Is a trip to Charlotte, North Carolina in your future? The largest city in North Carolina, about 40 million people head to Charlotte each year to enjoy Southern hospitality, explore the history of the region, do some business, or head out to concerts and nightlife. Charlotte is a year-round destination for both business and pleasure, and it’s no wonder that its popularity is increasing.
As soon as your Charlotte flight lands, you’ll be in one of the biggest banking cities in the United States. This sunny metropolis might be a business town, but Charlotte has much more to offer than the Bank of America Plaza, Hearst Tower, and hustling 9-5ers. When you arrive in Charlotte, be sure to explore the entire city, and not just one part. To step back in time, take a historic walking tour through Uptown. Charlotte dates from Revolutionary War times (it is named after King George III’s wife, Queen Charlotte) and its Uptown area includes the Fourth Ward neighborhoods, Charlotte’s “old city.” The architecture and sensibility of this neighborhood provide a glimpse of life in a less hectic time. Trendy travelers booking flights to Charlotte will also love the NoDa (North Davidson) neighborhood, where small and funky establishments exist side by side to create an underground village feel.
Walking through one of the many distinct neighborhoods in Charlotte, you’ll find a wonderful assortment of museums, food, and architecture to gawk at and visit. Here and there, you’ll see a cluster of skyscrapers, banks, and hotels, and then around the corner move into a completely different area, filled with quaint shops, bistros, and bars. All of these aspects of the city reinforce the jovial collide of the Old South’s manners, precision, and drawl, and the New South’s energy, pace, and competition.
Although primarily a business town, complete with futuristic high-rises and elevated walkways, travelers take flights to Charlotte to visit its museums and restaurants, and explore its fascinating history too. So, whether you’re here for a business trip, checking out the galleries, or cheering on the Panthers or Hornets, a multi-faceted journey awaits when you book flights to Charlotte. Here are some tips to help you plan and enjoy the smoothest possible trip.
Charlotte is at its best when it’s warm. Book Charlotte flights in late spring and early summer to capitalize on the sunny days and perfect golfing conditions. If you book flights to Charlotte too late in the summer though, you might come face to face with nasty storms.
Many travelers prefer to visit Charlotte in the spring and autumn, when fewer tourists are around, the city is less crowded, and hotel rates are cheaper. Fall colors are on their grandest display in October, giving another reason to visit during this time.
Summer is the best and trickiest time to book flights to Charlotte. While the first half is dry and perfect for golfing and spending time outdoors, the tail end of the season can be stifling, and ultimately result in strong wind and rain storms. When the pressure systems in the mid-Atlantic are irritated, hurricanes sweep through the city, so late August and early September should be avoided.
Winter is incredibly mild here. If you book Charlotte flights in the months of December, January, and February, you can expect little rain, some snowfall, and cool temperatures. While fewer travelers are drawn to the city during this time of year, it’s the perfect opportunity to nab airfare deals and cheap hotels in Charlotte.
When you book flights to Charlotte, you’ll be able to enjoy the temperate, subtropical climate that comes along with the sun-drenched days and cool evenings. Winters are short and mild, bringing a bit more rainfall (and even a little snowfall) than the rest of the year. Summers are perfectly capable of sweltering, but reach a sultry perfection in early July. Book flights to Charlotte in the earlier part of the summer season to avoid rain and wind storms in late August. Spring and fall make for beautiful shoulder seasons, and distinct transitions from warm to cold. January reaches its coldest with temperatures in the 30s and 40s, while July heats things up to roasting temperatures in the 80s.
Unless you’re planning your flight to Charlotte around a holiday, you’ll find your best flight choices one to four months before your trip. If you’re able to fly Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday, you can expect more flight options, and booking your flight after midnight may reveal more cost-effective options. If you’re not picky about what time of day you fly or where you sit in the plane, you may be able to find some good deals for non-holiday travel about two weeks before your trip. The more flexible you can be about your flight dates, the better chance you have of finding the right flight at the right price.
Charlotte Douglas International Airport boasts many direct flights to and from other major locations, and you can expect your flight to take you about five hours nonstop from Los Angeles, under three hours from Houston, just over an hour from New York, and about 8.5 hours from London.
