Where Are We in CLT?

Your neighborhood guide to what is going on in the Queen City!



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Where Are We in CLT? “Man Feeding Poor Man”


Address: 330 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202, USA | Get Directions

Over the past few years, Uptown Charlotte has become a hotbed of mural art, thanks to artists from Talking Walls and many others. In fact, TWO new murals have been painted the 7th Street side of Duckworth’s and Spirit Square (across from Victoria Yard), one from Duarte Designs and the other from Caitlin McDonagh, in the last two years.

But, if you’re not careful, you’ll miss the mural above nestled in between them. And, that would be a shame as it is the absolute grand-daddy of Uptown murals. It may be faded and a little weather-worn now, but this piece represents a significant event in the cultural life of the Queen City.

Entitled “Man Feeding Poor Man,” the mural has adorned the side of Spirit Square, unveiled to the public on Feb. 6, 1992. It was painted by 15 students from University Park School under the supervision of artist Allen “Big Al” Carter. “Big Al” was in town for a short, three-week working tour through Charlotte.  “Big Al” provided the vision and the students filled in the design according to his instruction, as he had in other cities.

While in Charlotte, “Big Al” helped create other community murals at local recreation centers and displayed work in the Knight Gallery. He also participated in a panel discussion, “Public Murals Through Community Involvement” — which sounds like it could easily be scheduled for next week — with local artists like Tommie Robinson and Ruth Ava Lyons, who remain pillars of the local art community.

The next time you’re Uptown checking out new murals, give this one a moment or two. It hails from a time when the Center City was a little quieter and we were pondering how public art can help build community and spark discussion — a notion that inspired the newer murals on either side of it.


** Thanks to Charlottean Karen Beach and the 1992 paper, “A Report on an Arts Administration Internship with Spirit Square Center for the Arts” by Karen L. Thompson for information used in this story.


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Georgie Nakima’s New Mural at East Town Market


Address: 3112 Milton Rd, Charlotte, NC 28215 | Get Directions

It may seem like murals pop-up overnight, but they require a great deal of time, planning and patience. They also contain a great deal of secret wonder. Much of the base work artists use to establish the mural is covered up by the final product. If you’re vigilant — you can catch an artist at work. That allows you to peer into their process and see the “mural under the mural.”

This week, we popped by East Town Market to find Georgie Nakima expanding a mural she created last year. If you act fast, you may just get there in time to watch her work, ask her questions (mask up, though, please) and witness her work expand from the initial spray-painted lines to her multi-colored geometric style. Read more about her mural process and methodology here.

If you don’t get there in time, you will still find an incredible piece of public art AND you can swing by BW Sweets for a treat. It’s just around the corner from the mural.

[TIP: The mural is just down from Compare Foods on the N. Sharon Amity Side.]

A Few More of Georgie’s Paint Strokes

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A Video of Georgie Working by Charlotte Star Room

Georgie Nakima ‘interstellar’ murals @ Link Montford from Charlotte Star Room on Vimeo.


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Where Are We in CLT? Santé


Address: 130 Providence Rd., Charlotte, NC 28207 | Get Directions

If you feel like someone’s watching you the next time you head uptown via Providence Road, there’s a good reason. Someone is. 

Not “someone,” exactly. More like “something.” This summer, Charlotte artist Matthew Steele installed “Santé,” a large wall sculpture on the exterior facade of Charlotte Skin and Laser on Providence Road.

The work, which was cut and assembled from more than 150 sheets of aluminum composite to resemble a human face, was a commission originally conceived by Dr. Elizabeth Roston, owner of Charlotte Skin and Laser

It took a team of Charlotte creatives to make Roston’s vision a reality. After hearing the idea, Sonya Pfeiffer, owner of Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art, contacted Lauren Harkey, owner of Hodges Taylor Contemporary Gallery. Lauren, in turn, reached out to Matthew.  According to an article on the Hodges Taylor website, Roston’s ultimate wish was to bring new character to her building while adding an artistic contrast to the style of newer construction being built around her practice. 

With the help of Matthew Steele, gallery owners, the UNC Charlotte’s College of Art + Architecture, several fabricators and a construction team, she did it.

Fast Facts about Santé:

  • More than 150 sheets of aluminum composite were used to make it
  • More than 10,000 nuts, bolts and brackets were needed to assemble it
  • It’s 20 feet wide and 13 feet tall
  • 15 different sections were assembled on-site to build the final sculpture

DIRECTIONS: 130 Providence Rd., Charlotte, NC 28207


PHOTO GALLERY BY LYDIA BITTNER-BAIRD


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The Hope Tank


Address: | Get Directions

Where Are We in CLT?

Okay. This one is a bit of a cheat. In the case of the Hope Tank, the question is more “Where ISN’T it?” than where it is. You’ll find the Tank exactly where it’s needed, where Charlotte’s homeless are living. 

After more than a year in development, the Hope Tank is a mobile shower and laundry center created by the local nonprofit, Hope Vibes. The organization’s mission is to bring awareness, hope and real solutions to the homeless epidemic. The Hope Tank provides showers and laundry services, as well as toilets and sinks to those living on the street. 

While there are other mobile shower vehicles in operation around the country, the Hope Tank was designed to offer beauty as well as function. For the Hope Vibes team, just providing mobile showers and laundry wasn’t enough. They incorporated art and beauty to provide a comfortable, attractive experience with a “home-like” feel.

Fast Facts on the Hope Tank

To date, the Hope Tank is in service only one day a week, but Hope Vibes is planning to increase that as they find partners throughout the city that will provide water and access to their City clean-outs.  

Development of the Hope Tank was made possible by donations from individuals, businesses and local churches. The Tank relies on donations of towels, wash clothes, liquid soap, low sud laundry detergent, and monetary donations. Those interested in volunteering with the Tank or other Hope Vibes programs can do so here.

Ride or Die with Hope Vibes

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An Extra Helping: We interviewed Adrienne and Emmanuel Threatt, founders of Hope Vibes, on the Biscuit CLT Podcast last year. Listen to the story of how the seeds of their future non-profit were sown on their very first date.


Take a Photo Tour of the Tank

 

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A post shared by Hope Vibes Inc (@hopevibesclt) on


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Talking Walks at ThExchange


Address: 5605 77 Center Dr, Charlotte, NC 28217, USA | Get Directions

If you haven’t had a reason to visit ThExchange — a mutli-building office park off of Tyvola Road — you do now.

For the third year of Talking Walls, a week-long installation blitz of new murals painted by local and visiting artists, the organizers chose to switch up the concept. They clustered the murals in one location — ThExchange. In less than a week, eight selected artists created six new murals throughout the campus. They’re open to the public and, if Instagram is to be believed, already drawing photographers and art lovers from across the city. 

One of them was our friend, photographer Brooke Brown (who shot our tour of NoDa’s new art-enhanced trash cans last week). And, she was kind enough to share.

Take a “photo safari” of Brooke’s Talking Walls photographs here.

Then, head out to see them for yourself.

 


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Thomas Spratt & King Haigler on the Trail of History


Address: 310 N Kings Dr, Charlotte, NC 28204, USA | Get Directions

#WhereAreWeInCLT? On the section of the Little Sugar Creek Greenway across from the Grady Cole Center and the Philip L. Van Every Culinary Arts Building on CPCC’s campus, you’ll find these two bronze figures standing together, looking out into the distance. ⁣

The statues sculpted by Charlotte artist Chas Fagan (the sculptor who created the James Jack equestrian statue not much further down the trail) are of Thomas Spratt and King Haigler, the English name for the tribal Catawba chieftain. These two men and their bond were fundamental to the establishment of the Charlotte region in the 1750s. Their friendship paved the way for peace between the settlers and the Catawba Indian Nation in North and South Carolina.⁣

These are just two statues positioned along the greenway as part of the Trail of History, a collection of statues that serves as a museum without walls — highlighting important people and moments in Charlotte’s history. There are eight stops along the Trail today, with statues of Charlotte luminaries Julius Chambers, Romare Bearden, Dr. Annie Alexander and more planned for the future.  

BONUS: Once you’ve traveled the Trail of History, we recommend you continue your outdoor time travel excursions by visiting Mecklenburg County’s six operating historic former homesites from the 18th and 19th centuries: Historic Latta Plantation, Historic Rural Hill, Charlotte Museum of History, Historic Rosedale, Hugh Torrance House and Store and President James K. Polk State Historic Site.

Visit other fun #WhereAreWeInCLT locations we’ve visited in The Biscuit.

Stroll Further Down the Trail of History

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“Continuum” at the TransAmerica Square Dome


Address: 401 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

It’s easy to have your head down while walking around. You may be watching your feet to ensure you don’t trip or you might have your eyes glued to your phone screen as you await the next Twitter notification that confirms that 2020 is trash. But, we implore you to look up when walking around the Queen City because you’re missing out on the creative sights hidden in every nook and cranny of Charlotte.

And when we say look up, we mean look UP! This fresco painted by Ben Long has graced the dome of TransAmerica Square since 1998. Titled “Continuum,” the fresco is a whopping 1,047 square feet of hand-painted goodness.

Words from Mr. Long’s website about the meaning behind the fresco: “The subject matter represents the cycle of life’s continuous disintegration and rebirth, thus reinforcing the notion that the more things change, the more they remain the same.”

Fun Fact: The man painting on the canvas is a self-portrait that Ben Long decided to include as an easter egg in the fresco. There are all kinds of hidden details in the painting. Another one of our favorites is that the stoic man underneath the tent on the left is none other than Charlotte banking legend, Hugh McColl.


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Charlotte Hornets Minor League Baseball


Address: 324 S Mint St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

Did you know that there were Charlotte Hornets in the Queen City as early as 1892? Charlotte’s first minor league baseball team held the name nearly 96 years before the buzz of the NBA came to the Queen City. The baseball team existed until 1973.⁣

Later, in 1976, a new Double-A team called the Charlotte Orioles came to town. The O’s would be rebranded as the Charlotte Knights in 1988… the same year that the Charlotte Hornets would make their reappearance in the Queen City, but this time on the basketball court.⁣

You can find this mural along with three others outside of Truist Field, the Knight’s beautiful stadium in Uptown. Each mural features stadiums of the past and pays homage to the history of baseball in Charlotte. The murals were painted by Scott Nurkin of The Mural Shop.


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Charlotte Rescue Mission Rebound Center


Address: 907 W 1st St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

Just outside Uptown, across the street from the Panthers’ “space-age practice bubble” on Cedar Street, the Charlotte Rescue Mission is a beautiful reminder of Charlotte’s past, but it’s an incredibly active part of our present. ⁣

From its residential recovery programs that help people struggling with the disease of addiction achieve long-term sobriety to Community Matters Cafe, the Charlotte Rescue Mission provides a place for Charlotte to gather while providing career training that gives program-members a second chance at life and work.⁣ That’s the building’s present … but what about its past?

