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Arts and Culture in Charlotte - Museums, Concerts, and Very Fast Cars

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Uptown Charlotte is the city’s geographical and culture center. It is home to renowned museums, sophisticated galleries, and regal theaters. You'll also encounter history that spans from pre-Columbian times to the Civil War, as well as NASCAR (Stock Car Auto Racing) culture. In surrounding neighborhoods, the “Queen City” likes to celebrate with festivals, outdoor music concerts, and diverse displays of local art.

Museums and Contemporary Art

 

Levine Center for the Arts houses 2 major museums; Mint Uptown, with contemporary pieces and art of the ancient Americas, and Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, where exhibits include works from Picasso and Warhol. You can view contemporary art inside a neo-Gothic church at McColl Center for Art + Innovation. Post-Civil War history is explored at Levine Museum of the New South.

 

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

 

The building is as much a work of art as the contemporary pieces inside, with a terracotta-tiled exterior and tall glass atrium that fills the 4-story structure with natural light.

 

420 South Tryon Street, Charlotte 28202Tel: +1 704 353 9200

 

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art website

 

McColl Center for Art + Innovation

 

This neo-Gothic church dating from 1916 has a gallery space that displays contemporary art, as well as studios for working artists.

 

721 North Tryon Street, Charlotte 28202. Tel: +1 704 332 5535

 

McColl Center for Art + Innovation website

History and culture

 

Charlotte is brimming in stock car culture, and much of it is on display at NASCAR's Hall of Fame. This Uptown museum has racing artifacts, interactive exhibits, and famous racecars. Constructed in 1815, Historic Rosedale Plantation gives a glimpse of the Old South. You can get a look at early 19th-century life at the President James K. Polk Historic Site.

 

Historic Rosedale Plantation

 

An example of federal-period architecture, this stately 13-room home features artifacts, original wallpaper, and is surrounded by rose bushes and century-old trees.

 

3427 North Tryon Street, Charlotte 28206. Tel: +1 704 335 0325

 

Historic Rosedale Plantation website

 

NASCAR Hall of Fame

 

Celebrated drivers and their thundering machines are honored over 4 floors, with hands-on exhibits and famous cars on a ramp dubbed “Glory Road.”

 

400 East Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Charlotte 28202. Tel: +1 704 654 4400

 

NASCAR Hall of Fame website

 

Performing arts

 

Broadway productions, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, and Opera Carolina all play at Uptown's Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. It has 6 stages, ranging from a space for less than 200 people, to a hall with more than 2,000 seats. Charlotte Ballet performs classic and contemporary works at its own 200-seat venue. A 10-minute drive from Uptown, Ovens Auditorium hosts comedy acts, concerts, and Broadway shows.

 

Blumenthal Performing Arts Center

 

The 6 venues at this arts complex include Belk Theater, which has seating for more than 2,000 and a fiber optic network that puts on a dazzling show in the audience chamber.

 

130 North Tryon St., Charlotte 28202. Tel: +1 704 372 1000

 

Blumenthal Performing Arts Center website

 

Charlotte Ballet

 

Beyond classics like "The Nutcracker" and "Peter Pan," Charlotte Ballet also stages modern-dance shows during a season that runs from October to April.

 

701 North Tryon Street, Charlotte 28202. Tel: +1 704 372 0101

 

Charlotte Ballet website

 

Neighborhood strolls

 

Getting out of Uptown rewards you with eclectic cultural scenes in outlying neighborhoods. In Myers Park, you can catch art house films at Regal Manor Twin Theatre, and view pre-Columbian art at Mint Museum Randolph. Dilworth is dotted with galleries and home to September's Yiasou Greek Festival. The NoDa arts district hosts a gallery crawl on the first and third Friday of every month.

 

Hart Witzen

 

In the NoDa arts district, this large gallery is a self-sustaining venue with 30 private studios that are rented to working artists.

 

136 East 36th Street, Charlotte 28206. Tel: +1 704 334 1177

 

Hart Witzen website

 

Manor Theater

 

Dating from 1947, this small 2-screen venue is one of the city's oldest movie houses, and plays independent films not shown elsewhere in the area.

 

609 Providence Road, Charlotte 28207. Tel: +1 844 462 7342

 

Manor Theater website

 

Open-air culture

 

Adjacent to St. Peter's Catholic Church, The Green is an Uptown park that hosts movie screenings and plays, including a summer Shakespeare festival. In warmer months, you can attend free weekly music concerts at Uptown's Romare Bearden Park. Symphony Park, a 17-minute drive from Uptown, has outdoor festivals and June's “Summer Pops” series with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.

 

The Green

 

World-class museums sit on the edge of this small, urban retreat that has manicured grounds, a fountain, and sculptures on a literary theme.

 

425 South Tryon Street, Charlotte 28202. Tel: +1 704 342 9000

 

The Green website