by Kristina Hendley
Tucked peacefully between Charlotte and Monroe, the once sleepy, tree-laden town of Matthews has become an exciting suburb. A quick drive southeast of the Queen City, Matthews promises a day of tasty eats and inventive brews, fascinating arts and thrilling recreation.
Start your morning exploring downtown Matthews. Check out the restored 19th-century Train Depot, which tells the story of Matthews’ rail history. Then grab breakfast at Royal Cafe & Creperie, which has been touted as a top breakfast spot in Our State magazine. For the real experience, order one of the famed crepes or if you’re feeling adventurous, create your own by choosing from an à la carte selection of more than 50 ingredients.
A post-breakfast cultural tour will invite your imagination to soar. A local treasure and creative stronghold housed in the downtown Matthews Community Center, Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts features renowned productions for adults and children alike. Meanwhile, the McDowell Arts Center boasts free, year-round art exhibits, and the Matthews Heritage Museum presents artistic relics that point to Matthews’ storied past.
For an action-packed afternoon, bring your A game to Mighty Sports Center. A host of indoor and outdoor activities, like paintball courses, dodgeball and outdoor laser tag, will keep you on your toes. For battles that break away from the beaten path, try a game of nerf wars or human foosball.
End your evening at Carolina Beer Temple, another gem in historic downtown. Craft beer has become a Charlotte-area staple, and you’ll find no shortage of it here. Shop one of the spot’s 450 craft beers or grab a seat and sip a brew from one of the many rotating taps. While’s there’s no kitchen on site, there is an open-door policy that allows neighboring restaurants to deliver food right to your table.
For morning reverie and invigoration of the mind, body and spirit, book a session at Respira Vita Salt & Sauna. Try one of the unique salt treatments, which incorporate a natural and effective therapy to help treat an array of skin and respiratory conditions.
Channel your inner Van Gogh over vino at The Tipsy Paintbrush. The venue’s unique concept pairs painting with wine tasting. Simply bring your favorite bottle and your imagination for the perfect twilight-hour date or girls’ outing.
Matthews Food Truck Fridays make their much anticipated return this month. Prepare your palate for a parade of varied food trucks serving up inventive dishes alongside community comradery.
If you happen to be from New England or are just a big baseball fan, be sure to grab a drink and a burger at Beantown Tavern, a (Red Sox-supporting) sports bar that celebrates America’s favorite pastime into the wee hours.
This article ran in the March 2016 issue of Charlotte Happenings.
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