15 CLT Treasures to Get Holiday Guests Out of the House
“The visitors are coming! The visitors are coming!”
If you’re like us, you’re experiencing a mixture of anticipation and (let’s face it) a teensy bit of dread at the arrival of family and friends for the holidays. Once the hugs are dispensed, the small talk has been had and the presents are piled in a heap of wrapping paper before you, you may soon find yourself thinking, “What do I do with these people now? How do I occupy my occupiers?” Those are big questions that need immediate answers.
We asked our Instagram followers and our team to choose places they love that not everyone knows about – places to chill out, explore, eat, drink and shop. And, they did not disappoint. Enjoy! (And, don’t forget to visit them throughout the year!) This special batch of the Biscuit is a gift from our sponsors, OrthoCarolina!
PLEASE NOTE: This is a holiday week (as is next) and hours of operation may vary at many of the locations below. We recommend contacting them before you head out.
STARLIGHT ON 22ND
“A previously nondescript cinderblock building near the heart of NoDa has been given new life by the couple who literally invented NoDa when they opened Center of the Earth gallery. Husband-and-wife team Ruth Ava Lyons, an abstract painter, and Paul Sires, a sculptor, have opened a new social and cultural club near the heart of their old stomping grounds.
“Starlight on 22nd, a private club (you can join for $1 a year), offers inspired cocktails, craft beer, wine and a mellow, artsy vibe. Lyons and Sires plan to host poetry readings, book signings, live music, rotating art exhibitions and pop-up events.” – Page Leggett
Read much more about what’s in store at Starlight on 22nd in a full interview from Page Leggett.
- LOCATION: 422 E 22nd St., Charlotte, N.C. 28206
- BISCUIT BONUS! There are so many options around 22nd St., but we suggest you hit Pelican’s SnoBalls for a snow cone and a groovy mural by Cheeks and Naji Alali.
THE PAULINE TEA BAR
“When you walk in, The Pauline Tea Bar Apothecary has such a positive atmosphere and vibe! The tea cups are beautiful and eclectic. Unique teapots are also available when a pot of tea is ordered. There are so many options for tea, dessert and the sweeteners are diverse and locally sourced. There are even sugar cubes infused with lavender! The furniture is arranged so that conversations are encouraged. The owner exudes care and genuine love for wellness. My favorite spot is the prayer closet. Visiting this establishment is like visiting an old friend.” – Frieda Miller, M.Ed.
- LOCATION: 2326 Arty Ave., Charlotte, N.C. 28208
- BISCUIT BONUS! If you’re not caffeinated enough, Enderly Coffee awaits four minutes away on Thrift St.
JULIA’S CAFE & BOOKSTORE
“Cozy and quaint, Julia’s Cafe and Bookstore is the ideal spot for sipping bold coffee and perusing used books. It’s connected to Habitat for Humanity, yet it feels like a quiet escape from the busy thrift shoppers next door. The selection of books at Julia’s is always current and curated. The drink choices are never mundane. Go here to find affordable books and delicious treats. And the very best part — proceeds go to help the local Charlotte community!” – @DeepCoveAbode
- LOCATION: 1133 N. Wendover Rd., Charlotte, N.C. 28211
- BISCUIT BONUS! After Julia’s, head to Book Buyers in Plaza-Midwood, just three miles away.
“If you Google ‘Charlotte, things to see,’ there’s a good chance that an image of a giant metal human head will pop up to the top of your list. This metal head is an outdoor sculpture by a Czech artist named David Černý called Metalmorphosis. It was created in 2007 and sits in the southern part of Charlotte inside a corporate office area. The sculpture is made up of ‘horizontal slices,’ and, controlled by a timer; the slices rotate in various patterns throughout the day. It’s a kinetic sculpture. I see this sculpture all the time (since I live nearby) and just love it! It’s just so mesmerizing and relaxing to see the head sitting and rotating on a pool of water.” – Mike Daikubara[EDITOR’S NOTE: Google knows it’s cool, but too few Charlotteans do.]
- LOCATION: 3701 Arco Corporate Dr, Charlotte, N.C. 28273
- BISCUIT BONUS! Here’s a handy guide to some of Charlotte’s newest public art.
CAROLINA RAPTOR CENTER
“Nothing says holiday fun like watching a peregrine falcon chow down on a mouse, right? Seriously, put the Carolina Raptor Center on your list to visit. It’s educational (in a vivid, sensory way), entertaining, mildly disgusting and fascinating for all ages. Plus it gets you outside in the fresh air on a well-marked, easily walkable trail.
“You’ll see the requisite bald eagles and hawks, of course, but you’ll also see the massive Andean condor (largest wingspan of all the raptors), the show-offy gray crowned crane and my favorite, the cheeky Abyssinian ground hornbill. And I promise you’ll come away with respect for the much-maligned vulture. (They’re nature’s clean-up crew!) Allow 45 minutes for the entire trail, but you’ll want to linger much longer.” – Andrea Long
- LOCATION: 6000 Sample Rd., Huntersville, N.C. 28078
- BISCUIT BONUS! Take a hike at the Latta Nature Preserve.
