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NDL

Visiting Charlotte For The 2nd Time

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Last fall, my Wife & I visited Charlotte for the first time, and were taken by the cleanliness and beauty of the city, and with the great people who live there! There is something to be said about southern hospitality :).

Here's the one (and only) thing that we missed: a walkable main street/avenue/boulevard in each respective (charlotte) neighborhood, much like you'd find in NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, etc.

Did I miss something? We're not into the NoDa scene, but hoped for more a 'family oriented' walkable area.

Thanks in advance, for any suggestions! Also, are there any family friendly attractions/museums not to be missed?

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East Boulevard and Dilworth are very walkable though what it has to offer is somewhat limited. Good cafes and restaurants, some shopping during the day. Freedom Park is in the neighborhood and is a beautiful urban park. Uptown is great as well, but also limited in shopping -- great to people watch and dine though. (our shopping doesn't tend to be in walkable areas but in malls -- there is a scattering in these areas, but not a lot).

Plaza-Midwood does have some good shopping along Central Avenue at Thomas Street and Pecan. Cool antique stores, vintage clothing, new clothing, and good local non-chain food. This area is only a mile or two from the middle of uptown.

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I wish we could fast forward to about 9 months from now b/c you would have a number of completed projects in uptown that would be worth visiting by themselves like the Arts & Cultural Campus where they are building the new Duke Energy Center along with the Nascar Hall of Fame. However there are still some notable places such as the Discovery Place (great for kids).

In South End there are some boutique shops there along with some art galleries. Places like Phat Burrito and Price's Chicken Coup are definitely signature eats.

Some of the things that Charlotte_native mentioned are good as well... Also, I would add the US Whitewater Center. It's a great place to check out for kayaking, white water rafting, hiking, etc... Very family friendly.

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I will second Price's Chicken Coup, which is right off the light rail line in SouthEnd. They are only open for lunch, but boy if you like fried chicken they are hands down the best I have ever eaten. And it's pretty cheap, too.

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Although it's a little farther out on 77 you can't get more "main street" than Davidson. The commercial district is small but there are several good locally owned restaurants to choose from and a couple galleries and stores. It's very Norman Rockwell, to me it's a New England village surrounded by the South. I go there when I miss my old trips to Vermont. A nice way to spend a lazy afternoon.

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Thank you all, for your very helpful replies!

Davidson looks like a sure bet, as does Prices Chicken (meant to visit Price's last time around)...

I'll also add Dilworth and South End on my list.

Thanks everyone!

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......

Did I miss something? We're not into the NoDa scene, but hoped for more a 'family oriented' walkable area.

Thanks in advance, for any suggestions! Also, are there any family friendly attractions/museums not to be missed?

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I really don't think Charlotte has what the original poster is after (hence I understand Monsoon's suggestion of Greenville, which is suprisingly nice to those who haven't been). I do agree that Davidson is probably the closest. If the poster is envisioning something like the many new town centers surrounding DC (i.e. Reston or Bethesda) or places like Santana Row in San Jose, it really doesn't exist in the city limits. If you are looking for something truly authentic like Newbury or Charles streets in Boston, then there is nothing even remotely comparable for more than 2 blocks in the length.

I find South End and Dilworth too disjointed to enjoyably spend my leisure time strolling. Honestly, I only find Tryon St. enjoyable for strolling, and really only because the street scape is well activated and it has the highest concentration of other pedestrians, not because there is all that much to actually see.

I love Charlotte, but if I were a typical visitor, I couldn't imagine spending much time away from my car, especially outside of downtown.

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Well said, atlrvr.

It's ironic that Tryon Street looks and feels like it should be the shopping/strolling district and yet it isn't.

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I love Charlotte, but if I were a typical visitor, I couldn't imagine spending much time away from my car, especially outside of downtown.

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If Elizabeth Ave ever gets it's act together I think it could be a great candidate for a stroll district with a larger storefront retail/restaurant scene so needed in this town. Won't be as extensive as other cities we know but could be more than Thomas&Camden, and Davidson if done right. The streetcar would help.

Epicentre really does not fill this niche and it's a big deficiency with visitors. I love walking from my apt up and down East Blvd but it does lack cohesion. A little bit up here, a little bit down there, Southend is still small but I like the clustering of the businesses. Gives them more of a tangible identity.

Mooresville is usually off my radar but I happened to pass through their old downtown a few weeks ago. Had no idea what was there. They are not done restoring it yet but I was pleasantly surprised by how extensive their Main Street is. And how much has been preserved. A few places are up and running but I coud see how the enconomy has slowed down some other expected openings. Could become more popular in the future.

