Top 10 Ideas for a Casual Date in Charlotte, North Carolina
As the largest city in North Carolina, you would expect Charlotte to be filled with fascinating things to do and see. You would be right too; even the locals are still uncovering hidden gems and surprise attractions in this charming corner of the world.
It has seen poverty, war, financial turmoil, and been at the heart of racial tensions in America, but today, Charlotte is a friendly and peaceful town with a firm grip on its history. It is a great place for locals and visitors alike, to spend time exploring, so why not take a trip to this North Carolina hot spot and treat your loved one to a southern adventure?
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This guide to the top 10 ideas for a casual date in Charlotte will help you put together an exciting plan for your trip.
1. Study Sun Tzu Whilst You Eat
On Tryon Street, you will find hip eatery 5Church. This is no ordinary restaurant either, because as soon as you walk in, you eye is drawn to the ceiling. It was painted by local artist Jon Norris and it features all 40,000 words of the Sun Tzu classic ‘Art of War.’ It is quite a sight, so be prepared for an extraordinary dining experience. The food is crisp, clean, and trendy (think posh steaks) and the cocktails are inspired too.
2. Check Out the Art at NoDa
If you are on the hunt for somewhere truly special venue for a casual date in Charlotte, head on down to the North Davidson Arts District (also known as NoDa). In the recent past (about a quarter century ago), this area was filled with textile mills and the homes of workers, but since the decline of the industry, the empty buildings have been occupied by artists. It is home to several art studios, which visitors can wander round most weekday evenings.
3. Feast on Pastries with Amelie
The Amelie French Bakery can also be found in the North Davidson district and it offers some of the finest pies and cakes in not just Charlotte, but North Carolina as well. It is a lovely place to spend time with friends, so if you are looking for a top date spot, bring somebody that you think is super special here for a special treat. You can talk about the news of the day over a truly stunning homemade quiche or soup. It’s that great combination of smart yet casual.
4. Grab Breakfast at Luna’s
For adventurous foodies, there is no better prospect than Luna’s Living Kitchen. This little café serves only raw ingredients, but you will amazed at how tasty the menu turns out to be. If you love bagels, you have to try a Luna’s raw special – you can pile on toppings, with everything from hummus to almonds, olives, zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, beans, guacamole, and more on offer. You can get to the café by hopping on the Lynx train and heading East West.
5. Enjoy a Country Bike Ride
Once you have filled your tummy with healthy snacks, you might want to head back to the East West station and pick up a bike for rent. It costs only $8 to lay down a deposit and $4 (per thirty minutes) to ride – the first half an hour is on the house. There are plenty of great neighborhoods to pass through too. Why not head down the East Boulevard to the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, where you have the chance to spot turtles, ducks, and blue herons going about their daily business?
6. Jam to Bluegrass at Thirsty Beaver
It is hard to get more quintessentially southern than the Thirsty Beaver Saloon. With its rustic wooden interior, pool tables, and pictures of Burt Reynolds, you will feel like you have stepped back in time. The house band, The Loose Lugnuts, are like something out of an old movie too. They play old school country and bluegrass tunes, so if you fancy a drink or two in an authentic setting, this is the right place to be. It is a cozy and comfortable place to rest your feet after a long day of walking, cycling, shopping, or sightseeing.
7. Feed Your Need for Speed at NASCAR
You do not have to be a petrol head to find the NASCAR Hall of Fame exciting. It was opened downtown just five years ago, but it is already a tourist hot spot in Charlotte. It documents the history of the sport, following it from its beginnings in the Appalachian Mountains (as a moonshine moving venture) to the first official races on Daytona Beach and its evolution into a spectacle loved worldwide. This is a quirky and interesting place for a casual afternoon date.
8. Chow Down at the Smokehouse
Whilst Charlotte does not really have a history of barbecue in the same way as many of the other southern towns, there are a number of interesting eateries which are hoping to change that – the Midwood Smokehouse is one of them. Its head chef, Matt Barry, has created a relaxing and open restaurant which is much friendlier than, say, the uber cool 5Church. It might not be as hip or visually interesting, but it does have a great menu and visitors always leave with a smile and a very full stomach.
9. Browse for Bargains on Central
If you head down Central Avenue, you will find a rather charming miniature Haight-Ashbury region of the city. It is filled with cool and quirky shops and boutiques, where you can pick up all manner of things – from genuine antiques to novelty toys, jewellery, gifts, sweets, leather goods, designer handbags, and clothing. On a sunny afternoon, there are few things as enjoyable as taking a leisurely stroll through Central.
10. Walk Through History at the Gantt Center
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Art and Culture contains an amazing collection of African American artefacts, gathered over a period of half a century. Here, you can study lithographs, woodcuts, paintings, and much more from a huge selection of eminent artists and scholars. If you have any interest or curiosity about African American history, this is a fascinating place to spend time – especially if you are familiar with the area and would like to experience something a little different.
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