Prior to becoming home to Charlotte Rescue Mission’s Rebound Program in the 1990s and their Community Matters Cafe in 2019, these buildings were known as the Southern Spindle & Flyer Company Building and the Standard Oil Company Complex respectively.

With the addition of railroads in 1852, Charlotte’s growing textile industry was prepared to boom. By 1910, Charlotte was the heart of a bustling textile industry region in the southeast. These two buildings being built in the 1910s and 1920s were a direct result of companies moving to the Queen City to capitalize on the city’s growing economy.

Charlotte’s past is often hard to find in our city’s architecture so we love to see when organizations like Charlotte Rescue Mission choose to “rescue” these spaces rather than tear down and build anew.


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“Public Display of Affection” in Downtown Matthews


Address: 120 South Trade Street, Matthews, NC 28105 | Get Directions

Usually, we think PDA is a little icky. (Come on people, get a room.) Especially now that we are supposed to be social distancing. (Seeing people hold hands in the produce section raises our anxiety level now.) But there is one Public Display of Affection that warms our hearts every time we see it.

The metal sculpture found in the heart of Stumptown Park in Downtown Matthews titled “Public Display of Affection” was created by philanthropist/skateboarder/sculptor Tom Risser. (How do we get that job?).

Tom is also the owner of the Charlotte-based US Bottlers Machinery Company, a specialized packaging company that has been in the Risser family since 1906. The materials used for his PDA sculpture and other artworks are leftover metal scraps from the machinery company.

We might not be into PDA but we will publicly display our affection for “Public Display of Affection” any day of the week.


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Home of the 90s


Address: | Get Directions

Now this is a story all about how, one creative woman flipped her home upside down, and we’d like to take a minute, to tell you all about this starlet, and how she made a ‘90s palace in a town called Charlotte.

Charlottean Jessica Jones was bit by the nostalgia bug a few years ago and transformed her home into a museum of the ’90s. And what ‘90s themed home would be complete without a Fresh Prince mural? In the words of The Dude, the mural, painted by Inigma, really ties the room together.

And the best part is… you can spend the night in this time machine back to the ‘90s! It is listed on Airbnb here. You can also check out the “Home of the 90s” on Instagram for more information.

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*Images provided by Home of the 90s.


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Open Rice Charlotte


Address: 9882 Rea Rd, Charlotte, NC 28277 | Get Directions

This is approximately how many boxes are required for our carryout order at Open Rice. When everything at a restaurant is this tasty… sometimes you just gotta go with one of everything!

You can find this take-out container installation in the dining room of Open Rice Charlotte, a modern Asian kitchen inspired by the owner’s Hong Kong heritage. They chose the name Open Rice because in Hong Kong the expression “Open rice!” symbolizes family and joy. And you know what else symbolizes joy for us? Two words. Bubble waffle. Don’t know what that is? You better go to Open Rice ASAP.

We caught up with comedian and Open Rice co-owner Bryan Li back in April for an episode of the Biscuit Blitz. You can watch it here.

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White Rabbit Mural


Address: 920 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204 | Get Directions

We want to add a little bit of color to your morning! This bright and bold mural titled “Our Lives, Our Culture, Our Time” was painted by artist Gil Croy in 2012 as a symbol of love, peace, equality, and pride for Charlotte’s LGBTQ+ community. You can find this mural wrapped around the entirety of White Rabbit on Central Avenue in Plaza Midwood.

White Rabbit is an LGBT-centric store that sells books, cards, gifts, jewelry, and a wide array of other products that are perfect for anyone who wants to show pride in their sexuality, identity, or gender expression. It’s a place where everyone is welcomed and accepted, something that the world could use a lot more of these days.

The location is also home to the headquarters of QNotes, a bi-weekly newspaper that is one of the largest print publications in the Southeast reporting on LGBT news, arts, and entertainment. QNotes recently caught up with Gil Croy, the artist behind this mural, on his thoughts about COVID-19 and his artistic response to the pandemic. You can read it here.

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Hugh McManaway Statue on Queens Road


Address: 1501 Queens Rd, Charlotte, NC 28207 | Get Directions

On August 3, we played a game of “Where Are We In CLT?” with our pals at WBTV’s QC Life. Throughout the day we left clues on social media about our top (not so) secret location before the big reveal on QC@3. So, (if you ignored the photo above) where were we?

Here are the clues that were given to our mini Queen City scavenger hunt:

  1. Nobody asked me to do it. But if you need help in traffic… I’ll point the way.
  2. My name is Hugh, but I didn’t work for a bank.
  3. From graduations and weddings to COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter, if something important is happening in Charlotte, I’ll tell you all about it.

If you put those three clues together, what do you get? The Hugh McManaway aka Old Man Traffic aka Gold Man statue at the intersection of Queens Road and Providence Road!

Local Myers Park eccentric, Hugh Pharr McManaway, was the self-appointed traffic director of the intersection. He took his post on the corner every day, waving at traffic, for nearly 20 years until 1976 when he “retired” from the job he gave himself. Hugh passed away in 1989 and was later immortalized in 2000 with the creation of the intersection’s statue.

To learn more about Hugh, watch the QC Life segment as Matt Olin and Tim Miner pay a visit to the dedicated traffic conductor’s golden monument.

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Thanos Mural by Southern Tiger Collective


Address: 927 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204 | Get Directions

We’re in the endgame now. Thanos has assembled all of the Infinity Stones and has set up shop on the side of Seventh Sin Tattoo Company to await whichever Avengers are brave enough to face him and whichever Charlotteans are brave enough to take a picture with him. With the Infinity Gauntlet fully assembled, Thanos has the power to do anything, so we think it’s about time that he snapped COVID away.

Do you hear us, Thanos?! Snap this virus away right now or we’re going to get Iron Man and Captain America to come have a quick conversation with you.

All jokes aside, this beautifully detailed mural of The Mad Titan was created by Dustin Moates and Alex DeLarge of Southern Tiger Collective. If you’re a fan of the big purple fella, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or comics in general, this mural is a must-visit. You’ll love it. It is inevitable.

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Independence Tower


Address: 4801 East Independence Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28212 | Get Directions

Decades before the “Pink Building” on South Boulevard was blinding Charlotte drivers with its unique color scheme, there was another tower reflecting the sun’s harsh rays into the eyes of those stuck in traffic. Built in 1972, Independence Tower is the granddaddy of Charlotte buildings with incredibly reflective, brilliantly colored windows.

Anyone who has been stuck on Independence Boulevard during a rush hour sunset (especially those unlucky few who forgot their sunglasses at the office) understand the pain — and beauty — of having to stare at this dazzling gold tower. So loved is it,  artist Christopher Holston included it in a Zoom background he created for us to celebrate Charlotte. (Feel free to download it and enjoy it for personal use.)

Independence Tower is currently home to the headquarters for Norsan Media, one of the nation’s premier Hispanic media companies bringing Latin American news, culture, and entertainment to the radios, televisions, newspapers, and events in Charlotte and the Southeast.

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“The Wildcat Way” Statue at Johnson & Wales University


Address: 235 S Cedar St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

We need every Johnson & Wales student and alumni to join us in a verse of the official school fight song:

“Wildcats everywhere
Wave your hands up in the air
That’s the way we do it
Let’s get to it
Come on everyone!”

Oh, wait… that’s from High School Musical’s “We’re All In This Together.” As much as we like Troy and the crew from East High, our favorite wildcats have to be the students of Johnson & Wales University in Uptown Charlotte. The university offers a wide array of majors and courses but our hearts (and stomachs) belong to the students and faculty in the Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry Arts programs.

Johnson & Wales commissioned sculptor Mike Fields to create four “Wildcat Way” statues as a way to celebrate the university’s 100th anniversary and immortalize the four tenants of what it means to be a JWU student — pride, courage, character, and community. The other three statues can be found at JWU’s campuses in Denver, Providence, and Miami. The Charlotte statue can be found in front of the JWU Wildcat Center.

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Mr. K’s Soft Ice Cream


Address: 2107 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203 | Get Directions

It’s looking like a hot weekend ahead, so we are preemptively telling you where you need to go get some ice cream (and a burger or two) to cool off. Mr. K’s Soft Ice Cream is an #OGCLT establishment that has stood the test of time on its little corner of South Boulevard. Since 1967, Mr. K’s has been a staple in the diet of many Charlotteans who love the simple things in life. A burger. Some fries. And, of course, a chocolate-vanilla swirl ice cream cone. Does it get much better than that?

Fun Fact: When Theodore Karres started the restaurant in 1967, it was called Zesto. It was in 1971 that the name was changed to the iconic Mr. K’s Soft Ice Cream.

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Old City Hall


Address: 600 East Trade Street, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

Last week, we showed you the Butterfly Highway pit stop behind the Old City Hall in Uptown but… we never showed you Old City Hall itself! In 1924, the City of Charlotte outgrew their city hall located on the corner of Trade and 5th Street that had been build in 1891. As the city was growing and more public services began being offered, Charlotte needed a more robust space to house the different departments.

Construction of the Old City Hall, known then as Charlotte City Hall since it was brand spanking new, was completed in the fall of 1925 on the 600-block of East Trade Street. Other structures that were included in the newly redeveloped city block were the Fire Department, Police Department, and the Health and Welfare Department.

The building was designed by Charles C. Hook, the man behind the Gateway and Century Buildings and Charlotte Fire Station #6. (It turns out that anytime we like an old building, this fella had something to do with it.) He placed the administrative City Hall building in the middle of the land to allow for future expansion.

Turns out that wasn’t enough. As Charlotte continued to grow, more office space was required for our city government and its departments. In 1984, the construction of a new building to house city and county offices was approved by Mecklenburg County voters. Now, most departments are located in that “new” building, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center.

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Butterfly Highway Pit Stop


Address: 651 E 4th St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

We don’t see many summer road trips in our future this summer, so we’re going to leave the highway adventures to the butterflies this year. These butterflies get to take an expressway that cuts straight through the heart of Uptown, never has traffic jams, and has plenty of rest stops to grab a snack and spread a little pollen. They’re traveling on the Butterfly Highway!

The NC Wildlife Federation program began in Charlotte in 2015 with a handful of gardens serving as “pollinator pit stops” for monarch butterflies, bees, birds and other pollen and nectar dependent wildlife. The pit stops are home to milkweed and other flowering plants that these critters need for food and shelter to help reproduce. Over the past 20 years, the natural habitat of the monarch butterfly has greatly decreased, reducing the population of the butterflies by nearly 90%.

The Butterfly Highway program was created as a way to cultivate and protect a dedicated network of pollinator pit stops to help our winged friends safely travel and increase their numbers. As of September 2018, there are 30,000 acres of registered habitats on the Butterfly Highway in North Carolina.

This pit stop on the highway can be found behind the Old City Hall on E 4th Street, directly across the street from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center. Learn more about the Butterfly Highway here.

