Our South End Guide is proudly presented by Wyndham Capital Mortgage. From the light rail trail to staples like Sycamore Brewing and Mr. K’s, South End is quintessential Charlotte. If you’re looking to call South End home, let Wyndham help you out with the homebuying process and help you beat out the competition with their preapprovals.
The bustling rail-adjacent district just south of Uptown is packed with craft breweries, restaurants, and more apartments than we ever thought one stretch of road could reasonably accommodate. Here’s what to explore right now in South End.
We left out Lower South End, which includes hot spots like OMB, Queen Park Social, and Brewers at 4001 Yancey.
South End quick facts:
- 9,000 people live in South End, 16,500 people work in the neighborhood, according to a 2019 report from Charlotte Center City Partners.
- There are 197 shops and restaurants packed into South End, and 82% of those are locally owned.
- The median home price in South End is $429,700 and the average is $470,226. All were townhomes/condos.
Where to live: 9 best apartments in South End
(1) Sip pineapple soju on the patio at Seoul Food Meat Co.
The popular Korean-inspired barbecue restaurant is the perfect backyard day party destination with a huge U-shaped bar, beer pong tables, lawn games, and even a fenced dog park out back.
If you’re looking for table-side grilling setup, head to Seoul’s sister concept Let’s Meat.
(2) Order one of everything at Hawkers
Everything on the menu at this Asian street food-inspired spot is less than $10, so it’s the perfect place to order several dishes to split with the table. Pro tip: If you’re looking for a fun double date night spot, this is it.
(3) Split the fajitas mixtas at Superica
This place is often slammed, but it doesn’t stop me from getting a marg there three out of four Fridays a month. Superica is the only answer I have when my boyfriend asks “where should we go to dinner tonight?”
(4) Snap a photo in front of Evelyn Henson’s famous Confetti Hearts wall
The Insta-famous mural is located in the alley behind Superica’s courtyard patio. Walk behind Jeni’s if you’re coming from Camden.
(5) Brewery hop from Sycamore to Suffolk to Hoppin’
South End is a craft beer hub. Soak up the sun on the patio at The Suffolk Punch, eat Bosshog mac & cheese egg rolls from Twisted Eats at Wooden Robot, hit up Food Truck Friday at Sycamore, and be your own bartender at Hoppin’.
Other South End breweries include Unknown, Lenny Boy, and Triple C.
(6) Stock up on local gear at boutique retailers.
Chef Michael Noll of Bardo and chef Vince Giancarlo of Zeppelin are both pushing the boundaries with inventive small plate menus in intimate restaurants. Both are ideal date night destinations.
(8) Visit both of Michael Shortino’s restaurants, Futo Buta and Lincoln’s Haberdashery
Look out: His third concept, an as-of-yet unnamed pizza restaurant, is coming to South End’s Gold District across the street from Seoul Food.
(9) Grab a scooter and hit the Rail Trail
The 3.5-mile paved urban trail runs along the Blue Line light rail track into Uptown and is filled with joggers, dog walkers, and cyclists. The “magic carpet” murals by Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn are prime photo ops.
(10) Scale the walls at Inner Peaks
The indoor climbing facility has tracks for all skill levels, from beginner to advanced. Single day passes start at $19, not including equipment. Shoes and a harness are $5 to rent.
(11) Get rowdy at South End Station
It’s home to game-day destination All American Pub, late-night club Oak Room, party pool hall Slate, and Hot Taco, a casual Mexican restaurant with great drink specials. Keep it basic with Slate’s La Croix Becky Buckets made with Ketel One Botanicals and your choice of three La Croix flavors — Pamplemousse, Peach-Pear, or Lime.
(12) Get a Soccer Mom Special at Rosemont
Or go with a boozy milkshake with over-the-top garnishes or a Cheerwine slushy spiked with Captain Morgan. I wouldn’t recommend pounding these type of drinks all day, but you should try at least one.
(13) Catch skyline views from Topside, The Waterman’s rooftop bar.
