Category: Arts & Culture

Carolina Balloon Fest

Do you love hot air balloons? Then you must make it a point to attend this festival! Carolina Balloon Festival is a fun-filled weekend festival that takes place in the 3rd weekend of October, and includes a wide variety of attractions and activities – all revolving around hot air balloons. Taking place every year since 1974, the festival’s main attraction is the colorful and beautiful sight (and sound) of over 50 hot air balloons that launch twice daily against the beautiful autumn weather. There are also other balloon-related activities such as walk-in balloons and tethered balloon rides that can be enjoyed.

There are several that activities have very little to do with balloons as well, from stage magicians and an inflatable-filled Kids’ Zone for the small ones, bungee jump and wall-climbing for the adventurous, as beer and wine tastings for adults looking for a different kind of experience. Needless to say, one can never have a dull time at the Carolina Balloon Festival.

Contact Information:

Address: 260 Hangar Dr, Statesville, NC 28677

Phone: 704-818-3307

Website: http://www.carolinaballoonfest.com

Carolina Renaissance Festival

Are you a history buff, or at least a fan of all things Medieval? In that case, you should definitely head over to The Carolina Renaissance Festival. Filled with costumed historical characters, one-of-a-kind entertainment and attractions, fun rides and games, thrilling live performances, and some of the best and most authentic food, this festival truly brings the medieval times to life and is a treat of all kinds.

The over 2-week long festival, which functions as an artisan marketplace and a Medieval amusement park definitely has a lot to do. A wonderful reconstruction of 16th century Europe, the annual festival features several top-line live performances such jousting knights, roaming jesters, fire jugglers, and aerial acrobats. There are various fun rides, such as Da Vinci’s Flying Machine, and more fun games than one can count! There’s also lot of opportunities to shop, and tasty, authentic food such as fish-and-chips and turkey legs.

Contact Information:

Address: 16445 Poplar Tent Rd Huntersville, NC, 28078

Phone: (704) 896-5555

Website: https://www.carolina.renfestinfo.com

Yiasou Greek Festival

Are you a fan of all things Greek? Then this festival is definitely the place for you to be!

One of the biggest cultural events of Charlotte, the Yiasou Greek Festival is (as the name implies) a Greek-themed festival that offers multitudes of activities that cater to all sorts of tastes and ages. From shopping and dining, to kids’ rides and play areas, to classy parties and wine tastings, and much more, there’s nothing that this festival does not offer to visitors!

Held in the second week of September, the Yiasou Greek Festival features authentic cultural exhibits that portray the history and richness of the Greek culture. There are also several live performances that will enthrall visitors, including nationally-renowned Greek bands, dance performances and live re-enactments. There a lot for the shopper as well, from belly dancing skirts and Greek jewelry to beautiful mementos and souvenirs. The festival also features several high-end wine tasting sessions and cooking demos.

Contact Information:

Address: 600 East Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28203

Phone: (704) 334-4771

Website: https://yiasoufestival.org

Charlotte Film Festival

If you’re a fan of films, you simply cannot miss this one. One of the most famous festivals of the Queen City, the Charlotte Film Festival is a one-of-a-kind festival that gives a chance to up-and-coming filmmakers while giving visitors a chance to watch something new and innovative. Featuring both emerging and veteran filmmakers, and some of the best and most outstanding artists, the Charlotte film festival works as a great platform where laymen, beginners and experts unite and exchange ideas and opinions – besides seeing films of course.

All in all, this is a full, interesting week that is dedicated to creativity, art, and of course, films.

Contact Information:

Address: 9110 Kings Parade Blvd, Charlotte, NC

Website: http://www.charlottefilmfestival.org

Hola Charlotte Festival

If you’re looking for the best Latin experience, this uptown street festival is indeed the place to be.

A free, annual, street festival, the Hola Charlotte Hispanic Heritage Festival is one of the best representations of Latin culture in the state, and is filled with family-friendly, fun activities that everyone can enjoy. The largest Hispanic Heritage event in both Carolinas, the Hola Charlotte highlights the richness and diversity of the Latin way of life through art, music, dance, food and much more.

The festival takes place in the first week of October in Center City, and features nationally recognized entertainers as well as a constructed Latin American Village which highlights the culture and heritage of 15 different Latin countries.

