If you aren’t headed out of town for the weekend and looking for an alternative to the Speed Street festivities, here are a few great things happening in South End.
Food Truck Friday – The food phenomenon that has been prevalent along the west coast is finally showing up in strong force in Charlotte and the one place you can always count on finding food trucks is at Camden Rd and Park Ave, every Friday from 5-9pm in South End. The truck line-up changes from week to week so see below for the details. You can purchase beer or wine from Common Market of Phat Burrito, bring un-opened to the lot and consume with your food truck cuisine. No BYOB. We have some tables but feel free to bring your own.
Atherton Mill Market – The Atherton Market is Charlotte’s first indoor, year-round, farmers market that has a 100% commitment to locally sourced products. Saturday is the HUGE market day which runs from 9am to 2pm, and I highly recommend you get their early before things sell out. In addition to the great food offerings, there is always a cooking demo, live music, or something for the kids to do while you shop. Historically speaking, markets tend to revitalize old existing spaces and the Atherton Market is no different as it’s located in the old Trolley Barn within the redeveloped Atherton Cotton Mill. You can see an old Trolley car in the market and get a side of history with your veggies.
Enjoy Great Patios – South End has some great outdoor patio space to enjoy a nice meal or just a cold beer or glass of wine. Icehouse, Vin Master and Big Ben’s Pub are all located at Atherton Mill and have some nice patio space to enjoy. Icehouse clearly has the large outdoor area but Vin Master and Big Ben’s are located right along the Light Rail and I don’t know what it is about the Light Rail but it fascinates young and old. Mac’s Speed Shop is always a swarm with people on their outdoor patio. You will usually find some live music in the evening and they have some great BBQ and terrific craft beer selection. Tyber Creek Pub has undergone a series of renovations to both inside and outside. They always had a great outdoor patio but that have made great improvements and it’s a place that is hard to leave. The Liberty has a nice side patio and in the evenings typically has live music as does Pewter Rose. The Liberty sources locally and these guys were leaders in the craft beer scene before craft beer became so popular. The patio at Common Market is one of the best in Charlotte and has incredible wine and beer selections. You’ll find the most diverse mix of people and pets, and who knows what kind of funky entertainment you will stumble upon.
Art Galleries – When most folks talk about art galleries in Charlotte, NoDa is the place that many will direct you but truth be told, there is only one or two galleries in NoDa. I love NoDa and it’s a super fun neighborhood that is always lively and has great breweries, restaurants and Amelies, but to direct you there to visit art galleries would be misleading. South End has become home to the largest number of galleries in Charlotte and while many can be accessed via foot, some are spread out so you might need your car to hit them all. Here are some you should check out: Elder Gallery, Gil Gallery, Coffey & Thompson Gallery, Charlotte Art League, DOMA Gallery, Lark and Key Gallery, Ciel Gallery + Mosaic Studio, Unexpected Finds, and Hidell Brooks Gallery. Gallery Crawl is on the first Friday of every month so you no special event for Memorial Day Weekend but don’t let that stop you from doing your own gallery crawl!
Live Music – I will be the first to admit that South End isn’t the neighborhood that first comes to mind when you say “live music” but believe it or not…we have a lot of offerings. Amos’ Southend is a staple in the music community with concerts every week. Tremont Music Hall is off the beaten path a little but they have a huge lineup for Memorial Day Weekend. Don’t let the name fool you but World of Beer has more than just a ton of beer but they have live music Wed through Sun, and if you don’t look carefully you can miss the band cause the stage is in the ceiling. If jazz is a bit more your speed then stop by Sullivan’s as they have rotating jazz duos, trios, quartets..you name it. The happy hour menu is pretty incredible as well so you can enjoy the music, the food and ambiance of Sullivan’s at a little more reasonable price.
Shopping – Lots of great little boutiques and furniture shops throughout all of South End. They aren’t all right next to one another so it takes a little navigation but here are some top picks. In the Camden Rd area (Bland St Light Rail Stop) you can hit Boulevard at South End, Black Sheep, Modern Fabrics, Unexpected Finds and South End Exchange. In the Atherton Mill area you can find SoBo Loft, The Benjamin Bear, Savory Spice Shop, Ferguson’s, High Cotton Home Company, Three Little Birds, and By Design. Furniture Row is the hidden gem of South End, located predominately near the New Bern Light Rail stop and consists of a 6 or 7 furniture warehouses along Griffith and Foster. Post & Gray is part of Furniture Row but not in the immediate mix but well worth the visit.
No shortage of opportunities in South End so if you are looking for an adventure to a neighborhood you haven’t visited in a while, have guests in town and want to show them authentic Charlotte places, or you are visiting this weekend and exploring the city, I hope you will come visit South End. Parking is free. 4 Light Rail stops throughout South End (Carson, Bland, East/West, Newbern) and it’s very walkable. Enjoy and have a safe Memorial Day Weekend!