NBA All-Star frenzy starts today—here’s what every procrastinator needs to know

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Photo by Melissa Oyler

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know the NBA All-Star Game is being played in Charlotte this weekend.

It’s the first time the Queen City has hosted the game in 28 years, and you’re also probably not going, so you may not have been paying attention to logistics.

It’s time to take notice — because it will affect you.

[Related: The NBA All-Star Game is the city’s biggest party of the year—and you can’t go]

There’s a lot going on, whether you’re a basketball fan, a socialite or a Charlotte resident wondering if you’re supposed to be working from home tomorrow.

Here are your CliffsNotes:

The basics

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It’s been said this event will be bigger than the DNC — five times bigger. About 150,000 people are expected, bringing an impact of $100 million.

Events start today and continue until Sunday. Uptown spots are being transformed as we speak.

Photo by Adam Bell
Le Meridien was decked out for All-Star Weekend on Wednesday evening.

Tickets at Spectrum Center are limited to celebrities, media and Charlotte Hornets season ticket holders who were entered into a lottery and given the option to purchase.

There will also be events at Bojangles Coliseum; you’ll need tickets for those, too. The Epicentre is hosting events starting tomorrow that are free to the public.

Get the official lineup here.

[Related: The ultimate guide to the NBA All-Star Weekend—from parties to street closures]

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Transportation

Several Uptown streets will be closed to traffic, including Brevard and Caldwell streets between Fourth and Sixth streets, and East Trade and Fifth streets between North Davidson and College streets. Valet parking is disbanded, many of the street parking spots will be unavailable and city officials expect parking garages to be full.

Officials are also advising avoidance of Independence Boulevard on Friday afternoon if you won’t be attending the Celebrity Game at Bojangles’ Coliseum.

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Practice minimalism if you’re taking the LYNX Blue Line. Large tote bags, backpacks and suitcases will not be allowed on the light rail or on station platforms. Additionally, the light rail will be closed between Third and Seventh street stations. If you’re passing through, you’ll have to get out and walk a few blocks, where you’ll be allowed to re-board after a security sweep.

Charlotte Transportation Center will be temporarily moved to the surface parking lot across from the 7th Street Station parking deck. Thousands of commuters will be affected.

Bikes and scooters won’t be allowed near Spectrum Center. Not even this one.

Expect foot traffic. Practice patience. Learn more here.

[Related: Charlotte preps for road closures, massive congestion in uptown for NBA All-Star Game]

If you work in Corporate Uptown

Your boss has probably already told you to work from home. If not, ask. “We’re working with corporate leaders to encourage them to maybe allow their employees to work remotely on Friday to cut down on some of the traffic flow,” Charlotte Hornets President Fred Whitfield told reporters last month.

If you have children

Some schools are letting out early. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library has limited hours; on Friday and Saturday, the Main Library and ImaginOn will close at 3 p.m. On Sunday, both will be closed all day.

Didn’t get tickets to the game?

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
Kemba Walker shoots during the NBA All-Star Game on February 19, 2017, at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.

You can still watch. All over the city, watch parties are being hosted, so pick your favorite and go. Check out our roundup here.

Want to hang with celebrities? Now’s your chance. Check out our list of celebrity parties here.

Want to just be part of it all? Check out our list of the top 5 parties you should attend, including Black Food Truck Friday or the All-Star Sneaker Summit.

Courtesy of Dupp & Swat

Or you could go shopping: Support minority local business owners with a visit to Dupp & Swat’s Shop Charlotte Market Uptown. With 20-30 local vendors selling wares at the corner of Brevard and Third streets, it’s a great way to make sure some of that estimated $100 mil goes into the pockets of Charlotte’s creatives.

“Shop Charlotte is a call to action to support small businesses of the Queen City — particularly, those that are black/brown — during All-Star and [CIAA] Tournament weeks,” Dupp & Swat owner Davita Galloway said. The market will operate Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. It will also open during the CIAA Tournament.

[Related: The NBA All-Star Game is the city’s biggest party of the year—and you can’t go]

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