Once an old mill village, the Charlotte neighborhood near North Davidson and 36th streets is now fondly known as NoDa. The area has been a popular arts and entertainment district since the first gallery opened in 1989, and in recent years it has seen a new surge of arts and culture venues.
Much of NoDa’s renaissance has been attributed to the extension of the LYNX Blue Line light rail, which will directly link the neighborhood to Uptown with the new 36th Street station completed in March 2018. Here’s a guide to the best of the ‘hood.
Amelie’s French Bakery & Café is a Charlotte staple with four locations around town and outposts in Atlanta, Georgia, and Rock Hill, South Carolina. The NoDa café is their flagship, though, and it’s open daily, 24/7, so you can satisfy your sweet tooth at any time, day or night.
There’s savory food served throughout the day, but really, it’s all about the pastries here. From palmiers (elephant ears) and petit fours to mousse cups and French macarons, the colorful treats taste as good as they look. Amelie’s pastries were even featured in “The Hunger Games” on the train en route to the Capitol.
In the heart of NoDa, poke your head into Blended Bartique and enjoy a beer or craft cocktail from the bar while browsing the eclectic fashion, art and music offerings. With local art on the walls and regular house music performances by resident DJ Mister M, this is much more than a boutique for apparel and accessories.
The gallery scene that gave NoDa its start is still thriving. There’s multicultural paintings, toys, jewelry and spiritual objets d’art at Pura Vida Worldy Art and alternative, Asian-inspired artwork at Baku Art Gallery, which might inspire you to get a tattoo next door at Fu’s Custom Tattoo. David French is perhaps the most well-known local artist with a studio in the neighborhood, and you can find Charlotte landscapes at Ruby’s Gift.
The intimate shows at Neighborhood Theatre showcase a diverse array of musical styles, from folk rock and blues to jazz and R&B. The building was originally a movie theater when it was built in 1945 and later restored in 1997. The Evening Muse is another inconspicuous venue for live music along with comedy and storytelling open mic performances.
Haberdish is the spot to go to for stick-to-your-ribs Southern fare, including pimento cheese balls, hush puppies, livermush toast and unforgettable fried chicken. They don’t accept reservations, so put your name in early.
Charlotte has a thriving craft brew scene, and it’s concentrated right here in NoDa, with eight breweries within walking distance. At NoDa Brewing Company, try the Hop, Drop ‘n Roll, a citrusy IPA and winner of the World Beer Cup Gold Award. Free Range Brewing and Heist Brewery are other craft beer fan favorites.