How to spend a perfect day in NoDa, from live shows to late-night mac and cheese

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Mac and cheese at JackBeagle's. CharlotteFive files

NoDa has long been known as Charlotte’s arts district, its blocks crammed full of funky little shops, restaurants, bars and plenty of public art.

And in 2017, it was crowned Charlotte’s best neighborhood by C5 readers in the 2017 Charlotte Neighborhood Bracket. So why not set up an itinerary for a perfect day of enjoyment in this fun-filled neighborhood?

Here’s how to spend a perfect day in NoDa: 

Early morning

(1) Start the day with coffee from Trade and Lore (3306 N Davidson St., opens at 8 a.m.). Look for the coziest corder in NoDa once you reach the top of the stairs (turn your head to the right). Settle in with a book, or your day planner, and order a specialty coffee. A coffee shandy with flash-chilled nitro coffee, perhaps?

(Editor’s note: Since we’re being neighborhood purists, we didn’t include nearby Amelie’s French Bakery, which is technically in Villa Heights. But it’s definitely worth a visit.)

Breakfast

(2) Grab a low-key breakfast at Jack Beagle’s (3213 N Davidson St., open at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday). Omelets, French toast, Shit on a Shingle … how can you go wrong? Also, if you adore Jack Beagle’s, don’t forget they are opening a second location on West Morehead Street, in the former Savor space.

Late morning/Early afternoon

(3) Go get a snack at Reigning Doughnuts (3120 N. Davidson St., Ste. 100). Check their daily doughnut schedule to take your pick at this walk-up window, from maple icing with bacon to matcha glaze with toasted coconut to s’mores.

(4) Walk it off along North Davidson Street and pop into the small shops and galleries that line both sides. From local jewelry and art from Ruby’s Gift (3204 N. Davidson St.) to the multicultural flair of Pura Vida Worldly Art (3202 N. Davidson St.), you could get lost exploring in these shops for hours.

Lunch

(5) You can’t go wrong with Guy Fieri-approved Cabo Fish Taco (3201 N. Davidson St.). Whether you’re craving Mexi Slaw, Baja Shrimp and Crab Dip, or Blackened-Mahi-Mahi Tacos, there’s something here for you. Don’t forget to wash it all down with a margarita.

Afternoon

(6) Camp out at the NoDa Company Store (3221 Yadkin Ave.), housed in an old mill house, while the weather’s nice. Grab a beer, some wine or sangria (which is SO potent), and chill out on the front porch, or on the swings in the “zen garden.” Bring your pup to hang out, too. And, if you’re somehow still hungry, you can grab a snack from inside.

(7) If the weather’s not so nice, or if you’re just trying to watch the big game, slip into Growlers Pourhouse (3120 N. Davidson St.). With 14 beers on tap, there’s something for everyone. And, again, if you’re somehow still not stuffed, there’s free popcorn (just ask for it), plus “beer food” like cheese plates and soft pretzels for purchase.

(8) Divine Barrel Brewing has plenty of indoor space (plus hanging plants) as well. Ciders, wines, beers, kombuchas — you have nothing to miss out on here. The brewery is dog friendly, and is no stranger to hosting some live music.

Kombucha at Divine Barrel Brewing. Photo by Katie Toussaint

Dinner

(9) Time to check out the hottest spot in the neighborhood and get some delicious Southern cooking from Haberdish (3106 N. Davidson St.), plus a cocktail made by Colleen Hughes. Start the meal with biscuits and bacon jam, hush puppies, and continue on with the fried chicken and the fried cauliflower steak, for the meat/non-meat comparison.

Late night

(10) Head to Salud Beer Shop (3306-B N. Davidson St., open until 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, midnight Friday-Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday) for a pint to get the night started. The music is always fire (mostly old-school hip-hop) as is the tap list. If you want to meet new people, this is the place to do it. Everyone is beyond friendly and definitely willing to talk about beer. Also, the staff opened a nanobrewery upstairs, named Salud Cerveceria (Spanish for brewery).

(11) Get a taste of Charlotte’s local craft beer scene at Heist Brewery (2909 N. Davidson St.) Beer not your thing? The cocktail list will not disappoint. Fun fact: They craft their own ginger beer for their mules.

(12) Catch a show at one of two live music venues. Neighborhood Theater (511 E. 36th St.) hosts a wide array of local and national touring acts. If you’re looking for a super-intimate show, pop into The Evening Muse (3227 N. Davidson St.), an amazingly tiny and beautiful space that will constantly surprise you with its eclectic lineup.

(13) After getting inspired by real musicians, take the stage and belt out a crowd-pleaser at NoDa 101 (3205 N. Davidson St. #101), which features karaoke seven nights a week, until 2 a.m.

Closing time

(14) Time to soak up all that liquid courage, so let’s head back to where it all started — Jack Beagle’s, which is open until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Load up on some Jack Mac, the signature mac and cheese described on the menu as “kind of spicy, kind of garlicky, really yummy!”

Sounds like the perfect way to end the perfect day in NoDa.

There’s a lot more to explore in NoDa that we couldn’t fit into one day. Add your favorite NoDa experiences into the comments.

Photos: James Willamor/Flickr (featured). CharlotteFive file

13 COMMENTS

  1. Jack Beagles is your recommend for breakfast? Alright, it’s only open for breakfast saturday and sunday, but there’s much better options in my opinion. Brooks or Dino’s for a cheap breakfast on weekdays, if it’s the weekend NoDa Bodega is the jam (haven’t seen them advertise this in a while though). Boudreaux’ has good breakfast/brunch on weekends. Also, Local Loaf should be open soon on 35th.

  2. I swear, does this town have anything else to do but drink? That’s all I see as the focus of so many of these articles.

  3. Noda is not what it once was. The new apartment buildings clash with what Noda is and it will never be the same. Many aspects that made Noda great are gone or moving to somewhere else. There are still some good things though, but Noda has evolved due to monetary influences of greed. Def check out The Diamond as it is just that, a diamond.

  4. Not sure you could spend “hours” at the shops and galleries there, unless you just like standing and staring at stuff. There’s what, four or five to choose from?

  5. No love for Smelly Cat? I surely hope this isn’t paid advertising for the ones mentioned in this post. https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/ftcs-endorsement-guides-what-people-are-asking

    Plus, you can substitute the bars and restaurants that aren’t mentioned here and they are pretty much the same to those that were mentioned. They all push for the same thing — alcohol. All are gastropubs, homogenous and balnd, no unique aspect to them.

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