2015 Year in Review | Charlotte's got a lot | Charlotte NC Travel & Tourism
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2015 in Charlotte: The Year in Review

31 Ways Charlotte Was Queen in 2015

With this calendar year on its way out the door, we decided to dig into what made 2015 so great. From brilliantly crafted beers to films set in our own backyard, record-setting sports to new mascots, big business breakthroughs to award-winning attractions and much more, here’s how the Queen City took the spotlight this year.

1. Legendary NASCAR driver, Iron Man Jeff Gordon, announces that he will retire at the end of the 2015 season. In October, the NASCAR Hall of Fame honors him with the exhibit “24: A Tribute to Jeff Gordon.” (JANUARY 2015) 

2. The Charlotte Business Journal hosts its annual Book of Lists Gala at Time Warner Cable Arena, where it honors basketball legend and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan as the city’s 2014 Business Person of the Year. (JANUARY 2015)

3.Fury 325, the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster, opens at Carowinds. The rapid ride, which reaches 325-foot heights and 95 mph speeds, wins Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket award for Best New Attraction of 2015 in the amusement parks category. (MARCH 2015)

4.Charlotte’s new soccer team, the Charlotte Independence, an expansion team of the United Soccer League (affiliates of the Major League Colorado Rapids), begins play in its first season. (MARCH 2015)

5. The Queen City gains a space on Monopoly’s new game board version, Monopoly Here & Now, which features U.S. cities. The inclusion follows an online voting competition that yields 18 new city additions. (MARCH 2015)

6.Ashby” is the first of five movies filmed in the Charlotte area (others include “Paper Towns,” “Vacation,” “War Room” and “Max”), expanding its cinematic chops. The film, starring Mickey Rourke, is released at the Tribecca Film Festival. (APRIL 2015)

7. Britain’s Prince William and Duchess Kate announce the long-awaited name of their first daughter, Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, a nod to the Queen City’s royal namesake, Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. (MAY 2015)

8. The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte’s Spa & Wellness Center is named one of the nation’s 10 best hotel spas in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice category. The serene sanctuary of relaxation features eco-friendly, rejuvenating treatments. (MAY 2015)

9. BB&T Ballpark, home of the Charlotte Knights, is named Best Minor League Park by Baseball America. It becomes the quickest international league ballpark in history to welcome its millionth fan. (MAY 2015)

10. Charlotte takes the national spotlight when it is named the 2017 host site of the one of the biggest events in professional basketball, the NBA All-Star Game, a battle between the Eastern and Western Conferences’ star players. (JUNE 2015)

11. Sugar Creek Brewing soaks up the silver medal for best Belgian Dubbel (the Sugar Creek Belgian Dubbel) in the 2015 United States Open Beer Championship. More than 4,000 beers and ciders from across the world compete. (JUNE 2015)

12. The first of two phases of construction of the CityLYNX Gold Line system is completed, and service begins. The 1.5-mile route connects the Charlotte Transportation Center to Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center, along six stops. (JUNE 2015)

13. Sealed Air Corp., known best for Bubble Wrap, holds the official groundbreaking of its new Charlotte headquarters. The company’s move from New Jersey marks the biggest Fortune 500 corporate headquarters relocation in Charlotte history, in terms of jobs and investment. (JUNE 2015)

14. Kindred lands on Bon Apetit’s coveted list, “The Hot 10: America’s Best New Restaurants 2015.” The chef-driven eatery’s milk bread, varied pastas, chocolate birthday cake and Take Two of These & Call Me Amaro cocktail are highlighted as must-trys. (AUGUST 2015)

15. Thanks to a burgeoning craft beer scene, lined with inventive breweries, Charlotte is named by TheStreet.com one of 10 national cities where craft beer is taking off. Craft beer sales increased by 21.8% between August 2014 and August 2015. (AUGUST 2015)

16. Atherton Mill in South End enjoys a huge retail bonus with the addition of a much-anticipated Anthropologie store. It is the only Anthropologie independent of a mall structure in the Charlotte area. (SEPTEMBER 2015).

17. Charlotte-based AvidXchange, the fast-growing software company, breaks ground on its new headquarters at the NC Music Factory. The new space will aid in its mission to create more than 600 new jobs. (SEPTEMBER 2015)

18. Heirloom Restaurant earns a spot on OpenTable’s list, “100 Best Restaurants for Foodies in America.” It has been lauded for its inventive farm-to-fork fare, at the helm of Chef Clark Barlowe, since opening in February 2014. (SEPTEMBER 2015) 

19. Sycamore Brewing takes home the bronze medal for its Southern Girl Lager at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado. The brewery tapped 100 different beers in its first year of business. (SEPTEMBER 2015)

20. Triple C Brewing Co. becomes the second Charlotte brewery to win at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival. Its 3C IPA earns a bronze medal in the Strong American Pale Ale category. (SEPTEMBER 2015)

21. Charlotte lands on Inc.’s list, “4 Cities You Didn’t Know Were Startup Hotbeds.” The landscape is described as a “thriving startup ecosystem,” with Packard Place and Queen City Forward cited as noteworthy business development companies headquartered here. (SEPTEMBER 2015)

22. The Charlotte 49ers of UNC Charlotte kick off their first season at the Football Subdivision Level as a member of Conference USA (they were previously a Football Championship Subdivision Independent). (SEPTEMBER 2015)

23. Bojangles’ Coliseum and Ovens Auditorium, next door neighbors of more than half a century, celebrate a joint 60th birthday. Bojangles’ Coliseum undergoes extensive renovations, and longtime fans vie to purchase the venues treasured original seats. (SEPTEMBER 2015)

24. The stunning Duke Mansion, a Southern fixture on the National Register of Historic Places, celebrates its 100th anniversary. The inn functions as a nonprofit, with all proceeds directed toward its preservation. Its beauty makes it a popular event and wedding venue. (SEPETEMBER 2015)

25. Time Warner Cable Arena, home of the Charlotte Hornets and host to award-winning performers from across the globe, turns 10. In its decade of operation, the arena has welcomed everyone from LeBron James to Stevie Wonder. (OCTOBER 2015)

26. ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center toasts 10 years of imaginative programming. It became a pushpin on the world’s map during the 2012 Democratic National Convention, when it was the host site for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” (OCTOBER 2015)

27. Snyder’s-Lance Inc., headquartered in Charlotte (Lance was founded here), signs an agreement to acquire Diamond Foods, the maker of Emerald nuts and Kettle Brand potato chips, in a $1.27 billion deal. (OCTOBER 2015)

28. Charlotte’s six home sports teams welcome a new mascot friend, Champ the Cheetah. Champ enjoys a warm welcome at his new home, the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He stands fierce as the fastest land animal. (OCTOBER 2015)

29. The Charlotte Checkers bring a roar to the rink in their first 2015-16 home game, played at newly renovated Bojangles’ Coliseum. (NOVEMBER 2015)

30. Jennifer Roberts, former Mecklenburg County Commissioner, garners 52.19 percent of the city’s vote and wins the 2015 race for Mayor of Charlotte. Her platform will focus on creating jobs and strengthening schools within the city.  (NOVEMBER 2015)

31. First Ward Park, which encompasses 4 acres of beautiful greens across from ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center, between East Seventh, Ninth and Brevard streets, officially opens to the public. (DECEMBER 2015) 

This article ran in the December 2015 issue of Charlotte Happenings