The calm before the party

  A Sunday in Charlotte, North Carolina

We arrived in Charlotte late on a Saturday night and checked into the Hampton Inn Charlotte-Uptown.  The hotel was located in walking distance or a free trolley ride away from most of the attractions in downtown Charlotte.


1- Strolling along on foot: From our limited perspective, you could easily walk to most of the main attractions. Our map indicated that the city limits are about a mile from the center. So, just grab a map, make a few rights and lefts, and see what you find!

2-Levine Museum of the New South: We had so much fun here! This museum does an excellent job of bringing history to life. In addition to traditional informative museum placards, visitors can enjoy the interactive components such as dressing up in early 20th century clothes, exploring a historic kitchen, and sitting in an old-fashioned barbershop.

3- 7th Street Public Market: This open concept market seems to cater to a food conscious population by offering all sorts of organic, vegan, and raw delicacies. There is a great coffee bar that allows you to bring their mugs/utensils to the outside eating area.

4- Amelie’s French Bakery (pictured above): The cafe is captivating at first glance. The decor is absolutely lovely with each detail carefully considered. You are welcome to dine indoors amidst the French decor or to sit outside and enjoy the passersby. The cafe offers a full kitchen with excellent soup in addition an impressive array of pastries. There is a full espresso bar as one would expect. As a cafe aficionado, I feel that this place is certainly a special find!

Potato Thoughts

I have long wanted to visit Charlotte since hearing vague details about this growing interesting city throughout the years. My disclaimer to my experience is that we only spent one day in this city, which likely implies that we missed some of the gems. However, my overall impression was that there was an intangible air to the city almost as though we were all waiting for something. I felt as though everything was in place and we were simply waiting for the party to begin…hence the title of this post.

I enjoyed how walker-friendly the city is and the free public transportation (free trolley). The Levine museum and Amelie’s French Bakery cafe were definitely my highlights. Even if you are not typically a museum kind of person, you might enjoy dressing up and handling cotton in its various stages as you wander this museum. Most of all, Sunday tickets are discounted. Amelie’s French Bakery was lovely. One of my hobbies is visiting cafes all around the world so this cafe had quite the competition and it certainly stood up. I really enjoy establishments that are proportional in their attention to aesthetics and quality of the food/drinks.

Playing dress up at the Levine Museum

Although our stay was short, Charlotte offered us a fun history lesson, a free trolley tour of the city, and delicious French pastries along with impressive decor in one full day.

Dinosaur Thoughts

Downtown Charlotte has a new a shiny feel.  It’s obvious that the city planners have put a good deal of thought into making the city center inviting for everyone.  It is an easy walk or a nice trolley ride to the city center.  Once in the city center all of the attractions like the NASCAR hall of fame and the Hornets’s arena are short walks away.  There’s a large indoor market to grab anything from a cup of coffee, a drink, or some food.  From our hotel we rode the free trolley into the city center and walked back at the end of the day.  The trolley was clean and air-conditioned.  I’m a fan taking the trolley in any city. Trolleys are normally cheap and provide a good view of the city.  The Charlotte trolley is no exception, and is Dino endorsed. I recommend giving the Charlotte trolley a ride.

Despite our time in Charlotte being brief, I had fun. Charlotte has all of the fixin’ for a party…you just have to show up.  I know I’ll be back.

Old fashioned barber shop at the Levine Museum