“The first time I stepped foot on Queen’s campus, I felt some sort of magic. It felt like somehow, a part of me had always lived there. The books, the brick, the ivy on the walls, something about that place felt hallowed, like in those gorgeous green quads lay boundless opportunities.”
“I spent a lot of freshman year taking long walks on the campus between classes taking it all in with a caramel macchiato in hand. It’s been years since my time at Queens, but every time I have a big decision to make, I find myself parking my car, grabbing a cup of coffee and settling in for a walk around the quad. I always leave refreshed, full of possibility and grateful for the reminder that we can always start anew. So next time you feel stuck, or down, or just have an extra 30 minutes to spare, stroll the Queens campus. I promise you’ll feel the magic, too.” – @LimoncitoGoods
- LOCATION: 1900 Selwyn Ave., Charlotte, N.C. 28207
- BISCUIT BONUS! Don’t miss the new mural by Shepard Fairey on the side of the Gambrell Center.
“When I returned home to Charlotte from NYC years ago, I was eager to find a watering hole that reminded me of my favorite Manhattan haunt: The Abbey Pub at 105th and Broadway (RIP). After settling into an apartment in Fourth Ward, I soon discovered Alexander Michael’s and felt as if I had fallen into a wormhole of sorts. It was nearly identical to The Abbey — same layout, same dark woods, delicious pub food, a great beer selection and a friendly barkeep and staff. ‘Al Mikes’ helped me feel like the Queen City was my home again — and I’m certain it has served up that same warm magic for many Charlotteans over the years. Long live Al Mike’s, and long live fried pickles!” – Matt Olin
- LOCATION: 401 W 9th St., Charlotte, N.C. 28202
- BISCUIT BONUS! Take a stroll amongst the vintage houses of the historic Fourth Ward neighborhood around Al Mike’s, all decked out for the holidays.
“If I told you vegan deliciousness awaits you in the heart of the coolest arts hub in Charlotte, what would you do? Would you book it to Camp North End, run up to their beautiful counter adorned by ceramic veggies and marvel at the deliciousness their menu offers? Would you order a ridiculous amount of food, wash it down with a CBD seltzer and then go back for a plant-based dessert? That’s kind of my special thing to do when I visit my favorite takeout counter, but it really is the best way to go. Chef Julia and her team at Plant Joy always delight with dishes ranging from quiche, sammies, hot and cold plates, and yes, they do brunch! If you’re lucky, it’s a drag brunch.” – Molly Brown
- LOCATION: 1801 N. Graham St. Ste. 101, Charlotte, N.C. 28206
- BISCUIT BONUS! After eating at Plant Joy and exploring Camp North End for hours, you’ll be hungry again. Hit a classic diner minutes away on Graham Street, Tatsis Restaurant (before 5pm).
“Charlotte suffers from no lack of tantalizing doughnuts. Debates rage about which shop should wear the crown with the vigor and intensity of the 2020 presidential election. Is it Your Moms or Pepperbox? Uncle D’s or OMG’s? Duck Donuts or Krispy Kreme? Meanwhile, somewhere outside the strike zone on the edge of Pineville, MJ Donuts is quietly waiting … and so are the customers.
“I know that when I walk in the door bearing nondescript brown paper bags full of MJ’s goodness (particularly apple fritters the size of my head), I’m going to be the hero of the morning and my wallet will only be slightly lighter than when I left the house. PRO TIP: You’ll leave with bonus doughnuts, as every order comes with a free side of doughnut holes. Natch!” – Tim Miner
- LOCATION: 325 S. Polk St., Pineville, N.C. 28134
- BISCUIT BONUS! Just down the road, Middle James Brewing has sriracha honey chicken tenders to die for and killer burgers (with tots!).
The Biscuit staff asks that you be careful and drink responsibly.
“For a city that loves booze, Charlotte has a surprisingly small cocktail scene. But, we’ve been lucky to have some really outstanding cocktail programs pop up. One of my recent favorites is The Cocktailery. Located inside Atherton Mill, this cocktail experience is owned and operated by Tamu Curtis and is a beverage experience that focuses on the consumer through education and accessibility. The team at The Cocktailery wants to teach their customers how to create a perfectly balanced drink. Armed with impeccably curated items from the storefront and equipped with knowledge from one of Tamu’s classes, you’ll be crafting drinks that are both fun and delicious in no time.” – @LimoncitoGoods
- LOCATION: 2000 South Blvd. Suite 430, Charlotte, N.C. 28203
- BISCUIT BONUS! If your pooch is thirsty, too, you’re only a hop, skip and a jump from Skiptown, a bar/playspace for humans and their dogs.
