What to do (and not do) during CIAA Tournament week

CharlotteFive archives
 Livingstone College students at CIAA 2015.
CharlotteFive archives Livingstone College students at CIAA 2015.

With the CIAA Tournament just days away there are a few things that attendees should know.

Thousands of people will be traveling into the city Feb. 22-27 and there are so many things to do. CIAA can be a bit confusing and overwhelming, but don’t worry — we’re here to make sure you have a good time.

A few dos and don’ts:


Buy your tickets early.

Tickets for the basketball games, clubs, parties and social events are currently on sale and will move fast so don’t wait until last minute.


Make reservations.

If you are planning to go out for lunch or dinner, meet up with friends at a lounge, or just want to fine a spot to chill, make your reservations now. Most restaurants will have a long wait and a reservation may help you stay on schedule for all your other CIAA activities.

Use GPS and alternate routes.

Traffic will be a mess, so beware. Do everything you can to stay out of uptown traffic.


Wear uncomfortable shoes.

You will be doing a lot of walking! Make sure to bring your best walking shoes. Remember ladies — you can still look cute and sexy without wearing painful shoes. If you’re not an expert at wearing heels, don’t try to impress anyone because you will probably end up taking off those six-inch stilettos and walking around town barefoot.

Forget to use the LYNX light rail, Gold Rush trolleys and new streetcars.


Charlotte has tons of ways to get around uptown during CIAA. Taking the light rail, Gold Rush or streetcar will help you avoid the headaches of traffic and trying to find parking near Charlotte Convention Center and Time Warner Cable Arena. It also saves you some extra dollars, because parking uptown will probably start around $20.

Expect the celebrity guest to show up to parties on time.

Most celebrities that come into town for CIAA will arrive at their hosted event during the last hour of the party time. For example: If your favorite rapper is hosting a party at the Ritz Carlton for Saturday night, chances are he or she will make an appearance around midnight or later. Make sure to keep up with your celebrity guest on their social media accounts so you know where they are supposed to be because some fake parties have been created in the past.

R.H.O.A. Housewives Takeover Party at Sports One Charlotte
R.H.O.A. Housewives Takeover Party at Sports One Charlotte Paul Williams III

Don’t drink and drive.

Use a designated driver, Uber, cab or just don’t drink at all.

Don’t forget to have fun!

CIAA is one week out of the year where a lot of HBCU alumni come together with family and friends to make memories and have fun. Don’t forget to laugh, hug someone, and just smile and wave at people.

For more information about the CIAA Tournament, click here.

T. Ortega Gaines

Photos: Paul Williams III; Robert Lahser/Charlotte Observer