As winter hits the south, suddenly, the lines at grocery stores and malls grow longer, and toes tap with greater urgency. You’re late; you’re impatient and the holiday season is in full effect. But there’s a cure: take a weekend off to have fun, relax, and spend time with loved ones. There’s no shortage of weekend fun to be had in the Queen City this winter and after two days of self indulgence and exploration, you’ll return to the world ready to tackle anything. Let’s get out there and explore our own backyard this weekend.
10 a.m. Yoga
Start the weekend right and shake off the morning frost with Lauren’s Chatki Yoga class located in Move Studio Charlotte. This hour of hip hop mixes and positivity will set the stage for an awesome weekend. Bring a water bottle, but don’t worry if you don’t own a yoga mat. The studio provides them.
Essentialthrive.com 1111 Hawthorne Ln., Charlotte, NC 28205
11:30 a.m. Caffeine
Head over to Central Coffee on Louise for a Central Shorty and some good laughs with the crew at this neighborhood spot. The diminutive parking lot fills up quickly, but you’re able to park along the street, too. Central Coffee recently opened a new location in Southend this fall; the space can easily accommodate groups and includes a study room for anyone who needs to buckle down.
719 Louise Ave., Charlotte NC, 28204
12 p.m. Lunch
Nothing tastes better than Southern food in the winter time, and Dish has you covered. From pimento cheese to meatloaf or chicken and dumplings, you’ll be full and happy as you leave to start your afternoon. And you exercised this morning, so it’s OK to eat that cornbread!
1220 Thomas Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205
1:30 p.m. Shopping
Around the corner from Dish are some of the best boutique stores in town. Stache Pad offers vintage clothing and accessories that will make holiday shopping a breeze, and Boris & Natasha lives right next door, so why not mosey on that way and try on a few pairs of shoes? Next, visit Paper Skyscraper in Dilworth where you’ll find the best miscellany: Rocks glasses, quirky books, party games, and more. Their gift wrap and stationery section is heaven.
Stache Pad, 1216 Thomas Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205
Boris & Natasha, 1214 Thomas Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205
Paper Skyscraper, 330 East Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28203
5:30 p.m. Spirits
Plan ahead to book a tour of the Doc Porter’s Distillery. Owner Tours last 45 minutes and include a tour of the facility, an overview of the production from “grain to glass,” and a tasting (21+). Visit their website to view the booking calendar. For the spontaneous crowd, you can arrive between 2 and 7 for a mini tour, which does not require a reservation.
DocPorters.com 232 Peterson Dr., Charlotte, NC 28217
8 p.m. Dinner
Heritage Food & Drink in Waxhaw is well worth the drive out of the city. Chef and owner Paul Verica creates a seasonal menu that changes frequently. While Heritage seats fewer than 40 people (make a reservation for a Saturday), it’s comfortable and relaxed. This restaurant is Paul Verica’s dream, and that dedication is palpable the moment you sit down.
HeritageFoodAndDrink.com 201 W South Main St., Waxhaw, NC 28173
10 p.m. Nightcap and Dessert
No weekend is complete without a nightcap. Drop by Dogwood Southern Table & Bar in South Park for the last drink of the night. Brian Lorusso designed an incredible fall menu this year, and he has you covered from a simple digestif to fun tiki drinks and cognac-style Sazeracs.
DogwoodSouthernTable.com 4905 Ashley Park Ln., Charlotte, NC 28210
11 a.m. Late Breakfast
Sleep in a little; it’s Sunday! Then venture over to Earl’s Grocery on Elizabeth for breakfast tacos or sandwiches. Earl’s is a great spot to check off a few stocking stuffer items. They carry artisan chocolates, barware, and organic condiments.
EarlsGrocery.com 1609 Elizabeth Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204
12 p.m. Fresh Air
After you’ve grabbed a coffee from Earl’s, stroll down the street toward Uptown until you intersect with the Little Sugar Creek Greenway. Relax on a park bench and enjoy the view of the city skyscrapers, or bundle up and walk down the way toward Queens Road. This stretch of the greenway gives the illusion that you’re walking in an even bigger city, with the Metropolitan and Uptown rising on either side of you.
2 p.m. Moving Pictures!
Warm up after your stroll at the Manor Theatre, an older theatre popular for playing independent films, for a matinee showing. Manchester By the Sea and Loving are playing in early December. (Be on the lookout for The Handmaiden, as well.)
607 Providence Rd., Charlotte, NC 28207
5 p.m. Night Lights
Cap the weekend off with a little festive fun. Drive over to Belmont as the sun sets to enjoy the illuminated grounds at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. The Garden’s thousands of lights switch on at 5, brightening the chilly winter’s eve while the glow of a bonfire warms your hands. They’ll have coffee, cocoa, and s’mores, too.
DSBG.org 6500 S. New Hope Rd., Belmont, NC 28012