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Charlotte Fire Station #6


Address: 249 S Laurel Ave, Charlotte, NC 28207 | Get Directions

If you asked us to name the most iconic firehouse of all time (we know you didn’t ask but please humor us), we’d say the Ghostbusters headquarters. BUT if you asked us to name the most iconic firehouse in the Queen City, we’d say Charlotte Fire Station #6.

The charming (it’s not every day you call a firehouse charming) station was built in 1928 in a pre-depression era Charlotte. As the city was expanding outwards from the Center City, Charlotte needed new fire stations to provide fire safety in newly developed neighborhoods. Once the Eastover, Myers Park, Crescent Heights, and Elizabeth neighborhoods were annexed as suburbs in 1928, the station was built to serve these newly added areas.

Charlotte Fire Station #6 was designed by renowned North Carolina architect Charles C. Hook who designed many notable buildings in our city that are still around today (including the Gateway and Century Buildings).

It is one of three fire stations designed by Hook in the 1920s under an expansion program initiated by Charlotte Fire Chief Hendrix Palmer. Palmer served as Fire Chief for 21 years until 1948 and was widely heralded as a progressive innovator in the world of firefighting. He helped Charlotte reach a nationwide level of admiration for firefighting leadership in the 30s and 40s.

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“Cool Globes” on North Tryon Street


Address: 310 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

Many summer travel plans have been canceled this year, but there is still a way you can go on a globetrotting adventure right here in the Queen City. 35 globes are calling the streets of Charlotte home for the remainder of the year and they are definitely worth making the trip to see.

The spherical art installations are a part of Cool Globes, a public art exhibition created to draw attention to climate change and search for solutions. In their words, they are creating “Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet.”

31 of the globes can be found Uptown on North Tryon Street between Trade Street and E 11th Street. The other 4 globes can be found at Camp North End, the US National Whitewater Center, Truist Field (Charlotte Knight’s Stadium), and the Charlotte Airport.

Each globe has a different design created by a different artist, including 7 created by Charlotte artist. One of our favorites globes, titled “Listen to the Children,” was made by a group of talented students from the Trinity Episcopal School Climate Justice Group.

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“Clarity” by Matt Hooker and Matt Moore


Address: 700 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

We would say that this mural has us howling in delight every time we see it, but in all honestly, we usually just stand there in stunned silence in awe of its beauty and detail. This piece by Matt Hooker and Matt Moore, also know around the Charlotte art scene as “The Matts,” was created as a part of the 2019 Talking Walls Festival. Next time you’re in Uptown near the Hal Marshall Building, do yourself a favor and see their mural “Clarity” in person. It’s worth it.

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Furrow by Thomas Sayre


Address: 3750 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28209 | Get Directions

Fun Fact: Wednesday, July 1 is National Gingersnap Day, arguably the biggest holiday of the year, so we thought we would pump the hype up even more by sharing the gingersnappiest looking piece of art in the Queen City.

Every time we pass this installation at the Scaleybark light rail station on South Boulevard, we can’t help but daydream about giant cookies. And no, our diet isn’t going well. Thank you for asking.

All jokes aside, these six large disks known as “Furrow” were created by Raleigh artist Thomas Sayre through a process called earthcasting, which Sayre himself developed. The process involves digging large shapes from the earth to create a mold and filling them with reinforced concrete and iron oxide.

The steel-reinforced sculptures might look thin and fragile but you don’t need to worry about them crumbling like a cookie, each 11-ton disk was designed to withstand hurricane-force winds.

According to Sayre’s website, the installation was “Inspired by the harrow disks used for centuries to cultivate farmland, the forms pay tribute to the location’s agricultural past.”

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First National Bank Building


Address: 112 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

Built in 1927, the First National Bank Building (now known as Tryon Plaza) is covered inside and out with small craftsmanship details that will catch the eye of any visitor paying close enough attention, especially any mythology buffs.

The limestone archways, the sandstone balconies, the bronze doors, the elevators, and the facade with its gargoyles all feature different figures from Greek, Roman, and Chinese mythology and history. A keen eye will notice Zeus, Hermes, Mercury, and Confucious, just to name a few. Also, included in the carvings and designs are different symbols from nature with double meanings. For example, owls represent wisdom, squirrels represent thriftiness, and eagles represent power.

Another symbol that is prominently found across the buildings is the beehive. The beehive represents industry. On one of the bronze doors headed into the building, you can see Aristaeus, the Greek god of beekeeping, protecting his bees and metaphorically protecting the building’s industry.

Fitting for a building where much business is conducted but we also like to imagine that the beehives have a double-double meaning to pay homage to Charlotte’s “Hornet’s Nest” nickname from the Revolutionary War.

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“Unfurled” Mosaic at 5200 Park Selwyn


Address: 5200 Park Rd, Charlotte, NC 28209 | Get Directions

We aren’t sure what the record for the most artists to work on one project in Charlotte is, but we think this piece at 5200 Park Selwyn is a strong contender for the crown. The stunning mosaic titled “Unfurled” is a combination of mosaic pieces from over 52 international artists. With support from 23 grouters/installers and 39 financial contributors, this feels like an Avengers: Endgame level of collaboration.

Unfurled was conceived and managed by Charlotte-based mosaic artist Pam Goode and designed by Lin Schorr of Michigan. Here is what Pam had to say about the project:

“The goals were to provide artists with a public art portfolio piece and to educate the public on the impact of large scale glass mosaics.

Artists were invited to showcase their individual style, adding tremendously to the dynamic presence of the mural. Consequently, the mosaic is filled with unexpected elements that capture the imagination and inspire viewers. We love to play “can you find the …” with visitors!”

Here is a list of all who participated in the mosaic’s creation:

Artists: Lynn Adamo, Tina Alberni, Gwen Basilica, Grace Blowers, Cherie Bosela, Cindi Buhrig, Candace Clough, Robert Crum, Judy Davis, Francesca DeLorme, Lori Desormeaux, Lynn Dubnicka, Amanda Edwards, Virginia Gardner, Suzan Germond, Pam Goode, Janet Green-Althoff, Vicki Hanson-Burkhart, Mary Hinchey, Teresa Hollmeyer, Juli Hulcy, Glynnis Kaye, Sally May Kinsey, Kelley Knickerbocker, Cecilia Kremer, Jennifer Kuhns, Kim Larson, Tammi Lynch-Forrest, Kathy Manzella, Ali Mirsky, Francoise Moulet, Valerie Nicoladze, Patricia Ormsby, Erin Pankratz-Smith, Lee Ann Petropoulos, Sharon Plummer, Flair Robinson, Claire Roche, Karen Sasine, Marita Schauerte, Lin Schorr, Joan Schwartz, Carol Shelkin, Dianne Sonnenberg, Suzanne Steeves, Kathy Thaden, Susan Turlington, Linda Vaden-Martin, Susanne Vernon, Carolyn Wagner, Susan Walden, Dyanne Williams

Installers/Grouters: Tina Alberni, Susan Clegg, Candace Clough, Wendy Floyd, Pam Goode, Vernon Goode, Vicki Hanson-Burkhart, Ashley Hayward, Maria Headrick, Teresa Hollmeyer, Linda Holmes, Grace Kuelz, Beverly Lawing, Tammi Lynch-Forrest, Jason Mabry, Kate Mabry, Kira Pardue, Micheal Pardue, Maryanna Richbourg, Theron Ross, Lin Schorr, Ann Shaver, Suzanne Soucy

Supporters: Laticrete International, Vernon Goode, Robyn Abrams, Stephanie Angel, Cynthia Buhrig, Cheryl Chitayat, Line Dauvergne, Judy Walton Davis, Chrissie Diller, Jordan Duletzke, Took Gallagher, Janet Green-Althoff, Mirka Jucha, Ashley Hayward, Mary Hinchey, Linda Hooper, Debbie Immel, Karen Kobylus, Patricia Konomos, Grace Kuelz, Lagakos, Lucile LeBourgeois, Kathy Manzella, Chad Matthews, Kathleen Foley Mckenna, Mosaics by Maria, Gwen Myers, Rebecca Naylor, Anne Marie Price, Flair Robinson, Jessica Sanders, Kimberly Shelton, Dianne Sonnenberg, Jacki Sowers, Steve, Rick T., Carole Tarr, Ann Tronzo, Susan Walden

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“Belmont Strong” by Rosalia Torres-Weiner


Address: 1035 Harrill Street, Charlotte, NC 28205 | Get Directions

We would like to put in a formal request for a mural to be painted on every street in Charlotte. Life just seems a little better with colorful roadways, don’t you agree?

Charlotte artivist (artist + activist) Rosalia Torres-Weiner of Red Calaca Studio knows exactly what we are talking about! She recently finished her very own street mural, “Belmont Strong,” with the help of her son Brandon Torres-Weiner and assistant Felicia Sutton. The piece is inspired by the people of Charlotte’s Belmont Community, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the Queen City.

As a part of their placemaking initiative, Charlotte Urban Design invited artists to create street murals across the city to illustrate Charlotte’s response to COVID-19. You can find Rosalia’s mural in front of Bloom & Bottle on Harrill Street, right across the street from ACE No. 3. We’ll keep you updated as we find more hidden in different Crown Town neighborhoods.

When we spoke to Rosalia about the mural she clued us in on a little Easter Egg in the piece: “I incorporated several locals in the mural who have tagged me in selfies taken in front of my murals in Charlotte.” This is a reminder to always tag artists in pictures of their work because you might just end up in their next project if you do!

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MORE PICTURES OF “BELMONT STRONG”


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Mecklenburg Investment Company Building


Address: 229 S Brevard St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

Built in 1922, the Mecklenburg Investment Company (MIC) Building is one of the last remaining buildings in Charlotte’s historic Brooklyn neighborhood. Brooklyn was a predominantly black community that existed as a “town within a town” in Charlotte’s Second Ward until the neighborhood was almost entirely displaced due to a wave of urban renewal in the 1960s and 70s.

The MIC Building was a key structure in Brooklyn that housed black businesses, professional offices, and civic and social organizations. It was funded by and named after the Mecklenburg Investment Company, an investment group comprising of black leaders in the Brooklyn community that was created to support black businesses.

The group was founded by Mr. C. R. Blake, Sr., Mr. A. E. SpearsThad L. Tate, and Dr. A. J. Williams.

We featured Thad Tate’s statue located on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway on “Where Are We In CLT?” back in March. Take a look and read more oh his story here.

The MIC Building is still a vital part of Charlotte’s Uptown community with both Studio 229 and the Brooklyn Collective seeking to continue its legacy.

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Thad Tate Statue


Address: Little Sugar Creek Greenway-C3, Charlotte, NC 28204 | Get Directions

In times like these, we need examples of courage and leadership more than ever. Thad Tate, one of Charlotte’s earliest and most influential African American businessmen, checks both of those boxes. He was a leader in the community who owned and operated an uptown barbershop for over 60 years, served as director of the Mechanics’ Perpetual Building and Loan Company and made various civic contributions such as founding the Grace A.M.E. Zion Church, a Brevard Street branch of the public library, and a branch of the YMCA.