Charlotte Douglas International Airport is the second-largest East Coast airport and the sixth-busiest in the world, so finding a flight shouldn’t be difficult. All the major U.S. air carriers fly into Charlotte Douglas, including Delta, American, United, Southwest and JetBlue. Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines also fly here. If you traveling from an international destination, check the available flights from Air Canada and Lufthansa.
During the spring and fall seasons where temperatures are quite pleasant, with highs in the 60s and 70s, you may need a light jacket if an evening activity turns brisk, and an umbrella in the spring is a good idea. Summertime visits call for planning ahead for heat and humidity, so pack those light sundresses, sandals, shorts and sunglasses, and don’t forget sunscreen for the day time and some chic high heels for evenings spent clubbing. Winters are fairly mild in Charlotte, and you may be fine with a heavy sweater or light jacket and a pair of good boots, but take a scarf and gloves for those few days that dip toward freezing.
Once your plane lands, you have several options for traveling to downtown Charlotte, about 7 miles away, and getting to your hotel. Grab a taxi at the airport, or take the shuttle service provided by many of the major hotels. Car rentals are also available, as is the Charlotte Area Transit System, which runs three bus routes from the airport to various sections of the city.
Many visitors to Charlotte choose to stay Uptown, where many high-rise hotels are available to meet your every need. Staying in this part of town puts you in walking distance of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the EpiCentre, the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, and many trendy restaurants, bars and clubs. If you’re traveling for work-related purposes, your business may take you closer to the South End neighborhood of Charlotte, where entrepreneurs thrive. Some of the most highly rated restaurants and top live music venues are in the Elizabeth neighborhood.
If you plan your trip for spring or fall, you’re just in time to catch many top annual sporting events, including the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship held at Quail Hollow Country Club, or the the Coca-Cola 600 or Bank of America 500, two of NASCAR’s premier races, at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Charlotte is a hub for NASCAR, so if you’re a fan, check out the NASCAR Hall of Fame uptown, and make sure to catch a race at one of the many motor speedways just outside the city.
Charlotte’s history shines through its museums and architecture. Taking a walking tour through Uptown to see gracious homes dating back to Revolutionary War days, or visit living history at an old plantation such as Latta Plantation to learn what life was like in the early 1800s. Charlotte’s military history is on display at the Kings Mountain National Military Park, 30 miles outside the city, which provides a trail to see important Revolutionary War battlefield sites. If your love of history expresses itself through the artifacts of the past, you’re in the right place to do some serious antiquing. Rent a car and head to the nearby small towns of Matthews, Pineville or Waxhaw to find some real treasures.
One of the most popular attractions in Charlotte is Discovery Place, a science and tech museum that lets you explore everything from dinosaurs to the rain forest, often turning your visit into a hands-on experience. Other popular destinations for those wishing to learn and experience beauty in Charlotte include the Charlotte Nature Museum, the Mint Museum of Art, and the stunning Botanical Gardens at the University of North Carolina. Charlotte’s nightlife begins at the EpiCentre, which draws locals and visitors alike Uptown to enjoy everything from line dancing and happy hour to dueling pianos or DJs spinning the latest tunes. Hot dance spots line the streets around College and 5th, including some retro spots focusing on music from the ’80s and ’90s. Speakeasies, gastropubs and quiet cocktail lounges are also part of the thriving nightlife scene.
Looking to spread your wings beyond the city of Charlotte? Cheapflights can help with that too. The majority of U.S. air carriers that fly into Charlotte Douglas International Airport also fly out of it, including Delta, American, United, Southwest and JetBlue.
Here are some of the most popular routes from Charlotte, where you will find some great flight deals:
Booked a flight from Charlotte? Because of the high volume of flights at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, you can expect busy traffic at any time of the day; in particular, Monday mornings are typically hectic.
The Charlotte Area Transit System’s Sprinter Enhanced Bus Service runs a direct route from the uptown Charlotte Transportation Center straight to the airport, with buses leaving about every 20 minutes. Other direct bus routes run from the Northlake Mall Park & Ride and from the Blue Line light rail stations in the Archdale neighborhood. When taking a flight from Charlotte, be sure to get to the airport in plenty of time in case there is a last minute gate change or unexpected long lines at security.
For more detailed airport information, our Charlotte Douglas International Airport guide includes all the information you need to know before you go.