I've lived in Charlotte since I was born (a rare find here these days!), and I can still say that it's one of my favorite cities ever. Especially recently with so many new restaurants, bars, and activities opening up, I thought I'd share some of my favorites, both old and new!
*Remember to follow laws regarding COVID-19!
Optimist Hall: coolest place EVER! It's basically a boujee indoor/outdoor food court with all local restaurants and any type of food or drink you can imagine (think: grilled cheesery, dumplings, coffee, tacos, craft beer, Indian food, and much more)
Kid Cashew: easily one of my favorite restaurants in Charlotte; Mediterranean cuisine + more and large vegan selection; located on East Blvd.
Ruru's: another one of my all-time favorites; amazing Mexican food/margaritas, good seating inside and outside
Noble Smoke: I've had a lot of barbecue in my life, and this is for sure some of the best I've ever had! Cool vibes and great southern food for all
Cowfish: burger + sushi fusion; located in SouthPark
Common Market: another one of the coolest places ever; artsy vibes with great sandwiches and snacks; casual breakfast/lunch spot
Basil Thai: excellent Thai food right in the heart of uptown and reasonable pricing
Superica*: hip and delicious Tex-Mex restaurant; really can't go wrong with anything on the menu
Barcelona Wine Bar*: traditional Spanish tapas + great cocktails and wine; located directly next-door to Superica
South Bound*: another great Tex-Mex place, plus a big patio
Indaco*: amaaaazing, fresh pizza + more; another location in Charleston
Futo Buta*: modern Japanese restaurant with lots of ramen dishes
Luna's Living Kitchen*: the "Holy Grail" of all vegan restaurants; I recommend the Avocado Basil Sandwich and the Kale Caesar salad!
Flower Child*: locally-sourced, made-from-scratch, healthy restaurant and just all around good vibes; salads, grain bowls, wraps, and more!
Stir*: great place to grab brunch, oysters, or drinks; locally-sourced
O-Ku*: best sushi everrrrr; a bit pricey but definitely worth it in my opinion
Hawkers Asian Street Food*: pretty self-explanatory--delicious Asian street food that's priced reasonably; cool vibes with neon signs and family-style meals
make sure to try Jeni's Ice Cream right next door!
+HONORABLE MENTION: Not Just Coffee
*in South End
21+ of course!
Summit Seltzer*: the first "seltzery" in the east coast! Yummy seltzers on tap
Suffolk Punch*: great drinks and food--aka a great place stop on a brewery crawl ;)
Lenny Boy Brewing*: hard. kombucha. (and beer, don't worry)
Sycamore Brewing*: tons of outdoor seating; one of my go-to's; great vibes
Triple C Brewing*: right across the street from Suffolk Punch
Wooden Robot*: great food and beer (get the mac-and-cheese egg rolls, trust me)
QC Pour House*: brewery close to the rest with garage windows so it's indoor/outdoor
Gin Mill*: usually the last stop of the night--dance the night away (socially distant, of course)!; cool rooftop that looks to uptown
Charlotte Beer Garden*: super cool brewery with a tree in the middle of the restaurant; also has really good food (get the soft pretzel)!
Selwyn Pub: a Charlotte OG staple; a great place to watch sports outside, too!
Merchant and Trade: rooftop bar located uptown; on the dressier side
Fahrenheit: gorgeous scenic rooftop uptown (mainly a restaurant but I personally don't love the food as much as the drinks)
The Crunkleton: swanky place for amazing cocktails that requires a $10 membership but is so cool
*in South End--all relatively pretty close to each other
THINGS TO DO:
bike ride on Little Sugar Creek Greenway: goes all through Myers Park, Freedom Park, through the Metropolitan, into uptown
SouthPark Mall: I honestly don't like going to malls in general, but it's a pretty nice mall that is worth going to if visiting Charlotte or need something to do
NoDa/Central Ave.: artsy little part of town; check out restaraunts like Common Market, Zeta Jane's , and Midwood Smokehouse, or thrift/vintage stores like Buffalo Exchange
Crowder's Mountain: Just 40 minutes outside of Charlotte, Crowder’s Mountain is a perfect 2-mile hike for all levels of hiking
EpiCenter: bowling, karaoke bars, and restaurants in the heart of uptown
sporting events: we're quite lucky that the stadiums for the Charlotte Hornets, Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Knights, and soon-to-be Charlotte FC are all right in the heart of uptown Charlotte!
NASCAR: check out the Lowe's Motor Speedway or the Nascar Hall of Fame uptown; whether you like NASCAR or not, it's still cool to experience
White Water Center: I could spend days here and never get bored! Bike trails, rope course, zip-line, white water rafting, kayaking, and more; live music and brewery on some days
Mint Museum: I don't know about you but I love art museums, and the Mint really does the trick for me! Two locations
Carowinds: the theme park of theme parks; right on the border of NC and SC
Wing Haven: gorgeous local bird sanctuary and garden
Quarry at Carrigan Farms: fun place to "cliff jump" (aka just off a rock) but gorgeous blue water
Airport Outlook: pack a picnic and open up the tailgate of your car to sit and watch the planes take off and land into one of the busiest airports in the nation, Charlotte Douglas! (Located on Airport Lookout Dr.)
Lazy 5 Ranch: basically a drive-thru petting zoo where you can feed animals from your car--make sure to drive a car you wouldn't mind getting a little dirty!