Charlotte, North Carolina, is a city of newcomers. An influx of people from outside the South began arriving in the mid-1980s, making it North Carolina's largest city. Rolling farmland has been replaced by shopping malls, residential developments, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the busy airport and the constant buzz of construction equipment. Still, the city has managed to retain its softer edge and genuine friendliness.

A lot of this growth has happened because of banking—Charlotte is the nation's No. 2 financial center, after New York City. Bank of America's 60-story skyscraper dominates a revitalized downtown Charlotte, and the financial institution's moniker has been placed on the National Football League's Carolina Panthers' stadium and a major fall NASCAR race. The bank and other large corporations have helped create a growing cultural and arts scene. Charlotte is a business city, so most visitors go there for work.

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