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Matthews has become a destination. You should consider a visit.
A 25-minute drive from Uptown Charlotte, downtown Matthews offers a nice change of pace from our city. Many spots on our list are walkable from one another and are along the Main Street drag.
Matthews quick facts:
- The population in 2022 was 30,124, according to census data.
- MLS data show the median sales price for homes in Matthews was $532,400 and the average was $462,174 over the last 12 months.
- New York homebuyers searched to move into Matthews more than any other metro followed by Washington and Los Angeles, per Redfin.
- On average, homes in Matthews are on the market for 34 days.
When you go, here’s a list of 23 must-do activities.
Sip a latte from Brakeman’s Coffee & Supply
It’s the type of coffee shop that other coffee shops aspire to be. The homey space has several different rooms as well as patio and back yard seating. Inside and outside, you’ll find a mix of neighbors, workers and families.
Details: Brakeman’s is in downtown Matthews at 225 N Trade St.
- It’s open Monday-Friday 6am-7pm and Saturday 7am-7pm.
Brunch on southern comfort food at The Flying Biscuit Cafe
The chain has two other locations in Charlotte so you may be familiar with the popular southern food spot that’s known for serving brunch and lunch all day (and dang good biscuits, of course).
Context: The Matthews location opened in March 2023. It replaced The Pizza Peel & Tap Room.
Details: Find The Flying Biscuit Cafe at 110 Matthews Station St. — just a few steps from Brakeman’s.
- It’s open Monday-Thursday 7am-2pm, Friday 7am-3pm, Saturday 7am-4pm and Sunday 7am-3pm.
Catch a Crown Legacy FC game at The Sportsplex
The Sportsplex is a 4,300-seat stadium with 11 multipurpose fields that can host a variety of recreational sports, per their website. It’s also where Crown Legacy FC, a minor league soccer team and the younger sibling to Charlotte FC, hosts its matches.
- Tickets for Crown Legacy games are $10-$15.
- Check upcoming matches here.
Details: The Sportsplex is located at 2425 Sports Pkwy.
- It’s open 8am-9pm everyday.
[Go deeper: Charlotte adds a new professional soccer team]
Fill up on sushi at Umami
This no-frills sushi spot in a space formerly occupied by a KFC offers classic rolls for under $5. There’s also nigiri, specialty rolls, hibachi and noodle dishes.
Make sure to order their popular Matthews Roll — shrimp tempura and spicy tuna topped with spicy crab meat.
Details: Umami is located in Depot Shopping Center at 200 E Matthews St.
- It’s open Tuesday-Thursday from 11am-3pm and 4:30-9:30pm, Friday-Saturday 11am-9:30pm and Sunday 11:30am-9pm.
Grab a cheese plate at The Loyalist Market
This well-designed, unpretentious cheese shop offers sandwiches, small plates, salads and, of course, cheese and charcuterie boards.
Bonus: From 3-6pm Tuesday through Friday, they have $21 cheese and charcuterie boards (half-priced draft beers on Fridays, too).
Details: Find the The Loyalist Market at 435 N Trade St #102.
- It’s open Tuesday-Saturday noon to 9pm.
Drink a Silver Meteor IPA (6.0%) from Seaboard Brewery & Wine Bar
All beers are brewed onsite in their five-barrel brew house. They also have more than 1,000 bottles to choose from.
If you’re still thirsty, other noteworthy spots include Carolina Beer Temple (bottle shop) and Stumptown Station (cocktails).
Details: Find Seaboard downtown at 213 N Trade St.
- It’s open Monday 4-11pm, Tuesday-Thursday 11:30am-11pm, Friday-Saturday 11:30am-midnight and Sunday 11:30am-10pm.
Crush a 12″ Neapolitan pizza at the Exchange Depot
Located next to Seaboard, you’ll find an old telephone hut with a neon pizza sign in the back of a large courtyard covered with picnic table seating.
Pro tip: Customers can have their pie delivered next door to Seaboard.
Details: Find the Exchange Depot at 213 N Trade St., Suite B.
- It’s open Monday 4-10pm, Tuesday-Thursday 11:30am-10pm, Friday-Saturday 11:30am-11pm, Sunday 11:30am-9pm.
Shop at the Matthews Community Famers’ Market
It’s the largest and most diverse producer-only farmers market in the greater Charlotte area, per the market.
All market products except fish are sourced within 50 miles of Matthews. Market events include live music, cooking demonstrations, food trucks and fun contests.
When: Every Saturday (April 8-Nov. 18) 8am-12pm.
Address: 188 N. Trade St.
Browse a mix of vintage and modern at Moxie Mercantile
The woman-owned lifestyle boutique has locations in and around Charlotte, including Matthews, Plaza Midwood, Davidson and Fort Mill.
Details: Moxie Mercantile Matthews is located at 159 N Trade St.
- It’s open Tuesday-Friday 11am-6pm, Saturday 10am-6pm and Sunday noon-4pm.
Eat enchiladas from El Valle
The dining in downtown includes restaurants you’ve likely heard of like Thai Taste and Mac’s Speed Shop, along with Ming Fu (a popular Chinese spot), Portrait Gallery and Sante, both upscale dinner options. El Valle is a family-owned spot that’s been a downtown staple for well over twenty years.
Details: Find El Valle at 305 W John St.
