Around Town

5 Charlotte experiences I can’t believe I haven’t had

I hate admitting I haven’t had certain Charlotte experiences yet, partially because I’m in media and have access to a ton of them, and partially because I’ve lived here for so long. I feel like there’s no excuse.

One theme I’ve noticed in my young professional life here: I get so caught up in saying “yes” to new business openings, sneak peeks and special media events that I often overlook the experiences that everyone has access to.

Do you?

Five uniquely Charlotte experiences I’ve missed out on:

(1) A breakfast event with Creative Mornings Charlotte

Yes, Creative Mornings is an international phenomenon connecting communities to local, relevant, creative speakers. The free event just emerged on the Charlotte scene in the past year and has a goal “to send you into your day/life with a surge of inspiration, lots of new connections + ideas + perspectives + ways of thinking.” From Charlotte people.

If you’re like me and have missed previous speakers Carl McIntyre, Josh Bowron, Jess George, Patrice Gaines and Jen Band, you can listen to them here.

Up next: Cooper Lambla of the U.S. National Whitewater Center will speak at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art on the theme of “risk” April 1.

See you there.

The Bechtler, 420 S Tryon St.

(2) A visit to Levine Museum of the New South

The museum was founded in 1991 to share the diverse history of the South since the Civil War, with emphasis on the Charlotte area. According to the museum, “The New South means people, places and a period of time — from 1865 to today.”

One aspect I’m drawn to: the description that “the New South encompasses the spirit of re-invention. The end of slavery forced the South to reinvent its economy and society.”

Don’t we see that spirit of reinvention every day in Charlotte’s entrepreneurial realm? The boom of breweries, the rise of food trucks, the storm of start-ups? We’re part of history, too.

200 E 7th St.

(3) An ice cream cone at Mr K’s

This mom-and-pop shop has been in operation in South End since 1967 and I’ve driven by it just about every day for three years, “too busy” trying to get somewhere. I even asked the manager and owner how they define personal success.

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2107 South Blvd.

(4) A NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway

I’ve been told by fellow Charlotteans that even if you have no interest in racing whatsoever (raises hand), this is a cultural spectacle worth seeing at least once. The speedway is embedded in NASCAR history, after all: it was built in 1959 and held the first World 600 in 1960. And it attracts interesting fans, like people who designate mayors for their campgrounds.

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Maybe I’ll see you at the Coca-Cola 600, coming up May 29.

5555 Concord Pkwy S, Concord

(5) A concert at the Visulite Theatre in Elizabeth

This venue has been around long enough that it was cited in Charlotte history as a location once picketed by Ku Klux Klan members in 1957 to protest the showing of the movie “Island in the Sun.” The film portrayed interracial romances at the time Charlotte-Mecklenburg was preparing to integrate schools.

Now the theater boasts upcoming concerts like The Raineers (March 31), Andy Hull of Manchester Orchestra (April 3) and American Authors (April 18).

1615 Elizabeth Ave.

Charlotte experiences, here I come.

Photos: Katie Toussaint, Pat James

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