Happy, happy Friday!!!
Summer is definitely in full swing. In honor of the hot, humid weather (and crossing my fingers for no more rain!) this week I’m writing about some of my favorite summer spots in Charlotte.
The Whitewater Center is the spot to go if you are looking for adventure and a place to cool off. Even though it’s the training spot for the US Olympic Whitewater Team, the center is open to the public for all kinds of outdoor activities: whitewater rafting, flat water kayaking (on the Catawba River), stand up paddle boarding, zip lines, ropes courses, mountain biking, rock climbing and much more. I had the chance to go there last weekend with a friend and we had a blast! (I still had a blast even though I was thrown from the raft in the middle of our second raft excursion and got a little discombobulated). The best way to check it out is by buying the All Sport Pass so you can have unlimited access to most of the Whitewater Center’s activities–including rafting! (we went twice in one day with our pass). Besides activities, the Whitewater Center has a full service restaurant, the River’s Edge Bar and Grill, which isn’t too expensive and cooks up a variety of good food and has a wide selection of craft beer. The Whitewater Center also hosts River Jam, a concert series, every Thursday and Sunday and they have a variety of festivals and other things (like microbrews cruise and zip line and dine) throughout the summer.
South End is the place to be on Fridays from 5 to 9pm. In the lot on Camden (just behind Common Market) a group of the area’s food trucks gather for a festival of sorts coined as Food Truck Friday. There’s a dinner for every diner, from tacos at The Tin Kitchen, to burgers at Auto Burger and Fry Guys, or grilled cheese at Papi Queso. And you can’t forget dessert, cupcakes from Southern Cake Queen or ice cream from Sticks and Cones. Swing by the Common Market before or after for a beer or two.
The Charlotte Food Truck Community is constantly growing, and Food Truck Friday has become so popular you have to get there early! Luckily there’s always Sizzlin’ Saturday (at the same location) as well as Chow Down Uptown (on certain Thursdays across from 7th Street Public Market) so you can get your food truck fix. Look for food truck events on Twitter by following @cltfoodtrucks.
I had a blast at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery in early June at the Charlotte Brewers’ Festival. Olde Mecklenburg is a great place to cool off on a summer Saturday or Sunday: they offer free brewery tours every Saturday and Sunday at 2, 3 and 4pm. The two tours I’ve been on have been fabulous, the guides are funny and informative. Get there a little early for your tour and hang out in their Brauhaus and tap room, and try a variety of their beers and grab some food. Stay after the tour and relax in the Biergarten, drink some more and play a game of corn hole.
Jeff’s Bucket Shop has become the new go-to spot for my friends and me on weekend nights. It blends in along the Montford strip, but don’t underestimate its strip mall, basement charm. Down there is a small, no fuss no muss dive bar serving up cold beers and karaoke. I think we’ve been 3 times in the last few weeks, and each time I grab a PBR and get ready to listen to some sweet (generally, not so sweet) tunes (the best was when the owner of the place gave us free jello shots…um hello college, and then serenaded everyone with Wagon Wheel). If you’re looking for a fun summer night out, add Jeff’s to your list.
Whiskey Warehouse has one of my favorite patios in Charlotte. With a wonderful view of Uptown, it’s a great place to unwind after a long day of work or to gear up for a fun Saturday night. It’s the perfect place for sipping a whiskey ginger and hanging out with friends.