Your Guide to the Light Rail in Charlotte
Whether you’re new to the light rail system or a regular rider, here's where to eat, drink and explore near each of the 26 stations along the LYNX Blue Line.
by Kristen Moore
The LYNX Blue Line light rail has been a game-changer for Charlotteans since its operations began in 2007 with 15 stations linking the south side of I-485 to Uptown. In 2018, the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) added an extension, connecting Uptown to UNC Charlotte and bringing the total north-to-south route to 18.9 miles with 26 stations, including 10 park-and-ride locations.
From getting a taste of the Queen City’s culinary scene to treating yourself to new finds at a locally owned boutique, there’s a variety of experiences to enjoy at each stop. Before you start exploring, download the CATS-Pass mobile app to purchase your tickets and plan your trip, as well as the CATS Art in Transit mobile app to learn about the art along your ride.
Eastway/Hidden Valley/University City
The northernmost light rail station takes you to UNC Charlotte’s main campus on Cameron Boulevard, providing easy access for students to get to and from campus and for visitors to explore. Stroll through the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens, cheer on the Charlotte 49ers at a game and watch shows at the university’s performing arts venues.
Eat & Drink: Bojangles, Chick-fil-A Express, Thoughtful Cup, Panda Express, Salsarita’s, Mamma Leone’s, Charlotte Greens and other on-campus options.
Start or end your light rail excursion at the JW Clay Station, which has a parking deck with 800 spaces. Take the pedestrian bridge to cross over to North Tryon Street toward the UNC Charlotte campus. Or head in the other direction to explore the food, drinks and fun at The Shoppes at University Place.
Eat & Drink: Golden Owl Tavern, Sarangi: Indian and Nepali Cuisine, Famous Toastery, CAVA, Binki Cafe Charlotte, Ninety’s Milkshake Bar, Boardwalk Billy’s, Zapata’s Mexican Restaurant, Armored Cow Brewing Co.
Just before the intersection of North Tryon Street and East W.T. Harris Boulevard, hop off at the McCullough Station for a taste of local eats and a game of mini golf.
Eat & Drink: Banh Mi Brothers, Picasso’s Sports Cafe, Le Kebab Grill, Thai House - University, Showmars, King Fish Poke, The Juicy Crab, Jerk & Juice, Tea Fusion Café, Chex Grill & Wings, Papi’s Puerto Rican Cuisine, Crackin’ Crawfish, Soul Central
Do: McCullough Commons shopping center, Monster Mini Golf Charlotte
Stay: Hampton Inn Charlotte - University Place, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Charlotte/University Place, Holiday Inn Charlotte University, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Charlotte NE - University Area, Extended Stay America - Charlotte - University Place, Extended Stay America - Charlotte - University Place - E. McCullough Dr., Sleep Inn University Place
Hop off the train at the University City Boulevard Station and head to the only IKEA in the Carolinas for home décor inspiration and Swedish meatballs. This area is a popular retail destination for locals searching for clothing, accessories, furniture and more at the surrounding shopping centers. Or have a fun day or evening out at Topgolf. This station also offers a parking deck with more than 1,500 spots, as well as short- and long-term bike racks.
Eat & Drink: Mi Pueblo Mexican Grill, Waffle House, Outback Steakhouse
Stay: WoodSpring Suites Charlotte - University Research Park, Comfort Suites University - Research Park, InTown Suites Extended Stay Select Charlotte NC - University
Located between east Charlotte and University City, the Tom Hunter Station has several authentic local Latin restaurants close by that are worthy of a quick stop.
Eat & Drink: La Casita, El Taco Veloz, Panaderia Odalys, Ely Tortilleria, La Michoacana Natural Ice Cream
Do: Fashion Warehouse, Tapers Barbershop
Explore the east side of Charlotte at spots near the Old Concord Road Station. Start your journey here by using one of 332 park-and-ride spots or grab a quick ride share from the station to Eastway Park, which features a state-of-the-art recreation center, disc golf, athletic fields, community art and more.
Eat & Drink: Tryon House Restaurant, American Deli, Mr. Seafood, La Zima Bar, Lempira Restaurant
Do: Eastway Park/Eastway Regional Recreation Center, AMF University Lanes
If you need an easy place to park to get to NoDa, grab one of the more than 600 parking spots at Sugar Creek Station, then hop on the light rail to head to your destination. While you’re here, don’t skip over the culinary and cultural experiences available near this station.
