Arts & Culture

Four Charlotte Ties to Hamilton

As Charlotte hosts the hit Broadway musical Hamilton, see what connections the Queen City has to founding father Alexander Hamilton.

Hamilton - Photo by Joan Marcus

How does a New South, Crown Town, Revolutionary sore and a Queen City dropped in the middle of a prosperous spot in the community, a trading post of opportunity, tie back Hamilton: a Founding Father? Because Charlotte's got a lot more and a lot to explore - there's a million things you haven't done. But just you wait...

From Yorktown to Crowntown

Alexander Hamilton wasn't shy about raising a glass for freedom and breaking away from British rule. Patriots in Charlotte did more than just raise a glass. Legend has it they raised a pen and signed the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence on May 20, 1775, more than a year before the July 1776 Declaration of Independence. Residents and visitors can relive the story of that faithful night on May 20 each year during Charlotte's Meck Deck Day festivities.

The celebration of Charlotte's independence and determination doesn't stop with Meck Deck Day. To mark the 250th anniversary of Charlotte's founding, CLT250, a yearlong celebration filled with events large and small, invites citizens and guests to share and commemorate Charlotte's storied past.

Other activities for Revolutionary War history buffs: Reenacting a battle at Historic Latta Plantation, strolling down Charlotte Liberty Walk and taking in a Charlotte Hornets game in honor of General Cornwallis dubbing Charlotte a "Hornet's Nest of Rebellion." If you are curious about the peculiar downfall of Aaron Burr, Sir, the Charlotte region is also home to the Aaron Burr Rock, located in Chester, SC.

It’s (Not So) Quiet Uptown

While the Hamiltons moved Uptown to escape the spotlight of the city, Charlotte’s Uptown puts you squarely in the action.

Gather up your co-conspirators before a night on the town at any of these popular social hubs, speakeasies, live music lairs and beer bars. If the characters in Hamilton could time travel to modern day, we are sure they would feel right at home at Alexander Michael’s tavern, 204 North Kitchen, The Cellar at Duckworth’s or Rí Rá Irish Pub.

If you are looking for old-world comfort with new-world convenience, explore Charlotte with Charlotte Center City Carriage Tours, book walking tour with Friends of Fourth Ward to explore historical homes and gardens or make reservations at the McNinch House Restaurant, where President William Howard Taft visited when he came to Charlotte to participate in the 1909 Meck Deck Day celebration.

Have more time to spend in the city? Book a room at The Dunhill Hotel, a 10-story hotel constructed in 1929 and member of the national Trust Historic Hotels of America. The Ivey’s Hotel is a refurbished boutique hotel that will have you feeling like new money and is just steps away from the Belk Theater.

Hamilton - Photo by Joan Marcus

The City Where It Happens

Hamilton's legacy with the U.S. Treasury may have established New York City as the banking capital of America, but in this century it's Charlotte gaining ground as a financial powerhouse. In addition to being the corporate headquarters for Bank of America, Charlotte is a banking center for Wells Fargo, Ally Financial, Fifth Third Bank, NewDominion Bank and Carolina Premier Bank. Those banks back several of Charlotte's premier events including NASCAR's Bank of America 400, PGA's Wells Fargo Championship and CLT New Year's Eve presented by Ally.

And thanks to Hamilton's plans to develop a U.S. Mint, Charlotte had the honor of establishing the first U.S. branch mint, which is still now the home to The Mint Museum Randolph. Intimate galleries invite visitors to engage with the art of the ancient Americas, ceramics and decorative arts, and European and African art, among other collections.

Places to “Take a Break” in CLT

Charlotte is a city that is constantly on the go, but that doesn’t mean you need to go Upstate to take a break.

For a change of scenery, Lake Norman is just north of Charlotte with 520 miles of shoreline. Take a dinner cruise with Queen’s Landing; rent a stand up paddle board from My Aloha Paddle and Surf or get your friends together for a pedal party with Charlotte Cycleboats. Only 30 minutes south of Charlotte, Bailey’s Outdoor Adventures leads kayaking, canoeing and tubing trips on the Catawba River.

For a more adrenaline-filled escape, visit Carowinds and hop on the Fury 325, the world’s fastest and tallest giga coaster, or immerse yourself in the great outdoors at the U.S. National Whitewater Center’s 1,300 acres of zip lines, ropes courses, trails and whitewater river rapids.

And even if you didn’t score tickets to Hamilton when it comes to Charlotte October 10 – November 4, you can still enjoy big-name Broadway productions, dance troupes, Opera, ballet, live music and more at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Spectrum Center or Ovens Auditorium.

While dueling isn’t an option (except on a piano at Howl at the Moon Charlotte or Petra’s Bar), you can practice your marksmanship at one of Charlotte’s resident ranges such as Point Blank Range or Blackstone Shooting Sports. Other ways to unwind in Charlotte include: TopGolf, GrandSlam USA batting cages and Axe Club of America (formerly known as Lumberjaxe), the Southeast’s first axe-throwing company.

Hamilton - Photo by Joan Marcus