He also founded the Mecklenburg Investment Company. It’s building is one of the few that still remain from the old Brooklyn neighborhood. Thad was focused on making Charlotte better and doing what was right for the community. There is a lesson to be learned here, as we all are trying to do what’s best for our community during these trying times.

Thad Tate’s statue can be found on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway at the Metropolitan. The Mecklenburg Investment Company building can be found at 233 S. Brevard St.

Directions: Little Sugar Creek Greenway-C3, Charlotte, NC 28204

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16th Street Bridge Mural


Address: 1301 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28206 | Get Directions

“Love is the bridge between you and everything else.”

Love is going to be an important factor over the coming days, weeks, months, and years as our country attempts to heal and create effective widespread change. We can do this, but we need to do it together.

This mural was created in 2017 by Brand the Moth, a nonprofit focused on uplifting the community through art, in collaboration with the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, now known as Roof Above. Painted by Lane Morris, Sam Guzzie, and community volunteers, including men staying at the shelter, the mural was designed to show the ups and downs of life. The theming and imagery were based on ideas given by residents of the Men’s Shelter.

One passionate volunteer artist from the Men’s Shelter, Preston Flemming, was included in the mural by Brand the Moth. He is the man in the photo above. “After this, I think people in the area will see that homeless people do care about their community,” said Preston about working on the project.

To learn more about the mural and to see more images of the full project, check out Brand the Moth’s website.

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The Gateway and Century Buildings


Address: 402-412 West Trade Street, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

The Queen City recently overcame San Fransisco as the 15th largest city in the United States, with no signs of slowing down. With more people comes newer and bigger buildings. The landscape of our city is changing on a daily basis as we continue to experience this whirlwind of growth.

After taking a quick look into our crystal ball, we think it’s a safe bet that the 2020s will be a huge decade for Crown Town. But for now, let’s rewind the clock to a century to another period of rapid growth in the QC — the 1920s.

The buildings above are a few of the oldest in Uptown. They were necessary additions in the 1920s as the city’s central business district was beginning to blossom. The Gateway Building (limestone on the right) was added in 1925 and the Century Building (green on the left) followed shortly after in 1926.

Over the years, the Gateway Building has housed a bookstore, a grocery store, different offices for various small businesses, and even a piano store. Notable tenants of the Century Building were the Victory Barber Shop and the King’s Business College. The Century was also home to a Union Bus Terminal, allowing for these two buildings to serve as an early port of entry for center city.

Fun Fact: The buildings were designed by Charles Christian Hook, an architect responsible for many recognizable structures in Charlotte and North Carolina. He also designed the old Charlotte City Hall, the Charlotte Woman’s Club, the Duke Mansion, and the Belk Mansion, just to name a few.

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“Inner World” Mural by GLeo


Address: 618 N College St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

Last week, we shared a photo of a giant shoe that was once the base of a float in Charlotte’s award-winning Thanksgiving Day parade. We gave you a clue to where you could find it — near the mural on the North side of the Hal Marshal Annex — BUT we never showed you the mural that is a much prettier sight than a big ‘ol boot.

Buildings that hold county offices aren’t usually the most exciting thing to look at but GLeo, a Colombian street artist who has pieces all across the globe, flipped the script at the Hal Marshal Annex.

Prior to the mural, visitors of the Annex were greeted by a drab two-story windowless brick wall of nothingness. Now, that same wall is a head-turning, car-stopping, “I gotta pull in and see that” explosion of paint and color.

GLeo painted her “Inner World” mural as a part of the 2019 Talking Walls Festival. In our humble opinion, the orange, yellow, and red tones make this mural really pop during sunrise and sunset. And, we’d be more than happy to start (or finish) our day looking at this stunning work of art.

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Binocular Wall at CBI Workplace Solutions


Address: 4020 Yancey Rd, Charlotte, NC 28217 | Get Directions

If there are two things we could all do to make these times a bit brighter, it’s spread a little love and lend a helping hand.

Check in on your friends and family, your neighbors and coworkers, your favorite barista and your high school English teacher — anyone you think might be going through a tough time. And especially check in on those who you think aren’t. Chances are they’re having a rough go of it, too. See if they need anything, even if it’s just a listening ear.

The “we exist to love and serve” quote might be a small part of Charlotte artist Osiris Rain’s Binocular Wall mural at CBI Workspace Solutions but it carries huge significance in our daily lives. We are here to love and serve our fellow Charlotteans, so if you need a helping hand, don’t hesitate to reach out.

These beautiful words are accompanied by an even more beautiful mural of multiple faces looking through reflective “binocular lenses.”

On CBI’s website, they talk about the message behind the project: “True love manifests itself through treating one another with love, dignity and respect. We are a diverse group of individuals from different backgrounds and we must challenge ourselves and those around us to take time to look through someone else’s lens. Only by seeing the world through the perspective of another can we gain compassion and empathy for our fellow man.”

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Mike Wirth & Optimist Hall Say “Thank You”


Address: 1115 N Brevard St, Charlotte, NC 28206 | Get Directions

We’ve been trying to say thank you more. To our loved ones. To our friends. To our coworkers. To the essential workers. To the teachers. To the restaurant workers. To those on the frontlines at the hospitals. To those still creating on a daily basis.

And now we want to say thank you to Mike Wirth for painting this stunning piece at Optimist Hall centered around that same theme… giving thanks.

The installation includes a message from Optimist Hall that reads, “Thank you! To those who sacrifice their time and safety to keep our communities moving no matter what. You are essential and we are grateful.”

We have hope for a brighter future where we are kinder and more grateful for one another. And this painting shows the important role art will play in that future. And, as always, thank you for reading!

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Charlotte’s “Shared Street”


Address: 3027 Westfield Road, Charlotte, NC 28209 | Get Directions

What are we doing this afternoon? As Martha and the Vandellas (and later David Bowie & Mick Jagger) say, we’ll be dancing in the street! Literally!

The City of Charlotte started its “Shared Streets” initiative last weekend in an effort to give everyone a little more space during a time of social distancing. We all need to get out for a walk every now and then to stave off the cabin fever and the city is giving us more room to stretch our legs.

Under the “Shared Streets” program, Charlotte has closed five streets to through traffic and temporarily designated them as a space for physical exercise.

On the program’s webpage, the city says “Shared Streets is intended to support outdoor exercise; create a safer environment for people walking, wheelchair rolling, biking, skateboarding, and rollerblading; and promote physical distancing of at least 6 feet by identifying low-speed neighborhood streets as “Shared Streets.”

The program is currently in Phase One with the possibility of adding more streets in the future if things go well at the current locations. The five streets of Phase One are:

  • McClintock Rd from The Plaza to Morningside Dr
  • Romany Rd (Bike Route 11) from Myrtle Ave to Kenilworth Ave
  • Jameston Dr/Irby Dr/Westfield Rd from Freedom Park to Brandywine Rd

So, if you need us… we’ll be dancing in the street! And remember, this isn’t a pass to congregate with friends and family, you should still practice social distancing.

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Brawley’s Beverage


Address: 4620 Park Rd, Charlotte, NC 28209 | Get Directions

Is it just us … or does it looks like she knows something we don’t? Here’s something we DO know — tomorrow is Friday and that is cause for celebration and the last day of the initial round of stay-at-home orders. And what’s a celebration without a few drinks?

Swing by Brawley’s Beverage near Park Road Shopping Center and pick up a six-pack of your favorite craft beer or a bottle of wine to help you unwind this weekend. (Considering Monday felt like Friday, we are deeming this an essential excursion.) Brawley’s has kept the Queen City stocked with unique brewskies since 2003 and we hope they keep us sudsed up for many years to come!

The mural that graces the outside was designed by John Howard and painted by Scott Nurkin of The Mural Shop.

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Directions: 4620 Park Rd, Charlotte, NC 28209

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Han Solo at Seventh Sin Tattoo Company


Address: 927 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204 | Get Directions

Yesterday was May the 4th, a joyful celebration of all things Star Wars because of the play on words “May the Fourth be with you.” We spent the day celebrating the Jedi and our favorite galactic heroes on the light side of the force. But, now it’s time we come to the dark side because it’s the Revenge of the 5th! Sith Lords rejoice, your day has come!

What day dedicated to the Sith’s nefarious deeds would be complete without mentioning the time Darth Vader froze our beloved Han Solo in carbonite and shipped him off to… Charlotte?

You can find this frostbitten Han Solo hanging out in the lobby of Seventh Sin Tattoo Company in Plaza Midwood awaiting his transfer to Jabba the Hutt’s palace. Being frozen in carbonite might not be permanent, but Seventh Sin’s inkwork definitely is. Head over to their Instagram page to check out their incredible ink creations.

On the outside of the tattoo parlor, there is also a mural of Marvel’s Thanos painted by the team at Southern Tiger Collective and a golden skull mural painted by JEKS as a part of Talking Walls 2018.

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Dr. Mario at Abari Game Bar


Address: 1721 N Davidson St, Charlotte, NC 28206 | Get Directions

Dr. Mario has some health advice to help get you through quarantine: 1.) Wash your hands. 2.) Grab a beer. 3.) Play 2 rounds of your favorite video game and call him in the morning.

This installation inspired by the 1990 puzzle video game Dr. Mario which featured everyone’s favorite Italian plumber trading in his overalls for a lab coat to fight off some fiendish viruses. Dr. Mario has recently opened his newest practice over in NoDa at Abari Game Bar, Charlotte’s first vintage game bar.

The bar is closed for the time being to adhere to the stay-at-home order but you can still support your friendly neighborhood barcade by purchasing Abari merch and gift cards on their online store or by watching their occasional video game live streams over on Twitch.

The piece was created and installed by the Charlotte-based design and fabrication shop 8Lincoln30.

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“Rock Hill” Mural by Osiris Rain


Address: 130 West White Street, Rock Hill, SC, 29730 | Get Directions

Just a few miles down the road from the Queen City sits the city of Rock Hill, SC, or as we like to call it South of South-South Charlotte. The city commissioned Charlotte artist Osiris Rain (@osirisrain) to create a piece to kick off their Mural Mile initiative which is led by the Old Town Association, Knowledge Park and Rock Hill city leaders.

Rain’s is the first in the series which will showcase 8-10 artists’ creative works. The mural, according to Osiris, is to be a “bold, welcoming beacon for the town.” The flower in the middle of the composition is the rare spider lily that grows on the Catawba River. If you step back, you can even see “Rock Hill” spelled out in the abstract shapes of the background.

Osiris is also tweaking his 4th annual Can Jam CLT festival. Instead of holding the 3-day NoDa street art experience like usual, he is using that platform to create a space available to artists throughout the year. As COVID-19 spreads, he wants to provide a safe working environment for artists to complete their projects. Learn more about the changes to Can Jam CLT, here.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Osiris Rain


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New Art at Devil’s Logic Brewing


Address: 1426 E 4th St, Charlotte, NC 28204 | Get Directions

Queen City artists Sydney Duarte and Nick Napoletano have been flexing their creative muscles at Devil’s Logic Brewing recently. The brewery opened last year in late December in Charlotte’s Elizabeth neighborhood. It’s hard out there for many small businesses, restaurants and breweries at the moment, and it’s especially hard for the new kid on the block.