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It depends on if the visitor is suburban minded or urban minded. I've had friends who've visited who have though the best parts of Charlotte were walking around NoDa and Plaza-Midwood. Others would just rather park their suv at Southpark and go shopping. Southend is walkable but I agree it and Dilworth are a bit disjointed.

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I live in Cornelius. I can walk to over a dozen restaurants including Italian, Greek, Indian, Thai, BBQ, Chinese, Mexican, southern, and Spanish (if you consider tapas places Spanish). Additionally, I can walk to a dozen bars or all types and a couple on the lake. Also within walking distance are doctor offices, health spas, banks, grocery stores (Whole Foods and Harris Teeter) and all other ammenities. Finally, I can walk Jetton Park which is on the lake and a truly lovely, shadded experience. The town of cornelius has sidewalks everywhere and simply the best. Voyager 12 mentioned Davidson. It is next to Cornelius. It is a nice, quaint college town but not as lively as Cornelius.

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I live in Cornelius. I can walk to over a dozen restaurants including Italian, Greek, Indian, Thai, BBQ, Chinese, Mexican, southern, and Spanish (if you consider tapas places Spanish). Additionally, I can walk to a dozen bars or all types and a couple on the lake. Also within walking distance are doctor offices, health spas, banks, grocery stores (Whole Foods and Harris Teeter) and all other ammenities. Finally, I can walk Jetton Park which is on the lake and a truly lovely, shadded experience. The town of cornelius has sidewalks everywhere and simply the best. Voyager 12 mentioned Davidson. It is next to Cornelius. It is a nice, quaint college town but not as lively as Cornelius.

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I live in Cornelius. I can walk to over a dozen restaurants including Italian, Greek, Indian, Thai, BBQ, Chinese, Mexican, southern, and Spanish (if you consider tapas places Spanish). Additionally, I can walk to a dozen bars or all types and a couple on the lake. Also within walking distance are doctor offices, health spas, banks, grocery stores (Whole Foods and Harris Teeter) and all other ammenities. Finally, I can walk Jetton Park which is on the lake and a truly lovely, shadded experience. The town of cornelius has sidewalks everywhere and simply the best. Voyager 12 mentioned Davidson. It is next to Cornelius. It is a nice, quaint college town but not as lively as Cornelius.

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With regard to the Central Ave. corridor, thought not as walkable as it should be, it is simply not in ruin as some would portray it. The shopping center down by the tracks is owned by an individal who refuses to sell though approached many times, there are tenants there except for the one on the Central end. There are no other abandoned strip malls in the area, The center on Plaza and Central is totally full, Eastway Crossing is full except for maybe one tenant space, with a new one coming in. Three new restaurants have opened in the last 4 months and three new clubs, not to mention a host of stores, and this in a bad economy.

The Plaza was a great 1940's theater with a wonderful neon sign, that was a loss and classic First Union move to simply tear it down. Little Italy is closed, the owners retired with no one to take over the business. There has been talk of a new restaurant in its place.

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I'm sure you mean *Fresh Market, not Whole Foods. There is no Whole Foods in Cornelius, much less the greater Charlotte area.

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Are all of these places in a pedestrian friendly area or in a strip mall?

I might need to take a trip to Cornelius to check it out.

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I recommend going to Greenville, SC for a much better experience in this regard.

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I really don't think Charlotte has what the original poster is after (hence I understand Monsoon's suggestion of Greenville, which is suprisingly nice to those who haven't been).

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It depends on if the visitor is suburban minded or urban minded. I've had friends who've visited who have though the best parts of Charlotte were walking around NoDa and Plaza-Midwood. Others would just rather park their suv at Southpark and go shopping. Southend is walkable but I agree it and Dilworth are a bit disjointed.

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I live in Cornelius. I can walk to over a dozen restaurants including Italian, Greek, Indian, Thai, BBQ, Chinese, Mexican, southern, and Spanish (if you consider tapas places Spanish). Additionally, I can walk to a dozen bars or all types and a couple on the lake. Also within walking distance are doctor offices, health spas, banks, grocery stores (Whole Foods and Harris Teeter) and all other ammenities. Finally, I can walk Jetton Park which is on the lake and a truly lovely, shadded experience. The town of cornelius has sidewalks everywhere and simply the best. Voyager 12 mentioned Davidson. It is next to Cornelius. It is a nice, quaint college town but not as lively as Cornelius.

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