Why is Charlotte's Downtown Called "Uptown"?

Yeah, we don’t quite understand it either.  

While most cities call their central business and social hubs “downtown”, Charlotte, the 15th largest city in the US, calls their downtown “Uptown”. Both visitors and natives alike scratch their heads when trying to figure out why the center city area was coined Uptown. Dozens of urban legends, rumors and tales swirl the Internet claiming to be the real reason. We decided to do some research of our own to help answer the local million-dollar question -- Why is downtown Charlotte called “Uptown”?  


Geographically, it makes sense.  

Historians share that in the 1700s, a trading path in Charlotte (which later came to be Tryon Street and Trade Street) was the highest point of elevation and the city progressively grew around it. It is said that when people traveled to this trading path or post; they were traveling uphill or up to town, shortening to Uptown.  


The fancy name elevated its status.  

In 1974, Charlotte’s city council declared that the business and shopping district would be named Uptown after local business owners complained that “downtown” was depressing and dreary. The name “Uptown” restored the heart of the city where business, entertainment and socializing took place, more elegant and elite.    


It just, is.  

Roughly 120 people are moving to the Charlotte area every day, making it one of the five fastest-growing cities in the country. Charlotte is overflowing with transplants from the Northeast as well as from out west. With so many newcomers each day, Uptown is simply just “Uptown”. There’s no rhyme or reason, it just is.  


While the city of Charlotte may have this little quirk, it is also a part of the many ways Charlotte stands out as one of the greatest cities.  

To represent your favorite city or Charlotte neighborhood, click here to shop the CLT Neighborhood Collection!  

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