As one of the fastest-growing cities in the US right now, Charlotte still maintains its charm and southern finish. This unique dynamic allows the "Queen City" to rival more traditional cities like Atlanta and Chicago, as the place to be young, ambitious African Americans. Whether its entertainment, political growth, or just finding a place to call home, the ‘Queen City’ has offerings that would satisfy any urban craving.
1. HOT ENTERTAINMENT
Charlotte has one of the most flourishing stylish and chic Black social scenes. Sure, you still have clubs where ladies have to worry whether about being bombarded by a million sweaty, overzealous guys, however, more and more sophisticated, grown and sexy individuals looking for a step up from that vibe, have found it in Charlotte. “5th Element” brings a classy flare to the over 30 crowd, while “Wine Up”, in the indie Noda area, tends to attract a cool and unique crowd. At trendy Apostrophe and Dharma, not only will you bump into easy-going brothers and sisters, but you will get the chance to mingle with a wide variety of folk of color. “Crave” is a chill desert bar to get a specialty martini and cupcake, while partaking in a little hookah. In addition to the established club scene, a few entrepreneurs are trying to build Charlotte night life on their own. Promoters like M. Simmons, Soul Kitchen, King Entertainment, A List, and Maz wanted to bridge the gap in Black entertainment and did so by creating their own guest list.
In the last few years, the Black Art scene has also exploded in Charlotte. From opera organizations to independent galleries and performing and visual art galleries Charlotte has a lot to offer an art connoisseur. As the third largest art fund-raiser in the U.S, there’s always room for more art in Charlotte. The city has taken on one huge art initiative after another, building the uptown Levine Cultural Campus and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts and Culture, named after community leader and Charlotte’s first black mayor, Harvey B. Gantt. Soon the Charlotte art scene will be thrust into international lens when the Harvey B. Gantt center hosts the Democratic National Convention.
2. DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION
All eyes will be on Charlotte the week of September 3, 2012 and preparations by host Mayor Anthony Foxx, won't disappoint! Charlotte will hold the 2012 Democratic National Convention where Democratic leaders will express future goals, ideas, and vision with politicians from all over the world. It's anticipated that for years to come, Charlotte will grow and change from the effects of the DNC. National recognition garnered by the convention has the potential to make Charlotte a new political powerhouse.
Every year the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association attracts thousands of African Americans to Charlotte. The CIAA holds an annual basketball tournament from HBCUs across the east coast. Beginning in 1912, CIAA has become the third most attended basketball tournament among all NCAA divisions. Charlotte will hold the tournament for the 7th year bringing huge economic gains and jobs. As the oldest African-American athletic conference in the nation Charlotte has rolled out the red carpet to welcome attendees with various parties, step shows, and educational classes. African Americans visiting for the tournament will remember Charlotte as a place for them to learn, party, and come together.
4. LAKE LIFE
Whether it’s during one of our mild winters or gorgeous summers, Charlotte’s lake life is a great way to settle in after a stressful day. African American’s are beginning to hit the lake and share in the fun. The largest man-made lake in North and South Carolina is our very own Lake Norman. Just 30 minutes from uptown Charlotte Lake Norman is 34 miles long and offers an upscale surrounding area when you need a break from the lovely North Carolina rays.
The largest lake, minutes away from uptown Charlotte is 325 mile long Lake Wylie. Spanning over both North and South Carolina, Lake Wylie runs over three counties and offers a wide range of activities and plenty of room for boating, water skiing or just enjoying a cocktail while listening to the refreshing waves.
No one can escape stress, but being just a few hours from lovely vacation spots are sure to help ease the tension. If the lake becomes too crowded, taking a short trip to Myrtle Beach, only three hours away, is a great weekend adventure. If the sand and saltwater aren’t for you, don’t forget the Appalachian Mountains, only an hour and half away.
6. PROFESSIONAL SPORTS
There’s nothing like being surrounded by good natured fans just out to support the Queen City. Sure, we haven’t had the best luck with sports teams, but Charlotte still has a large fan base. Charlotte is pleased to have a variety of sports teams minutes away from uptown Charlotte: the NFL Carolina Panthers, the NBA Charlotte Bobcats owned by the legendary Michael Jordan, NASCAR, AAA baseball, AHL hockey, and professional lacrosse.
7. AFFORDABLE "UPTOWN" LIVING
If you want uptown life to be in walking distance, living a mile or less from center city brings you into the mix without draining your wallet. A luxury uptown apartment, for as little $1000, unimaginable in one of Charlotte counterpart cities, is a reality in the ‘Queen City’. Trendy apartments, like the Camdens and the Catalyst, bring a young and fresh feel to urban living.
Convenience is the name of the small communities created a mile or less away from uptown Charlotte. Many of these apartments, condos, and townhomes cultivate a feeling of luxury and relaxation with beautiful pools and workout centers, and shops, dry cleaners, drug stores, etc. in walking distance.
8. SATISFYINGLY SMALL
Yes, Charlotte is a growing city, but it’s not too "Big City" for its own good. Charlotteans can enjoy city life and entertainment, while still benefiting from a town-type atmosphere. With a close minority/majority population, African Americans are feeling more involved and heard in Charlotte. Being the nation’s second largest financial center and home to over 250 energy companies Charlotte has made great gains and Black businessmen and women are quickly becoming intertwined with big business. Among 75 other large urban school districts, Charlotte won the 2011 Broad Prize for showing continuous large economic growth. So yes, Charlotte is growing but it never forgets what counts.