Discover local, urban favorites.

From grants to published accolades, to national and local awards, this is your chance to experience what puts Charlotte on the map for dining, shopping, public art and more. Test out some of the city’s best offerings as you cruise segments of the Charlotte Rail Trail, a 3.5-mile stretch of sidewalk along the LYNX Blue Line that’s bordered by economic development and colored with interactive art installations.

Explore on google maps

Time/Distance Estimates

Route 1

Eight & Sand Kitchen to Edna’s Porch

  • 1.8 miles
  • 36-min walk
  • 9-min bike ride
  • Easy intensity

Neighborhoods to Note

Southside Park, Brookhill, South End

Grab a Bike

Didn't BYOB-ike? Simply rent one along the way.

Rent a bike at the New Bern Station, East/West Station or Bland Station B-Stations.

A daily pass is just $8 for 2 hours. Don’t forget to return your bike at the end of your adventure!

Learn More

Eight + Sand Kitchen for breakfast or brunch

The awards are in the co-owners: Grant Arons’ initial concept, Inizio Pizza, won a Charlotte Magazine Best of the Best Voters’ Choice Award for Pizza, while James Yoder won a Small Businessperson of the Year award for his Not Just Coffee venture. What they offer you at Eight + Sand: dishes based on the belief that thoughtful eating brings happiness.


The Magic Carpet Murals along the Rail Trail

You can’t miss them: bright strips of pattern and color that appear underfoot as you bike or walk. Artists created three of these murals with community input after they were awarded an ArtPlace America grant.


Sycamore Brewing for craft beers

Family-owned Sycamore won awards at the Great American Beer Festival: bronze for Sun Grown Fresh Craft Lager in two categories. The brewery is known for its festive, outdoor beer garden, live music and Food Truck Friday events, plus apparel boasting their “Drink Carolina Proud” tagline. Expect a beer list and 40 taps emphasizing freshness, variety and flavor.


Atherton Mill, a restored cotton mill that was built in 1892

Today, Atherton Mill has been redeveloped as a hotspot for award-winning dining and shopping, as well as apartment life. To start, shop big names like Anthropologie, Free People and Alton Lane. Also, stop at the Atherton Farmers’ Market, held every Saturday featuring products from local agriculturalists and artisans.



Come for a spread of family-style and a la carte Italian cuisine, from pizzas to pastas. The restaurant’s Charleston location was named an OpenTable Diners' Choice Winner. Now, you can experience it in CLT.

Living Kitchen


Celebrated for its creative, plant-based, mostly raw cuisine and nutrition-packed juices, Living Kitchen won a Charlotte Magazine Best of the Best Voters’ Choice Award for vegan food.


The Design Center at the Design District, a walkable mixed-use development

A section of rapidly growing South End, the Design District is based on the redevelopment of historic buildings with a people-first focus. The Design Center is at the heart of it all, with new dining opportunities.



Serving up Tex-Mex delights from fajitas to tacos, Superica’s Chef Ford Fry has been a multi-year semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurateur Award.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams


This beloved dessert spot was dreamed up by James Beard Award-winning ice cream maker Jeni Britton Bauer and features imaginative scoops.

Hawkers Asian Street Fare


This hip maker of small-plate street food from curries to dumplings won Best Taste at Taste of Atlanta.


Public art along the Charlotte Rail Trail

The development of the Rail Trail was meant to inspire creative action – and it does. See if you can spot the Confetti Hearts Wall at the Design Center (a reminder by the artist to “throw kindness like confetti”), the 360-foot Camden wall of mosaics across the street (called “Where East Meets West”) and the Rail Trail Chalkboard along the trail sidewalk. Bonus: Check out a few more award-winning stops along the way.

This local lifestyle brand and maker of Charlotte hats, t-shirts and other apparel won a Charlotte Magazine Best of the Best Award as the best store for Charlotte apparel.


Edna’s Porch, a bright yellow swing structure

As you near the end of the southern segment of the Charlotte Rail Trail, kick back on this giant porch swing while you consider your next move. The installation is a nostalgic reimagining of one designer’s porch swing experiences as a kid in the area.

Trail Complete



Not ready to call it a day?

Continue to the Community Trail via East Boulevard, the Skyline Trail or the 49ers Trail. Or, venture over to the Charlotte Beer Garden for a final cool-down beverage (take a left on East Carson Boulevard and a left on South Tryon Street). It’s newer, but it’s destined to win an award for boasting the largest draft beer selection in the world.

Charlotte Beer Garden

Charlotte Beer Garden

Craft Beer
1300 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28203, USA 1300 S Tryon St, 28203
(704) 375-1776 
South End


Neighborhoods to Note

Southside Park, Brookhill, South End

Southside Park

Just south of South End, this neighborhood is home to multiple luxury apartment complexes and popular breweries.


Historically an African-American community, Brookhill is a small neighborhood of multi-generational families.

South End

The location of America’s first gold rush in 1825, Historic South End is known for its longtime entrepreneurial spirit and, now, its vibrant culture and nightlife. Everything from rooftop bars, to chic shopping, to hip coffee shops, to casual and high-end restaurants can be found here.

South End