How to spend the perfect day in University City

Photo by Melissa Oyler
The Shoppes at University Place

University City is rapidly growing and changing. With the expansion of the Lynx blue line a little more than a year ago, additions to UNCC’s campus and the recent news that waterfront retail, café, homes and offices are being planned, University City is becoming a hot spot for Charlotteans.

Here’s how you can spend the perfect day in University City.

Photo by Melissa Oyler
The UNC Charlotte station of LYNX Blue Line.

Early morning

(1) Start your day with a nice cup of coffee or tea at Coffee Cone Cafe (9620 University City Blvd.). They offer a small variety of pastries and green juices, too. Be bold and opt for one of their uniquely flavored lattes, such as the amaretto black cherry.

(2) Once you are able to fully function, hop on the Lynx Blue Line and take a ride toward Uptown and back. Use the time to journal or listen to your favorite podcast as you prepare for a busy day.


(3) Once you arrive back, it’s time for breakfast. Make your way to Famous Toastery (8933 JM Keynes Dr. #2) at the boardwalk. My suggestion is to try the raspberry walnut pancakes combo.

Late morning/early afternoon

(4) While you are still at the boardwalk, it’s time to walk off some of that breakfast. Take a few laps around the lake and take in the view. When that gets boring, rent a paddleboat from Dave’s Paddleboats, right outside of Famous Toastery, to kick things up a notch.

(5) Next, hop in your car and take the short drive over to the Belgate Shopping Center (8150 Ikea Blvd.) for a little retail therapy. You can find popular stores such as Ikea, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Old Navy and Ulta.

[Related: How to spend the perfect day in Elizabeth]


(6) By this time, you have worked up an appetite for lunch. Just a short distance away is a hidden gem, Veltree, the Vegan Experience (7945 N. Tryon St., Unit 110). My go-to order at the busy takeout spot is the beyond cheeseburger with Bac’n and a side of fries.

[Related: This black-owned, women-owned vegan soul food cafe is looking for a second spot]

(7) If you want a little something sweet after lunch, Ninety’s Sandwiches and Ice Cream (9009 J M Keynes Dr., #4) is your place.

Courtesy of Ninety’s Ice Cream

Afternoon/ Early evening

(8) Spend your afternoon getting some much needed TLC. Different By Design hair salon (440 E McCullough Dr., #215) can create any cut, color and style requested. If you’re going to get your hair done, it’s only right that your nails and toes get a little love, too. Elevation Beauty and Nail Spa (8821 JW Clay Blvd., Suite 5) is new to the area — and they even offer vegan polishes.


(9) If it’s a Tuesday or you have taste for tacos, check out the University City location of Que Onda Tacos (9601 N. Tryon St., Suite K). If tacos aren’t your thing, there are several other restaurants around the boardwalk you could try.

[Related: How to spend the perfect day in Plaza Midwood]


(10) Now that you’ve had a full day, it’s time to sit back and unwind. The Wine Vault (9009 J M Keynes Dr., Suite 1) will pour up your favorite red or white as you relax on their sidewalk patio. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to enjoy the sounds of live music, too. Before you head home, it’s only right that you stop by Insomnia Cookies (9211 N Tryon St., Space 4 ) to grab an assortment of cookies to take home.

There’s so much more to explore in University City, but we couldn’t fit it all in one day. Add your favorite UC experiences into the comments.


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