But, Devil’s Logic is handling the situation graciously. They’re keeping up their initial momentum by offering curbside pick up for their beer and food while supporting the creation of new artwork to brighten their customer’s days when they stop by.

Nick is painting the mural above and Syndey is working on a cosmic piece in the same space. They hope that the pieces help lift the spirits of the brewery’s patrons. “We’re working on an inspirational project that shows the brighter side of this time in isolation,” said Sydney. “We are creating artwork during this window so everybody that’s stopping by can get a little pick me up and inspiration.”

We guess you could say it’s a pick me up for your pick up! Props to Devil’s Logic for spreading a little joy and showing their support for the CLT creative community at the same time. And props to Syndey and Nick for their neverending creative spirits! They’re still working on their projects and we can’t wait to see the final results.

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Plaza Midwood Community Garden


Address: 2100 Wilhelmina Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205 | Get Directions

Since yesterday was Earth Day, we thought we’d take you on a virtual trip to a place where the Charlotte community can be one with the environment. The Plaza Midwood Community Garden has graced Midwood Park in Charlotte since 2005 when residents of the neighborhood wanted to spruce up an unused section of the park. Members of the neighborhood come together to plant trees, flowers and herbs and everyone is welcome to be involved in the garden’s activities.

On the Plaza Midwood Neighborhood Association website, they state that the goal of the garden is to “create beautiful, horticulturally-rich space where children and adults can learn about preserving wildlife habitats, gardening with native plants, composting and other environmental-friendly practices.”

The ironwork art rail outside of the garden was designed by Laura Holtzapple of Groundworks Studio and fabricated and installed by Theron Ross of Artistic Ironworks.

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“Aladdin” at South Boulevard Library


Address: 4429 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28209 | Get Directions

South Boulevard’s branch of the Charlotte Public Library invites visitors to take an imaginary trip through books and beautiful public art. This fairy tale inspired piece created by Emily Andress and Jonathan Grauel is a 3D installation exploration of “Aladdin.”

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Directions: 4429 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28209


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South 21 Drive-In


Address: 3101 E Independence Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28205 | Get Directions

South 21 Drive-In was ahead of their time when they made this sign advertising their classic to-go box a few decades ago. However, our health officials might recommend a slight revision to “Take home or take home! Please take it home… we’re begging you.”

If you’re looking to pick up something tasty for lunch while supporting an #OGCLT restaurant, make your way to this drive-in that has graced East Independence Boulevard since 1955. Go grab a Super Boy hamburger, some onion rings, and a milkshake and enjoy a peaceful moment of pure deliciousness.

In a totally unrelated note, should we grow a quarantine mustache?

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Trout Mural by Ivan Roque


Address: 1133 Metropolitan Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204 | Get Directions

The next time you take a trip to Trader Joe’s at the Metropolitan to replenish your quarantine snacks (yes Cookie Butter Sandwich Cookies and Joe Joe’s ARE essential) take a moment to enjoy this magnificent mural by artist Ivan Roque.

“The brown trout and the iris are two native species of flora and fauna here in North Carolina. Both of them being a symbol to community and prosperity a trait that I’ve noticed in all of Charlotte,” said Ivan in an Instagram post after completing the mural back in October during the 2019 Talking Walls Festival.

Speaking of trout, we should add some fish to the shopping list. Three weeks of only eating cookies is probably enough…

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Little Free Library


Address: 3327 Westfield Rd, Charlotte, NC 28209 | Get Directions

Charlotte Mecklenberg Libraries may be closed for the time being (except for their wide variety of digital resources, which we hope you take full advantage of) but there are still dozens of ~much smaller~ libraries in full operation all across the Queen City.

Next time you go for a neighborhood stroll, keep your eyes open for one of these tiny birdhouse-esque buildings and you’ll find a small assortment of books ready and waiting to be read. Pick up a book to take home or pay it forward by adding a few from your personal collection. These little free libraries are a part of a very appropriately named nonprofit, Little Free Library.

This blue jay inspired Little Free Library can be found on a section of the Little Sugar Creek Greenway at the corner of Westfield Road and Fieldbrook Place just behind Park Road Shopping Center. Click here to find a Little Free Library near you.

Be sure to wipe down any books and wash your hands when you get home!

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ArtPop Street Gallery


Address: Charlotte, NC, USA | Get Directions

We don’t want to encourage you to leave your home, but if you absolutely HAVE got get out (or you’re an essential worker traveling for your job) you might as well make it worth it and see some art!

ArtPop Street Gallery allows you to enjoy their gallery from the safety of your own car, as their pieces are on billboards all across Charlotte and the surrounding area. If you need to get your public art fix during these troubling times, ArtPop has you covered because their “street gallery never closes.” They believe (and we believe) that communities need art, especially now more than ever.

Use the paint pallets above to go on your own ArtPop scavenger hunt! How many billboards have you found?

For the map and more information on ArtPop, including how to donate and support local art, click here.

To learn more about the 2020 ArtPop Street Gallery Charlotte artists, click here.

Featured Image via ArtPop Street Gallery


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East Town Market


Address: 5820 E W.T. Harris Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28215 | Get Directions

We miss our daily mural hunting sessions. So, we’ll have to settle for looking through all of our old pictures of Charlotte’s gloriously painted walls. One of our favorites in our Camera Roll is this beautiful piece by Charlotte artist Georgie Nakima. The mural can be found in Charlotte’s east side in East Town Market. Georgie describes the work as a piece of “creative placekeeping.”

“Creative placemaking is about making a place. But, this has already been made. Creative placekeeping is honing in on what’s been here — the history and also the cultural impact,” she says.

You can read more about this project and Georgie’s thoughts on the importance of creative placemaking here.


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Belle Acres Golf & Country Club


Address: 3033 South Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28209 | Get Directions

There’s been a gargoyle sighting in South End! These gargantuan stone guardians protect the Belle Acres Golf & Country Club. (Did you know that there was a country club in the heart of South End?) Affectionately pronounced “Belly Acres” by its members, the idea that the private club/restaurant is a golf and country club in a bit of a joke. Inside you’ll find walls covered to the brim with sports memorabilia, kitschy antiques, and signs from yesteryear rather than the prim and proper decor typically found at a posh country club.

What makes Belle Acres a golf club you ask? It’s the 9-hole putt-putt course around back, that only the best of the best golfers (or really anyone who has ever held a putter” can handle! Between the unique decorations, putt-putt course and casual menu, Belle Acres has been a place where it’s easy to lose track of time while you share burgers and beers with buddies for decades.

Side Note: Belle Acres is a private club, meaning you need to be a member/be with a member to eat there. This makes it the second hardest place to grab a beer in Charlotte, just after the brand new Charlotte Beer Garden. Have you seen those lines?!?! *sigh* Hopefully, we can get into the beer garden once something else new and exciting opens up in 6 months.

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Howren Music


Address: 4209 Park Rd, Charlotte, NC 28209 | Get Directions

Since they opened their doors in 1950, Howren Music has had one goal: to help anyone wants to be a musician, become a musician. In their own words, they want you to “Be a player!” With over 70 years of helping musicians grow, Howren Music has become one of the oldest family-owned music stores in North Carolina and for good reason.

They put the customer first. Whether you want to pick up a new instrument, take your first music lesson ever, or need to get something repaired, the staff at Howren Music is there to help you along your musical journey however they can. They are also passionate about starting musical journies for the next generation.

Their unique rent-to-own rental program lets students rent an instrument on a monthly basis while providing a path to ownership if they decide to stick with it. The program relieves the financial burden that can come with a big-ticket purchase of a musical instrument. This helps more students that want to try playing music make it a reality. Plus, if they decide it’s not for them, they can return the instrument at any time!

(This is how one Charlotte is Creative team member discovered that playing trombone in the 6th-grade band was NOT for him. But, he would like to thank Howren Music for the opportunity!)

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I Heart Rail Trail


Address: 222 East Bland Street, Charlotte, NC 28203 | Get Directions

We love Rail Trail!⁣ You need to see the four interactive light installations that have made their way to the Rail Trail for South End’s “I Heart Rail Trail: Lights!”⁣ The installations run from Carson Street Station down to Sycamore Brewing. This batch of installations will be up until February 29, 2020.

This installation created by Serge Maheu is titled “Passage” and is located near Bland Street Station. Different light and sound sequences are triggered as people pass through the 20 rings of light. Each “passage” we took across the tunnel felt like a short voyage into a different dimension. It was like being able to walk through Space Mountain without any of the sudden drops!⁣

Head to South End’s website to learn more about the other installations and see a map of where they are located. The installations will be up until February 29.

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Park N’ Shop on Wilkinson Blvd.


Address: 3512 Wilkinson Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28208, USA | Get Directions

The ghost of grocery stores past are alive and well. Decades ago, this sign would have boldly said “Farm Fresh Produce Direct From The Field To You” in bright red lettering. Today, you can just make out the faint lettering of a sign from yesteryear at the Park N’ Shop grocery store on Wilkinson Blvd. Back in the 1950s and 60s, this store, owned by Charles Reid, reigned supreme. It was known for its sloped roof, steel arches (which are still very much intact) head-turning promotions and large parking lot where you could park and — you guessed it — shop. (It has a twin still standing over off of East Sugar Creek Road where it’s now a Compare Foods.)

The Park N’ Shop shut its doors in 2004 and has sat vacant ever since, but not for too much longer! Red Hill Ventures and the Roby Family of Companies have announced they are working together to repurpose the former grocery store into over 30,000 square feet of office space (with a possibility for retail, too). They plan to retain and highlight the building’s iconic shape. We can’t wait to tell you more as plans develop.

Interesting History Tidbit: In 1961, conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton, famous actors and vaudeville performers, were offered a job as cashiers at the Park N’ Shop after being abandoned by their manager while touring in Charlotte. (They even had a special booth built to accommodate them.) The sisters were able to slow down and escape a grueling life of constant — and sometimes abusive — performing and set down roots here until their passing in 1969.

Directions: 3512 Wilkinson Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28208

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Amélie’s French Bakery & Cafe


Address: 4321 Park Rd, Charlotte, NC 28209 | Get Directions

Every Monday morning feels like one big puzzle of trying to figure out schedules, meetings, assignments, articles, proposals, events, and if we’re lucky, a dash of social life that all need to happen each week! Sometimes fitting everything on our Google calendar feels like solving the Da Vinci Code.⁣

But we’ve learned the secret to solving this grand puzzle every week… a whole lotta coffee and a French macaron or two (or eight). Amélie’s French Bakery & Cafe has been an important piece of our weekly puzzle since they opened for business in 2007 and started filling the Queen City with their delicious pastries.⁣

There are 4 different Amélie’s in Charlotte, each with unique decor and art, but our favorite spot to work on our “puzzle” is their Park Road Shopping Center location. Happy puzzle solving this week, Charlotte!

