The Elizabeth neighborhood is a vibrant community just outside of Uptown Charlotte that functions as a fun destination for date nights, coffee outings and exploring. The neighborhood was named for Elizabeth College, a Lutheran women’s college founded in 1897 where Novant Health Presbyterian Hospital now stands.
We kicked off our “How to spend a perfect day” series with a perfect day in NoDa, followed by Dilworth, SouthPark and Plaza Midwood. This occasional series will serve as a user’s guide to different parts of the city, telling you what you should do, see, eat and drink in Charlotte’s most interesting neighborhoods.
How to spend a perfect day in Elizabeth
(1) It’s time to wake up. Order a French press coffee and a breakfast sandwich (might I suggest the egg, cheddar and avocado on rosemary sourdough?) at Sunflour Baking Company (2001 E 7th St.) Bring a book, start the morning slowly.
(2) It’s a thing. Or maybe you’re just in the mood for one more cup of coffee. Scoot over to The Third Place (1609 East Fifth St.) for a pour over to-go, and perhaps a locally made pastry. And don’t forget to tip — this eclectic hangout located inside Caldwell Presbyterian Church was formed by the church, members of QC Family Tree and Friendship Trays to create opportunities for young adults.
Late morning/Early afternoon
(3) Take that cup of coffee for a walk through nearby Independence Park (300 Hawthorne Lane). Did you know this stretch of 24 acres was considered the city’s first public “pleasure ground?” Wander the walking trails and don’t overlook the rose garden.
(4) Hop on the streetcar at 5th and Hawthorne and ride it into Uptown and back. Seriously. Just once. The City LYNX Gold Line opened in 2015 and travels 1.5 miles between the Charlotte Transportation Center and Presbyterian Hospital. It’s free to ride and there are six stops, in case you feel like hopping off for a spontaneous activity like, say, jogging around the Little Sugar Creek Greenway. (Don’t jog alongside the streetcar like we did. That would be dangerous.)
(5) You’re jacked on coffee still and now you’re hungry. What to do? Order yuca fries and a heaping taco salad or tacos complete with queso at Sabor Latin Street Grill (415 Hawthorne Lane). Pro tip: Planning your trip around $1 Taco Tuesday or $4 Margarita Friday wouldn’t be a terrible idea.
(6) Time to answer the question: Why does a wide sidewalk run through the Elizabeth neighborhood with no streets around it? Go see the Trolley Walk for yourself. This public stretch of sidewalk was made for easier access to the trolley that was used by residents to commute into Uptown in the early part of the 20th century. The system closed in the 1930s, but the Trolley Walk remains. (Start at 7th Street, across the street from Clarice Avenue.)
(7) Time for a snack and a glass of wine? Yes, please. Head back to the functioning streetcar line along Elizabeth Avenue and into Earl’s Grocery (1609 Elizabeth Ave.). Best described as a classy bodega-meets-cafe, Earl’s is the perfect stop for a bottle of wine to open (or perhaps a craft beer) and a prepared food item or pastry to split.
(8) Customshop (1601 Elizabeth Ave.) is a must. Dark and elegant, this modern trattoria serves up American dishes with Italian, French and Spanish influences.The menu changes frequently to keep up with seasonal produce. Pro tip: Start with the cheese board, especially if honey comb is available.
(9) Stroll down the street to catch a live music performance at The Visulite Theatre (1615 Elizabeth Ave.). Yarn, The Breakfast Club and The Black Lillies are among the upcoming 2018 shows.
(10) Wrap up your busy day with a beverage at neighborhood bar and restaurant Caswell Station (366 N. Caswell Road). It only seems fitting that you order the Elizabeth’s Old Fashioned, with Bulleit Bourbon, luxardo cherries, angostura bitters, simple syrup, brown sugar and charred or toasted orange. Your only job now is to relax.
Photos: Katie Toussaint, Sarah Crosland