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Charlotte's Most Inspired

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I was just wondering what you think Charlotte's most inspiring "thing" is... It could be a place. Or a Thing. Or a person. Or a business. Or anything that inspires you (mentally, physically or socially).

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The thing that I find the most inspiring about Charlotte is the skyline. The skyline is one of those things that the city is famous for.

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The drive to be a world class city, regardless of what people think or say abou little Charlotte. We're the little engine that could and not many places can have that said about them IMO.

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I'm always amazed at how impressed other people are with Charlotte when I bring them to our city, from anywhere in the world. Everyone is always in awe when they see and experience everything - just not what they expected.

I've once went travelling around with some clients from Singapore and Perth, Australia. We went to L.A., Las Vegas, San Antonio, Kansas City, Chicago, and Charlotte on an extended business trip - all within a week (a lot of 6:00 a.m. flights each day of the week). After travelling all over the country from city to city, everyone thought it was refreshing to come to the shiny and tree-covered Charlotte. The gentleman from Perth said it reminded him of an Australian city, and liked it better than any other city we'd visited. The folks from Singapore thought it was a beautiful small city (after all...they were from a metropolis) and like it better than anywhere else we'd been to as well.

My company held a conference for our customers here last year for clients all over the US, Canada, and the UK, and everyone was floored at how nice Charlotte was. They thought they were coming to some small Southern town, and then they discovered all the hotel, dining, and nightlife options uptown. I actually had a guy from Columbia University ask me if we were hiring just so he could move here. He said he had a better night out here than any night in NYC. Though I find that hard to believe (unless he just went to the wrong places), it's nevertheless flattering. Though we have contemplated holding the conference in a more centrally located city, each of our clients has begged us to keep it here - they just loved it.

We took a girl that rented my apartment out to show here the sights in Charlotte. She had previously lived in midtown Manhattan for 6 years. She was just amazed at how friendly everyone was, and was actually impressed at the downtown area's urban vibe. We took her all over Charlotte, showed her the neighborhoods, and let her taste some fried pickles. She'd never lived outside of the NY area, but she was smitten with this city. She has now decided to settle here for good, and bought a house here (I had to get another tenant, but still on a positive note).

I've also brought a group of government contractors here from the DC/NoVa/Baltimore area. They were blown away by the city - mainly the dining and entertainment options downtown also. Tons of compliments...nothing bad to say.

I've had clients from Rio De Janeiro come here as well, and they loved it. Though they said it reminded them of a small city in Brazil (also...Rio is huge, so CLT is no comparison), they just thought it was a beautiful city and they enjoyed the architecture of the new Nascar HOF and art museums that weren't even open yet most of all...next to BofA and Hearst.

I've never had a client come to Charlotte and not feel like it's a great place to be (or hold a company event). Except for once...a guy from San Bernardino, CA (which in my opinion is the armpit of America) thought there were too many homeless people. He gave $25 away in a matter of half an hour to the panhandlers, which was stupid on his behalf. Granted, when I traveled to his town, I was propositioned by a prostitute in the parking lot of my hotel and also had a homeless guy jump onto the hood of my car, slapped on the window, and demand some money for food (which he didn't get). I guess ignorance shouldn't count. In my opinion, his city is literally the worst place in the US to live.

I'm proud of this place, and I am happy to bring people here and show them the sights that there are to see. Seeing those reactions keeps me inspired about this place, though I would probably be anyway. I travel a lot, so I feel that no one can say that I don't know what it's like to be in a large city. I've spent plenty of time travelling in NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, London, and a ton of other cities, and I probably know them just as well as many of the residents do. But I'm still happy to call this place home. My history here kind of reminds me of seeing a kid grow up over the years. I've been here all along, and it just always impresses me what comes next (aside from the suburbs and the in-town suburban planning - kind of like a C- on a homework project). I like this spot, and don't plan to leave anytime soon...if ever.

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I agree with the "Little-Engine-that-could" attitude about this city. In my opinion, no better example can be found than in UNC Charlotte. Ms. Bonnie Cone was that little engine, and she became the flag-bearer for the city's need to have a university. Who knew that in 60 years of it being a college, it would become a school of 24,700 students that is not afraid to become something more than was expected. Being from Raleigh, I was surprised at the caliber of university that it is, and now when my family and friends come down they are so impressed.

I also agree with the impression given to newcomers to the city. It really is a surprising find for people.

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I agree with Neo. I have lived in Charlotte since '84 and have always admired the "can-do" spirit that our city has. My wife is from New Orleans and always ask me why I love Charlotte so much. I tell her it's my adopted home since I moved here with my parents from Ohio. I was a teenager and the 1st place we stayed (for about 2 weeks) when we got here was the Holland House on Graham next to the tire place. It's gone now. We ate at the Athens restaurant down by CPCC, also gone. Walked to the Belks and Iveys downtown(sorry I still call it that) also gone. You get the picture. But I watched the city grow up. As for most Inspired, someone said it above, the trees. I think Charlotte should definitely keep planting lots of trees along the streets, in the parks, anywhere they can. The tall buildings are great, but I think that people and traditions and culture are what make a place inspiring. As a side note, we helped my wife's niece after Hurricane Rita hit western Louisiana and she stayed here from about late '05 to mid '07 when she decided to return. She had her own place, a job, and had her kids in school here. I talked to her the other day and she said "I want to come back to Charlotte, I miss it. I told her, "Come on". But everybody I bring here or visits all say the same, Wow, Charlotte is so different then what I thought. Enough rambling. Just my 2 cents.

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Does anyone think there is a single place that is inspiring? A park? A museum? A school? A street? A statue? A historical place? Or do most people agree that the thing that is most inspiring about Charlotte is "the idea of Charlotte."

I like the answer about the trees. I hadn't considered that - and it's right - that's a very big thing that makes Charlotte seem more comfortable/livable than other cities. It's a good answer.

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The McColl Center. This is one of those little gems in Charlotte that often flies under the radar. Especially on days when the artist studios are open, it's absolutely wonderful going in and talking about the work going on (for example, this guy). I don't know of any other place like it.

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I concur that what inspires me about this town is the positive and optimistic mindset to strive for the best and look forward. Aside from the intangibles a sense of place and history does it for me and I get that in our older neighborhoods. This topic dovetails well with a forum last month that asked what makes a person loyal to their town. There was a great deal of consensus like having amenities such as signature park in the center city to function as living room for urbanites. Such as bustling Piedmont Park in Atlanta and then encouraging smallscale storefronts around the"town square" as it were. The buzz you feel in other cities downtowns that have this combo is what inspires me and make me want to stay in a town even longer.

And I think we are making strides in having more there there in Charlotte.

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