Yearning to explore new territory but don’t have the time or resources to travel? Consider a walking tour of Charlotte or another nearby town.
Even if you’ve lived in the area for years, you may be missing out on some great adventures right around the corner, and there’s no better way to explore than on foot, where you can check out the sites and sounds at your own pace. So park your car, lace up your shoes, and prepare to explore and experience things right next door that you never knew were there.
1. Uptown Charlotte
To help narrow down the myriad of options in Uptown Charlotte, Steven Cole of the Charlotte Center City Partners has some suggestions. As expected, Cole couldn’t settle on just one tour, but did share a list of his top recommendations.
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For History Buffs
The 4th Ward Walking Tour (http://www.fofw.org/walkingtour) offers a downloadable map that includes the Pinewood/Elmwood and Settlers’ Cemeteries, historic churches and a number of restored Victorian homes. After your walk, try lunch at Alexander Michaels, “Al Mike’s” for locals (401 West 9th Street, http://almikestavern.com/) or dinner at Poplar Tapas (224 W. 10th Street.)
The Liberty Walk (http://www.charlottelibertywalk.com/) provides an interactive map that will help guide you through historic spots in uptown. Though many original structures are gone, monuments, signs and plaques are a visual reminder of the role that Charlotte and its citizens played up to and during the Revolutionary War. For lunch, try Green’s Lunch, which dates back to 1926 and serves hotdogs, hamburgers, and sandwiches (309 W. 4th Street, http://greenslunch.com/) or for dinner check out 5Church (127 N. Tryon Street # 8, http://5churchcharlotte.com/).
For Fine Arts Aficionados
Start with the Firebird sculpture outside the Bechtler Museum (420 S. Tryon Street), then head into the Museum, www.bechtler.org, the Uptown Mint (500 S. Tyron Street, www.mintmuseum.org) and the Harvey B. Gantt Center (501 S. Tryon Street, http://www.ganttcenter.org). For lunch, choose a restaurant in Latta Arcade (320 South Tryon Street). For dinner, Cole suggests trying Bernadin’s (435 S. Tryon Street, http://bernardinsfinedining.com/) or Red Ginger (401 South Tryon Suite 130, http://www.redgingercharlotte.com/)
With the tagline “downtown Concord ... just stroll,” it’s evident that the town welcomes walkers. Self-guided tours here can be aided by high tech or conventional means – it’s your choice.
The Concord Downtown NC app can be downloaded from Google Play or the Apple App store and provides a self-guided tour of the historic downtown. Holly Sloop of the Concord Downtown Development Corporation says “beacons” or small wireless transmitters, are located in fifty shops, breweries, galleries, and museums along the downtown corridor and will be activated by visitors’ cell phones as they walk by.
If a printed brochure is more your style, Sloop suggests you visit www.concorddowntown.com/Tour/HistoricWalkingTour.aspx and print the walking tour designed by the Historic Cabarrus Association, Inc. This route focuses on historic architecture and includes historic homes and churches near the downtown area. Hard copies of the brochures are also available at the Concord Downtown Development Corporation, 30 Cabarrus Avenue, West, Concord, N.C., but hours are limited so call ahead to make sure they are open.
For more information, visit www.concorddowntown.com or call Sloop, 704-784-4208.
This quaint college town is an ideal place to spend a morning, afternoon, or entire day exploring Main Street and places nearby.
Highlights include independent bookstore Main Street Books, Wooden Stone Gallery, a functional fine art gallery, and the galleries at the Belk Visual Arts Center.
Stroll through the beautiful Davidson College campus, designated a national arboretum, and visit one or more of the 32 restaurants tucked in all sorts of surprising places.
For more details and links to things to do and and places to walk in Davidson, visit www.townofdavidson.org/1010/itineraries.
When you think of Huntersville, Birkdale Village (16725 Birkdale Commons Parkway, Huntersville, http://www.birkdalevillage.net) may come to mind. Over 60 shops and 10 restaurants are built in a main street setting, perfect for walking and window shopping, even if you don’t go inside. The Village also holds special seasonal events and activities, which can be found on their website.
If exploring nature is more to your liking, Huntersville boasts several greenways worth checking out. The 1.4 mile Torrence Creek Greenway runs through the woods behind neighborhoods off Gilead Road. Enjoy the large rock formation,s and don’t be surprised if you see a deer. One of the access points leads to the Rosedale shopping center, home to restaurants, grocery stores and more. (https://www.mecknc.gov/ParkandRec/Greenways/OpenGreenways/Pages/TorrenceCreekGreenway.aspx)
The McDowell Creek Greenway is unique as it starts in Huntersville and ends in Cornelius. It also links to Birkdale Village.
Though the town has grown dramatically over the last few decades, Matthews has managed to keep its small town charm, and has preserved its historical downtown corridor, making it perfect for a morning or afternoon stroll down Trade Street.
Shop in Renfrow’s Hardware (188 North Trade Street) established before 1900 and still located in the original building. Turn on to John Street and check out the Buffalo Jackson Trading Company (100 W. John Street) complete with an actual stuffed buffalo. Stroll by the historic Reid House (134 W. John Street) a turn of the century Victorian Queen Anne style home built in 1890.
Next try Sante’ Restaurant, (165 N. Trade St) located in the home of the old Matthews Barber Shop, circa 1898. Then head to the Matthews Heritage Museum, (232 N. Trade St.) set in the former Massey-Clark House, circa. 1880. And don’t miss the Matthews Train Depot and Visitors Center, (210 Matthews Station Street) which now houses the Matthews Chamber of Commerce along with displays of Seaboard artifacts and other town memorabilia, as well as the adjoining Seaboard caboose.
A free brochure detailing the walking tour and other information may be found at www.matthewsnc.gov, or you may pick up a copy in the library lobby.