film incentive programs that offered favorable tax credits, which made it a hot spot for filming. Today, the city has a seemingly endless list of production credits with countless feature films, documentaries, and reality shows being shot in the area, providing a great way to get to know the fast-growing southern city.

Get to know different parts of Charlotte from its scenic skyline and airport to its restaurant scene through their most memorable appearances on the big and small screens.

Charolette's City Center 

Charolette's City Center
Charolette's City Center / Photo by Jon Bilous /

On a normal day, Charlotte’s city center—known as Uptown—is full of professionals making their way to and from work, but the area has also had plenty of time in the spotlight as a desirable filming location. 

The vibrant area has been the backdrop for everything from blockbuster hits to long-running network shows and has even provided the romantic ambiance in Hallmark’s beloved Christmas movie “A Christmas Love Story.” 

Charlotte’s scenic skyline has made plenty of appearances in a variety of television and film projects throughout the years. In the football drama, “Leatherheads,” which stars George Clooney, you can catch a glimpse of the skyline which was portrayed as the Chicago skyline during the early 1900s.

The 2018 movie “American Animals” was filmed in several locations around Charlotte and also uses the skyline, although the film tries to pass it off as Lexington, Kentucky’s cityscape.

The city’s most prominent skyscraper, The Bank of America Tower, makes a cameo in the comedy “Shallow Hal” starring Jack Black and Gwyneth Paltrow, along with St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and Latta Arcade. The QC’s streets can also be spotted in Fox’s “Shots Fired” as well as Johnny Knoxville’s film “Bad Grandpa.”

The city was put on display throughout the entire eighth season of “The Bachelorette” as Charlotte resident Emily Maynard attempted to find love on national television. The reality show showcased many local businesses and distinguishable landmarks, including the Mint Museum Uptown where Maynard and a suitor scaled the five-story building. 

Charlotte has also played significant roles in award-winning series like Showtime’s “Homeland.” Though the show is set in the Washington D.C., and Northern Virginia areas, the first few seasons of the critically acclaimed series were largely filmed in Uptown Charlotte. 

From Claire Danes’ character Carrie’s fictional apartment—which is located on Poplar Street—to random B-roll shots of busy sidewalks, Charlotte residents will no doubt recognize the streets and buildings of Uptown that can be seen throughout the show. Locals may even be able to spot a familiar face or two as they walk past in a shot’s background. 

Parts of Uptown are also featured in the insanely popular “Hunger Games” series; though they’re almost unrecognizable in the film, The Knight Theater and Charlotte Convention Center were transformed to portray parts of the movie’s futuristic capital, Panem.

Bank of America Stadium

Bank of America Stadium
Bank of America Stadium / Photo by digidreamgrafix /

Charlotte’s stadiums and arenas have also gotten more than their 15 minutes of fame through several films and shows. Amazon’s “All or Nothing: The Carolina Panthers” follows the NFL team for an entire season and provides fans with an in-depth look at Bank of America Stadium.

The eight-episode show provides viewers almost unprecedented access to the stadium, going into places rarely seen by anyone outside of the organization like the players’ locker room and film room. 

The Charlotte Restaurant Scene

While Uptown may be the flashiest of the city’s filming sites, there are a number of other Charlotte locales that have also made their on-screen debuts. 

Several Food Network shows like “Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives” and “FoodNation With Bobby Flay” have given viewers nationwide an inside look at the Charlotte restaurant scene, highlighting a number of local staples like 10 Park Lanes, 300 East, Pinky’s Westside Grill, Dish, Mert’s Heart and Soul, and Price’s Chicken Coop.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport 

Charlotte Douglas International Airport
Charlotte Douglas International Airport / Photo by LisaCarter /

The Charlotte Douglas International Airport is not only one of the busiest airports in the country, but it’s also served as the set for high-profile productions like the biographical drama “Sully.” The movie’s flight simulator scenes were filmed at the American Airlines’ Charlotte Douglas International Airport training facility.

Charlotte Motor Speedway  

Charlotte Motor Speedway has taken center stage in various NASCAR-themed movies and shows. Some of the most noteworthy films shot at the famous track include “Days of Thunder,” starring Tom Cruise, and the comedies “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” and “Logan Lucky.” 

In addition to the feature films, the speedway can be seen in a variety of sports documentaries like ESPN’s “3: The Dale Earnhardt Story.”

The U.S. National Whitewater Center

The U.S. National Whitewater Center
The U.S. National Whitewater Center / Photo by The U.S. National Whitewater Center / CC BY-SA

The U.S. National Whitewater Center has also made a name for itself in the TV and movie industries. As the home of the world’s largest man-made, recirculating whitewater river, the expansive venue provides the ultimate shooting location for production crews filming scenes that involve any type of whitewater rafting. 

Some of the most notable scenes captured at the USNWC, thus far, include the hilariously unlucky Griswold family taking on the churning rapids of the “Colorado River” in the 2015 movie “Vacation.” 

Charlotte’s Surrounding Areas

Although Cinemax’s “Banshee” is set in a small Pennsylvania town, the show was primarily filmed on the outskirts of Charlotte. One of the most recognizable filming locations in the series is The Davis General Store, which was originally opened in 1890 and was transformed into a bar known as The Forge in the show.

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