Charlotte Travel Guide
It was a busy weekend for NASCAR fans with plenty of racing action taking place down in Daytona Beach, Florida. Crazy crashes during Saturday’s race forced even the fans to the hospital—looks like everyone is at least stable—and Sunday brought Jimmie Johnson his second ever Daytona 500 victory. You could call it the Super Bowl of the series, so it’s understandable that this week might be a little disappointing after all that excitement. That’s why we suggest nursing your NASCAR hangover at their Hall of Fame over in Charlotte.
They’ve got pretty much everything and anything on display at the hall, and they’ve even found the space to cram in 31 full sized racecars as well. Over 50 digital displays help recreate history right in front of your eyes, and there are even plenty of buttons so you can choose exactly what you want to see, hear, and feel. There’s even a moonshine still on display to represent some of racing’s good ol’ days—ha.
If you loved The Hunger Games and can't sit still until the next film installment hits theaters, might we suggest some HG-related tourism? This week, we'll highlight a few Hunger Games locations that you can visit...without having to fight anyone to the death.
Although most of the movie was filmed in rural towns in eastern North Carolina, the interior shots in the Capitol required something with slightly more gloss. The state's biggest city, Charlotte, served as the backdrop for many Capitol locations.
The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center's Knight Theater was transformed into the auditorium where Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) interviews the tributes and presents them on TV. That also means it's the place where Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) showed off her red evening gown and where Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) admitted he was in love with her for the first time. Even without the crazily-styled Capitol residents in the crowd, it's pretty easy to feel the magic in the building as it is now.
[Photo: Lion's Gate/FanPop]
Museum Travel / Aviation / Miracle on the Hudson / North Carolina Travel / Flight 1549 / US Airways / Chesley Sullenberger / Accidents / → All Tags
North Carolina’s state motto is “First in Flight,” and the state that once hosted the Wright Brothers’ first flight now houses an aviation museum. While the Wrights’ plane flew in Kitty Hawk, the Carolinas Aviation Museum is located in the more convenient—and booming—city of Charlotte, just down the road from the airport. The location wasn’t just chosen for proximity, though—the planes live in a retired airplane hangar.
Among the aircraft you’ll see are a military jet that rescued American soldiers in Vietnam, a plane from now-defunct Piedmont Air, and one of the planes used in Top Gun. (They’re pretty sure Tom Cruise never sat in it, but that could be a plus.) However, the star of the show is a US Airways Airbus 320, otherwise known as the "Miracle on the Hudson" plane.
In case you need a refresher, it was in January 2009 that this plane left New York-LaGuardia airport en route to Charlotte, suffered bird strikes and failures of both engines, forcing it to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River. Piloted by Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the plane and its passengers escaped almost-certain disaster and became a worldwide news story, with the plane’s crew invited to attend President Barack Obama’s inauguration and to greet the crowd at the Super Bowl.
Flight 1549 / US Airways / Miracle on the Hudson / Chesley Sullenberger / Museum Travel / → All Tags
Flight 1549—aka The Miracle on the Hudson—is now on its way to a more permanent home in Charlotte, but getting there is proving to be quite a challenge. That’s because this time it’s taking the highway, and there are definitely a few bridges and byways not designed with an Airbus A320 in mind.
Like all good road trips along the East Coast, those involved with moving the plane decided to get a head start over the weekend and changed the original departure date of today up to Saturday. It’s unfortunately not just a straight shot down I-95, as the trailer that’s carrying the plane—it was custom designed for its unique load—is trying to navigate smaller streets and tight turns.
Airports / Airport News / Toilets / Travel News / Weird Travel / CLT / Charlotte Travel / US Airways / → All Tags
Airport washroom attendants. Yes, they do exist. Don't be frightened when you enter the bathroom at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, because there will be an airport employee there to greet you, guide you to an available stall, and even pump the hand towel machine for you. It's weird and potentially off-putting and no other US airport seems to have this, so what's the deal with them?
The issue of the CLT bathroom attendants is pretty common; even skateboarder Tony Hawk has tweeted about them, and it wasn't until a friend ran into them during a US Airways layover this weekend that we realized how unsettling the unexpected interaction can be. Heckthe best restaurants and five-star hotels with happening lobby scenes don't even use attendants any more. So why this airport?
Miracle on the Hudson / US Airways / North Carolina Travel / Museum Travel / Airplane News / Chesley Sullenberger / Flight 1549 / → All Tags
Believe it or not, January 15th marks the two-year anniversary since US Airways pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger successfully water-landed his Airbus A320 on New York's Hudson River after a bird strike took down both of the plane's engines. All 155 crew and passengers onboard survived and thus Flight 1549 became known as the "Miracle on the Hudson." Sully retired almost a year ago, but the battered fuselage hasn't yet reached such a peaceful conclusion; it's been up for auction (mainly for parts) since last January, and it may finally have found a buyer.
