Modern Charlotte is a cosmopolitan city rich in culture, science, history, recreation, education and a high standard of quality living. The city center is alive with commerce and is home to nearly 300 Fortune 500 companies and 350 foreign firms. Interstates 77 and 85 intersect in Charlotte, linking the city with the Great Lakes region, New England and Florida. The Blue Ridge Mountains and Atlantic beaches are a short dive away. Arts and culture are alive and thriving in Charlotte.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) are a premier, urban integrated school system, which serves more than 109,000 students in approximately 141 schools. The University of North Carolina and the University Research Park also attract newcomers to the Northeast area with their many resources.
Area museums include Discovery Place, the Mint Museum and its sister property, the Mint Museum of Craft and Design, the Charlotte Museum of History and the Historic Trolley Museum. Charlotte nightlife is positively aglow at the dazzling $55 million Blumenthal Performing Arts Center or premier performances of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, and the Philharmonic Orchestra.
Of course, Charlotte is also a national sports hub. The Ericsson Stadium in uptown Charlotte is home of the NFL's Carolina Panthers. In addition, the city supports the Charlotte Sting of the Women's National Basketball Association; the Charlotte Knights, a Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox; and the East Coast Hockey League's Charlotte Checkers, who play at historic Cricket Arena. Lowe's Motor Speedway is a popular attraction for lovers of stock car and Indy car racing. The Charlotte Speed Street festival is held every year in conjunction with the annual Coca Cola 600, a high-performance race at the Speedway. Popular community events include the annual Charlotte Observer Marathon and Center City Fest, a celebration of entertainment and food.
Amateur athletes enjoy a wide variety of recreational amenities through the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County Parks, which feature the standard park amenities of tennis, swimming, golf, picnic areas, fitness trails and ball fields. Several specialized facilities include the Aquatic Center, the equestrian and raptor center at historic Latta Plantation Park, and a PGA-sanctioned golf development at Piper Glen. Two Golf Digest Top 100 golf courses are in Charlotte at Country Club and Quail Hollow.
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