Travel Tips: Downtown Charlotte, NC

Planning to visit downtown Charlotte, NC with a few guys for a long weekend. Sharing my travel notes for other first-time visitors.


Public Transit vs Ride Sharing vs Car Rental

We initially thought we would need to ride share or rent a car, but it sounds like Charlotte, NC has a great public transit system. We plan to take a bus from Airport to Downtown (bus runs every 15 minutes), then take their light rail system and busses around downtown. Cost is about $2/ride or $30/week for unlimited rides.

CATS Bus Route: Airport Terminal to Downtown (Airport to downtown is 21 minute ride)

CATS Light Rail: Lynx Blue/Gold Rail Lines

CATS Map of the Blue Line (04/2022). The trains currently stop every 15 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes in the evenings.

Here’s a Google Map of Blue Line from McCullough Station (8312 N Tryon St) to Arrowood Station (7430 South Blvd). We aren’t planning to go to the far ends of the line (I-485 or UNC) so I didn’t include the last few stops, but it is interesting to see where the line travels through the Charlotte Metro area.

CATS Map of the Yellow Line (04/2022). The streetcars currently stop every 20 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes in the evenings. The BLUE/YELLOW lines meet at CTC/Arena (Charlotte Transportation Center)

Charlotte has plans to continue expanding their yellow/blue lines and add additional lines, so definitely check the CATS website for the latest maps and schedule.

Nightlife near Light Rail Stations

I compiled a list of the (currently) highest-rated attractions near Charlotte Blue Line Stations w/ the current Google Rating and Review Count. Based on the Google and Yelp reviews I’ve read, Cellar at Duckworth’s, Wooden Robot, and Aura Rooftop get my votes.

9th St Station

7th St Station

CTC/Arena Station

3rd St Station

Stonewall Station


Bland Station

East/West Blvd Station

New Bern Station

List Inspired by: Bars and Restaurants Along Charlotte’s Blue Line Light Rail

Charlotte Attractions


If you can find a hotel or B&B near a public transit station, you’ll be able to get around the downtown area without renting a car or relying on ride share services (e.g. Lyft, Uber) based on comments I’ve seen in many different downtown B&B reviews.

We initially booked a B&B so that we could stay together, but the host cancelled on us 4 days before the trip due to a water/flooding emergency. We ended up booking a hotel near one of the Blue Line light rail stations. We couldn’t find another B&B near a Blue Line station that seemed like a good fit for us.

Did you find this helpful? Let me know by sending me a comment. I tend to update and maintain posts more frequently if I know others find them helpful. Thanks for visiting!