A Few of My Favorite CLT Airport Things

CLT Airport

If you’ve never been to Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT Airport) before – then you’re in for a real treat. It’s one of those airports with a very good layout – a hub and spoke model so that you can easily get from one terminal to the other without getting on a tram, or bus. In other words, everything is connected. Which means there’s a lot to explore!

Thanks to tripchi, you can enjoy this compiled list of *a few of my favorite CLT things*.

CLT Airport – Aviation Public Art Program

CLT Airport has a great art program, Just Plane Art, which includes more than 20 permanent and rotating exhibits. With aviation (and other) art all over the airport, all you have to do is look up!

Above your head, flying through the airport, are several plane replicas on display.

Just Plane Art in CLT Airport Atrium

Just Plane Art in CLT Airport Atrium

The highlight is a 1/2 scale Wright Brother’s Flyer replica of the original Wright Flyer flown by Orville and Wilbur Wright on December 17, 1903, in Concourse E.

Wright Flyer Replica at CLT Airport

Wright Flyer Replica at CLT Airport

And when you’re approaching CLT Airport by car, you can’t miss the huge sculpture – Ascendus. At 60-feet in height, the sculpture is the largest piece of public art in Mecklenburg County (where CLT is located), and was created by artist Ed Carpenter. Ascendus was fabricated almost entirely locally by a Charlotte-based Steel Fab.

Ascendus at CLT Airport

Ascendus at CLT Airport

Just Plane Art at CLT Airport - Queen Charlotte Scultpure

Just Plane Art at CLT Airport – Queen Charlotte Scultpure

Also on approach to the airport, standing guard in front of the airport entrance in the CLT’s Queen’s Courtyard, there’s a 15-foot-high bronze sculpture of Queen Charlotte. The sculpture  is the centerpiece of the large plaza featuring a 40-foot reflecting pool.

CLT Airport Rocking Chairs

CLT Airport Rocking Chairs

And of course you can’t forget the rocking chairs. The inspiration for the rockers came from a 1997 digital monoprints exhibit by Jamie Franki, “Porchsitting, A Charlotte Regional Family Album”. Now, there are 100 rockers spread throughout the airport for you to enjoy and relax in. 

When you hit the main Atrium and find yourself enjoying the piano (and often someone playing).

CLT Airport Piano

CLT Airport Piano

Also don’t forget to look up! There’s a beautiful mobile of aviation circling above you. You can see them better from the balcony, which is a little known secret, and offers great views of the Atrium and the airfield.

Just Plane Art at CLT Airport - Model Plane Mobile

Just Plane Art at CLT Airport – Model Plane Mobile

There’s also other non-aviation art sprinkled throughout the airport, such as this Nascar Mural, featuring some of the legends as you pass by on the moving walkway:

Just Plane Art CLT Airport - NASCAR Mural

Just Plane Art CLT Airport – NASCAR Mural

CLT Airport 5K Runway Run

CLT Airport 5K Runway Run

Finally, the 5K Runway Run. We all know it’s hard to stay healthy while traveling. Well, if you’re flying through CLT Airport during their annual Oct 26 Runway Run, then you have no excuse to sit around and be a lump! Join the fun as thousands of people run through the airfield. If you’re at the airport on every other day of the year, the airport end to end (going through every Concourse) is over a 3 mile walk.

Other Great Things about CLT Airport

Let’s start with free Wi-fi! You can get your work done, catch up on e-mail, or surf the web throughout the airport. No need to buy an international calling plan if you’re coming in from overseas.

Catch a shorter security line if you’re a TSA PreCheck member (fee applies), which has lines at Security Checkpoint B and E, which connect to all gates (since the entire airport is interconnected, you can use either line) (however it’s been reported in FlyerTalk that these PreCheck checkpoints tend to move around). If you’re flying preferred in a higher cabin class, Security Checkpoint C is the one you’ll need.

Power outlets are also available for your working and charging pleasure. They are located throughout airport, and you’ll also see free charging stations near Gates A6, B2, B10, C2, C10, C15, D3 and beside Carolina NewsBeat on Concourse E.

CLT Airport USO Lounge

CLT Airport USO Lounge

If you want to spend your airport time in a less crowded environment, there are a couple of options. If you’re a member of the US Military (of a family member), Charlotte has a great USO Lounge on the second floor Atrium. They have snacks and drinks, an entertainment room, and a a business area to use a computer and check email.

For everybody else, you can buy a day pass to either of the two US Airways Clubs located in the CLT Airport (Concourses B and C). The Concourse C club even has a business center attached where you can conduct business meetings, host a conference, or a work session.

CLT Airport US Airways Club

CLT Airport US Airways Club

There’s also an interesting bar & lounge, Uptown, that has a more businesslike area to relax in, and have a drink while you get some work done. It’s located in Concourse A.

CLT Airport Uptown

CLT Airport Uptown

Finally, another unique thing about CLT Airport is the convenient water fountains that double as water bottle filler uppers. Be sure to bring an empty water bottle with you to take advantage of at this airport and save yourself the $4.

CLT Airport Water Fountain

CLT Airport Water Fountain

Best Shopping at CLT Airport

My favorite stores include the Lacoste store in the central atrium near the US Airways Club, which never disappoints for sporty and casual upscale fashion for men and women (love the polo shirts).

CLT Airport Lacoste

CLT Airport Lacoste

I also like Erwin Pearl, which is nearby in the main Atrium between the D and E concourses. Erwin Pearl offers high-quality fashion jewelry including earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, pins & watches and has many unique designer pieces. Great for browsing.

