By Bryan Richards
The vibrant Steele Creek neighborhood is located in the southwest corner of Charlotte. This gateway to the glistening waters of Lake Wylie and the Catawba River dates back to the 1700s but has enjoyed booming growth in recent years. Steele Creek is home to some of Charlotte’s best shopping, hidden gastronomic gems and an abundance of adrenaline-packed activities. Just a short drive from Uptown and Ballantyne, its beauty and cultural offerings make this bustling borough more than a connecting point to fun on the water; it warrants its own stop.
Begin your perfect Steele Creek day at the McDowell Nature Center and Preserve. The public park features 1,100-plus picturesque acres for hiking and camping, piers and boat launches for fishing and cruising the waters, and a sand volleyball court for serving up fun. If camping is your thing, chose from more than 56 sites, plus the option of more primitive group camping offerings on Copperhead Island.
When you’ve worked up an appetite, refuel through a tour of international small plates along the culinary circuit at the nearby Ayrsley Town Center. Snack on the mixed tandoori platter from Saffron Indian Cuisine, a spicy arrabbiata pizza from Portofino’s Ristorante Italiano and Pizzeria or tacos al carbon at Salsa’s Mexican Grille. Then scout out unbeatable deals at Charlotte Premium Outlets. The upscale outlet mall boasts an impressive lineup of designer retailers, like Kate Spade, Michael Kors and Movado Company Store, offering amazing discounts.
Once the sun goes down, head over to RiverGate Outdoor Shopping Mall for phenomenal fare. The sprawling complex has something for every member of the family. For fine dining, visit Riverbleu Steak & Fish. The Grand Marnier hoisin-glazed duck breast and fried oysters with Rockefeller chorizo are fan favorites. Grab a glass of your favorite varietal at The Wine Shop at RiverGate. The casual spot is great for tapas and wine pairings, and its flavorful homemade gnocchi will melt in your mouth. Dessert hot spots, like Cold Stone Creamery and SAS Cupcakes, will summon your sweet tooth.
Kick off your morning with inventive egg dishes, like the veggie benedict with seasonal vegetables and a brown butter sauce, at @ Dawn. A coffee shop-style sister concept, @ Dawn is the brainchild of the breakfast geniuses behind The Yolk in Ballantyne. Be sure to order the famous TN (Tennessee) Fries.
Just east of Steele Creek, punch your ticket to Carowinds to get your heart racing on soaring roller coasters, like Fury 325—the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster—and other thrill rides, or make a splash at the new, adjoining Carolina Harbor waterpark.
Enjoy south of the border staples at La Poblanita Mexican Restaurant, where the authentic sopes take the spotlight. Then stroll through the restaurant’s candy shop to pick up a few sweet and spicy Mexican treats.
Lace up your bowling shoes for a night of fun at Piedmont Social House, which is located inside the nearby Ayrsley Town Center. In addition to bowling, board games and table games, like Ping Pong, a kitchen satisfies late night cravings, and three full bars—each with 24 taps—pour out tasty local suds and spirits.
This article ran in the June 2016 issue of Charlotte Happenings.
Discover more Charlotte Neighborhoods.