The family is coming into town this week for the holidays and you want to show off your city, but where should you take them? “Shiny and new” is good, but you can’t go wrong with visiting some #OGclt spots — the places in Charlotte that have stood the test of time and embody the awesomeness the Queen City has to offer.
To help you out, we asked The Biscuit staff what #OGclt hotspots they’d recommend for CLT newbies and guests to get a sense of our favorite city in the world. In the process, we came up with the Three C’s of #OGclt: Chew, Chill, & Collect.
Places to Chew have some of the best food in Crown Town. Places to Chill will have you relaxed and having some fun while exploring the QC. And finally, the Places to Collect will help you shop ’til you drop and hopefully find that 1988 Hugo the Hornet bobblehead you’ve so desperately been looking for.
Honesty time. Your guests are going to drive you crazy starting December 25 at 5:36pm. Get out there and explore Charlotte before you lose it!
Places to Chew
Directions: 3019 Shamrock Dr, Charlotte, NC 28215
Charlotte has some incredible restaurants, but Lang Van is in the top tier of the top-tier of eateries in the Queen City and has been forever. The food is phenomenal, the menu is extensive and authentic and the service is sensational. Bring your family and dig into the best Vietnamese food around.
Bill Spoon’s Barbecue
Directions: 5524 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28217
If you’re jonesing for some Lexington BBQ, but you don’t want to make the trek, Bill Spoon’s Barbecue might just be the best CLT alternative. (And, it’s got lots of competition.) Since opening in 1963, Spoon’s has kept the menu relatively similar over the decades, and that’s not a bad thing.
Mert’s Heart & Soul
Directions: 214 N College St, Charlotte, NC 28202
If you’ve got family from up North hanging around, it’s your duty to make sure they get some good Southern soul food before they head back home. And, that’s where James and Renee Bazzelle’s Mert’s comes in. They’re located just to the left of a statue of Queen Charlotte, so they’re officially official.
The Mad Greek of Charlotte
Directions: 5011 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28217
You may have breezed by here 1,000,000 times as you drive down South Boulevard, but do yourself — and your family — a favor and stop for the absolute best Greek food in Charlotte. “Mad” might be in the name, but you and your stomach will be happy you stopped.
Luisa’s Brick Oven Pizzeria
Directions: 1730 Abbey Pl, Charlotte, NC 28209
For some authentic ‘za right out of the brick oven, Charlotte families have been descending upon Luisa’s for decades. By their reckoning, they’ve served over 1,445,268 pizzas. By ours, they’re still just getting warmed up. When you combine a meal at Luisa’s with a few rounds of bowling across the street at 10 Park Lanes… you’ve got yourself a happy little afternoon out.
Price’s Chicken Coop
Directions: 1614 Camden Rd, Charlotte, NC 28203
Admit it, you thought we were going to get to the end of the list and not mention Price’s didn’t you? No way. Yeah, it’s a cliche to put Price’s on a list like this. But, people and places get to be cliches because they’ve earned their place. Price’s has been a Charlotte staple forever. Why? The fried chicken is delicious. So delicious that you’ll wait in line in rain, sleet, snow and August armageddon heat just for the chance to eat it on the hood of your car. Some may say the growth of housing in South End is remarkable. We say it’s just because so many people want to be in walking distance of this amazing Charlotte standby.
Places to Chill
Directions: 609 Providence Rd, Charlotte, NC 28207
In the era of big movie theaters and even biggers movies, we love that the Manor remains a fixture on Providence Road. A cozy, crackerbox theater providing smaller, thought-provoking indie films a place to survive and thrive in Charlotte. They are currently playing “Uncut Gems” and “Hidden Life.”
Discovery Place Science
Directions: 301 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
It’s poetry in motion! Every trip to Discovery Place will blind you with science. (No, sorry. Kelly LeBrock does not work there.) Take the kids (or yourself because learning doesn’t have an age limit) to explore the fun and educational halls of this #OGclt science museum. While you’re there, watch a film on the largest IMAX screen in the Carolinas. It’s truly an experience like no other.
The Evening Muse
Directions: 3227 N Davidson St, Charlotte, NC 28205
The owners behind the NoDa’s celebrated listening room have been helping to keep the pilot light lit on Charlotte’s music scene for years. Take your out-of-towners here for a reliable lineup of local and touring acts representing many genres. The sound is tight, the drinks are cold, and the spirit of Charlotte’s ever-expanding music scene is in the air.
Directions: 1908 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203
After spending the holidays stuffing ourselves with tasty treats and hearty meals, it might be a good idea to get outside and move around. Freedom Park has fields and courts for the sports enthusiasts, playgrounds for the kids, trails for the walkers, and benches for us, who instantly regretted trying to move more. At least we’ve got a pretty view of the lake and plenty of fresh air.
The Olde Mecklenberg Brewery
Directions: 4150 Yancey Rd, Charlotte, NC 28217
Chances are you and your family will hit up a CLT brewery at some point this week, so why not head to one that started it all? When OMB opened its doors in South End back in 2009, it was as if the Charlotte brewery floodgates were opened. The next decade was filled with a wave of new breweries opening every other week. And hey… we’re not complaining.
We also highly recommend …
The O.G. (NoDa Brewing’s Original Location)
Directions: 2229 N Davidson St, Charlotte, NC 28205
It’s been really fun to watch the meteoric rise of NoDa Brewing. Once Hop Drop & Roll took gold at the Great American Beer Festival, it’s been on like Donkey Kong. After moving the main brewery to a new location a few years ago, owners Suzie and Todd Ford gave their original location new life this year, making it a home for small batch & wild fermentation brews. It’s a perfect counter-balance to the Old World tradition of Olde Meck.
Places to Collect
Sleepy Poet Antique Mall
Directions: 4450 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28209
When we polled the Biscuit staff for #OGClt places, Sleepy Poet Stuff was on every.single.list. With an almost Doctor Who-like quality, Sleepy Poet Stuff is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Walking in is like entering second-hand Narnia. You can just get lost for hours finding antiques and gems from the past that excite you, make you laugh, get you misty and that make holiday shopping a truly magical experience.
Directions: 3325 Commonwealth Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205
In a world of Spotify and Apple Music, there are still plenty of people out there (ourselves included) who love to search the bins of record shops to find a hidden gem or an old favorite. If you’ve got a music geek coming to visit or you need to find a new record to finally get Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” out of your head, then Repo is a must-go.
Black Sheep Skate Shop
Directions: 830 Lamar Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204
Got some Christmas cash burning a hole in your pocket and want to do some shopping this weekend? Our guess is that Black Sheep would be more than happy to help you out. The skate shop is a great place to find clothes, sneakers and accessories that you can’t get anywhere else. And if you’re in the market for a new skateboard, might we suggest one of these Black Sheep exclusive Charlotte decks.
Pura Vida Worldly Art
Directions: 3202 N Davidson St, Charlotte, NC 28205
To our minds, the jewel of NoDa. With affordable crafts and art from around the world and across the Queen City, Pura Vida is the place to go for those looking to get a gift a little different for the holiday season. It’s like having all of the treasures of the world right here in our very own backyard.
Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find
Directions: 417 Pecan Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204
Excelsior! Charlotte’s friendly neighborhood comic shop first opened in 1980 and has served as the QC’s very own Hall of Justice for comic lovers ever since. If you want to pick up the latest caped crusader adventure or you’re looking for something a little more off the grid, Heroes has you covered with both mainstream and indie books for you to enjoy.
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