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The Papalote Project & Manolo’s Bakery


Address: 4405 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205 | Get Directions

If you make your way to Charlotte’s Eastside, you will find Manolo’s Bakery at 4405 Central Ave. Manolo’s is the home to many delicious sweet and savory Latin American baked goods, and it is the home to this very important mural. Painted by Rosalia Torres-Weiner of Red Calaca Studio as a part of the Papalote Project, the mural was created as “a dedication to the children orphaned by deportation.”

Next time you’re in the neighborhood, take a moment to stop by the bakery to grab a snack and while you’re there, pause to reflect on this mural and understand that this is an issue that affects countless families and children. Art is a powerful tool for bringing public awareness to issues and we want to thank the Papalote Project and Rosalia for bringing this piece to life in Charlotte. Through creativity, we can hopefully create change.

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Middle C Jazz


Address: 300 S Brevard St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

We’re getting jazzy in the heart of the city at Middle C Jazz! The Uptown music venue opened last year to provide Charlotte with a space where jazz lovers could come together to listen and perform. Charlottean Adam Farber founded Middle C with his father, Larry, after seeing the need for high-level live jazz in Charlotte.

Considering the closure of local music venue staples such as Tremont Music Hall, the Double Door Inn, The Chop Shop among others, the mere act of opening a music venue in the heart of Uptown can almost be seen as an act of defiance. A bold gesture in the face of trends, indeed, one that only proves to be even more courageous when the venue in question is dedicated to jazz.

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JackBeagle’s NoDa Mural


Address: 3213 N Davidson St, Charlotte, NC 28205 | Get Directions

It’s no secret that we love mural hunting in the Queen City. It feels like every day there is something new and exciting to see. As much as we enjoy the new stuff, we also love revisiting murals that have been around the QC for a while.⁣

One of our favorites is this enormous piece at JackBeagle’s in NoDa painted by William Puckett, an artist who has covered 10s of thousands of square feet in Charlotte with his murals. The 1200 square foot mural gives us that same “new and exciting” feeling every time we see it because on each visit we notice something (or should we say someone) different.⁣

Over 250 real-life people (274 to be exact) who live and work in NoDa were immortalized in Will’s mural. The result was the largest game of Where’s Waldo in the world, except instead of finding Waldo, you find a friendly face from the NoDa community.

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Project 658


Address: 3646 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205 | Get Directions

“Hope. Restored.” That’s the tagline for Project 658 and they couldn’t have picked two better words. Every time we walk through their doors our hope is restored when we see the huge impact they make in the Charlotte community every single day. The ministry focuses on providing assistance to at-risk families, especially the international and refugee communities in Charlotte, to help move them towards sustainability.

They offer a plethora of services including a culinary arts school, ESL classes, job training, childcare, afterschool programs, and soccer programs. We could sit here all day and list the awesomeness they generate in Charlotte’s eastside so just trust us when we say they do A LOT.

Inside Project 658 you can find all kinds of art made by different CLT creatives, including this mural that spans almost an entire hallway. The mural was a collaboration between Arko 83 and Brand the Moth.

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The Terrace at Cedar Hill


Address: 800 W Hill St, Charlotte, NC 28208 | Get Directions

The next time you’re attending a wedding reception at The Terrace or taking a meeting at the Cedar Hill Building just outside of Uptown, make sure to take a gander at the area to the left of the front door. There you’ll find a reminder that the building, located in the shadow of Bank of America Stadium and the Panther’s domed practice field, was once a bakery for A & P Grocery stores — a whimsical, vintage ad printed on one of the roll-up loading doors.

PRO TIP: The Cedar Hill Building is surrounded by decadent CLT goodness Community Matters Cafe and Potts Chocolate, so it’s well worth your trip.

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The Evening Muse


Address: 3227 N Davidson St, Charlotte, NC 28205 | Get Directions

Who’s getting rowdy tonight? One of our favorite spots for a night out on the town is The Evening Muse over in NoDa. Since 2001, the Muse has been providing a space for independent artists and lovers of music to come together with a common goal … to jam out and have a good time! Artists of all genres — from alternative and country to reggae and rock to hip-hop and jazz (and everything in between) — grace the stage of this intimate venue. It’s a space for fans of any type of music to find a new group to groove out to or see a long-time favorite. Get rowdy, have fun and enjoy the tunes this evening! #charlotteiscreative

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Long Animal Hospital


Address: 2523 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203 | Get Directions

We think anywhere you can add art and a splash of color to the Queen City, you should. Charlotte artist Laurie Smithwick agrees with us. She’s the mastermind behind the “Amplify the Signal” project, which used a grant from the South End Creative Lab to transform boring utility boxes on South Boulevard into works of art.

Smithwick helped chose 8 artists from over 54 submissions to have their work printed on vinyl wraps and attached to the utility boxes. Each artist worked to make their art relate to the South End landmarks surrounding their assigned box.

Our favorite? This whimsical depiction of a dog perfectly located next to Long Animal Hospital, a veterinarian clinic that’s provided care to pets in Charlotte since 1948. This piece by artist Chase Brannock is named “Dog Walkers.”

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Skylark Social Club


Address: 2131 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205 | Get Directions

The King is in the Queen City! We have a Burning Love for this mural and feel All Shook Up every time we see the Guitar Man himself. Put on your Blue Suede Shoes and make your Way Down to the Skylark Social Club in Plaza Midwood to see Elvis in person.

We won’t blame you if you Can’t Help Falling In Love with the mural, too. Suspicious Minds might want to know who painted this piece. We won’t keep your brains on the Mystery Train much longer, it was JEKS who brought the King of Rock and Roll to CLT. How Great Thou Art at creating murals that add a Good Luck Charm to any building, JEKS! We love the Moody Blue you chose for this one.

Jailhouse Rock. Hound Dog. Blue Christmas. Heartbreak Hotel. These are the titles that we couldn’t make work but felt needed to be included. We didn’t plan on using 15 Elvis songs in this post, but we couldn’t resist. (Who are we kidding? We planned it from the moment we took the picture.)

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The Hezekiah Alexander House Homesite


Address: 3500 Shamrock Dr, Charlotte, NC 28215 | Get Directions

Turn on Huey Lewis and the News and grab your powdered wig because we’re going back in time! The Hezekiah Alexander House is a hidden historical gems in the Queen City. Built in 1774, the stone building is the oldest house in Mecklenburg County and visiting the homesite feels like you took a 250 year trip to the past. In 1949, local chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution began the preservation process and a second stage of restoration began in 1969.

The “Rock House” is the main spectacle but the site also includes a reconstructed log kitchen, springhouse, herb garden, and the American Freedom Bell. Located behind the Charlotte Museum of History, a visit is well worth the time of any history lover. And please be sure to take time to check out the Museum of History itself, there’s an abundance of important and interesting information awaiting eager minds.

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The Thirsty Beaver Saloon


Address: 1225 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204 | Get Directions

With the launch of Disney+ this week there is an overwhelming amount of Disney content to stream online, including one of our favorites, Pixar’s Up. The film tells the tale of an old man who refuses to sell his home for decades while developers continue to build skyscrapers around his quaint little house. Did you know that Charlotte has its own Up-like story?

Over in Plaza Midwood you can find The Thirsty Beaver Saloon, a honky-tonk inspired dive bar that has been around since 2008. Just like the house in Up, the saloon is surrounded on three sides. When developers came knocking, the owners didn’t want to sell their bar. The developers didn’t want to stop their project so they built the apartment complex around the honky-tonk. The main difference between the situations is that Up had a talking dog and the Thirsty Beaver has a beaver wearing a cowboy hat.

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Park Road Books


Address: 4139 Park Rd, Charlotte, NC 28209 | Get Directions

Located in Park Road Shopping Center, Park Road Books has been the go-to independent bookstore in the Queen City since 1977. We’ve been coming here for decades because there’s something about being surrounded by books that makes us happy. And if those books are about Charlotte, we are ECSTATIC!

The bookcase you are looking at is their Regional Section, which features books about Charlotte and North Carolina. A good majority of these were written by creative Charlotteans who wanted to share their Crown Town tales.

We know that not everyone nerds out about Charlotte as much as we do but chances are they have books on a topic you DO nerd out about. As holiday season approaches, Park Road Books is a great place to start your gift shopping (and don’t forget to get yourself something, too).

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LaCa Projects


Address: 1429 Bryant St, Charlotte, NC 28208 | Get Directions

The Panthers aren’t the only feline predators in Charlotte. Lions, tigers, and cheetahs have been known to roam around Charlotte’s Westside and if you want to go on a quick safari head over to Bryant Street. There you’ll find a stampede of colossal kitties ready to have their picture taken. This mural, painted by Argentinian artist Franco Fasoli, graces the exterior wall of LaCa Projects, an art gallery that connects contemporary Latin American artists with the art scene in Charlotte. Come visit these cool cats and then pop on in the gallery to see even more incredible work by talented Latin American artists.

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D-Day Monument at Freedom Park


Address: 2435 Cumberland Ave, Charlotte, NC 28203 | Get Directions

There are quite a few veteran memorials nestled around the Queen City that honor the men and women who fought for our county and freedom. Speaking of freedom, you can find three of these monuments in Freedom Park (perfectly named for a day like today). They are located along the main path on the Northside of the “lake.” This monument honors the 32 World War II veterans from Mecklenburg County who fought on D-Day. There is also a CBI Monument, honoring those who fought in the China-Burma-India Theater in WWII, and a Marine Corps Monument. Thank you to those who have served our country. Have a Happy Veteran’s Day.

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The Manor Theatre


Address: 609 Providence Rd, Charlotte, NC 28207 | Get Directions

Grab your popcorn and Milk Duds cuz we’re goin’ to the movies! The Manor Theatre has been a staple of the Myers Park neighborhood since its construction in 1947. You won’t see the latest Terminator or Star Wars playing at this #OGclt theatre but you will find a diverse selection of indie, foreign and art-house films that usually don’t appear on many other screens in the Queen City. With Oscar season approaching, keep your eye on the films playing at the Manor, there’s bound to be a Best Picture nominee or two in the mix.

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Goodwill Opportunity Campus


Address: 5301 Wilkinson Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28208 | Get Directions

From skill development classes to offering dental services and affordable clothing, the Goodwill Opportunity Campus on Wilkinson Blvd. works every day to support Charlotteans and make the Queen City a better place for all.

Since 2016, the state-of-the-art Leon Levine Opportunity Center on campus has provided clients access to classrooms, computer labs and conference rooms. Clients can also receive assistance with nutrition, healthcare, education and finance.

Whether or not you’re using the direct services of Goodwill, there’s a lot for the public to enjoy at the Opportunity Center, from the GW retail store that offers fashionable picks and gifts cultivated from donations to the fantastic (and affordable) food at the Community Table Bistro.

