Known as the Queen City, Charlotte is a thriving metropolitan area located just 20 minutes south of Davidson with art, theatre, professional sports, dining and nightlife activities. Settled in 1755, Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina with a metro area population of just below 2 million. Charlotte is the second-largest financial center in the United States and is the headquarters for 10 Fortune 500 companies including Bank of America, Lowe's, Goodrich Corporation, and Chiquita Brands.
Charlotte hosts more than 65,000 performances and events annually. The Mint Museum, Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Levine Museum and NoDa art district are just a few of the venues for fine art exhibits, cultural festivals, Broadway theatre performances, live music events and more. Charlotte is home to many local brewers and more than 100 wineries offering tours and tastings surround the Greater Charlotte area.
In addition to arts and culture, Charlotte's diverse attractions include a mix of outdoor adventure, education and fun. Close to the city is Carowinds Amusement and Water Park, the Carolina Raptor Center, and Historic Latta Plantation and Nature Preserve. Charlotte has something for every interest.
From bargain hunting to upscale shopping, Greater Charlotte provides many options for retail therapy. Closest to Davidson is Birkdale Village, an outdoor shopping center offering many fine shopping and dining options as well as a 16-stadium movie theater. Concord Mills in Concord, N.C. features more than 200 outlet shops including Aeropostale, DKNY and Banana Republic. SouthPark Mall, located south of downtown Charlotte, and Northlake Mall, located at exit 18 off I-77, provide more traditional mall shopping experiences.
Charlotte is home to the NFL's Carolina Panthers, the NBA's Charlotte Hornets, minor league baseball team Charlotte Knights and NASCAR. The Panthers, Bobcats, and Knights all play in venues located in downtown Charlotte. The Charlotte Motor Speedway hosts NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600, Bank of America 500 and the All-Star Sprint Cup Series races. Just a short drive from Davidson is the U.S. National Whitewater Center, the training home for the U.S. Olympic Whitewater team. Visitors can watch team time trials or partake in water sports, hiking and other outdoor activities.
Students wishing to visit Charlotte have access to Zipcar, an innovative car-sharing program that provides the convenience of having a car on campus without the commitment of car ownership. Zipcar members may rent a vehicle for an hour, a whole day, or longer for a small fee that includes fuel, insurance, and maintenance.
Park your car and ride on Charlotte's LYNX light rail system for easy access to downtown dining and entertainment venues. Once downtown, Gold Rush trolleys provide free rides along the main downtown streets. The CATS bus service links the Greater Charlotte area together with more than 70 routes.