48-hour guide: Spend a weekend in Charlotte with Hornets sideline reporter Ashley ShahAhmadi

48-hour guide: Spend a weekend in Charlotte with Hornets sideline reporter Ashley ShahAhmadi
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Meet your tour guide

Who: Ashley ShahAhmadi, she’s the Charlotte Hornets sideline reporter and host on Bally Sports Southeast (formerly Fox Sports South).

Neighborhood: Off Tyvola by the old Charlotte Coliseum

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The ideal itinerary for: Re-connecting with out-of-town family

Why she loves Charlotte: “I love that it’s simultaneously got a city feel, but also has a hometown vibe. It’s not too big, it’s not too small, and there are so many pockets to explore. I think anyone who comes here will find the type of scene they’re looking for.”

What have you missed most throughout the pandemic?  “I cannot freakin’ wait to hug everybody, because I’m such a hugger. The pandemic put a damper on that. When things are 100% safe, I can’t wait to tackle this running list of places I want to check out that I’ve got on my phone.”

FRIDAY: South End bites

Sushi dinner: I’m a huge sushi person, so we’d go to O-Ku in South End for dinner. I absolutely love the environment there. It’s quiet and peaceful, but also fun. Every time I’ve gone, the sushi has been incredible.

  • Must order: I like tuna and salmon rolls, and my brother loves a California roll. I usually try something different every time, but he’ll order a California roll every time, and it’s so good there. They’ve got the freshest ingredients.

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[Agenda related guide: Best sushi restaurants in Charlotte]

Stroll for ice cream: I like to try to show friends and family the South End area. There’s always something going on and you’ve got people out walking with their dogs, so we’d take a walk down to Jeni’s.

  • Must order: I like to try their flavor of the month, and I also love their Brambleberry Crisp.

SATURDAY: Laid-back day before a game

Fresh finds: On Saturday, we’d check out the farmer’s market off Tyvola. It’s become a tradition that I take my dog there on Saturdays. She’s technically not allowed inside, but I’ll just have someone keep an eye on her for a second while I grab produce, and then I always get fresh flowers. They’ve got such great local sauces, cheeses, and meats, too.

Coffee stop: From there, we’d get breakfast at Queen City Grounds. I love meeting friends there or doing work there.

  • Must order: I love their specialty lattes, and their matcha latte is so freakin’ good. They have this toast with peanut butter and granola (the Kid at Heart) that’s so good.
queen-city-grounds-cronut

Cronut from Queen City Grounds

Explore Plaza Midwood: It’s rare that I have a full weekend off, so let’s assume I’d be working Saturday night. So after that, I’d suggest that my family heads over to Plaza Midwood while I get ready for that night’s Hornets game.

  • Favorite spots: They could do a beer and burger situation at Moo ‘N Brew, or maybe go to The Workman’s Friend. I love that whole scene there. Plaza itself is just so unique and fun, and there’s something for everyone.

Big game: I’d head to the arena a few hours early, and my family would come at 7 p.m. for tip-off. They could sip a beer or two, grab food from the concessions stands, and enjoy the game!

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SUNDAY: Food hall send-off

Optimist Hall: On Sunday, we’d head to Optimist Hall. That’s become one of my absolute favorite places. Once again, that’s one of those places where everyone will find something they like.

soup dumpling from dumpling lady

Soup dumpling from The Dumpling Lady

This story is proudly presented by Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. The editorial selection is not influenced or endorsed by this sponsor.

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