City Cheat Sheet: A Travel Guide for Charlotte, North Carolina

Photography by Kyo H Nam.

WHY SHOULD ONE VISIT THE EVOLVING AND VIBRANT CITY of Charlotte, North Carolina? The Scout Guide Charlotte editors Lisa Sherrill and Scottie Akins can name a few reasons. For one, some say people are more friendly in the south, and Charlotte is no exception; whether they’re a longtime local or new to the scene, the folks who live in Charlotte are some of the nicest. Lisa adds that it’s been exciting to see how the city has been evolving with the influx of new transplants, among them successful entrepreneurs, artists and innovators, doers and makers, who are bringing a special verve to the city. Charlotte is also seeing a revival in the arts, shopping, and the food scene. Several art museums and many galleries have recently opened up, and notable clothing boutiques, jewelry stores, and home shops continue to inspire. “Additionally, almost every time we turn around, there is a new restaurant, food hall, or brewery popping up,” Scottie shares. 

Last but not least, our editors note that one of the best aspects of Charlotte are the many neighborhoods that each have something different and unique to offer. Southend features a rail trail, shopping, and breweries, while NODA is home to exciting dining and music venues. Plaza Midwood showcases many up-and-coming art galleries and has an edgy dining scene, Myers Park and Dilworth offer tree-lined streets and sweet boutiques, and Uptown is a bustling city center with restaurants and museums.

Ready to plan your visit (or staycation)? Here, Lisa and Scottie share their favorite local finds and activities for taking in their city.

*Please note that due to COVID-19 some of these businesses might be closed or have specific guidelines in place. We recommend calling ahead and/or visiting their websites for the latest information on their status, offerings, etc. 

WHEN TO GO // Spring and fall are the best times to visit Charlotte. The fall brings Panthers football games and many gallery openings and exhibitions, as well as the Taste of Charlotte Festival Uptown. In addition to the beautiful weather in spring, there are also budding gardens—standouts include the gorgeous grounds at the Duke Mansion and Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens. The Wells Fargo Golf Championship is always a fun event, and we are marking out calendars for the 2022 President’s Cup Tournament at Quail Hollow Country Club. 

The Duke Mansion. Photography by The Beautiful Mess Photography.

WHERE TO STAY // The Duke Mansion (400 Hermitage Road). Forget that you are just two miles from the center of the city and delight in the serenity of 4 1/2 acres of beautiful gardens and grounds. Feel like an easy excursion? Stroll to a local shop or restaurant through one of Charlotte’s most historic neighborhoods.

The Kimpton (303 S Church Street). Always a gracious host, The Kimpton invites visitors to take part in the culture of the New South in Uptown Charlotte, where the buzzing energy of the major city blends with wonderful hospitality. 

The Dunhill (237 N Tryon Street). An oasis of calm amid the hustle and bustle of the city, The Dunhill hotel, located in Uptown Charlotte, puts guests within walking distance of area art galleries, museums, corporate headquarters, nightlife, shopping, and more.

WHAT TO DO // The Mint Museum (Uptown: 500 S Tryon Street; Randolph: 2730 Randolph Road). Established in 1936 as North Carolina’s first art museum, The Mint Museum is a leading, innovative cultural institution and museum of international art and design. With two locations—Mint Museum Randolph in the heart of Eastover and Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts—The Mint boasts one of the largest collections in the Southeast and is committed to engaging and inspiring members of the global community.

Optimist Hall (1115 N Brevard Street). This innovative, multi-purpose space in a former gingham mill is a food hall, event, and art space that’s perfect for the whole family, and offers indoor-outdoor seating.

Camp North End (300 Camp Road). A historic repurposed space highlighting public art, artists, community, and collaboration hosting live music, farmers markets, art shows, and more.

White Water Center (5000 Whitewater Center Parkway). Since 2001, Whitewater has been creating opportunities to bring people together outdoors. It is designed and operated as an outdoor center offering over 30 different recreational activities on over 1,300 acres of protected land. 

Duke Mansion Gardens (400 Hermitage Road). Springtime at the Duke Mansion Gardens is magical. Try to plan around one of their “Music in the Garden” events to enjoy cocktails on the Duke Mansion Grounds with local musicians providing entertainment. 