Contact Information:

Address: N Tryon St. & W 6th St. Charlotte, NC 28202

Phone: 704-405-3170

Website: https://holacharlottefestival.com

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One of Charlotte’s best up-and-coming districts, Plaza Midwood is a fabulous emerging arts neighborhood that is on its way to becoming one the Queen City premier go-to center when it comes to exploring the arts. Located about one mile northeast of Charlotte’s Uptown area in the city’s east side, the bumbling arts neighborhood is bordered by Central Avenue to the south, Hawthorne Lane to the west, The Plaza to the north, and the Charlotte Country Club and Briar Creek Road to the east. Well-known as a very diverse, quirky and eclectic neighborhood, Plaza Midwood is definitely a rarity that has been developing quite fast to make a reputation of a hip and modern urban neighborhood.

Plaza Midwood has its origins in around 1910 when it was first established as an industrial sub-urban neighborhood in the city of Charlotte which was centered round a streetcar line. Despite being one of the few places to successfully ride out the Great Depression, Plaza Midwood began to decline since the 1950s and by 1975, had declined to a rather seedy neighborhood. The district did, however, experience a kind of “rebirth” starting the 1990s when it started to give way to an interesting transformation which, over the decades gave way to the bumbling arts neighborhood that it stands as today.

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While the famous streetcar has indeed been inactive for quite a while now, the district itself has an intensity that gives it a very pleasant vibe. The historical areas of the district, namely the neighborhood’s western section, the area near The Plaza, some parts of Pecan and Clement, and Thomas Avenue were later classified as a Local Historical District and brought under the regulation of the Historic District Commission. Rapid development over the past 20 years has only served to remove the seediness and add to its burgeoning popularity.

In addition to having the 19-acre Veterans Park, Plaza Midwood has several art galleries, including the Hong Kong Vintage, Repo Records and Queen Gallery and Art Center. There are also several bookstores such as Book Buyers and quirky shops and stores such as Hong Kong Vintage and Repo Records, that will definitely satisfy those with a thirst for the vintage.

The district is also home to several top-line restaurants such Little Italy, Fuel Pizza and Luv B’s, bakeries such as Nova’s Bakery, pubs such as Elizabeth Billiards and Thomas St. Tavern. Visitors can also explore The Van Landingham Estate Inn & Conference Center, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and makes for the only place suitable for staying overnight.

Plaza Midwood has no proper hotels, making staying here a very difficult affair. The only place that qualifies – even remotely – is the Van Landingham Estate Inn & Conference Center. It is, however, quite expensive and beyond the reach of many budget-lodgers. Those on a budget can try staying at any of the hotels at Independence Boulevard, which is not very far away.

A generally safe neighborhood, the place is easily accessible through public transport. One must, however, be careful about surrounding neighborhoods and take care to not cross over, since some of them may be unsafe. Walking about the fringes of the neighborhood at odd hours should also be avoided.

Website: https://plazamidwood.com

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The North Davidson district, popularly called the NoDa district (by blending the two names) is a very popular arts district in Charlotte. Located in the northern part of the Queen City, the district runs along North Davidson Street and between the 30th and 36th street, and continues to about one mile northeast of Uptown Charlotte. Standing as a premier entertainment district, NoDa, which was named so by the architect Russell Pound, has the same geography as that of the National Register of Historic Places-listed Historic North Charlotte.

A very popular center for the arts, NoDa is home to several well-known personalities such as Mitch Brendan (the semi-professional cyclist), John Nolan and Adam Lazzara (lead guitarist and lead singer of the band Taking Back Sunday respectively). It is also the home of some of the Queen City’s famous eateries, live music arenas, historical attractions and of course, all things art.

The NoDa District came into existence over a hundred years ago, when it was founded by a group of rich and flourishing textile manufacturers. Starting with the construction of Highland Park Mill No. 3, NoDa went on to become a flourishing mill village with several successfully-running mills and manufacturing facilities, as well as mill-workers’ residences, all of which stood independent from the city of Charlotte. With time and advancement of technology, however, the popularity of mills began to fade, and starting from the 1975, gradually gave way to what is today one of Charlotte’s renowned art centers that is perhaps most famously known for its bi-monthly gallery crawls.

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There clearly much to discover in NoDa, which includes, but is most certainly not limited to the arts. In addition to being the home to several top-line art galleries such as Center of the Earth Gallery, Studio True, Hart Witzen Gallery, and The ArtHouse Center for Creative Expression, among others, NoDa holds its very famous gallery crawls on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month between 6pm to 9:30 pm.