“It’s not hard to find a brewery or bottle shop in Charlotte. But, it’s not always easy to find a place that you connect with on a personal level. The first time I walked into Bart’s Mart in Eastway Crossing Shopping Center, I fell in love with the random decor and atmosphere, but also with the owners Justin and Mandy. Bart’s has consistently impressed me with the events they host, bringing together all different types of Charlotte subcultures you don’t typically see socializing. It’s the only place where I have made a new friend every time I walk through the doors. Truly, it’s the only place I have found in Charlotte with a soul, which is ironic because you can sell your soul there for a PBR and get a certificate.” – Jason Tapp
- LOCATION: 3042 Eastway Dr., Charlotte, N.C. 28205
- BISCUIT BONUS! The CLT classic, VisArt Video, is a few doors down from Barts. Head in, ask for suggestions and find the perfect flick for the night.
ROSIE’S COFFEE & WINE GARDEN
“This is a true urban oasis nestled just outside Uptown. Rosie’s serves coffee and tea along with a diverse wine list. While the inside of Rosie’s is undeniably charming with remnants of a former life as a railway weigh station, the magic really begins through the back exit.
“Stepping into a serene, lush garden spanning well over an acre, you might just forget you’re in the middle of Charlotte. Known as McGill Rose Garden, the land around Rosie’s was transformed from a coal yard to a lovely public garden in 1962. With tucked-away seating, winding pathways and an abundance of fairy lights, Rosie’s is the perfectly unexpected spot for an outdoor date – a breath of fresh air and a true local gem.” – Lauren Gibson
- LOCATION: 940 N. Davidson St., Charlotte, N.C. 28206
- BISCUIT BONUS! Starlight on 22nd (look up on the list) is just a few minutes away from Rosie’s.
SLEEPY POET ANTIQUE MALL
“By now, you’ve bought gifts for the easy-to-buy-for people on your list. But then there’s the other list. The people that you want something really special for, but inspiration hasn’t quite hit. Or perhaps it’s a make-up gift, like that plate from your aunt’s antique dinnerware collection that you chipped when you had one too many glasses of Chardonnay. In these cases, Sleepy Poet Antique Mall may be just the place where your treasure hunt will lead to the perfect gift.
“Sleepy Poet has been selling antiques and collectibles for over two decades and this November, it moved to a new location two miles down South Blvd. The 48,000-square-foot warehouse underwent a $500,000 renovation and has space for over 300 vendors. From vinyl CDs to vintage tuxedos, 50-year-old Barbies in original packaging to beaded purses, check out the “new” Sleepy Poet to find the right something old.” – Erika Lopez
- LOCATION: 6426 South Blvd., Charlotte, N.C. 28217
- You’ll need some vintage fashion to go with your antique finds … and the Goodwill Thrift Store is right around the corner.
“There is no other gallery like TAC. It is a visual feast for the eyes. Every inch of the gallery’s walls are covered with local art. Even the ceiling is covered with vintage posters from past Charlotte events. TAC is committed to supporting local artists and the NoDa community. There are over 100 Charlotte artists on display. If you want art that is truly unique and will be a conversation piece, TAC is not to be missed. Even if you aren’t in the market for art, stop by for their friendly greeting and to experience the fantastical array that is TAC Gallery.” – Heather Burnell
- LOCATION: 3225 N. Davidson St., Charlotte, N.C. 28205
- BISCUIT BONUS! Spice up your seasonal selfie game and drive down 36th St. to the CanJam building at Benard Ave. — a building covered in murals! If you take photos, PLEASE attribute them to the artist who painted it.
“David Bowie, KISS and Lisa Frank have all been summoned to create the cutest rock n’ roll vintage shop, owned and curated by local sweet pea, Corrie Throckmorton. While you’re taking it all in, don’t forget to admire their decor … from floor to ceiling, Stash Pad is pure glam. This is your one stop shop for nightgowns from the 1950s, dresses from the 1960s, boots from the 1970s and wigs from the future. They even offer vintage jewelry, purses and a selection of cheap sunglasses. Corrie is happy to make suggestions and help you craft the vintage outfit of your dreams!” – Molly Brown
- LOCATION: 2708 Monroe Rd., Charlotte, NC 2820
- BISCUIT BONUS! You can saunter on over after lunch at Lupie’s Cafe (another Charlotte institution) and delight in their cosmic wares.
And, if you still need ideas for a last-minute gift, may we suggest …
If you’re wondering what “Exotic Sewing Classes” are all about, Hidden Agenda Brand, the company that put up the billboard says they’ll teach you how to make your own swimwear, exotic wear and/or bartender’s clothing.” Learn more right here.
Did We Miss One of your Faves?
If we missed any of your favorite out-of-the-way places, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
This special batch of the Biscuit was baked with sponsorship from
Like what we write?
Do you think you have what it takes to write for the Biscuit?Well, let us know!!
"*" indicates required fields