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SouthPark is a Charlotte hub for all things retail and dining, from the iconic SouthPark Mall to newer spots like the new Restoration Hardware (with a rooftop restaurant).
(1) Get a Juicy Jay from Legion Brewing (and maybe order food off their sneaky good menu too)
You can’t go wrong with a Juicy Jay and a giant pretzel with beer cheese. I also recommend trying Sparkle Party, if you like sours, and the mac and cheese or pizza.
The taproom is back open at reduced capacity from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.
Options: You can also build your own 4-pack and take it to go if you’re not comfortable dining in. Order online here or in the taproom.
(2) Explore the new Restoration Hardware at Phillips Place, and dine on the rooftop.
The new 41,000-square-foot Restoration Hardware design gallery opens soon. And once it does, you’ll be able to dine on its rooftop.
RH restaurants, which are already in bigger cities like LA and New York, focus on brunch and dinner. Entrees include items like their signature burger ($24), broiled salmon ($32), lobster roll ($31), and charred ribeye steak ($48). The small menu also includes appetizers and salads, all around $20. It’s pricy, but dishes are familiar and approachable.
Other tenants: Phillips Place is also home to The Palm, P.F. Chang’s (shout out Chang’s chicken), Taylor Richards & Conger, Brooks Brothers, Orvis, J. McLaughlin, Eileen Fisher, Paper Source, Upstream, Windsor Jewelers, Granville, and Modern Salon & Spa.
(3) Roam SouthPark mall
The mall has been a Charlotte staple for 52 years, and it has mix of high-end shops like Tiffany’s, Neiman Marcus, and Louis Vuitton with more familiar names like Sephora, H&M, and Old Navy. You can find the full directory here.
Even if you’re not in the mood to shop, an Auntie Anne’s pretzel and people watching is good for the soul.
(4) Do margs and tacos at Paco’s Tacos
This is one of the first restaurants I tried in Charlotte, and it’s been one of my favorites ever since. The patio is small but worth the wait if that’s what you’re most comfortable with right now (they’re doing limited seating inside, too).
What to order: Taco salad or the chicken milanesa tacos, and always a “Slim in the Saddle” margarita (it’s nice and strong).
(5) For family dinner, go to Rooster’s.
This is the fanciest kid-friendly restaurant in Charlotte. For the kids, order the chicken fingers with french fries — so delicious and the ranch dipping sauce is outstanding.
To-go: If you’re not comfortable dining in, I’ve picked up dinner to-go several times during quarantine, and it’s been fantastic. Highly recommend.
[Agenda related guide: The 10 best kid-friendly restaurants in Charlotte that parents will love too]
(6) Get brunch at Cafe Monte
This place is a classic Charlotte brunch staple. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but I’d do hot beignets for the table and then quiche or eggs Benedict for your main course. Treat yourself to a fancy iced coffee, too.
(7) Treat yourself to a blowout at DryBar
The DryBar experience is *chef’s kiss*. You don’t have to look at yourself in the mirror the entire time, instead you get to watch rom coms. Plus, blowouts usually last a few days so the confidence boost really carries you through the week.
(8) Get a bento box from Cowfish and dine on the patio.
This is where you go when you need to appease a group. You’ve got burgers, sushi, and even some vegetarian options, plus excellent milkshakes and cocktails.
COVID: With reduced capacity, and this restaurant’s popularity, expect long wait times.
(9) Play some tennis at Park Road Park
The park has 12 tennis courts, an 11-acre pond, and walking trails, so you can get fresh air in a way that’s social distancing friendly.
(10) Get Reid’s Fine Foods and have a picnic at Symphony Park
Summer concerts may be canceled through July, but Symphony Park is still a great setting for an outdoor date. Pick up food from Reid’s, maybe pack some games, and spend some time lounging outside.
(11) Have fancy date night at Oak Steakhouse or Peppervine
Oak Steakhouse: The steakhouse is open 5-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. You can reserve a table here for dine-in, or check out the to-go menu for curbside service.
Peppervine: The restaurant just reopened, and debuted a new bar menu featuring a Kudzu Burger made with smoked bacon, American cheese, heirloom tomato, onion fondue and served with garlic herb fries (yum). Call 980.283.2333 to make a reservation
(12) Do drinks on the patio at Village Tavern
Village Tavern’s patio is one of the best in Charlotte; it’s got bistro lights, a giant lawn kids can run on, and fire pits. Whatever you order, make sure to get a side of fries.
Reservations: It opens at 4 p.m. daily and you can book a reservation online.
(13) Get wine from Foxcroft Wine Co.
Definitely order a bottle of rosé and truffle fries for the table. Call 704.365.6550 for a reservation.
(14) Shop local at places like Boem, Capitol, and Poole Shop
(15) Book a staycation at a SouthPark hotel
I’d go with AC Hotel SouthPark. The new hotel just opened near Paco’s Tacos with 162 rooms. Plus, the hotel has swanky rooftop bar named Cordial, which opens on June 19. Expect the bar to have fancy craft cocktails, a European-focused wine collection, and Spanish-inspired small plates to munch on.
Looking to explore more neighborhoods in Charlotte? Here are all of our neighborhood guides.