The largest city in North Carolina and one of the biggest in the South, fast-growing Charlotte (population 730,000) is relatively conservative compared with many other U.S. cities its size, but the gay and lesbian scene here has really taken off in recent years, and several neighborhoods - the North Davidson Arts District (NoDa), Plaza Midwood, Edgehill, and Dilworth have sizable LGBT populations. Each August, the city hosts an event-filled and increasingly well-attended, with more than 45,000 participants, Charlotte Gay Pride Festival - the dates this year are August 24 and 25, 2013.
Also keep in mind a very popular Charlotte Black Pride Festival takes place in mid- to late July.
Although the main events of Charlotte Pride take place in Uptown (which is what folks around here call what is essentially the city's downtown) over Saturday and Sunday, August 24 and 25, there are quite a few parties, events, and Pride-related gatherings held during the 10 days or so leading up to Pride. Here's a full Charlotte Pride events calendar.
During Pride weekend, there's a full two-day festival with live music and other performances, plus vendors, food, art exhibits, shops, and community organizations. Festival hours are Saturday, noon to 10, and Sunday, noon until 6 - the gathering takes place at the PNC Bank Festival Zone, on S. Tryon Street between 3rd and Stonewall streets (here's a map). Entertainers this year at Charlotte Pride include Grammy Award-winning Mya, Judith Hill of The Voice, Big Freedia, and the "Girls of RuPaul's Drag Race," Alyssa Edwards, Detox Icunt, and Coco Montrese.
On Sunday, August 25, at inaugural Bank of America Charlotte Pride Parade takes place at 1 pm along Tryon Street.
During Pride week, you'll find Charlotte's several gay bars as well as popular restaurants frequented quite a lot by gays and lesbians. For ideas about where to stay, check out my, guide to gay-friendly Charlotte hotels. Take a look at Q Notes gay newspaper for more on the local gay scene. Also be sure to check out the excellent GLBT website created by the Charlotte Convention and Visitors Bureau, which has information on gay-friendly businesses, accommodations, and events in the region.