When travel nurses think about taking an assignment in North Carolina, it is often to be near the mountains in the west or the ocean on the east coast. Nurses who want to be in day-trip proximity to these things but prefer to live and work in a livelier, more urban setting should consider an assignment in Charlotte. The Charlotte metro area, with a population of 2.5 million people, is the largest city in North Carolina and although it offers plenty to do and see, it is also day-trip-distance to the state’s most popular mountains and beaches. This is our city guide for nurses wondering what to eat, drink, do and Instagram while on a travel nursing assignment in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Surely at some point during your travel assignment in Charlotte, you’ll get a craving for some Southern-style comfort food. When the urge strikes, head to Cuzzo’s Cuisine in the city’s Enderly Park district. Don’t let its relatively small space and simple furnishings fool you. You’re about to enjoy one of the best meals of your life. The house specialty is lobster mac & cheese, but be sure to also try the chicken and red velvet waffle, sublime shrimp and grits, jerk wings and homemade cactus pear lemonade, as well. If brunch is more your thing, stop in for their Soul Food Sunday brunch buffet which includes all of the above options plus candied yams, collard greens, cornbread, and a variety of other menu items that change weekly.
Travel nurses on assignment in Charlotte, North Carolina are in for a culinary treat when it comes to non-profit, modern-day food court 7th Street Public Market. Located in the heart of Charlotte’s Center City, the market’s motto is “Do Good by Eating Well,” and you will be able to do both when you visit. The market celebrates and showcases the food culture of the Carolina’s, with various vendors offering quality, fresh, affordable food that promotes and supports local farmers, food artisans and small business owners. The market is open from 7am to 9pm, with individual vendors offering various selections of breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks (including numerous vegetarian and vegan selections) and beverages.
This quaint, local, neighborhood coffeehouse has plenty of personality -- as demonstrated by the name -- but you’ll love the coffee creations and homemade baked goods selection so much, you won’t care what it’s called! This cozy, comfortable establishment offers semi-private nooks and tables both inside and out for you to relax while you caffeinate and rejuvenate. Breakfast options include homemade biscuits, quiches and cream cheese combos served with organic breads and bagels, fluffy scrambled eggs and your choice of add-ons. A variety of cocktails including Irish coffee, dirty chai tea, and Mexican hot chocolate are also available.
If you’re tired of the average bar scene, you’ll have a chance to experience a totally out-of-the-box spot to enjoy local beers, wines, cheeses and more on your travel assignment in Charlotte. NoDa Company Store is set up in a former house and has an extremely laid-back, homey vibe. Rustic wood floors, kitschy paintings on the walls and all kinds of unconventional outdoor seating make this an incredibly warm and inviting establishment where you can chill with the locals or sneak off into a separate area for more privacy. This local gem is dog-friendly and often has local food trucks on-site if you get the munchies. Specialties like sweet potato kombucha and apple cider sangria will keep you coming back for more.
Dedicated to the promotion of active lifestyles, the 1,300-acre U.S. National Whitewater Center is the perfect place for travel nurses to enjoy more than 30 land and water-based activities year-round. Kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, rock climbing, zip lines, mountain biking, trail running, ice skating and of course, whitewater rafting offer plenty to do for people of all ages and skill levels. The facility also hosts numerous live music events and outdoor festivals to create a unique atmosphere of relaxation and community. Numerous food, beverage and shopping opportunities are available on the grounds, including a 60-tap beer garden and a restaurant with seating on a patio overlooking the roaring whitewater river.
Mountain hikes are nice, but sometimes nothing satisfies your thirst for adventure like a good old-fashioned roller coaster. Travel nurses on assignment in Charlotte who are into them will want to visit Carowinds, which is home to 14 roller coasters, including the famed Fury 325, which stands 325 feet tall and reaches speeds of up to 95 miles an hour. More than 60 rides are available for your thrill-seeking pleasure during spring, summer and fall and, the park opens for limited hours to host winter events including Halloween themed SCarowinds and WinterFest over the Christmas holidays.
Travel nurses visiting North Carolina usually love their outdoors adventures, and Charlotte offers several to take advantage of during your stay there. Hikers, photographers and nature lovers alike will love Crowders Mountain State Park, just 25 miles outside the city. The park’s main attraction is Kings Pinnacle peak, a hiker’s paradise at 1,705 feet up into the sky. This is a wonderful place to spend a day connecting with nature while you get an excellent workout. You’ll enjoy sweeping views and have numerous gorgeous photo opportunities, with the skyscrapers of Charlotte to one side and the majestic Blue Ridge on the other.
There’s almost nothing more Instagrammable than cool looking art, especially if you can manage a selfie in front of an especially interesting piece. You’ll get your chance to do just that before you even enter the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte. Located just outside the museum’s front doors is a tall, mirrored, metallic sculpture of a… sun god? Bird-like alien? The locals call it the “Firebird” and the “Disco Chicken,” but the work’s given name is “Le Grand Oiseau de Feu Sur l’Arche,” or “The Large Bird of Fire on the Arch.” Whatever you decide to call it, it will definitely make a one-of-a-kind photograph, whether you use it as a prop, a backdrop, or photograph your reflection in the tiny mirrored squares that form the sculptures legs. Inside the museum, you will find an impressive collection mid 20th century masterpieces from Miro, Giacometti, Picasso, Warhol and many others.