Tips for Getting Around Charlotte at PASS Summit

imageHeaded to Charlotte for the PASS Summit in October?  We locals are super excited to have over 4,000 pros arrive in Charlotte!  In addition to the Summit being held October 16-18, the Charlotte BI Group is hosting its 2nd annual SQL Saturday on October 19th.  Below is some information about Charlotte to get you started.

The Lay of the Land

Charlotte is considered a “hub and spoke” city, meaning the downtown area is in the middle & several major roads run outwards from the center – although it’s not actually called downtown; it’s usually referred to as Uptown, or sometimes Center City.  The convention center where the Summit will be held is in Uptown.  I’ve lived in Charlotte just over 3 years now, and I still find that Charlotte can be a bit tough to get around - it’s not a grid layout and street names change a lot (and I mean a lot!).  Here’s a high level map of the Charlotte area:


Charlotte isn’t a huge metropolis, which I actually quite like.  Population of Charlotte is just over 750,000 (with just over 2.2 million if you count the entire metro area).  There’s not too many suburbs; most of the region is referred to as Charlotte.  We are known as the “Queen City” after the British Queen Charlotte Sophia.  Although Charlotte isn't immensely large, we are large enough to have an NFL team (the Carolina Panthers) and an NBA team (the Charlotte Bobcats).  And, of course, Charlotte is well known for its Nascar presence (I even admit to having been to a race...once).

Getting from the Airport to Uptown

Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is a great little airport.  Personally I’ve always gotten in and out of there very quickly. 

Driving Directions:  From the airport to the Convention Center in Uptown is about 7 miles.   

Taxi:  A taxi should be about $25 from the airport to Uptown (Center City).  Ground Transportation at the airport is just outside of Baggage Claim.

Airport Sprinter Bus:  If you are game for saving a few bucks, you could hop onto a CATS hybrid-electric Sprinter Bus and get to Uptown for $2 (this will be like a regular city bus because the light rail doesn’t run to the airport yet).  The Sprinter Bus runs every 20-30 minutes.  If your hotel is in Uptown, hopefully one of the stops along Trade Street will be fairly near your hotel.  You can transfer to the Lynx light rail at the CTC if needed.


Fun Stuff To Do Near Uptown

imageThe Green.  A small park that I just adore walking through when I’m in Uptown.  It’s a couple of blocks away from the Convention Center near 1st Street between Tryon and College.  There’s different artwork, a lot of it with literary references (I look smarter in the pic just by being there don't ya think?).

NC Music Factory.  The NC Music Factory is a hip & cool place in Uptown which has bars, restaurants, comedy, and music.  It’s in Uptown just off 12th Street (hint:  take a cab over there rather than walking since it’s on the fringes of Uptown).

EpiCentre.  The EpiCentre, located in Uptown at College and Trade, has bars, restaurants, shops, a movie theater and a bowling alley.  Definitely a fun place.  This is also where you can find Whiskey River (the restaurant owned by Dale Earnhardt, Jr.)

There’s also a few trendy little neighborhoods just outside of Uptown if you have some time to explore:  Noda, Dilworth, and Plaza-Midwood.  They each have their share of eclectic dining, arts, and nightlife.

For other attractions in Charlotte, check out the Charlotte’s Got A Lot site.

Links with Helpful Information

PASS Summit 2013 – Travel and Accommodations

Convention & Visitors Bureau – Charlotte’s Got A Lot

Charlotte Center City Partners – Maps

Charlotte’s Got A Lot - Map of Center City

Charlotte Convention Center – Directions and Parking

Charlotte Douglas International Airport – Ground Transportation

Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) – Routes & Schedules (Choose “5 – Airport” from the drop-down menu)

Lynx Charlotte - Lynx Light Rail