Getting to Charlotte
The Charlotte Douglas International Airport (704/359-4910, www.charlotteairport.com) is approximately eight miles from the center of the city and offers frequent service on more than 17 major airlines. It is a major hub city for US Airways (800/428-4322, www.usairways.com) and airlines like Jet Blue and AirTran offer daily non-stop service from Charlotte to numerous cities including New York, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Orlando, and Baltimore.
The airport is the eighth busiest in the nation, offering 650 flights per day with non-stop service to over 125 destinations worldwide. The airport has struggled to keep up with local population growth, which means it’s often crowded and wait times can be long. Over the next five years the airport authority plans to add an expanded terminal, underground pedestrian tunnel, and a new runway.
There are 84 shops and restaurants offering food and merchandise to arriving and departing passengers. One of the most notable features of the airport is the number of rocking chairs lining the terminal. Sit back and rock while you wait for your flight.
Getting from the airport to the city using public transportation requires patience. There is a bus that runs to and from the airport (the bus stop is outside the Zone D baggage claim) but it could require multiple transfers to reach your destination. Taxis charge a flat rate of $25 from the airport to Uptown. Taxis are waiting curbside on the baggage-claim level.
Amtrak (800/872-7245, www.amtrak.com) offers regular service to Charlotte with connections to cities across the United States. The Piedmont train connects Charlotte to Raleigh and service to Richmond, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia is offered on the Carolinian train. All trains depart and arrive from the unimpressive Station Building (1914 N. Tryon St.), which sits in the middle of an industrial neighborhood and is best avoided at night.
Buses leaving from the Greyhound Bus Terminal (601 W. Trade St., 704/375-3332, www.greyhound.com) offer direct and connecting service all over the country.
Charlotte is easily accessible by car and has been hailed as one of the largest and most accessible cities between Washington, D.C., and Dallas, Texas, earning it the nickname “the international gateway to the South.” Freeways like I-85 and I-77 connect Charlotte to cities in the Northeast, Southwest, and Midwest. One hour to the north, I-40 is a major route with coast-to-coast access.
There are highway welcome centers (www.nccommerce.com) located along major freeway routes with varying levels of services.
© Jodi Helmer from Moon Charlotte, 1st Edition