According to Gothamist, this piece of aviation history could end up in a place where all are welcome to come and see it:
Travel Snapshot / Airports / CLT / Airport Bathrooms / Airport Rocking Chairs / Plane Spotting / → All Tags
On a recent layover at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, we noticed these cute rocking chairs just outside the E gates. Even better, several of the chairs were located near outlets meaning you could charge your phone, observe the tarmac scene and rock yourself. And if you want to use your laptop, CLT has free WiFi! Pretty cool!
Another interesting service we noticed at CLT was that they have bathroom attendants in the bathrooms. Yes, just like the ones you see in NYC restaurants and fancy nightclubs. We liked this service because the bathrooms were nearly pristine and very orderly. But the pressure to tip--a plastic jar with the word "HAVE A NICE DAY" on them--was uncomfortable. Eeee.
Killer New Music Venues / Live Music / Best-Small-New-Music-Venues-in-the-US / Music Travel / Charlotte Travel / → All Tags
When you think of the Fillmore the first thing that pops into your head is sparkling chandeliers, thick ruby curtains, a wooden dance floor and legendary shows. The legendary auditorium on Fillmore and Geary hosted *everyone* in the sixites, and when it was reopened in the eighties it didn't skip a beat. We have been lucky enough to see plenty of shows at the SF Fillmore, thus when we heard Charlotte was opening a new Fillmore in June of 2009 we were anxious to check it out.
Charlotte is a millennial city in every way and in the midst of a ten year boom, so it makes perfect sense that the Fillmore brand chose the Queen City as a key spot for Fillmore brand expansion.
The Intimidator has already risen again. Just a few weeks after the announcement of a new record setting Dale Earnhardt themed coaster, another theme park in the south wants a piece of the NASCAR action. Carowinds, just outside of Charlotte, has revealed the details on their biggest and baddest roller coaster yet.
This new thriller is different than the initial Earnhardt ride, so coaster fans from across the country will have a couple new things to test out for the 2010 season. This ride will climb to 232 feet tall, and then pretty much drop you right back down, as the first drop is 211 feet towards the ground. Of course after that they’ll be plenty of twists, turns, and drops that will make anyone regret that corn dog that they had before boarding. Although not quite racecar speeds, the coaster will hit 75 MPH, which is not too shabby.
New Routes / Airline News / Hawaii Travel / US Airways / CLT / → All Tags
Despite the slowdown in the travel industry and flight capacity cuts, US Airways is moving forward with a new route to Honolulu. Beginning on December 17ideal timing for Christmas vacationsthe airline will be sending a Boeing 767 all the way to Hawaii from Charlotte. This will be the airline’s longest nonstop flight from its North Carolina hub, with the 10-hour flight easily beating out trips to Europe.
Tickets are available now, and if you really want to get on the very first trip, it looks like it will set you back about $964. We’d look for a better deal, since there probably won’t be too much fanfare to celebrate this inaugural voyage. At least it leaves at 9:45am, so you’ll be able to kick-off your tropical trip when you arrive at 2:59 pm Hawaii time.
Our biggest concern with this new plan is that it’s a really lengthy flight on an airline not known for their in-flight amenities. Remember that they just recently reversed their position on charging for drinks. And a quick reference check of our handy dandy in-flight entertainment guide reveals that we’ll be struggling with an overhead movie and 10 channels of rad music—if we’re lucky.
At least once the plane lands in the Aloha State, all will be well with the world—until you fly home.
Related Stories: [Photo: John Creasey]
· US Airways To Offer A Nonstop Flight To Hawaii [Charlotte Observer]
· Sip Pre-Flight Mai Tais Upstairs In Delta's Newish 747 To Hawaii [Jaunted]
· Airline News coverage [Jaunted]
[Photo: John Creasey]
When we are away from the Jaunted office, there’s a short list of things we look for in a hotel stay. We want something that’s comfortable, clean, and accessible to whatever we’re in town for. We’ll leave all the fancy pants stuff up to our sister site, Hotel Chatter; they’re way better at that than we are.
On our recent Charlotte Field Trip, we got to try out Hyatt’s new offering—Hyatt Place—and we were really digging it, so much so that we’re willing to trade in our usual love for Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Garden Inn. From now on, when it comes to a somewhat budget friendly business lodging, we say go Hyatt or go home.
On your next layover in Charlotte, don't be afraid to check out the city if you have the time. There’s a lot more to do than to just chill out on those rocking chairs between the terminals. Here are some tips for getting around quickly.
A trip to Charlotte isn’t all about checking out different neighborhoods and fooling around on the light rail. It’s serious work that creates some serious hunger, and we knew we wanted to check out the Queen City’s pizza scene while we were in town. Obviously, the city isn’t a place know for their pizza, but we did discover a few shining stars.