In recent years NoDa (which stands for North of Davidson) went from being the cool, hip neighborhood that only cool, hip people lived in to a truly thriving food and entertainment district drawing people from across the city. (Jennifer Lawrence and some of her co-stars even lived here when they were in town shooting the first Hunger Games movie.)

While many lament the fact that more than a dozen art galleries disappeared during the recession, the streets are now bursting at the seams with new development. Some long-time residents aren’t totally on board with all the growth, but new people are discovering this eclectic part of the city every day, thanks in part to the light rail extension. After years in the making, this spring the light rail added nine miles and a stop in the heart of NoDa (the 36th Street station), meaning it is now easier than ever to get to NoDa (and if you take the light rail you don’t have to worry about finding a parking spot, often the biggest complaint in the area).

NoDa.org says, “NoDa is a neighborhood where the people are as diverse as the art, live music, craft beers [and] restaurants, and NoDa is dedicated to promoting the arts, living eco-friendly lifestyles, supporting small businesses, encouraging diversity and aiding fellow charities.” So we’re running down what you need to know to get hip to NoDa.

Welcome to NoDa, Charlotte’s fun and funky neighborhood! Image: Facebook

WHERE TO EAT

Haberdish

3106 N. Davidson St., Charlotte, NC 28205 • (704) 817-1084
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (brunch), 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. (dinner); Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (brunch), 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. (dinner); Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Voted one of the best new restaurants of 2017, Haberdish just ranked No. 5 in Southern Living’s annual “Best of the South” issue in the restaurant category. Known for their Southern-style comfort food and craft cocktails, there’s a reason everybody loves this place. SB TIP: They don’t take reservations, but they do use the No Wait app.

Cabo Fish Taco

3201 N. Davidson St., Charlotte, NC 28205 • (704) 332-8868  
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. 

Basically the flagship restaurant in the ‘hood, this place is always packed. They have a full menu of specialty tacos and a Southern California vibe. The Food Network featured it on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” and told everyone what we all already knew: Get the Mango BBQ Mahi Mahi Tacos!

Jack Beagle’s

3213 N. Davidson St., Charlotte, NC 28205 • (704) 334-5140
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.; Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Though this is actually a bar, one long-time resident calls this her favorite place to eat in NoDa because it has, “a really solid selection of bar food that’s good even when you’re sober.” SB TIP: Order the mac and cheese.

Reigning Donuts

3120 N. Davidson St., Charlotte, NC 28205
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.  

Talk about maximizing your space. The owners only had 80 square feet to work with and managed to come up with this fun concept that is now home to the city’s hottest new donut shop. It’s just a window, but they offer vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon sugar, honey glazed, powdered sugar, plain and a daily doughnut – all served up hot! Owner Jeff Tonidandel says, “Getting to order hot, made-to-order doughnuts at a window feels very easy and fun for people. It’s like the icing on the cake for an experience in NoDa!”

Benny Pennellos

2909 N. Davidson St., #100, Charlotte, NC 28205 • (980) 949-8398
Hours: Sunday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.  

This is literally the biggest slice of pizza you will ever eat. Perfect for late night, this New York-style pizza is best served with a cold beer and is just what you need to avoid a hangover. SB TIP: They sell by the slice because they’re so big, but Benny’s is also popular as a parting gift at weddings and other gatherings that run late into the night.

Solstice Tavern

3221 N. Davidson St., Charlotte, NC 28205 • (704) 342-2556
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.

This is NoDa’s version of a sports bar. There’s a great patio with cornhole, plenty of seating and two dozen TVs for watching your favorite team. The menu offers everything from fried pickles to fried chicken tenders, flatbreads, wraps and more.

Crepe Cellar Kitchen and Pub

3116 N. Davidson St., Charlotte, NC 28205 • (704) 910-6543
Hours: Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. till; Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Crepe Cellar Kitchen and Pub has more than doubled in size since they opened in 2009 and remains a favorite among locals. SB Tip: The name may make you think you have to order a crepe but they also have one of the best burger and fries in the city.

Haberdish | Image: Dustin Peck

Care for something sweet? Swing by Reigning Donuts in NoDa!

Crepe Cellar Kitchen and Pub Image: Arody Victoria

WHERE TO DRINK

NoDa Brewing Company

2921 North Tryon St., Charlotte, NC 28206 • (704) 900-6851
Hours: Daily, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The original opened in 2011 and got so popular so fast that they opened a much bigger location in 2015. Jam Session, one of their signature beers, is so popular you can find it on tap at most bars and in the beer aisle at grocery stores. The brewery is a great hangout with a relaxed patio that fills up on nice days. Marketing Manager Ivey Amburgey says, “It’s laid back, open and colorful. With bright posters and local art, it’s the perfect place to feel at ease to grab a drink and relax for an evening. The patio is open, inviting (to people and pups) and our favorite place to be during the warmer weather.”

Heist Brewery

2909 N. Davidson St., #200, Charlotte, NC 28205 • (704) 375-8260
Hours: Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to midnight 

You wouldn’t necessarily think of a brewery as offering one of the best brunches in town, but Heist not only has some of the best brunch food (don’t miss the waffles) but also one of the best deals. It’s more food than you can possibly eat. And it’s all good.

NoDa Company Store

3221 Yadkin Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205 • (980) 859-0441
Hours: Monday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 10 p.m.; Friday, noon to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

There’s a little something of everything here. Part grocery store, part bar, you can grab a beer from the cooler to go or pull up a stool and enjoy a cold one next to your girlfriends. SB Tip: Make sure to spend some time outside enjoying the swings.

WHERE TO PLAY

Blended Bartique

3100 N. Davidson St., #103, Charlotte, NC 28205 • (704) 910-4750
Hours: Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, noon to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

It’s a bar and a boutique – with a bohemian flair. Shop for clothing, art, music and more, all while sipping on your favorite adult beverage. They offer local beers and specially crafted cocktails. The concept is cool, the decor even cooler.

NoDa Run Club

The OG in Charlotte, this running club guarantees a good workout and a good beer at the end, and it’s a great social gathering too. Every Wednesday at 6:30 from March to October. SB TIP: They also host a really fun 5K every June.

The Evening Muse

3227 N. Davidson St., Charlotte, NC 28205 • (704) 376-3737
Hours: Vary based on shows

One of the best places in town to hear live music, The Evening Muse has a wide array of independent artists take their stage. The acoustics are so great, and the venue so intimate (capacity is 120) top talent often plays here just before they make it to the big stage. SB Tip: Shows here actually start on time.

NoDa Farmers Market

701 E. 36th St., Charlotte, NC 28205 • (704) 906-1705
Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon

Every Saturday, you can find fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, cheese, plants and more from local vendors all gathered at the farmers market. They set up at NoDa Company Store.

Pura Vida Worldly Art

3202 N. Davidson St., Charlotte, NC 28205 • (704) 335-8587
Hours: Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

This shop features items from around the world – and some local artists. They’ve got everything from soaps and candles, to clothing and pottery. As their website says, get ready to “discover your inner hippie.”​

The Evening Muse | Image: Docklands Design

At Pura Vida, you’ll find giraffes made from recycled flip-flops collected by artisans in Kenya.

A Tibetan singing bowl used for meditation at Pura Vida

A Tibetan singing bowl used for meditation at Pura Vida

Enjoy your time NoDa!

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Get out and explore other fabulous areas of Charlotte — check out more neighborhood spotlights here.