Neighborhood Explorer: The Mill District
The expanding North Davidson corridor from Uptown to Sugar Creek is home to a multitude of neighborhoods and pocket neighborhoods that make up the newly-minted Mill District.
by Liz Logan
This post is brought to you in partnership with SearchCharlotte.com.
Comprised of these historically textile-centric communities, the Mill District is bringing new life to the neighborhoods of Villa Heights, Optimist Park, Belmont and NoDa, building on the established communities and vibrant businesses, making way for endless possibilities for continued growth and transformation. Through beautifully-adapted apartment buildings as well as Optimist Hall, the renovated Highland Park Mill No.1 with high ceilings, cozy nooks and an abundance of dining and beverage options, The Mill District is preserving the history and legacy of this former industrial community while building a legacy for the future filled with green spaces, dining, shopping and a sense of identity unique to this shining segment of Charlotte history.
A trip on the Light Rail through the Mill District will take you from one culinary masterpiece to the next, with stops like Optimist Hall’s Botiwalla for Indian street food with a stop at Honeysuckle Gelato or Suarez Bakery for a sweet treat. No trip to the Mill District is complete without a stop at Belmont’s Ace No. 3 for an award-winning burger simply stacked with pickles and the aptly-named comeback sauce that is certain to keep you coming back for more. A walk next door to Sweet Lew’s BBQ meant to mirror those backroad BBQ joints with authentic North Carolina style meat and fixin’s.
Follow the burger love to Brooks Sandwich House where three generations have been serving up burgers and hot dogs topped with a homemade chili that was perfected back in 1973 when the Brooks brothers opened their doors.
Grab a sandwich at NoDa Bodega or Rhino Market, a deliciously cajun-style brunch at Boudreaux’s Louisiana Kitchen for the Foghorn Benny complete with melt-in-your-mouth bourbon fried chicken over waffles topped with sausage gravy and a poached egg, or Liberation-- a potato, parmesan, rosemary and black truffle oil pizza at Salud Beer Shop, voted Best Beer Bar in the US for three years standing.
Savor housemade burrata alongside natural wine at Crepe Cellar or vegan smoked cashew mac with chile breadcrumbs at Goodyear House, topping it off with dessert from Reigning Donuts or Pepperbox Donuts.
The Mill District is brimming with specialty coffee and local roasters from Undercurrent Coffee and The Hobbyist to Summit Coffee and Smelly Cat Coffee House & Roastery. Cocktails are expertly crafted at Haberdish with southern inspiration and elevated flare while Idlewild’s menuless cocktail bar allows for an individualized experience.
Start at Birdsong Brewing Co. (jalapeno pale ale in hand) to choose your own adventure with one of two routes on the Noda Craft Beer Trail. Stops in Optimist Hall’s Fonta Flora Brewery for a rotating tap list of unique iterations from saisons to seltzers and Villa Height’s Free Range Brewing for Carolina-inspired beers from gruit to wild ales with the quintessential Carolina Hazy IPA kickstart the trail as it meananders up the North Davidson corridor. Heist Brewery, Protagonist Clubhouse and Salud Cerveceria, where the Dominican-inspired flavors abound, lead the way to The Chamber by Wooden Robot’s rooftop lounge, where the choice to continue up to Divine Barrel Brewing or veer off for NoDa Brewing Company awaits you.
Shopping at NoDa staples like Ruby's Gifts, Pura Vida, Curio Conjure & Craft and The Rat’s Nest is the perfect way to spend a Saturday. Murals by local artists showcasing their style and talent add character and beauty to this historic district, illuminating what was before while paving the way for what is to come.
Evenings lead to the Artisan Palate for wine, cocktails and cheese boards with live music and a stroll through the in-house art gallery.
Life in the Mill District is complete with vibrant neighborhoods, local shopping and plenty of greenspace. With Light Rail and greenway access, choosing a home in the Mill District provides access to urban amenities with a taste of southern comfort, historic roots and abounding art. If you’re ready to settle down in this neighborhood, make sure to reach out to the experts on John Siddons’ team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, who are ranked number one in NC and in the top 100 nationally.