University City is a semi-urban area in the northern reaches of Charlotte. It is centered around a "downtown" area located at the intersection of N. Tryon St. and W.T. Harris Blvd. The rest of University City is mostly sprawled and suburban, but contains major establishments such as the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) and Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.
Driving is the only realistic way to explore University City because of its sprawling commercial districts. The large spaces between attractions as well as busy thoroughfares make walking prohibitive outside the very core of the district. However since Spring of 2018 the LYNX Blue Line light rail development on N. Tryon St (US-29) is encouraging more pedestrian friendly crossings at the stations.
When coming from central Charlotte, the "gateway" to University City is the complicated intersection of U.S. highway 29 and N.C. highway 49; these roads create an unusual "weave" that can be troublesome for first-time visitors. Other major avenues include I-85, I-485, and large thoroughfares such as University City Blvd. and Mallard Creek Church Rd.
The LYNX Blue Line light rail's northern terminus is located in University City. Visitors can ride the light rail from Uptown into University City. Stations in this neighborhood district include University City Blvd, McCollugh, J.W. Clay Blvd, and UNC Charlotte Main. Park-and-Ride garages can also be found on US-29 for transportation from University City into Uptown Charlotte and other light rail accessible neighborhoods.
The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) bus service also provides an option for those coming from central Charlotte, though their usefulness is limited. Routes #11 and #29 serve University City. They are most effective when used in conjunction with a car (park-and-ride) or taxi.
Finally, University City is accessible from the Mallard Creek and Toby Creek Greenways. This greenway system serves the local residential neighborhoods located to the northwest of University City along Mallard Creek Rd and Prosperity Church Rd. The paths feed from these neighborhoods into the main campus of UNC Charlotte and the commercial district nearby the intersection of US-29 and I-485. The greenways are entirely paved with hard asphalt or soft limestone and follow the watershed stream systems of North Charlotte. Foot and bicycle traffic is allowed.
- University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The city's public university, located in the growing northern side of the city. It is a rapidly expanding suburban campus, but still lacks the on-campus vibrance of a larger state school. From a traveler's point of view, there's not much to see there on an ordinary day.
- PNC Music Pavilion, 707 Pavilion Blvd, ☎ . Located in the University area, this is the location of Charlotte's summer concert series. Seats up to 20,000 including general-admission lawn space; larger concerts will typically sell out. If you purchase lawn seats you may rent chairs, but for a larger show you will probably not be able to use them.
- Smokin' Cue, 10901 University City Blvd, ☎ . A pool hall that takes the game seriously. One of the city's best places to find a competitive game, as well as a reliable cue retailer.
- Belgate, City Boulevard & I-85. A large, mixed-use community that will feature a 356,000 square foot IKEA, the first store in the Carolinas.
- The Shoppes at University Place, WT Harris at US 29. Designed around a pedestrian lake, this unique shopping center includes a mix of retailers and offices, including Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Michael's, Sam's Club, TJ Maxx and Ross.
- Ninety's Sandwiches and Ice-cream, 9009 J M Keynes Drive, Suite #4, +1 704-547-1856. Not fast-food, but not dine-in either. Fast, delicious and super friendly service. Ice-cream there is a perfect treat for summer weather and it is a great place to grab a bite as you sit enjoy the summer concerts. Wonderful place for family.
- Zapata's, 8927 J.M. Keynes Blvd (just off N. Tryon St. in the University area), +1 704-503-1979. Probably Charlotte's best Mexican (though some Spanish-speaking joints on the east side might beg to differ). Relatively upscale, Zapata's enjoys one of the best restaurant locations in the University area: perched over a picturesque lake, across from the Hilton hotel, and within minutes of shopping destinations. Almost everything on the menu is good, including the drink specials.
- Ciro's, 8927 J M Keynes Dr., +1 704-510-0012. Upscale Italian located in the strollable center of the University area. High-end service and prices, and an excellent wine menu.
- Old Hickory House Restaurant, 6538 N Tryon St, ☎ .
- Tipsey McStumble's, 10008 University City Blvd, ☎ . From the name to the drink specials, McStumble's makes no apologies for its kitschy interpretation of "Irish" drinking culture. Not the least bit authentic, but usually vibrant and fun. On football weekends, expect to see a lot of Dallas Cowboys and (of course) Notre Dame fans.
- Boardwalk Billy's Raw Bar & Ribs, 9005-2 J M Keynes Dr, +1 704-503-7427. Popular beach-themed bar and restaurant. Frequent drink specials.
- The Flying Saucer, 9605 N Tryon St # A, Charlotte, NC. 9AM?-1Am. This is an authentic pub, with lots of beer and quality pub food. The beer Goddesses are cute, and friendly. Come at night for Trivia, Glass night, etc [check the website's calendar for more info] 4.5 pint, 2.75 specials.
- Comfort Suites, 7735 University City Blvd, ☎ .
- Country Inn and Suites, 131 McCullough Dr, ☎ .
- Courtyard by Marriott, ☎ . 333 W. W.T. Harris Blvd.
- Holiday Inn, 8520 University Executive Park Dr, ☎ .
- Homewood Suites Charlotte North University Research Park, 8340 N Tryon St, ☎ , fax: .
- InTown Suites, 110 Rocky River Rd West, ☎ . Possibly the cheapest hotel in the city. Located off Tryon St. in a somewhat gritty area, but easily accessible to a lot of the city's amenities (you can get to almost anything in Uptown, University City and NoDa within 15 minutes' drive). Most rooms run about $25/night.
- Sleep Inn, 8525 N Tryon St, ☎ .
- University Place Hilton, 8629 J.M. Keynes Dr, ☎ . If staying Uptown isn't your cup of tea, consider this one of the best alternatives around. This hotel is one of the vibrant University City area's keystones, and is located adjacent to a major shopping complex. Take a stroll around the lake, try out the paddleboats, eat dinner on a patio balcony only a few minutes' walk from your room. Upper rooms have excellent views of the surrounding area, and most lower rooms have a nice view of the lake. $98 - $169.
- Baha'i Faith Charlotte Community, 843 Eastway Dr, ☎ . Located in a converted home in eastern Charlotte, near NC-74.
- Cambodian Buddhist Society, 219 Owen Blvd, ☎ . In a residential neighborhood, this community is made up mostly of Cambodian refugees. Most communication is in Asian languages.