In the heart of the southern Piedmont between the mountains and the coast lies Charlotte, the "Queen City" of the South. A big banking center and one of the powerhouses of the region, Charlotte, has almost completely rebuilt their downtown with steel and glass towers.
To better understand this city visit the Levine Museum of the New South, an interactive history museum of the region's socio-economic transformation. The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art has a collection of mid-20th-century modern art, and The Harvey B Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture has significant collections of African-American art. For some theater and performance venues see below.
The gay community isn't that large, but it’s lively and incredibly diverse. The Gay Charlotte Film Festival takes place in June, with more screenings of interest throughout the year. Come August, locals pour out into the streets for Charlotte Pride, this past year followed by the Queer Arts Consortium presentation, Flourish: A Celebration of LGBT Arts & Culture.
Charlotte-Douglas International Airport is due west of Charlotte. Approved Airport Taxis cost $25 to most downtown Charlotte destinations. Several buses cost $3 or less per ride into town: the green "Route 5-Airport" Sprinter, with direct connections from the airport to Center City Charlotte; plus CATS routes 590 and 591. See their websites for route and schedule information.
The new Rental Car Facility in the Hourly Parking Deck has nine companies, including Avis, Enterprise, Hertz, and National -- follow signs from the lower level Arrivals/Baggage Claim area of the terminal.
Amtrak Carolinian/ Piedmont trains connect Charlotte (1914 N Tryon St), Greensboro, Durham and Raleigh in North Carolina; also Richmond, Washington DC, Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia, Trenton and New York. Amtrak Crescent trains connect Charlotte and Greensboro; plus Atlanta, New Orleans, Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. Change trains for more destinations across North America.
A car of your own will allow you to explore Charlotte and its beautiful countryside most easily, but taxis or public transit eliminate the need to navigate or to find parking.
CATS operates the LYNX Blue Line Light Rail, the Gold Rush Trolleys, the Charlotte Trolley, and city bus services with over 70 routes. Basic single fares are $2.20, paid as you board the bus. Transfers are issued at the time of payment and are free unless you are transferring to a higher priced service. A one day unlimited ride pass is $6.60, a local 10-ride pass is $22, and a local weekly pass costs $30.80.
Charlotte B-Cycle is the local bike share program. Buy an access pass online, or at any B-station when you’re ready to ride. Take a bike from any of over 20 stations, then return it to the station closest to your final destination. Trips of 30 minutes or less are included in your access pass cost. Those over 18 are not legally required to wear a helmet in North Carolina, but they can pick up a free helmet at the Time Warner Cable Arena Trade Street location. Anyone age 17 or younger can't use the program.
Local Media & resources
Visit Gay Charlotte is another useful online resource with a directory, events listings and blog.
For the official tourism site of the Queen City, see Charlotte, with area attractions, events, restaurants, hotels, shopping and more.
For businesses listed below, and more, see our gay Charlotte map & listings pages.
As in all of North Carolina, the bars are membership clubs to comply with NC State ABC law. Members can sponsor guests at the door, otherwise new memberships take 3 days. Locals are used to this, and often help visitors. Call ahead or check the bar website for the fine print.
Argon (4544 South Blvd), gay video bar next to Sidelines, weekend VJs, special theme nights, go-go boys, drag shows, monthly CW line-dancing nights, pop-up performers.
Bar at 316 (316 Rensselaer Ave), gay/lesbian cocktail lounge, DJs, karaoke, trivia games, comedy drag shows, outdoor terrace, Sunday brunch.
Central Station (2131 Central Ave), neighborhood cocktail bar, drag shows and pool tables.
Chasers (3217 The Plaza), men-only nightclub, young male strippers dancing in very brief thongs; open seven nights.
Nickel Bar (2817 Rozzelles Ferry Rd), Thursday-Sunday African-American gay bar/ dance and show club, divas, sexy male dancers; everyone welcome.
Petra’s Piano Bar & Cabaret (1919 Commonwealth Ave), cabaret bar drag shows, live music, trivia nights, silent movies, performers, bear nights.
SERJ (2906 Central Ave), mixed/alternative gay-friendly cocktail bar in Plaza Midwood; guest DJs, dancing, paio. Formerly L4 Lounge.
The Scorpio (2301 Freedom), longtime local favorite dance and show club, Wednesdays plus Fridays through Sundays; diverse gay crowd, men/women, older/younger; urban and college nights, drag shows, male dancers, special theme nights.
Sidelines Bar (4544 South Blvd), HDTV sports bar, internet jukebox, WiFi, darts, Foosball, Wii, pool games and tournaments, bear nights.
Snug Harbor (1228 Gordon St), gay-friendly alternative/eclectic mix in Plaza Midwood; 18+ live music concerts, karaoke; EDM to Punk Rock to Reggae to CW music and Latin nights.
Soul Gastrolounge (1500 Central Ave), global tapas and cocktails lounge for a mixed crowd; small plates and sushi, dinner and late-night menus, Sunday brunch, patio seatings. Nightly DJs after 10pm play classic RnB, soul, house and an ever-changing mix of eclectic genres.
The Visulite Theatre (1615 Elizabeth Ave) is a live concert, dance, burlesque and special events venue/ bar/ nightclub.
CLOSED: Cathode Azure Club (1820 S Blvd, suite 106), South Beach-style lounge, DJs dancing, patio, drag shows, pool and darts.
Theater & Performance
Actor's Theatre of Charlotte (933 Louise Ave), professional theater company in a new home, plays for mature audiences, cult movie screenings, annual nuVoices Play Festival.
Neighborhood Theatre (511 East 36th St), live band concerts/ performances, all-ages shows.
Spectrum Center (333 E Trade St), entertainment and sports venue, features NBA Charlotte Bobcats games and touring mega-star performers.
Theatre Charlotte (501 Queens Rd), non-profit community theater stage productions; classic plays, regional premieres, musicals, films.
Restaurants & Hotels