CHARLOTTE, NC: BBQ, ART & RACE CARS

 hearst tower

hearst tower

Hi everyone! We have been on a bit of a blog hiatus with the end of the school year wrapping up and getting ready for our trip to Charlotte, NC. We’re finally settling back in and have plenty of content coming up in the next few weeks.  

We were in Charlotte for our friend’s wedding. Although, we were busy with lots of wedding festivities we made some time to explore the city. We’ll share some of the places we visited, where to stay and delicious restaurants to try.

The first thing we learned from the locals, when we arrived in Charlotte, was to call the city Uptown. This modern city was built at the highest point in Charlotte and grew outward. I quickly realized how true this was during my morning run with a thigh burning elevation gain of 247ft.  

Much of our trip was within walking distance of the hotel or a short shuttle ride away. We traveled 35 minutes outside the city for one destination well worth the drive. Let us take you on our journey through Charlotte.

 crosswalk to nascar hall of fame

crosswalk to nascar hall of fame

WHERE TO STAY:

Hilton Garden Inn Charlotte Uptown

The staff was very friendly and accommodating at the Hilton Garden Inn. They offer complimentary coffee, drinks and snacks throughout the day. The breakfast, lunch and dinner menu is reasonably priced with plenty of options. There is wi-fi, an indoor pool and a small workout room with the essentials.

The hotel is located 3 blocks from Tryon Street, the center of it all. This short walk will take you to plenty of local restaurants, bars and museums. For destinations a little further or for those of us (like me) who like to wear fancy shoes from time to time, the hotel offers a free shuttle service within a 3 mile radius of the hotel.  

 Amelie's

Amelie's

WHERE TO EAT:

Amelie’s French Bakery & Cafe - Enjoy breakfast, lunch or tasty sweets at this French cafe. The quirky, eclectic decor rivals it’s amazing food.  I couldn't resist going back a second day to try a few more items off the menu. The savory pain perdu and tartine were a favorite.

Midwood Smokehouse - Casual dining that will surely satisfy your smoked Carolina BBQ fix. We couldn't help over indulging ourselves.  The smoked wings appetizer doesn’t need a single drop of sauce, it’s packed with flavor, and Christian’s favorite.  The chicken/ribs combo and brisket entrees didn't disappoint. Just thinking about it makes me want to drive 500 miles back for more. We finished off our meal with the pecan cobbler and scoop of ice cream, of course!

Soul Gastrolounge - We stopped in for one of their delicious signature cocktails. This restaurant will be on the top of our list for dinner stops next time were in town, the tapas plates looked amazing!

 nascar hall of fame

nascar hall of fame

 nascar hall of fame

nascar hall of fame

 Luski Gallery

Luski Gallery

 luski gallery

luski gallery

STOPS & SHOPS:

Nascar Hall of Fame - Located across the street from the Hilton Garden Inn, race car striped crosswalks lead you right to the Nascar Hall of Fame. The architecture of this building is a show stopper with over 40,000 square feet of exhibit space inside.

Foundation for the Carolinas Luski Gallery - I stumbled across the gallery while walking along Tryon Street. I spotted a large Chuck Close painting from the street and had to go inside. I was pleasantly surprised to find works from Dale Chihuly’s Macchia series and four Chuck Close paintings.

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art - The museum is filled with mid-century modernism. Exhibiting works by Victor Vasarely, Picasso and many more. Giacometti’s - 45 Drawings Portfolio is on exhibit until August 20, 2017.

Slate - Located next to Midwood Smokehouse. This furniture, art and decor shop is sure to please.  It has over 60 merchants and artists displaying their work throughout the store.  With a variety of decor styles, items come in and out quickly. If you see something you love grab it while you can.

Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens - About 35 minutes outside the city and totally worth the drive. The grounds span 380 acres in Belmont, NC with trails, gardens and an Orchid Conservatory you can’t miss. The Conservatory has a remarkable display of tropical plants with air plant arch ways, rubber trees, and unique species of orchids. Secretly wishing the giant fiddle leaf fig could have come back to NJ with me.

The Garden Store - Located at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens. While walking the grounds, take some time to cool off inside this cute garden shop. Selling everything from orchids, to botanical prints and one-of-a-kind jewelry made by local artisans. Hand-crafted jewelry by Charlotte’s, Twine and Twig, stood out with it’s unique earthy elegance. 

 giant elephant ear - botanical gardens conservatory 

giant elephant ear - botanical gardens conservatory 

 orchid - botanical gardens conservatory 

orchid - botanical gardens conservatory 

 air plants - botanical gardens conservatory

air plants - botanical gardens conservatory

If you’ve been to Charlotte I'd love to hear about some of your favorite stops and shops!