For shorter layovers, be sure to spend some time kicking back in Charlotte’s iconic rocking chairs, which give this international airport a twist of Southern hospitality. CLT also offers plenty of places to eat or drink away the time between flights. Start at either Carolina Beer Company to sample local brews or Beaudevin if wine is your preference. Then, choose between a dinner of Carolina barbecue at Brookwood Farms BBQ with pit-smoked meats or at NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Whisky River, which tops a burger with slow-roasted, barbecued pork.
Carolina Beer Company, 5501 Josh Birmingham Pkwy, Charlotte, NC, USA, +1 704 359 4013
With a couple of more hours, keep it simple and add a walk to the Carolinas Aviation Museum, which celebrates the history of aviation all the way back to the Wright Brothers, who are believed to have taken the first flight on the shores of North Carolina. A replica of The Wright Flyer, the plane they used to make history, is on display here, along with several, full-size commercial, civil, and military planes and helicopters.
Carolinas Aviation Museum, 4672 1st Flight Dr, Charlotte, NC, USA, +1 704 997 3770
Charlotte’s number one “thing to do” attraction is the Billy Graham Library, which just happens to be only five minutes from the airport and celebrates one of the Queen City’s most famous natives. Free tours guide guests through rooms dedicated to different periods in the religious icon’s life through artifacts and film (also great for history buffs). Organizers recommend reserving at least 1.5 hours to explore the grounds. Combine this stop with time at the NASCAR Hall of Fame to understand another important piece of Charlotte’s history; it’s only eight miles from the airport.
Billy Graham Library, 4330 Westmont Dr, Charlotte, NC, USA, +1 704 401 3200
Tour time! With a full day available in Charlotte, why not go on a food tour to experience Charlotte’s culinary scene in a short amount of time? Then, you can add a specialty tour, like a brewery, history, or Segway tour to soak up Charlotte’s flavors and history. Or enjoy Charlotte’s robust sports scene and catch a race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, an NFL game at the Carolina Panthers stadium, or a Charlotte Hornets basketball game depending on the season.
Charlotte Motor Speedway, 5555 Concord Pkwy S, Concord, NC, USA, +1 704 455 3200