House of Nomad. Photography courtesy of House of Nomad.

WHERE TO SHOP // Five One Five (515 Fenton Place). A hip Myers Park boutique offering a perfectly curated selection of dresses, shoes, accessories, and more. 

Capitol (4010 Sharon Road). An incomparable shopping experience in a beautiful, spacious, modern women’s boutique selling high-end designer clothing, shoes, and accessories. Head upstairs to check out their sister store, Poole Shop.

House of Nomad (1405 East Boulevard). Shop one-of-a-kind global finds, handmade by artisans from around the world, in their amazingly designed cottage in Dilworth.

Tiny Gods and TFA Advisory (2325 Crescent Avenue). Housed together in a quaint Myers Park bungalow, Tiny Gods offers high-end, unique jewelry, while Toshkova Fine Art + Advisory hangs a variety of unique art to browse and buy. 

Selwyn Shops: This is a great one-stop area to take in art, stock up on beautiful paper goods, up your skincare game, and score some stylish home essentials. Shain Gallery (2823 Selwyn Avenue, Suite K), Paper Twist (2902 Selwyn Avenue, Suite A), Woo (2900 Selwyn Avenue), and Statement Home  (2900 B Selwyn Avenue) are all very much worth a stop! 

Toccare (715 Providence Road). Pamper yourself with a massage or facial at this green, clean beauty day spa retreat. 

Reid’s. Photography courtesy of Reid’s.

WHERE TO EAT // Little Spoon ( 2820 Selwyn Avenue). This hidden gem in Myers Park has a hip vibe and changing menu. 

Reid’s (2823 Selwyn Avenue and 4331 Barclay Downs Drive). Charlotte’s original hometown specialty food store and favorite culinary destination, Reid’s specializes in superior meats, wines, regional provisions, locally grown produce, and seasonally fresh meals and gift baskets for a loyal customer base.

Stagioni (715 Providence Road). One of our favorites from the talented Moffett Restaurant Group, this classy eatery and bar features a seasonal menu highlighting modern takes on classic Italian dishes.

La Belle Helene (300 S Tryon Street). This special occasion spot is a refined brasserie serving French fare, beer, and wine in a soaring, elegant space with a lengthy bar.

Suarez (4245 Park Road). A bakery specializing in donuts, pastries, desserts, and custom cakes. The Cuban bread they make on Saturdays is a local speciality.  

WHERE TO DRINK // Not Just Coffee (421 Providence Road). Pop into this location for a cup of coffee, and be ready to stay and browse—it’s housed in the same building as Tabor and Soco Gallery, there is no shortage of inspiration. Of course you can also simply sit outside and relax while reading a book in their sweet courtyard with blooming jasmine. 

Green Brothers (2230 Park Road). This shop offers the freshest and most delicious smoothies and juices in Charlotte. 

Selwyn Pub (2801 Selwyn Avenue). This Meyers Park neighborhood bar is always playing a game on their outdoor TVs and serving their infamous Transfusions, tasty and potent cocktails that go down easy. 

Dot Dot Dot (4237 Park Road B). A hip cocktail lounge with a speakeasy feel.

Thirsty Beaver Saloon (1225 Central Avenue). Drafts and mixed drinks served in quirky, honky tonk-inspired digs with live music nights and a fantastic jukebox.

Merchant and Trade Rooftop Bar (303 S Church Street). Chic locale atop the Kimpton Tryon Park serving craft cocktails, local beers, and elevated bar bites with a view of the Charlotte skyline. 

Charlotte is home to many breweries, wineries, and distilleries. Some of Lisa and Scottie’s favorites include Legion Brewing (1906 Commonwealth Avenue and 5610 Carnegie Boulevard), Catawba Brewing (933 Louise Avenue), Resident Culture (2101 Central Avenue), and Dilworth Tasting Room (300 East Tremont Avenue and 4905 Ashley Park Lane)

For additional recommendations for what to do, see, and experience in Charlotte, follow The Scout Guide Charlotte on Instagram and visit The Scout Guide Charlotte