Charlotte’s hottest neighborhood is situated just outside of Uptown. South End has the trendiest restaurants, hopping nightlife, art galleries and history significance. It’s also a great place to live, with the LYNX Blue line light rail running through its heart, allowing for easy commuting. As the neighborhood continues to grow and attract young professionals, new conveniences are being built to make their lives easier, including the building of a new Publix supermarket.
One of the highlights of the neighborhood is Atherton Mill, a former mill site and warehouse that has been converted to a farmers’ market and retail shops. If you are looking for good food, try Nan and Byron’s for the see-and-be-seen experience, The Liberty for the best burgers in town and Luna’s for raw food.
Just 15 years ago, Mecklenburg County expanded the limits of Charlotte by allowing a new suburb to be developed. Situated in the southernmost portion of Mecklenburg County, Ballantyne is a modern, upscale neighborhood filled with gorgeous homes, fabulous shopping and dining. The five-star Ballantyne Hotel and Golf Course is a great place to start your visit. There you can enjoy a round of golf, top-notch spa services or afternoon tea. When you’re done, head over to the outdoor shopping meccas of Stonecrest and Blakney for some serious shopping. At dinner time, try 131 Main, Firebirds or Vine for a relaxing meal.
The far north side of Charlotte is home to the NoDa neighborhood. NoDa is the go-to place for arts and entertainment in the Queen City. It’s one of the more diverse parts of town, filled with live music, art, dining and even a tattoo business complete with its own art gallery. Check out the Crepe Cellar for amazing crepes or Cabo Fish Taco for the best fish tacos in town. Shop at the Yarnhouse or any of the other fabulous mom and pop shops. Late night, catch a show at The Evening Muse.
During the day, Uptown is the business hub of Charlotte, especially the banking industry. Evenings and weekends are filled with fine dining, museums and all of the excitement of an urban center. Summer Thursdays bring free live concerts at 5 p.m. over at the Epicentre. On Tuesdays and Fridays, you can catch live shows over in Bearden Park in the afternoon. If music isn’t your thing, check out the exhibits at the Mint Museum Uptown or the Gantt Center. There is a plethora of dining opportunities, from Emeril Lagasse’s E2 to the Mimosa Grill to the Tic Toc Diner – food choices for every budget and taste.
Plaza Midwood began its existence as a streetcar suburb of Charlotte. Its development was a touch hodge-podge due to the trolley’s placement, the depression and urban flight. As a result, the neighborhood is offbeat and funky and on an upswing. The neighborhood has great food and eclectic shops like Boris and Natasha and Hong Kong Vintage. Try the Diamond Restaurant for comfort food with a southern flair, Nova’s Bakery for delicious baked goods or Zada Jane’s for just about anything.
Lauren J. Walter is a freelance writer covering all things Charlotte. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.