A tip if youre running low on gas: Theres exactly one gas station within the confines of Interstate 277 the beltway that defines uptown. Its not unusual to see lines four or five cars deep at the station at 10th and Graham streets. They should charge $17 a gallon. People would pay.
Some see it as an inconvenience. But for those of us who live here, its a subtle sign: Uptown streets are made for walking.
As city fathers have packed more attractions, sports teams and cultural events into uptown, it has become a walkable community without really trying.
Its not the biggest center city. You could buy an ice cream cone at one end and walk to the other end before its fully melted, but it exists. And youll enjoy many of the things you see along the way.
That may be little consolation to people who storm into the center city for the occasional concert or parade, and return to cars that have been ticketed or towed. But that urban, cosmopolitan feel with everything at your fingertips is what makes living uptown worthwhile, despite the occasional street-blocking parade or festival.
The NFLs Panthers and the NBAs Bobcats play here, and last spring, the city council gave the green light for an uptown minor-league baseball stadium.
From the Charlotte Observers building, weve watched the area just north of us at Tryon and Stonewall streets transform from a tire store and two parking lots into an arts district featuring the Mint Museum Uptown (free admission on Tuesday evenings), the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture.
The arts district is a few blocks away from restaurants that cater to a range of tastes and budgets. Chima, the upscale steak place where gauchos bring skewers of sizzling meat to your table, is a building away from a McDonalds and two blocks away from a Bojangles.
There are parking decks, metered spots and even a garage beneath a park. But its hard to see them as anything more than a mere formality.
You cant, for example, take a car into the Overstreet Mall the network of indoor public walkways that connect uptown skyscrapers from Stonewall Street to Seventh Street if youre up for some urban exploring.
And if you do decide to brave the streets by automobile, youre likely to get stuck behind a pedicab or horse-drawn carriage, reminding you that theres a better way to take in the sights.