The seafood restaurant’s 80-seat rooftop bar is an unexpected hangout in a grocery store strip mall. Stop by for boat cocktails, frozen drinks, and draft cocktails. The rooftop is open 6 p.m. to close on Thursday and Friday and noon to close on Saturday and Sunday.
(14) Share small plates and sip wine
Agenda related guide: Best wine bars in Charlotte, right now
(15) Cap off a long night with chicken and waffles at Midnight Diner
The retro diner is open 24 hours a day, and its proximity to Uptown, South End, and landmark strip club Uptown Cabaret makes it a popular draw for drunk people of all walks seeking late-night sustenance.
(16) Weigh in on the neighborhood fried chicken debate
And of course Leroy Fox ruffled some feathers when it opened a few doors down from Price’s.
(17) When your mom and sister visit, take them to Candle Bar
Women (mostly) flock to this place. It’s pretty, hands-on, doesn’t take too long, and you get a cute candle out of it (that lasts a long time, by the way).
(18) Leave it all on the dance floor at Gin Mill
Then head to the rooftop when you inevitably need to take a breather — and order a new drink.
(19) Eat a burger at Bang Bang Burgers
I’ve got two words for you: brioche bun. You can’t go wrong with one of their eight signature burgers.
Agenda related guide: Best burgers in Charlotte, ranked
(20) Take your Hinge date to Pins Mechanical Company and 16-Bit Bar+Arcade
Grab a funky drink (go with the Lisa Frank) to ease the nerves and play some retro arcade games for a fun, low-stakes first date.
Most arcade games are free to play. If you drop quarters in out of habit, they’re donated to a selected charity as part of the company’s “Quarters for a Cause” program.
(21) Cure your hangover at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit
You can enjoy a biscuit smothered in pimento cheese in any state, but it sounds like the ultimate hangover cure to me. Oh, and I’m definitely doing the birthday biscuit on my bday this year.
(22) Try our No. 1 sushi spot, O-Ku
We rank this sushi spot the best in Charlotte for its Red Dragon Roll (tempura shrimp, avocado, spicy crab mix, eel sauce and crunch, $14) and unbeatable gorgeous interior. The Salmon & Lemon Roll and Spicy Rainbow Roll are also super popular.
(23) Map out a perfect (and spendy) day at Atherton
Atherton is a hub of the best chains (and a couple of local spots) in Charlotte. Get gifts for the hostess in your life a Society Social; try Barry’s and reward yourself with something from Lululemon after; buy all the candles at Anthropologie; order an iced vanilla oat milk latte from Not Just Coffee; treat yourself to some jewelry from Golden Carrot; and have someone else take care of your hair at Drybar or Arrow.
(24) Give in to the hype and get a waffle cone at Jeni’s
There’s always a line at this place, even when it’s raining. Both the brambleberry crisp and gooey butter cake flavors are out of this world. Take your cone to the Confetti Hearts wall if you really want to double down.
If you want to go old-school, the soft-serve at Mr. K’s on South Boulevard is a Charlotte must.
(25) Do a $6 cheese plate at Craft Tasting Room and Growler Shop
Every Wednesday, Craft has $6 cheese plates. Most Fridays, it hosts outdoor movies (depending on the season). And don’t forget Lincoln Street next door — you’re going to want to snag a spot on the rooftop.
(26) Watch the game at QC Pour House
With tons of seating options and eight signature cocktails priced $10 or less, this place is the casual middle ground between breweries and high-end cocktail bars (aka a good game-day destination).
(27) Visit art galleries like Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art or Hodges Taylor
Hodges Taylor is opening its new space in The RailYard this summer.
Also, don’t miss First Fridays in South End when neighborhood galleries stay open late and guests can enjoy art, music, food, and drinks. The next event is March 6.
(28) Do a casual brunch at Eight+Sand
One of my favorite new spots in Charlotte, Eight+Sand is perfect for coffee and the type of brunch that doesn’t make you feel like you need a nap after. You can’t go wrong with any of their sandwiches, salads, or bakery items.
Agenda related guide: Best new restaurants in Charlotte