What's new in Charlotte, North Carolina this fall

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (June 27, 2018) – Charlotte is on trend for fall with Instagrammable new foodie options, festival moments worthy of sharing with #charlottesgotalot and a celebration of the Queen City's history of firsts (hello, peanut butter crackers). The city was even recently named one of the most popular cities to live in America by Domino. How is that for trendy? But even with all the skyscrapers, hotels and new breweries to add to its repertoire, Charlotte still celebrates its longstanding traditions. For fall, you'll find some well-known chefs doing new things in the QC, a festival season with both new offerings and well-established events, and a royal welcome for the city's big 2-5-0.


Charlotte’s taste for new and innovative culinary concepts continues to attract big-name restaurateurs. Well-known chefs and owners like William Dissen (Asheville’s The Market Place), Craig Deihl (Charleston’s Cypress), Gary Crunkleton (Chapel Hill’s The Crunkleton), Ford Fry (Atlanta’s Superica) and Paul Verica (Waxhaw’s Heritage Food + Drink) have all set up shop here.

Hello, Sailor
Opened: December 2017
Concept: James Beard finalist Craig Deihl, formerly of Cypress and Artisan Meat Share in Charleston, now serves as chef de cuisine at Hello, Sailor, the sophomore effort from Joe and Katy Kindred. The restaurant features fish camp-inspired foods (fried and battered, yet high end) as well as a lakeside tiki bar.

Opened: March 2018
Concept: Award-winning chef William Dissen’s new restaurant, Haymaker, serves high-end sustainable foods, much like his Asheville restaurant The Market Place. The Uptown establishment focuses on dinner, but it also offers a rare treat in this busy business district: an early morning weekday breakfast menu.

The Stanley
Opened: May 2018
Concept: Waxhaw chef Paul Verica closed his James Beard-nominated restaurant Heritage Food + Drink in October to prepare for his Charlotte relocation: The Stanley. Set up in the Elizabeth neighborhood, this upscale, farm-driven restaurant boasts Ben Philpott, of Block & Grinder and Lumiere, in the kitchen and mixologist Larry Suggs behind the bar.

Opened: May 2018
Concept: This Tex Mex restaurant hails from Atlanta, where chef Ford Fry has set up two locations. Its Charlotte iteration is set up in a 7,000-square-foot space in South End’s Design Center and has plans to open a courtyard bar in the fall.

The Crunkleton
Opening: Summer 2018
Concept: Drink slinger Gary Crunkleton is known for his eponymous bar in Chapel Hill, which was named one of Garden & Gun’s “Six Best Bourbon Bars in the South.” His Charlotte institution will offer shareable small plates and old-school cocktails, plus a few Instagrammable showstoppers.

Festivals reign supreme during the fall months in Charlotte and for good reason: Slightly crisp temperatures with lots of sunshine are perfect for spending time outdoors for long days of celebrations. And while the change of season is one reason to rejoice, Charlotte has become home to a diverse landscape of cultures and people, with great traditions and talents worthy of planning a trip around the festivities. Longstanding favorites like Charlotte Pride, Festival of India and Yiasou Greek Festival attract locals and travelers alike.

Charlotte Pride Festival + Parade
Date: Aug. 10-19, 2018
Location: Uptown Charlotte
Overview: Since 2013, Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade has celebrated the LGBTQ community with an annual event that has blossomed into the weeklong festival, parade and surrounding activities that it is known for today. The yearly programming attracts on average over 150,000 visitors to Charlotte’s Uptown. Charlotte Pride, the festival’s nonprofit parent organization, also collaborates on additional projects including Charlotte Trans Pride, Charlotte Latin Pride and LGBTQ film festival Reel Out Charlotte, among others.

Festival of India
Date: Aug. 11 & 12, 2018
Location: Uptown Charlotte
Overview: Organized by the Indian Association of Charlotte, Festival of India will celebrate its 24th year this year with festivities on Tryon Street in Uptown Charlotte. In addition to traditional souvenirs like henna and sarees, and gastronomical delights representing all facets of Indian cuisine in an open bazaar, Bollywood dance performances and art exhibits take place inside the Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. The festival brings nearly 20,000 visitors each year.

Yiasou Greek Festival
Date: Sept. 6-9, 2018
Location: Dilworth, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Overview: One of Charlotte’s longstanding traditions, Yiasou Greek Festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral has been serving baklava and traditional Greek folk dancing since 1978. Cathedral tours and choir performances round out the entertainment options with a children’s playland to complete the family-friendly experience.