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Salvation Army


Address: 940 Marsh Rd, Charlotte, NC 28209 | Get Directions

It’s Election Day! We are at our local polling place performing our civic duty and you should be, too! The Salvation Army on Marsh Road may be our one-stop-shop for submitting our ballot but it’ll be different for every Charlottean across the Queen City. Don’t know where to go vote? Click here to find your polling place. It’ll be important for today and critical for next November. We don’t want to tell you who or what to vote for today, we just want you to GO VOTE.

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Coco and the Director


Address: 100 W Trade St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

We are at Chocolate and the Producer. No, wait… that not right.  We’re at Coco and the Director! This Uptown coffee shop on the corner of Trade and Tryon is a place where you can chat with friends, get some work done or draw on chalkboards, all while having a delicious drink and a scrumptious snack.

Whether you need to have a board meeting or want to play a board game or you’d like to play a board game at your board meeting, Coco and the Director is a cozy space to do whatever you need to do, however you need to do it. Also, as an added bonus, the baristas have the coolest aprons in Charlotte.

Skip the office tomorrow and bring your laptop to Coco and the Director, you won’t regret it.

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Pinky’s Westside Grill


Address: 1600 W Morehead St, Charlotte, NC 28208 | Get Directions

“Beware; for I am hungry and therefore need a seat at the bar and a basket of fried pickles.” That is our best guess to what Frankenstein’s Monster would’ve said if he made his way to Pinky’s Westside Grill. With Halloween fast approaching, we had to take a picture of the Monster lurking behind the burger joint that has graced the FreeMoreWest neighborhood since 2010. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu but we’d suggest the Corn Dog Shrimp (and Guy Fieri would, too). And be sure to watch out for that sneaky little Dracula hiding in the shadows!

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CLT250 Meter Garden


Address: 600 E 4th St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

It’s officially Halloweek, which means that the world will be united by the fact that everyone will end up watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” at some point over the next 4 days. If the classic cartoon special leaves you wanting more Peanuty goodness, head uptown to the Government Center. ⁣⁣
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In the courtyard, just a few meters from the building (we love puns), you will see the CLT250 Meter Garden, a project created by the Charlotte Department of Transportation last year for Charlotte’s 250th birthday. Each meter in the garden is painted with a different design, our favorite being this one with Snoopy and Woodstock sharing a hug.
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Art Is Everywhere


Address: 900 Otts Street, Charlotte, NC, 28205 | Get Directions

Where are we in CLT? Nowhere major really… we just happened to stumble upon some random art on the corner of Seigle Ave and Otts Street. And that’s what we love about Charlotte. There is always something to see and there’s creativity anywhere you look. The nooks and crannies of our city are full to the brim with art of all types. Today is #NationalArtDay and we didn’t want to just feature a single artist or another popular mural (even though we love those too); rather we wanted to show you that art is everywhere, you just have to keep your eyes open.

Stay curious. Go explore. Find art. Create something of your own. Repeat.

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The Pauline Tea-Bar Apothecary


Address: 2326 Arty Ave, Charlotte, NC 28208 | Get Directions

This morning, we played a little game with our friends over at QC Life on WBTV and had Charlotteans guess where in CLT we could possibly be. Later, it was revealed that we were at the one and only Pauline Tea-Bar Apothecary over in Charlotte’s west side near the old Camp Greene.

This tea house is relaxation central. It’s a great place to destress with a cup of tea and a tasty treat. The apothecary is a cellphone-free zone to help encourage patrons to have uninterrupted conversations with others or to simply enjoy a meditative experience on their own.

And it’s on Arty Ave. How could Charlotte Is Creative and The Biscuit NOT like something on a street named Arty Ave? It’s impossible. #charlotteiscreative


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Timeline at Latta Park


Address: 818 E Park Ave, Charlotte, NC 28203 | Get Directions

You’ve truly never seen the color yellow until you’ve seen this bright behemoth in person. “Timeline,” the sculpture by Robert Winkler, is made from old trolley tracks that were discovered in 2009 during construction on East Blvd. The old trolley tracks used to take people from downtown to the city’s first suburb, Dilworth. Sometime during the 1930s, the tracks were buried and forgotten until they were unearthed decades later. The rail sculpture is named “Timeline” because Winkler wanted to create a piece that would both honor and connect our past and present. Next time you’re in Latta Park at the intersection of Dilworth Rd and Romany Rd keep an eye out for this rainbow of yellow and steel.

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The Mint Museum Randolph


Address: 2730 Randolph Rd, Charlotte, NC 28207 | Get Directions

Hobbits and wizards and Dungeons n’ Dragons, oh my! You can always count on The Mint Museum Randolph to have a magical exhibit or two for your amusement.

Their current exhibition is “Never Abandon Imagination: The Fantastical Art of Tony DiTerlizzi,” and it is definitely a masterclass on imagination. Mr. DiTerlizzi is the artist behind many creatures from Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. He is also known for his books, most notably The Spiderwick Chronicles.

The exhibit also features pieces by four Charlotte artists who are also masters of bringing their imagination to life in their art: Jon Cain, Matt Myers, Mirelys Colón and Wolly McNair. The exhibition ends on November 3 so make sure you hurry if you want to enter this realm of imagination.

Can’t make it in time? Don’t worry, we’re sure that the Mint’s next exhibition will be just as wonderful. Keep up with their upcoming exhibits here.

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beSOCIAL


Address: 1519 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205 | Get Directions

Talk is free and working space should be too. Hidden behind the storefront of Social Status on Central Ave is beSOCIAL, a place for creatives to create, innovate, and interact with other creatives. It’s a space where anyone can come get work done, have a meeting, grab a cup of coffee or hold a community event. In a world where expensive co-working spaces keep popping up left and right, beSOCIAL is a creative hub and community space that is free to everyone and accessible by anyone. 

Photo via Garrick McFadden (@thenatv). For more on beSOCIAL, read our article from earlier this year.

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Book Buyers


Address: 1306 The Plaza, Charlotte, NC 28205 | Get Directions

What’s the last thing you’d expect to see in a bookstore? We’ll give you a second to answer… if you said a single propeller airplane being piloted by two giant stuffed bears, then you are oddly specific and have likely been to Book Buyers in Plaza Midwood. The #OGclt book shop has graced the Plaza since 1999. If you’re in the market to buy or sell used books and want a store with charm, a bit of history, and a pair of bookstore cats that roam the aisles, then Book Buyers is the place for you.

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Ratcliffe’s Flowers at The Green


Address: 431 South Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

Back in 1917, Louis Ratcliffe started a floral business, appropriately named Ratcliffe’s Flowers, at 431 South Tryon Street. The business operated until 1989 when Carpe Diem moved into that location (who has since moved to Elizabeth). 

Then in 2000, things got interesting. First Union, now Wells Fargo, wanted to build an underground parking deck but the building was in the way. Rather than demolishing the historic building, the bank decided to move it while keeping it intact. The old florist shop was moved half a block over and is still there to this day as Bernardin’s restaurant. The bank completed the underground parking deck and added a park now known as The Green

The old building may have moved but the old neon sign still stands at 431 S Tryon as a monument. So, next time you park at The Green keep your eyes peeled for this piece of Charlotte history.

For an even more in-depth look at the history of the Ratcliffe building, click here to read Maria David’s article at The Charlotte Observer.

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Space Mural by Andy Rocco


Address: 1100 Metropolitan Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204 | Get Directions

This mural by Andy Rocco is … dare we say it … out of this world! You don’t need to take a trip to the International Space Station for an ethereal view of the earth, you just need to head down to the Metropolitan in Midtown Charlotte. Take a peek on the side of West Elm to feel like an astronaut. Even more murals will be popping up in the Metropolitan (and all across the city) when the Talking Walls Mural Festival begins on October 16. For more information on the artists and where they’ll be painting, click here.

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Carriage Fine Dry Cleaning


Address: 2447 Park Road, Charlotte, NC 28203 | Get Directions

If there’s one thing we know over here, it’s how to mind our Biscuits … two of them per week, to be exact. Biscuit making is definitely a labor of love, but always worth it, especially now that we know our lives will be gravy from here on out. Find these words of wisdom for yourself at Carriage Fine Dry Cleaning located in the Historic Dilworth Community on Park Road. This #OGClt business has cranked out clean clothes and wise words since 1992. (You can pop by the Red Cross Donation Center next door to give blood and then hit #OGClt treasure, The Comet Grill, for a post-donation snack while you’re in the neighborhood. Just sayin’.)

And remember, always mind your own biscuits, but we’d appreciate it if you minded The Biscuit, too!

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Foundry at AvidXchange


Address: 1210 AvidXChange Ln, Charlotte, NC 28206 | Get Directions

You know, it really grinds our gears when people say that Charlotte doesn’t have an exceptional art scene. Now, we have the most literal evidence ever that people who say that are dead wrong. This giant gear sculpture titled Foundry by Charlotte’s own Rick Lazes. Throw your car into high gear and book it on over to AvidXchange’s headquarters to see this 3-ton, marble cogwheel with your own eyes.

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Dairy Queen on Wilkinson Blvd


Address: 2732 Wilkinson Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28208 | Get Directions

While we’re still reeling from the announcement that the Dairy Queen in Plaza-Midwood is headed for the history books, we’re comforted to know that, when the urge for DQ hits, we can still stop by an #OGClt classic. The historic drive-up Dairy Queen on Wilkinson Blvd. is still crushing the frozen custard until 10pm 7 days a week.

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Blackhawk Hardware


Address: 4225 Park Rd, Charlotte, NC 28209 | Get Directions

Huh? We would’ve guessed that the Aisle of Death would be on 13. Blackhawk Hardware has been a staple of Park Road Shopping Center since 1977. Referred to as the “World’s Coolest Hardware Shop” by many (we wonder how much that has to do with the free popcorn by the door), Blackhawk is jam-packed with everything you could ever need for your next DIY project, remodel or gift basket. With such a wide assortment of products, we always see something new… like this aisle sign that gave us a good chuckle.

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Coca-Cola Bottling Company


Address: 1401-09 West Morehead Street, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

The last time you whizzed down Morehead on your way to Rhino Market or Town Brewing, did you notice that the incredible art deco building across the street at 1401-09 West Morehead Street? The building’s corners along Morehead are adorned with intricate stone Coke bottles and there’s a laser-perfect Coca-Cola logo above the door.

According to a 1987 report by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, the building was completed in 1930 and served as headquarters for Coca-Cola Bottling operations in Charlotte until 1974. It was designed by Marion Rossiter “Steve” Marsh, a prominent architect in the region and its whimsical ornamental details were created by Ornamental Stone Company of Charlotte.

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Eastside Pride Mural by Rosalia Torres


Address: 3124 Eastway Drive, Charlotte, NC 28205 | Get Directions

EASTSIDE PRIDE! Charlotte’s eastside is a strong, proud community with a vibrant collection of cultures and people, and this fresh mural puts that pride on full display. Painted by the uber-talented “artivist,” Rosalia Torres-Weiner. She is known for her community empowering works of art and this mural has quickly become a must-see on the East Side. Make your way over to the Eastway Crossing Shopping Center ASAP to see it in all its colorful glory.

