We’re probably not telling you anything you don’t already know when we tell you that “going to the airport” isn’t exactly on everyone’s bucket list. But just like every destination is different, so is every airport. And just as navigating a new city is challenging in and of itself, so is navigating a new airport. Should I go for Ivar’s chowder or Beecher’s mac ‘n cheese at SeaTac? Do I have time to do yoga at SFO’s Terminal 2? How long will it take to get to ATL’s Concourse E for a cocktail at One Flew South?
If you’re anything like us, perhaps these are the types of questions you have that you don’t get push notifications for. But never fear, because we have answers to your airport questions with our series of guides to America’s airports. Today we bring you the TripIt airport guide to Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
Possibly one of America’s most overlooked international airports, CLT airport is actually one of the top 10 busiest airports in the U.S. Located eight miles west of downtown Charlotte, CLT’s existence dates back to the 1930s, and is unique in that it serves as a joint civil-military airport. However, the airport may be most known for its signature rocking chairs, which have lined the airport for years. While several major airlines fly in and out regularly, CLT is only a hub for American Airlines, serving as its second largest hub. Most people rent a car at the Consolidated Rental Car Facility or take a taxi, though there is an airport connector that serves different parts of Charlotte. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available through the airport.
Being in North Carolina, it’s only appropriate that one of CLT’s best food options would be Carolina pit BBQ restaurant Brookwood Farms BBQ (near Concourse A). Here it’s all about the down-home barbecue, most notably the pit-smoked pork ribs and pulled pork shoulder, though the fried pickles are a crowd favorite, too. Other standout restaurants at Charlotte Douglas International Airport include 1897 Market (near Concourses A and B), which is a sit-down restaurant, raw bar, grab-and-go, and retail marketplace all rolled into one. Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar (Concourse C) is a Charlotte burger restaurant with an airport outpost with sit-down and take-away options, while Beaudevin is a wine bar featuring a menu with small plates, salads, and sandwiches. Other dining options at CLT include California Pizza Kitchen (Concourse B), North Carolina fast food staple Bojangles (Concourse B), Phillips Seafood (Concourse C), southern-inspired Whisky River (Concourse E), and a surprisingly nice selection of sushi at Hissho Sushi (Concourse D).
We can’t talk drinks at Charlotte Douglas International Airport and not first mention Carolina Beer Company, a brewpub that has an extensive beer menu featuring beers brewed in both Charlotte and elsewhere in North Carolina. Some of CLT’s best restaurants double as great bars, including 1897 Market, which has an impressive craft cocktail menu, as well as a big craft beer and wine selection. Wine lovers have more than 30 varieties of wine to choose from at Beaudevin, including some that are produced in North Carolina. Beaudevin also has a full bar and beer on draft. Elsewhere, there’s Uptown Bar & Lounge in Concourse A and Rum Bar in Concourse D, both of which are more of your staple airport bar. Whisky River has more of an upbeat airport bar vibe, featuring a full bar, and live music.
Charlotte Douglas International Airport has a number of locally-inspired and token airport shops, such as Queen City Gifts and News and Brookstone. Perhaps most unique to CLT, however, are some airport amenities that you find in few places, such as the airport’s outdoor overlook, perched above the runway, where you have an uninterrupted view of planes landing and taking off. For those with newborns, there’s the Mother’s Room, located on the upper level of the atrium, which provides a private space for mothers to nurse in a private setting. Like many international airports, CLT has its own art program, called Just Plane, which features a number of permanent and rotating exhibits, including a half-scale replica of the original Wright Flyer. If you have some time and really want to de-stress, there’s Terminal Getaway Spa, which offers an extensive menu of spa treatments.
Being one of American’s largest hubs, CLT naturally has a couple Admirals Club lounges, including one in Concourse B and one in Concourse C. The USO, too, has a lounge on the upper level of the atrium for members of the military, retirees, and their families.