- It’s open Monday-Saturday 11am-10pm and Sunday 11am-9pm.
Drink fancy tea with a savory Russian crepe at Royal Cafe & Creperie
This place is tiny and the menu is simple (teas, coffee, crepes) but everything is packed with flavor.
What to order: The Hamster or Smokey Chipotle Chicken savory crepes, then order a dessert crepe for the table — the owner swears by the Bavarian Cream crepe.
Details: Royal Cafe & Creperie is in the Depot Shopping Center at 131 Matthews Station St.
- It’s open everyday from 9am-3pm.
Take the kids to Stumptown Park
And while you’re at it, grab provisions from any of the spots on our list for a picnic in the park. You’ll also find food trucks and live music on select Fridays in the summer.
Address: 120 S Trade St.
Sip a cocktail at Stumptown Station
This two-story welcoming local favorite cranks out some top-notch cocktails, from old fashioneds to mojitos.
Details: Find the cocktail bar right next to the park at 107A N Trade St.
- It’s open Sunday-Thursday 4pm-midnight and Friday-Saturday 4pm-2am.
Pick up Korean food and order bulgogi at Pepero, a Korean restaurant and grocery store
Go through red curtains and to the right when you walk in. To the left is the grocery store with all sorts of Korean ingredients, treats and foods. Straight ahead is the restaurant, which serves authentic Korean fare like kimchi pancakes and bulgolgi.
Details: Pepero is located at 10920 Monroe Road. The entrance is on the side of the building.
- It’s open Monday and Wednesday-Saturday 10:45am-8:30pm, Sunday noon-8:30pm. It’s closed Tuesdays.
Do date night at The Portrait Gallery
This hidden gem is the epitome of cozy and charming. It’s tucked away in downtown, and a great option for a date night, a girl’s night out, happy hour — really any occasion when you need delicious food and drinks in a relaxed atmosphere.
What to expect: Mostly tapas style dishes with a few larger plates. There’s also a full cocktail menu, beer, wine and an extensive bourbon selection.
- I walked right in on a Thursday afternoon, but you can make a reservation here.
Details: The Portrait Gallery is located at 118 E Charles St.
- It’s open Tuesday-Thursday 5-10pm, Friday-Saturday 10am-2am and Sunday 10am-2pm.
Take a reformer pilates class at Club Pilates
Founded in San Diego in 2007, Club Pilates has multiple locations in and around Charlotte and offers reformer classes seven days a week. Choose from several classes, such as CP Reformer Flow, CP Cardio Sculpt and CP Center and Balance.
New member specials: Take an intro class for free.
Pricing: Drop in for $29 per class or choose membership options from four classes a month to unlimited.
- The Matthews studio also accepts Class Pass.
Details: Find Club Pilates at 2211 Matthews Township Pkwy E (in Sycamore Commons).
- View the class schedule.
Send it at Inner Peaks Matthews
If pilates isn’t your thing, check out Inner Peaks for some indoor rock climbing.
What to expect: 8,500 square feet of climbing, plus a pro shop, yoga studio and full fitness area with weights and cardio equipment, per the website.
Pricing: A day pass is $22. Individual monthly memberships are $84.
Details: Inner Peaks Matthews is located at 10715 Independence Pointe Pkwy.
- Inner Peaks also has a location in South End.
See a show at the Matthews Playhouse
The community performing arts center produces live theater year-round. It also hosts summer camps and acting classes.
Details: Matthews Playhouse is located at 100 E McDowell St.
- See upcoming shows for the main stage season here.
Eat Mediterranean and Lebanese food at Kabab-Je
This spot isn’t walking distance from the downtown area, but it’s worth the quick 1.5-mile drive. Go with the shawarma sandwich, kibbeh or lentil soup.
Details: Find Kabab-Je in Sycamore Commons at 2233 Matthews Township Pkwy.
- It’s open Tuesday-Sunday 11am-9pm.
Grab a burger at Steady Eddy’s Pumphouse
The cozy local watering hole offers comforting and affordable bar foods. Snag a a seat at a regular table upstairs or head downstairs to the lounge, which is reminiscent of the basement on That 70s Show.
Details: Steady Eddy’s is located at 2216 E John St.
- It’s open Sunday-Thursday 11am-11pm and Friday-Saturday 11am-midnight.
Walk the Four Mile Creek Greenway that feeds into Squirrel Lake Park
The best thing about the greenway is that it’s paved with a boardwalk, so you get all the benefits of being in nature without having to get too close — and it makes biking or scootering easier on the kiddos. End your stroll with some time in the park.
- See the four mile map here.
Crush a pop at Velo Pops
Few things are as refreshing, or nostalgic, as a popsicle. Velo Pops serves both fruit- and cream-based pops that change with the seasons.
Bonus: They have pup pops, too.
Details: Find Velo Pops at 1645 Matthews Township Pkwy.
- It’s open everyday 1:30-7:30pm.
Eat a donut from Your Mom’s Donuts, their flagship and production location
You have to get one of these square hand-crafted beauties. The shop has speciality flavors each month, like PB&J and dirt cake, plus all the classics.
- Our advice? Get one there and fill up a box to take home.
Details: Find Your Mom’s Donuts at 11025 Monroe Road
- It’s open Wednesday-Saturday 7am-2pm and Sunday 8am-2pm.
Editor’s note: We first published this guide in February 2020. We updated it in August 2023.