The Charlotte Rail Trail is a 4.5 mile pathway that runs parallel to the light rail system (the LYNX Blue Line) and connects Uptown to South End. It’s a really cool addition to the city if you ask me and somewhere that I like to take my friends visiting from out of town. There’s a lot of activity on the trail from runners, bikers and commuters. There are typically dockless bikes and electric scooters along the trail that you can rent at super affordable prices. The most convenient and efficient way to check out the Rail Trail and all it has to offer in my opinion.
Alright so now that your on the trail – what can you expect? New apartment buildings and townhouses are going up left and right along the rail trail, along with restaurants, breweries and shops. There is also a handful of public art along the trail. My favorite being the magic carpet murals. These vibrant and colorful murals can be found at different locations (MLK Blvd at 301 S College Street, behind One Wells Fargo and the Hilton Charlotte Center City; Next to Shook/Kelley office building at 2151 Hawkins Street, north of Sycamore Brewing and across the tracks from Atherton Market; Just north of New Bern station, Next to the Hoffman & Hoffman office building at 2833 Griffith Street).
Check out some of my favorite stops along the trail below!
Luna’s Living Kitchen
This organic restaurant is 100% plant-based and has a location right off the rail trail. You can get anything from Acai Bowls, cold pressed juices, smoothies, shots & elixers to avocado toast (a classic these days honestly), salads, sandwiches and bowls. They offer gluten-free bread or you can opt for the collard leaf wrap.
Be sure to check out their outdoor seating area that sits underneath a string of outdoor lights and is surrounded by potted plants. All. The. Feels.
This new Tex-Mex restaurant in South End is another must try – food, cocktails, ambiance, Superica it has it all.
Although it’s not a cheap Mexican option – it’s cocktails and mouthwatering dishes are worth the money. If you’re balling on a budget, they do offer a lunch special for $11.99.
The restaurant is massive, but if your headed here on the weekend, expect a wait and cool off with one of their signature cocktails at the bar. The most popular? The Superita – Herradura double reposado, comber, lime juice, orange, prince and citrus marinated olives, served Austin-style.
Now onto the good stuff – the food. Campechana De Mariscos is basically a Tex Mex spin on seafood cocktail. Spicy Gulf shrimp, octopus, lump crab, fresh avocado and fiery roasted red tomato salsa). They offer a variety of vegetarian and gluten free options like Vegetable Mita Fajitas and corn tortillas.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
If you still have room after dinner – head to Jeni’s. This artisan ice-cream company known for it’s unusual flavor combinations opened its 34th location last month in Charlotte – specifically in South End, right off the rail trail. Expect flavors ranging from brown butter almond brittle to wild berry lavender. Cones are homemade and baked daily throughout the day. You can also try out their pint flavors available at places like Publix and Whole Foods.
Another one of my favorite things to do in Charlotte is check out the growing number of breweries. Sycamore isn’t my go-to, but it’s food truck scene and large outdoor area make it worth a stop.
7th Street Public Market
This place is located in Uptown Charlotte and is a must try. The Market has a handful of stalls offering everything from fresh pressed juices (Viva Raw) to locally crafted coffees (Not Just Coffee). We headed here mid-afternoon so it was the perfect time to grab a drink (or two) and a lite bite to eat. They have a handful of gluten free food options and 75% of products used in the market are from within 100 miles.