Festival in the Park
Date: Sept. 21-23, 2018
Location: Dilworth, Freedom Park
Overview: Festival in the Park at Freedom Park in Dilworth offers a fall weekend of perusing art vendors, soaking in the sounds of local musicians and a cornucopia of traditional “fair-style” food options along Sugar Creek. In its 54th year, the festival boasts over 150 craftsmen including local and renowned oil painter David French.

Hola Charlotte
Date: Oct. 6, 2018
Location: Uptown Charlotte
Overview: Celebrating Latin culture during National Hispanic Heritage month, Hola Charlotte represents over 15 Latin American countries with live music, arts and crafts, soccer, and dance demonstrations as well as authentic food in a street-style festival in Uptown Charlotte. Attracting over 55,000 attendees, the festival is still in its infancy (established 2014) but continues to grow each year to engage and educate both the Hispanic and non-Hispanic community.

Incorporated on Dec. 3, 1768, Charlotte—the largest city in the Carolinas—is celebrating its 250th anniversary through 2018-19. While many think of Charlotte as a brand new city, it is also a destination full of hidden history. And when it comes to being No. 1, Charlotte proudly lays claim to many firsts, including mainstream innovations like orange traffic barrels, the patent for air conditioning, peanut butter crackers and computer-linked ATMs. But before these modern-day marvels, Charlotte was also making history in its formative years.

1768: The First Queen City
Then – Although Cincinnati, Buffalo, Poughkeepsie and Springfield have all shared the nickname, the nation’s first Queen City is undoubtedly Charlotte, North Carolina. Then called “Charlotte Town,” the city was named in honor of Queen Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of King George III of England, to stay in the king’s good graces. And her homeland, northern Germany’s Mecklenburg-Strelitz, is the namesake of the county—Mecklenburg.
Now – Often referred to as the Queen City or Crown Town, Charlotte is peppered with crown insignia throughout the city—from street signs to street art to the city’s branding. And visitors can experience the royal treatment when exploring the city. Sophia’s Lounge, named for Queen Sophia Charlotte, offers a luxurious, intimate setting for a night out in the Queen City. Its vintage décor—velvet sofas, high-backed chairs and dark wooden tables—is reminiscent of 18th century Great Britain. Muddy River Distillery, the first rum distillery in the state, offers tours and serves up royal rum: Queen Charlotte’s Reserve. Additional royal-themed experiences include Queen Park Social, The Imperial, The Queen & Glass (a new secret bar coming soon), and dozens of food and drink items at restaurants across the city named in her royal highness’ honor.

1775: The First Declaration of Independence
Then – Charlotteans have been risk-takers and forward-thinkers for two and a half centuries. Local legend says that in May 1775—a year before the U.S. Declaration of Independence was signed—Charlotte leaders proclaimed King George III’s authority “null and void.” Weeks later, Captain James Jack courageously carried the revolutionary documents, known as the Meck Dec, to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
Now – Many North Carolina license plates adorn the slogan “First in Freedom” with the date May 20, 1775, in honor of this alleged milestone. Visitors can retrace the region’s revolutionary history at The Charlotte Museum of History and along the Charlotte Liberty Walk and Trail of History on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway. Historical reenactments also take place throughout the year at Settler’s Cemetery, Historic Latta Plantation and, of course, at Independence Square in Uptown Charlotte for the city’s annual May 20th celebration.

1799: First Discovery of Gold in the U.S.
Then – Nearly 40 years before California’s gold rush, a 12-year-old boy found a large rock in a creek east of Charlotte. The first documented gold discovery in the U.S., Conrad Reed’s 17-pound rock brought a rush of miners and prospectors to the area. And in 1837, the first branch of the U.S. Mint opened in Charlotte to stamp the gold into coins.
Now – With a rich history in gold, today Charlotte is known as a major banking city: it’s the third largest financial district in the U.S. after New York and San Francisco. The original U.S. Mint branch now houses the Mint Museum Randolph, the oldest art museum in the state. And a second Mint Museum location opened in 2010 in Uptown Charlotte. Visitors can also experience Charlotte’s banking past at the Levine Museum of the New South, the Wells Fargo History Museum and Reed Gold Mine, which is still open for tours of the mines and offers guests the opportunity to pan for gold.

Learn more about Charlotte’s hidden history here.

High-resolution images are available for download here.

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