NoDa is also a center for fine dining, being home to several popular and interesting eateries such as Cabo Fish Taco (known for its authentic southern food), Bordeaux’s Louisiana Kitchen (famous for its Cajun staples, and bakeries such as Amelie’s French Bakery, and taverns such as Jack Beagles and Solstice Tavern. Fans of drinks won’t be disappointed either, with coffeehouses such as The Smelly Cat and bars and pubs such as Dog Bar, Growlers Pourhouse, Crepe Cellar Kitchen and Pub, and many others.

There are also several music venues such as and historical must-see places such as mill houses and factories. A well-preserved yet open-to-innovation district, NoDa has also seen the rise of multifamily housing units being constructed in recent years, which only adds to the overall quirkiness of the place.

Shopping fans too have a lot to shop from – from Fabric Art, The Boulevard at NoDa, and Sunshine Dreams (which offer a variety of gift items), Real Eyes Bookstore (known for their eclectic collection of books), Yarnhouse (a popular fiber, crochecting and knitting community), and The Natural Voice (which is well-known for its range of wellness-related products and services).

The district is safe, and easily accessible by public transport. The district has very few hotels, however, with the nearest over a mile from Independence Blvd. The neighborhood, however, be easily accessed from Uptown hotels.

 

Website: http://www.noda.org

Foundation For The Carolinas

Though not exactly an art museum in the strictest sense of the word, the Foundation for the Carolinas, with its very large art collection and good intentions more than qualifies for one. Founded in 1958, Foundation for the Carolinas is one of the premier organizations that has been working for the good of the people of the Southeast. Dedicated to strengthening communities, the Foundation works closely with several leading civic leaders, corporations, donors and non-profits for pursuing inspiring philanthropic endeavors.

Having moved to its current location in 2011, the Foundation For The Carolinas houses several pieces of high-end art. The facility is home to the Sonia and Isaac Luski Gallery, which is a classy and intimate setting that features some of the most innovative art. This interesting collection, which is characterized by its canvas of colors, sparkling glass and striking paintings, attracts thousands of visitors, if not more, every year and features leading contemporary painters such as Herb Jackson and Chuck Hose, as well as glass artists like Jon Kuhn, Dale Chihuly and Lino Tagliapietra, among many others. Most pieces in the collection have in fact been donated by Sonia and Isaac Luski, Cuban emigrants who arrived in the US with very few possessions and two paintings.

Contact Information:

Address: 220 N. Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202

Phone: 704.973.4500, 800.973.7244

Website: https://www.fftc.org/

Levine Museum of The New South

Interested in something that offers “art” and “civil war” in one sentence? If your answer is yes, head to the Levine museum of the New South! One of the most well-known and often-visited museums of the Southeast, the Levine museum of the New South has its theme in showcasing the history and legacy of the “New South,” i.e. the time, places and people from 1865 till date – from the good to the bad and everything in-between.

Founded in 1991, the avant garde museum features a very wide variety of art pieces that represent and portray this history. Suitable and informative for both children and adults alike, the Museum offers several different kinds of opportunities for education, benefit, as well as enjoyment – all while providing a suitable historical context and an emphasis on further deliberation and discussion.

The museum fully believes in giving back to the community that it is a part of, and to that end takes up a portion of the community’s fiscal responsibilities by offering generous scholarships to the talented. In addition to portraying history, the museum also believes in building one that the future generations can cherish.

Contact Information:

Address: 200 E 7th St, Charlotte, NC 28202

Phone: 704-333-1887

Website: http://www.museumofthenewsouth.org/

Mccoll Center For Art + Innovation

If you’re looking for an art museum that goes much more beyond simply featuring collections, the McColl Center for Art + Innovation is the place for you to be. One of the best homes for contemporary art in the Queen City and beyond, the McColl Center for Art + Innovation  is a one-of-a-kind contemporary art center that aims to foster a better relation between art, artists and the wider community that it thrives in.

Located in Uptown Charlotte, the McColl Center for Art + Innovation is housed in a historic, neo-Gothic church, and has a wide gallery space of 5,000 square-feet. With over 7 studios for artists, the museum features some of the finest contemporary pieces. It also holds ground-breaking exhibitions, programs to connect artists with visitors, workshops and community outreach programs.

Contact Information:

Address: 721 N Tryon ST, Charlotte, NC 28202

Phone: 704-332-5535

Website: http://mccollcenter.org