Do: The Independent Picture House, Blackbox Theater, Charlotte Art League, The Fitness Factory of Charlotte
Explore all the fun and funky restaurants, bars and shops the NoDa neighborhood offers by hopping off at the 36th Street Station. This station is right in the heart of North Davidson Street, which is the main street that runs through the district and gives the neighborhood is nickname.
Eat & Drink: The Chamber by Wooden Robot, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Idlewild, Amélie’s French Bakery & Café, The Exchange at 36th, Boudreaux’s Louisiana Kitchen, Salud Cerveceria, Smelly Cat Coffee, NoDa Company Store, Cabo Fish Taco, JackBeagle’s NoDa, Protagonist Beer, Popbar, Growlers Pourhouse, Ever Andalo, Haberdish, Reigning Doughnuts, The Goodyear House, Oh My Soul
While not on NoDa’s main strip, the 25th Street Station provides access to much of Charlotte’s up-and-coming Mill District. Stop by Charlotte’s newest food hall, Urban District Market, to grab a bite to eat or visit old favorites like NoDa Brewing Company’s OG location.
Parkwood Station provides access to the quickly developing Optimist Park neighborhood between Uptown and NoDa. Start your experience at Optimist Hall, the largest food hall in the city, then explore surrounding eateries, bars and parks while enjoying a skyline view.
This Uptown station is the most northern stop before the train crosses I-277 from NoDa. Situated near First Ward Park and UNC Charlotte Center City, this station provides access to several restaurants, along with arts and culture attractions, in the First and Fourth Wards.
This station sits next to the 7th Street Parking Deck for easy parking and is right in front of The Market at 7th Street, the city’s first urban food hall and retail space.
Eat & Drink: The Market at 7th Street, Duckworth’s Grill & Taphouse, The Cellar at Duckworth’s, The Capital Grille, 204 North Kitchen & Cocktails, Rí Rá Irish Pub, Church + Union, Sophia’s Lounge, Dandelion Market, Cowbell Burger & Whiskey Bar, Sea Level NC, Mert’s Heart & Soul, 7th Restaurant & Lounge
Just two blocks down from Trade and Tryon Streets, the main intersection where the city was originally founded, the Charlotte Transportation Center (CTC)/Arena Station gives riders easy access to restaurants, bars, hotels and Spectrum Center, the home of the NBA Charlotte Hornets and the largest indoor concert venue in the city.
Stay: AC Hotel Charlotte City Center, Residence Inn Charlotte City Center, Aloft Charlotte Uptown, The Ritz-Carlton, Omni Charlotte Hotel, Charlotte Marriott City Center, Grand Bohemian Hotel Charlotte, Hyatt House Charlotte Center City
If you're coming from the south, you’ll ride the light rail through the Charlotte Convention Center. The LYNX Blue Line is one of the only light rail systems in the country that cuts through a building. Hop off and head to your next destination, such as museums, parks, restaurants and more all within walking distance.
Stay: Hilton Charlotte Uptown, Embassy Suites by Hilton Charlotte Uptown, Hyatt Place Charlotte Downtown, Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel, Hilton Garden Inn Charlotte Uptown, Hampton Inn Charlotte Uptown, Le Méridien Charlotte, Sheraton Charlotte Hotel
The Brooklyn Village Station is located above The Westin’s parking deck and connected to the Whole Foods on Brooklyn Village Avenue, a street named to honor the historic African-American neighborhood that once occupied this area of Uptown. The southernmost stop in Uptown, it’s just a short walk to multiple museums and Bank of America Stadium, home of the NFL Carolina Panthers and MLS Charlotte FC.
Carson Station is the northernmost stop in South End from Uptown. This station is the perfect spot to start exploring this buzzing neighborhood, filled with breweries, bars and restaurants.
Eat & Drink: Charlotte Beer Garden, HopFly Brewing Company, Resident Culture South End, Ruby Sunshine, Craft Tasting Room & Growler Shop, Lincoln Street Kitchen & Cocktails, Nikko Japanese Restaurant, Capishe Real Italian Kitchen, The Good Wurst Company
Another popular spot in South End, Bland Street Station offers riders a variety of cultural and culinary experiences just a short walk away.