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Sam Mills Statue


Address: 800 S Mint St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

Sam Mills may have passed away in 2005, but his example and legacy continue to stand taller than any building here in Charlotte. As a linebacker for the Carolina Panthers, Mills excited everyone watching from the stands. But, it was his courage and poise in the face of a cancer diagnosis that left a truly indelible mark on this city. Walking around Uptown on Sept. 1, 2019 — the morning of the inaugural Around the Crown 10K — we were drawn to his statue (sculpted by Todd Andrews), standing proudly against the skyline by Bank of America Stadium. His charge to his fellow Panthers, “Keep Pounding,” has become a rallying cry for the Queen City and a reminder to never give up on the challenges that define us as people and as a city.

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Coca-Cola Mural


Address: 223 N Graham St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

It’s exciting to see murals popping up all over the Queen City, but some have been around for a long time — like this Coca-Cola painted ad that’s graced this building at 6th and N. Graham Street for decades. If you’re running the Around the Crown 10K on Sept. 1, try not to get too thirsty as you breeze past it on the way to Mile 5. But, if you’re just walking around, we’ve got good news for you! You can pop over to CVS across the street for a Coke and a smile.

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The McNinch House


Address: 511 N Church St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

When you’re running the Around The Crown 10K on Sept. 1, you’ll take a short jaunt on Church Street just past mile four. For a little extra motivation, look right after you pass the Frederick Building. You’ll see a purple a pink house built in the 1890s — the McNinch House. It was long home to the McNinch family (four of whom served as mayors) and President Taft slept there in 1909 when he traveled to the city to celebrate Meck Deck Day. (Take THAT naysayers!) After careful restoration, it’s been one of Charlotte’s premier restaurants and a place to celebrate special occasions for decades. Which brings us back to the race. Why not get a reservation to reward yourself for a race well run. Just bring a change of clothes — sandals, flip flops and shorts are not allowed. It’s OG CLT like that.

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Rex the Lion


Address: 2229 Tyvola Rd, Charlotte, NC 28210 | Get Directions

A ginormous lion has been prowling South Park since 2007 … and his name is “Rex.” The good news is he can’t move, probably because weighs around seven tons. According to Queens Univerity, Rex, who was sculpted by Jon Hair of Cornelius, reigns as the world’s largest standing lion sculpture as he welcomes visitors atop his pedestal throne at the Queens Sports Complex at Marion Diehl Park off Tyvola Road.

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Denton Burrows Mural on Central Ave


Address: 2407 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205 | Get Directions

Once upon a time, getting lost (or just wandering around) in Charlotte wasn’t that much fun. These days, thanks to the unstoppable work of gifted muralists, there’s a visual treasure to find around almost every corner — like this mural from Denton Burrows, painted on the Mecklenburg Valve building at 2407 Central Ave. (PSSST! Get ready, Talking Walls is coming back with a vengeance this October and it’s bound to be amazing.)

You cam find a map of all the 2018 Talking Walls murals and keep abreast of 2019 plans at TalkingWallsCharlotte.com

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VisArt Video


Address: 3104 Eastway Dr, Charlotte, NC 28205 | Get Directions

WHERE ARE WE IN CLT? Today (August 15) is #NationalRelaxationDay … and we can’t think of a better way to spend it than renting a movie from VisArt Video and hunkering down on the couch with a basket of popcorn. VisArt — located in the Eastway Crossing Shopping Center — is a place for movie lovers run by movie lovers. And, nothing shows that off more than their Jaws inspired return box that is covered in references to many classic films. With over 30,000 titles to rent, there is something for everyone … and no end of expert advice.

How many classic movie call-outs can you spot on the side of the box? Click here and let us know. (Our favorite is from “Brazil.”)

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Dupp & Swat


Address: 1824 Statesville Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28206 | Get Directions

From a dazzling array of new murals to Goodyear Arts, Junior Achievement and family-friendly events on Friday nights, there are a great many reasons to find your way to Camp North End. One of the best is the new Dupp & Swat, part event space, part art gallery and retails space. Everything that takes place at Dupp & Swat is creative and exciting, especially the mural by Charlotte artist & UNCC professor, John Hairston, Jr., (@jagolactus_ on Instagram). Drop by and get inspired. Oh, and make sure to visit their neighbors, Hex Espresso Bar and BLK MRKT CLT.

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Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find


Address: 417 Pecan Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204 | Get Directions

Last Friday, we featured a self-portrait of Charlotte artist, Dustin Harbin, in a mural he painted inside Free Range Brewery. So, it seems on the money to share a photo of Spider-Man & Doc Ock engaged in an epic battle inside Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find, the Charlotte comic book emporium where Dustin used to work.

Charlotte’s friendly neighborhood comic shop was first opened in 1980 by 26-year-old Shelton Drum and founded HeroesCon in 1982, one of the longest-running and most respected comic book conventions in the country. If you haven’t hit this “O.G. CLT” treasure yet, swing on by … especially on Wednesdays. That’s new comic book day.

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Free Range Brewing


Address: 2320 N Davidson St, Charlotte, NC 28205 | Get Directions

All the great artists do it … hiding a self-portrait inside a masterwork. And, Charlotte’s no exception. If you’ve dropped by Free Range Brewing on North Davidson Street for a cold craft beer and a few laughs with friends, you’ve seen the incredibly intricate mural by Queen City artist Dustin Harbin. But, did you know that peeking out from the crowd of characters gracing the wall is none other than the artist himself? You have to hunt for it … and that’s half the fun. Kinda’ like “Where’s Waldo?” … with beer. Sounds like a perfect reason to pop by for a pint.

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Charlotte Pipe & Foundry


Address: 1335 S Clarkson St, Charlotte, NC 28208 | Get Directions

If you’re like us, you’ve driven past the entry monument in front of Charlotte Pipe & Foundry on Morehead Street a million times and wondered, “What is in that gigantic pipe?”

Well, we stopped wondering and pulled over to see. After all, Charlotte Pipe & Foundry is “O.G. CLT.” They were established here over one hundred years ago (1901, in fact) and they are the largest manufacturer of DWV pipe and fittings in the United States. So. what’s inside the pipe? Well … not much. But, this little excursion did satisfy our curiosity & afford us a view of Charlotte few have ever taken the time to see.

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The Pillar of Dreams


Address: 3205 Freedom Dr, Charlotte, NC 28208 | Get Directions

Standing there like it grew out of the earth in front of the new Mecklenburg County Social Services building off Freedom Drive, you’ll find the “Pillars of Dreams” by artist Marc Fornes.

Installed earlier this year, this is Fornes’ second sculpture in Charlotte. His 18,000 square-foot “Wonderwall” adorns NOVEL Stonewall Station on the edge of Uptown.

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Sedgefield Totem


Address: 700 Marsh Rd, Charlotte, NC 28209 | Get Directions

WHERE ARE WE IN CLT? The “Sedgefield Totem” cheerfully greets guests to the Sedgefield Campus of Dilworth Elementary on Hartford Avenue. It was created by artist Paula Smith and erected in 2016 as part of the “Neighborhoods in Creative pARTnership” initiative between the City of Charlotte and the ASC. Read more here.

It’s a delightful suburban surprise. No photo can capture its whimsy and detail … thankfully, someone put a groovy little video showcasing the totem on YouTube.

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Smokey Contraband


Address: 110 Matheson Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28206 | Get Directions

At the SE corner of Matheson Ave. and N. Tryon St. (not far from NoDa Brewing), there’s an abandoned lot that used to be a gas station. On a large blue pole, Smokey Contraband has put up a kick-a** installation of Smokey holding, let’s just say, a filtration device generally used for smoking herbal substances. Either that, or it’s an intricate vase — but if that’s the case we don’t understand why. You may have noticed stickers of Smokey slapped up around the Queen City before, but this one’s next level. Next time you’re headed out for a pint of Hop Drop, keep your eyes peeled.

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Le’s Sandwiches & Cafe


Address: 4520 N Tryon St # 41, Charlotte, NC 28213 | Get Directions

Le’s Sandwiches & Cafe has been serving up mouth-watering Banh Mi to Charlotte since 2004. As you can see from the photo above, Beard Award-winning baker Chef Peter Reinhart is enjoying Le’s creation. And you can, too — if you’re up for the culinary adventure. Le’s is located at 4520 North Tryon Street # 41, Charlotte, NC 28213, inside an unassuming shopping center. Look for the “International Market,” then look for the double doors that take you into the mall. They are located inside the Asian Corner Mall, to the right. Then get ready for something special. As The Le Family puts it: “We feel very honored, humbled and blessed that we have an amazing group of followers in the Charlotte region and the surrounding areas. We are committed to keeping up the expectations, quality, and service in providing amazing Vietnamese Banh Mi to you all.”

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Community Matters Cafe


Address: 821 W 1st St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | Get Directions

If you happen to pop into Community Matters Café during the workweek, don’t be surprised if you find Matt, Tim or other members of The Biscuit team hunkered down for some great grub, rich coffee, and prolific creative output. We love working here, meeting here and chilling here. It’s kinda become our Charlotte Is Creative’s office annex. Stop by and see for yourself — we can’t promise scintillating conversation, but we can promise a gorgeous environment back by a great cause. Photo credit: Garrick McFadden aka @thenatv

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JCSU’s Biddle Hall


Address: 100 Beatties Ford Rd, Charlotte, NC 28216 | Get Directions

Last Friday, CreativeMornings/Charlotte had the privilege of holding the event in historic Biddle Memorial Hall on the campus of Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte’s only HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). Built in 1884, Biddle Hall has served the university as classroom space, a theater, a library and staff offices in its 135-year history. It earned the honor of placement on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

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Standing on the Sun


Address: 2000 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203 | Get Directions

Where are we in CLT? we’ll give you a hint … it’s a stone’s throw from a Not Just Coffee-Atherton.

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EastSide Local


Address: 3102 Eastway Dr, Charlotte, NC 28205 | Get Directions

WHERE ARE WE IN CLT? We love hitting up EastSide Local Eatery off Eastway Drive for a  cup of coffee and a smorgasbord of vegan temptations. The courtyard is a great place for live music, an intimate meetup or an outside work session. It’s also a groovy trip through CLT history with artifacts like this — the sign from The Last Word bookstore, which closed last year.

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Secret TARDIS


Address: 325 Grandin Road, Charlotte, NC 28208 | Get Directions

Where are we in CLT? Well, perhaps we should add, WHEN are we in CLT, too? We love finding small, community library boxes all over the Queen City, but this loving tribute to Doctor Who’s TARDIS just warms our nerdy souls. If you’re visiting Rhino Market on Morehead or Town Brewing, spend a little time exploring the Wesley Heights community with an open eye and a curious heart and you may just find it. (If you see the Daleks … run.)

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