Tips from a Local: Charlotte/Huntersville, North Carolina

TFAL is a feature where local residents give tips on what to do, see, eat, and check out while you visit their town.  Today’s tipster is LK, a librarian in Huntersville.

If someone was in town just for a day, and wanted three really fun or interesting things to do, what would you suggest to them?

I would probably go to the Latta Plantation and Raptor center and then walk around Davisdon and eat at the soda shop or one of their other eateries.

What are your favorite non-chain-restaurant places for cheap lunch on the go?

Soda Shop in Davidson, Phil’s Diner in downtown Charlotte, The Pickled Peach in Davidson, Fuel Pizza or Price’s Chicken Coop for the best Fried chicken I have ever had (don’t tell mom).

Which touristy things are worth doing in your city/town? Which ones are all hype in your opinion and are safe to skip?

Mint Museums, Rosedale plantation, Latta Plantation, and the Raptor center, and Carowinds if you like amusement parks. Skip NASCAR museum – it is overpriced for what you get – unless you are a die-hard fan – it has some interesting history of racing. If you like racing come during one of the big races. You can also tour the racetrack and take driving lessons and the drag racing place nearby offers times that you can speed on their track monthly – check out their information online. If you are a Billy Graham fan – the Billy Graham Library, which is not a library, but a memorial/homage to Billy Graham and his wife and their lives – the house was an interesting tour, but the barn was a little too preachy for me. Unless you have very young children skip Discovery place kids in Huntersville. It is great for those under ten especially the younger ones, but the kids will be bored if they are older. Discovery Place uptown has a lot to see and is a fun place to go and is right across the street from the public library. If there is a children’s show at Imaginon – they do a good job.

Any special suggestions for visitors about clothing or footwear to be worn in your area?

Seasonal – we have all four seasons here although sometimes all in the same week. I go from boots to sandals and back in the fall. I have a lighter weight winter jacket that I use a few times on the worst days.

How is your city/town in terms of accessibility and acceptance?  Would you personally characterize it as easily navigable for a single parent with young children in tow?  For the mobility impaired?  Would you say that it is accepting of racial diversity and of LGBT people?

It was one of the more racially diverse cities when we moved here and very accepting and still is for the most part with the exceptions of certain laws we do not wish to talk about and hope get repealed very soon.

Where is the best place to buy reasonably priced non-tacky souvenirs?  To buy kitchy tacky souvenirs?

The Village shop in Davidson has some really cute, practical things. There are also some cute stores/boutiqes in Cornelius. Kitchy stuff – airport or some of the uptown shops.

What is your favorite day trip from city? (Out and return same day.)

Asheville, of course. They have some of the best food and lots of outdoor and indoor things to do. If you have not been ziplining, Navitat just outside of Asheville has a couple of tours ($80ish) that have fantastic veiws. There is also the Reed Gold Mine which is great on a hot day as you get to go into the mines which are a constant cool temperature. And you can mine for gold.

What are your three favorite places in your city?

More like in the county – Walking around Davidson whether it is a busy festival or normal day. The Raptor center although I don’t get to visit enough, but they have birds that have been injured and are being rehabilitated to go back in the wild and birds that will not be able to go back because of their injuries that live there safely. The Blumenthal – Live theater at a fairly reasonable price especially if you are a student. They have broadway shows as well as smaller productions and include all of the local college/school performances. everything from the Symphony to local comedy. Oh, go see the Frescos in the Bank of America corporate center (Blumenthal is attached)- they are a sight.

Any faux pas to note?  Tips on how not to irk or otherwise offend the locals?

Locals tend to be friendly southerners. They say maam and sir. Talk to them, listen to them, just like anywhere else. And call downtown uptown or they get upset.

Please feel free to add anything you wish that I may not have thought to ask about but that you want to share.

Feel free to visit me at the library in Huntersville if you can find it.

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