Eat & Drink: Slate Charlotte, Tavern on the Tracks, Oak Room, All American Pub, Hot Taco, Futo Buta, Wooden Robot Brewery, Vana, Golden Cow Creamery, Flower Child, Condado Tacos, Gin Mill, The Brickyard, Hoppin’, Lincoln’s Haberdashery, The RailYard including STIR, North Italia and more
Find even more of South End’s hot spots within walking distance from the East/West Boulevard Station. With shopping, breweries and eateries galore, you can spend the whole day hanging in the heart of South End and nearby Dilworth. Don’t miss the public art on display at the station and along the Rail Trail.
Eat & Drink: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Hawkers Asian Street Fare, Barcelona Wine Bar, Sycamore Brewing, Leroy Fox South End, Bang Bang Burgers, Roots Café, QC Pourhouse, Salted Melon Market & Eatery, Trolley Barn Fermentory & Food Hall, Canopy Cocktails & Garden, Dilworth Tasting Room, Sunflour Baking Company, 300 East
Do: Atherton Mill retailers including The Cocktailery, The Golden Carrot, BOEM, Bonobos, Lululemon, Free People, OVME and more; Dilworth Artisan Station; Girl Tribe Co.; Paddywax Candle Bar; Wilmore Centennial Park; Latta Park
The New Bern Station is the southernmost stop in South End. More than a dozen restaurants, breweries, bars and entertainment hot spots are within walking distance. The stop is right along the Rail Trail, a pedestrian-friendly walkway that runs parallel to the rail line.
Montclaire South/Lower South End
Scaleybark Station is the northernmost stop in Charlotte’s Lower South End neighborhood, also known as LoSo. This station is just a short walk to a cidery, breweries and entertainment, like a game bar and escape room.
Eat & Drink: Seoul Poke Bowl, MOCCO Bistro, Brewers at 4001 Yancey, The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, Sugar Creek Brewing Co., Protagonist Beer LoSo, Red Clay Ciderworks, Gilde Brewery, Weathered Souls Brewing Co.
Park your car in one of the 382 park-and-ride spots or secure your bike in the bike locker and hop on the train. Or explore the popular local restaurants near Woodlawn Station, such as Beef ‘N Bottle which has been a Charlotte institution for more than 40 years, and shopping.
Do: Woodlawn Marketplace shopping center, Rountree Nursery & Supply
Stay: Best Western Sterling Hotel & Suites, Days Inn by Wyndham Charlotte/Woodlawn, Radisson Hotel Charlotte Airport, Ramada Charlotte Airport Hotel & Conference Center, Quality Inn Airport South, Courtyard by Marriott Charlotte Airport/Billy Graham Parkway, Embassy Suites by Hilton Charlotte, Clarion Hotel Airport & Conference Center
The Tyvola Station is situated on a bridge that runs above Grover Road. The station features 465 spots to park and ride and has several global food options nearby, including Latin American and Indian cuisine.
Do: Tyvola Square shopping center
Park in one of the 430 park-and-ride spots then head up the stairs or elevator to get to the station platform, on the bridge over Archdale Drive. This is a great station to experience some local international favorites, including the nearby Latin American grocery stores and authentic eateries.
Do: Bloom Movement Artistry, Esperanza Supermarket, La Unica Supermercado
Just a short walk from the Arrowood Station, you’ll find locally owned international restaurants to create your own global tasting tour. This station also has nearly 300 park-and-ride spots, a covered waiting area and is the pickup/drop-off spot for Megabus.
Eat & Drink: JC Tacos, Cherry House II, La Catracha, Don Juan Bakery, Mi Tierra Restaurant, Choi’s Korea & Wing, Pelican's SnoBalls of South Charlotte
Located at the intersection of South Boulevard and Sharon Road West, this station features a parking lot with 188 spots, bike lockers and public art. It’s also near Campbell’s Snacks, formerly the historic Snyder’s-Lance Factory.
Eat & Drink: Costa Del Sol #1
I-485/South Boulevard Station
The southernmost site on the LYNX Blue Line, this station features more than 1,100 parking spots across a deck and lot, as well as bike racks, a covered waiting area and public art. The I-485/South Boulevard Station is a short walk from the Carolina Pavilion shopping center, filled with national restaurant chains along with retail and entertainment options.
Charlotte’s Metropolitan Transit Commission approved funding to add another light rail stop in South End, between the New Bern and East/West Boulevard Stations. The new station, which is slated for completion by the end of 2026, will be near Publix and Sycamore Brewing with a pedestrian crossing connecting to two sides.