CLT Airport Erwin Pearl

CLT Airport Erwin Pearl

If you’re a sports fan then you will love both EA Sports at the Concourse C entrance. It offers sports apprarel, including items from local universities and the Carolina Panthers. There’s also a few kisoks set up to play some of their latest video games – a great way to kill time! 

CLT Airport EASports

CLT Airport EASports

Golf aficionados will also enjoy (besides Lacoste) the, which sells golf equipment and apparel (Atrium near Concourse D & E).

CLT Airport PGA Tour Shop

CLT Airport PGA Tour Shop

Finally, I never pass up the chance to get a neck or back rub (or a mani-pedi). CLT Airport’s Terminal Getaway Spa offers great spa choices right in the terminal (located towards the entrance of Concourse D).

CLT Airport Terminal Getaway Spa

CLT Airport Terminal Getaway Spa

 

Best Dining at CLT Airport

My personal favorite is Beaudevin Wine Bar, a great place to sip, snack, and relax, while taking in the view of the airport from the central Atrium (near the piano).

CLT Airport Beaudevin Wine Bar

CLT Airport Beaudevin Wine Bar

If you’re not in to wine, beer and gourmet burgers is a great option too. For this, check out Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar in Concourse C.

CLT Airport Bad Daddy's

CLT Airport Bad Daddy’s

For a visual spectacle (even if the food isn’t great), the Stock Car Cafe in Concourse B offers an authentic NASCAR look and feel, with cars hanging from the ceiling.

CLT Stock Car Cafe

CLT Stock Car Cafe

And if you want something light, fresh, and healthy, I suggest a Brioche Doree’s in Concourse E – it’s fast, fresh French food – and a brand-new concept quick service restaurant in the CLT Airport.

CLT Airport Brioche Doree

CLT Airport Brioche Doree

Another good and healthy choice is the First in Flight Hissho Sushi Bar located in the central Atrium, right next to the piano and across from the rocking chairs and great views of the airfield. There is also a second Hissho Sushi located in Concourse D.

CLT Airport Hissho Sushi

CLT Airport Hissho Sushi

Long Layover at CLT Airport?

No problem. There’s a few interesting things within a stone’s throw. We already mentioned Queen’s Courtyard in front of the airport entrance – consider this if you need some R&R, introspection and reflection time (via the reflection pool). Since you’ve already left the airport, you might as well go a little further to check out the Airport Overlook nearby on Old Dowd Road. At the Overlook you can have a picnic (benches are provided) while watching planes take off and land. This is great place to link up with other #avgeek’s and aviation enthusiasts (and planespotters).

CLT Airport Overlook

CLT Airport Overlook

Finally, if you’re looking for something a little more educational, and are the museum type, then you should definitely make a trip to the Carolinas Aviation Museum. It’s located just next to the airport, and tells the history of Carolinas aviation (and is a Smithsonian affiliate).

Carolinas Aviation Museum

Carolinas Aviation Museum

You can get to many of these places, and to the city of Charlotte itself, through using the city’s public transportation system, CATS.

CATS

CATS

If you have any questions during your visit, feel free to chat up the CLT Volunteer Program to get help or information. They are easy to find since they wear “Ask Me” tags on their shirts.

CLT Airport Volunteers

CLT Airport Volunteers

Some Other Resources For You to Explore CLT Airport

CLT Airport Website (official) and the CLT Airport Map

Flyer Talk CLT Airport

USA Today CLT Airport – by Harriet Baskas, Stuck at the Airport

Share Your Tips at CLT Airport – leave a comment!

About

Chandra is passionate about travel and technology....

7 comments

  1. […] Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) – visit the First in Flight airport bar and Hissho Sushi bar in the center of the main Atrium, and enjoy an occasional piano tune from the REAL PIANO neabry. Also enjoy the various plane mobile art above your head (just look up), and take in a great view of the runway. You can read more about things to do at CLT on the tripchi airport app blog here. […]

  2. […] Charlotte Airport – See’s Candy and NASCAR trinkets […]

  3. […] airport restaurant month wine bar, which we’ve included in our CLT airport review write-up here. For a fixed price of $20, Beaudevin offers a choice of a Caesar Salad, Reverse Nacho, Roasted […]

  4. […] This is not surprising considering the convenient and easy to navigate layout of the airport, with a central AirMall shopping center that is the hub to 4 concourse spokes. It’s a smaller scale version of Charlotte-Douglass International Airport. […]

  5. […] After walking the airport, we stopped at La Carreta for a to-go sandwich for my friend to take on the plane. After saying goodbye, I ran in to some other people I knew (this seriously always happens to me at airports!) and we decided to grab a glass of wine at Sushi Maki. They had to leave soon after, so I stuck around and ordered dinner. While not reflective of local Miami flavor, Sushi Maki did boast fresh fish and delicious food, especially for airport fare. Normally I’d be skeptical of sushi at the airport, but this one was a winner (and a close second in ambience to the Piano Sushi bar at CLT Airport). […]

  6. […] also recognized by airports as a key member of the community. HMSHost recently earned an award at Charlotte Airport (CLT), which proclaimed May 9, 2016 as “HMSHost Achievements Day.” This recognition […]

  7. […] shopping center that is the hub to 4 concourse spokes. It’s a smaller scale version of Charlotte-Douglass International Airport. You can read more about […]

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