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While Charlotte does offer opportunities to travel by bus and train, much of the city is best traversed by car. Outside of Uptown's orderly grid, the streets wind in scenic yet unpredictable ways. Charlotte's extensive highway system converges into a beltway that surrounds Uptown and connects to Interstates 85 and 77. The LYNX light rail is a convenient way to get to the city center, with some stations offering free parking lots, while Amtrak shuttles passengers in and out of the city. The CATS bus system provides public transportation in areas not served by the train. The city also has a bike-share program and bike lanes can be found on many roads. For flights, Charlotte Douglas International Airport is located on the west side of the city.
Charlotte's passion for music, food, and drink can be witnessed at its festivals. Festival in the Park, South End Wine Festival, Carolina Renaissance Festival, and Taste of Charlotte are just a few of these events held throughout the year. Catering to Charlottean's love of live music, venues, theaters, and bars all over the city invite local and touring musicians onto their stages. The most famous acts to roll through town play at Charlotte's larger event spaces like The Fillmore, Charlotte Metro Credit Union Ampitheatre, and PNC Music Pavilion. More traditional performing arts are provided by the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Charlotte Ballet, Opera Carolina, and Charlotte Shakespeare. Sports are also a big deal in this city, and when locals aren't cheering on the Panthers or the Hornets, they might be at BB&T Ballpark watching the Knights.
Charlotte Restaurants & Nightlife
As a southern city, Charlotte loves its BBQ. Midwood Smokehouse, Mac's Speed Shop, and Bar-B-Q King are three of the biggest names serving classic southern comfort food. However, the city's restaurants are not afraid to innovate, with hip hangouts like Rooster's Wood-fired Kitchen, Tupelo Honey, and Cabo Fish Taco serving creative dishes with big flavor. This only scratches the surface, as Charlotte's food scene offers a world of flavors running the gamut from European fine dining to Pan-Asian favorites.
As for nightlife, the city's Uptown, Plaza Midwood, and NoDa neighborhoods are some of the most popular areas for enjoying a night out. Whiskey Warehouse and Peculiar Rabbit both offer views of the skyline from their rooftop bars, while guests at Fahrenheit enjoy wine, cocktails, and beer from a lofty perch in the middle of Uptown. For a truly unique experience, check out Soul Gastrolounge, a hip stop serving craft cocktails and sushi to the beat of nightly DJ sets.
Charlotte is home to two professional sports teams: the Carolina Panthers of the NFL and Charlotte Hornets of the NBA. The Panthers play at Bank of America Stadium while the Hornets play at the Spectrum Center, both located in Uptown. NASCAR Hall of Fame is also situated in the city center while several major racing series are held at Charlotte Motor Speedway just outside the city limits. Charlotte also attracts history buffs and art aficionados with its museums and historic sites. Charlotte Museum of History, Carolinas Aviation Museum, and Bechtler Museum of Modern Art are just a few of these destinations. For thrill-seekers, Carowinds amusement park is quite popular thanks to its sprawling playground of roller coasters and waterslides that straddles the state line.