The district of South End in Charlotte is rich with history. From the gold mining rush to the mills that have since been renovated into bars, South End is a definite gem in the heart of Charlotte. Nowadays, the district is known for its lively, active, youthful vibe. With bars, beer gardens and shopping galore, there is an abundance of activities one can find on any given day. Summertime in South End is no exception, even with temperatures soaring, there are several ways to stay cool and enjoy your time on the town.
Front Porch Sunday
Join the festivities on the first Sunday of every month and enjoy over 60 local vendors and food trucks. The event is held from 11 am- 4 p.m and includes live music, pet adoptions and a feeling of the Charlotte community.
Chef Michael Shortino’s ramen shop of the South does more than a few things right, which is why you can find this little, wood-detailed, stereo-turned-up-loud eatery, right on South End’s light rail, packed out nearly any day of the week. There are a couple dishes that keep us coming back, but the brussel sprouts and the rice crispy squares may just reign supreme. Sit outside with your pup and watch the buzzing light rail trail, or grab a spot inside and watch the magic happen.
Jeni’s Ice Cream
Beat the summer heat and stop in to one of Charlotte’s staple ice cream stores. With gourmet flavors that mimic the southern vibe of the Carolinas such as sweet cream biscuits and peach jam, Jeni’s caters to all taste palate The main piece of advice, get in line early because on weekend nights the wait for a cold treat can take up to an hour!
Pike’s Soda Shop
After 25 years of serving the South End District, this iconic soda shop is closing its doors. Pike’s has an extensive menu offering food and drinks in a retro setting, promising its customers good food and a good time. Make sure to stop in to the Soda Shop before they close for good.
Good Bottle Co. evolved from South End’s preferred craft beer retailer into one of the neighborhood’s busiest haunts. The bar in the back of the store was always a draw, but the espresso bar in the front brings this place a symmetry it was always meant for. Run by coffee nerds who obsess over the brewing variables in every shot they pull, HEX is where to go for espresso. It’s also ideal for transitional afternoons: Have a classic HEX coffee shot or a seasonal concoction with a book (or two), and move on the Good Bottle taps when the squad shows up.
The gorgeous space in South End that Zeppelin calls home harkens back to an old-timey type of grandeur. Steampunk-style decor brings to mind the combination of past and present that the whole establishment represents, as the kitchen brings new interpretations of tried and true classics. Head chef Vincent Giancarlo sources the majority of its food from local, family run farms like Harmony Ridge, Barbee Farms, and Fairshare Farms, focusing on the highest quality ingredients available.
There is something inexplicably superb about Tex-Mex-style cuisine. It’s a combination of flavors that are exciting, yet incredibly comforting, as they utilize simple, homey ingredients while fashioning them in a way that’s irresistible. And if we’re going to talk about Tex-Mex and Charlotte, we have to talk about the long-anticipated, Atlanta-born Superica. Superica is not just a restaurant, it’s an aesthetically authentic, detail-oriented endeavor that has elevated the style and panache of Tex-Mex food in North Carolina. Of course, as if that weren’t enough, they also make some killer cocktails.
Lenny Boy Brewing
One of our favorite summertime hangouts, Lenny Boy Brewing Company was founded upon owner Townes Mozer’s passion for fermentation. Since 2011, the brewing company has been crafting everything from specialty kombuchas and beers to wines, champagnes, and ciders. Now, with 29 open taps, the brewery is any ale or booch lover’s paradise.
Atherton Mill & Market
With a little bit of something for everyone today (from O-Ku to Not Just Coffee to Free People and Warby Parker), the history of Atherton Mill dates back to 1920. Its revitalization brought a resurgence to South End, and today its a top Charlotte destination for dining, shopping, and living with new retail and residential space constantly under development.
Hoppin’ Wine Wednesday and Music Bingo
Celebrate wine wednesday with Hoppin’ Brewery this summer. Enjoy prosecco and rose and join in on a game of music bingo starting at 8 pm. to test your musical skills.
South End Market (Saturday)
A classic staple of South End, this farmers market is the perfect Saturday activity. The Market has been serving the South End area since 2010, offering local and sustainable vendors. With fresh produce and handmade jewelry, make it your mission to attend the weekly South End Market.
South End Gallery Crawl
Named ‘The Best Artsy Place to Take a Date’, the Gallery Crawl includes several popular art galleries that host lively receptions to celebrate new exhibits. This award-winning South End event takes place the first Friday evening of every month and is a perfect indoor summer activity.
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery
Summer is the perfect time to plan a visit to the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery in Charlotte. German inspired food, craft beers and a lively atmosphere will make it feel as though you have stepped into a bierhall somewhere in the heart of Germany.
Forgo the Uber and instead ride the light rail into historic South End for the day. Enjoy a variety of upscale restaurants, bars and boutiques at every stop. With so many appealing options to choose from, the southend trail caters to every interest.