If you know me outside of my blog/Instagram/Facebook/the Internet, you know that I adamantly claim Chicago as my homeland. I talk way too fast, some might say I pronounce things funny, and I refuse to use the contraction "y'all" no matter how "convenient" it is. I think sweet tea is gross and it still bewilders me that there are cows so close to my house. I cling to my Midwestern roots and try my hardest to reject the South. When I moved here, I thought it was just plain weird. The people talked too slowly and couldn't understand me; people thought I was rude because I just said "yes" instead of "yes ma'am/sir". And it was hot. Really really hot. A little over a decade later, I'm finally starting to come around and there are a handful of things I do genuinely like about Charlotte.
There is art everywhere
Recently I was walking around uptown on a break from work and I am constantly impressed with the amount of public art in just a few blocks. I've been reading up on all the public art in and around Charlotte and it is amazing. The ASC even has a map and podcast of a 45 minute walking tour that takes you to key works of public art around the city. I haven't gotten through the entire tour yet, but I've hit some of the key spots and it's quite lovely. Two points for Charlotte.
Seriously, there is even art on the billboards
ArtPop is a movement that puts the work of local artists on Charlotte billboards all around the city at no cost to the artist. It's so refreshing to walk down the street to get lunch and see art instead of advertisements. While some more urban cities have murals all over the place, that wouldn't really work in the banking city of Charlotte so the billboards of art are a great alternative.
There are not too many cities that are currently supported through ArtPop and I am so thankful that the Queen City is on that short list. Another point for Charlotte!
It's not really a list about Charlotte being cool if you don't talk about Amelie's. If you're currently residing in Charlotte, this one is pretty self explanatory. If you are not, Amelie's is this weird, fantastical place of French food that is always open and has the most magical salted caramel brownies in the world and the quirkiest decorations and there is always a line but everything is delicious. You cannot go wrong at Amelie's. Just watch out for the flying Marie Antionette. Charlotte gets two points for this one because dessert 24/7 is pretty spectacular.
But mostly I'm obsessed with all the art
I work at one of the three museums on the Levine Cultural Campus uptown. Three. Each with a different focus and collection. I don't consider Charlotte to be a large city, so I couldn't believe that there was even one museum much less three. There is the Harvey B. Gant Center for African American Arts + Culture, The Mint Museum Uptown and the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Charlotte gets three points for this - one for each museum.
Local Instagram feeds are awesome
There are tons of amazing Instagram accounts dedicated just to Charlotte. WeLoveCLT is a notably awesome one because it's a 100% takeover account and anyone can show you all sorts of cool things going on around Charlotte. You might remember it because I took over it a little bit ago with my partner in legal graffiti while we yarn bombed uptown. This account is just one of many who do an excellent job of showcasing all sorts of awesome things in Charlotte including @exploreCLT, @eatworkplayCLT, @charlottesgotalot, @charlotte_lately, @happeningsCLT and so many more. Two points for Charlotte!
Charlotte is still kind of weird
I still don't understand why there is an intersection of Providence - Providence and Queens - Queens. If this sounds confusing, it's because it is. Providence Road turns into Queens Road at the same intersection that Queens Road turns into Providence Road. So if you want to stay on the same road you have to turn. It's the weirdest thing. Two points against Charlotte for the bizarre-o intersection. Also one against Charlotte for sweet tea. The sugar makes my teeth hurt.
So the final tally is as follows:
Charlotte is cool: 10
Charlotte is weird: 3
Glen Coco: 4
and none for Gretchen Weiners!