How to spend the perfect 12 hours in adorable Davidson, just 30 minutes from Charlotte

How to spend the perfect 12 hours in adorable Davidson, just 30 minutes from Charlotte
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share by Email
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share by Email

As Charlotte continues to grow at a rapid pace, it’s easy to forget about some of the surrounding cities and towns.

Davidson, under half an hour from Uptown, is the perfect example.

It’s a charming little town, with close proximity to Lake Norman and a small population (around 12,000) that’s steadily growing, with a median age of 31.

You may know Davidson as home to the well-known Davidson College and industrial manufacturer, Ingersoll Rand.

davidson- summit coffee

Summit Coffee’s line can be out the door check out their freshly baked scones and smoothies.

Here’s how to spend 12 hours in Davidson.


Start your day at the Davidson Farmer’s Market, right off of Main Street.

Grab a coffee to go from Summit Coffee as you check out the local vendors.

If you’re not in a rush, have a sit down breakfast at The Famous Toastery (formerly Toast). Their Main Street location is the original, it’s a little more authentic than the others. You’ll probably have to wait (it’s a happenin’ spot on the weekends), but you can explore the quaint Main Street while you wait.

A great back up option is The Egg at Davidson, a family-style, student-friendly breakfast joint just down the road.

Start digesting breakfast by spending some time walking around Davidson College’s picturesque campus, or catch an afternoon sporting event if that’s your thing.

You could easily spend more time checking out some of the antique shops on Main Street, like the Rumor Mill Market, where you can find eclectic home décor and fashion items. I would furnish my whole home here if I could. They also have a coffee bar if you need a pick-me-up latte for the exciting day ahead.

Davidson Farmers Market

Davidson Farmer’s Market — Fresh produce, handmade goods and local meats abound at this market featuring 35 producers from within a 100-mile radius. Definitely feels like the pulse of the town on a busy Saturday morning with people, pets and kids all over the place.


Lucky you – when it comes to lunch, you have plenty of choices, depending on what you’re feeling.

If you don’t want to leave Davidson’s Main Street strip, hop on over to Brickhouse Tavern where they specialize in brick oven pizza’s and have 50 different beers on tap.

If you’re craving Mexican, check out Carrburitos and make sure to order a side of the fruit salsa.

If you want a local sandwich, pop into The Pickled Peach, a rustic restaurant with local, farm-to-table food. Their eclectic menu includes sandwiches, salads, soups and scones. Sit on their cute patio and soak up the vibes on Main Street.

If you decide to leave the Main street area, head to the North Harbor Club, located right on Lake Norman. They have boat slips available to dock your boat at the restaurant. Favorites include the warm pimento cheese crab dip, fried pickles and the tuna sandwich.


North Harbor Club via Facebook


Time for more exploring!

Stop in at the Spirited Cyclist, a local cycling store in downtown Davidson, to pick up some bikes. You can rent the standard bike for $20/day, or $30/24 hours. They also have mountain bikes available for $30/day.

Bike over to the nearby Davidson college cross country trails, or make the three-mile trek to Fisher Farms, a 200-acre park, which offers four miles of Mountain Bike trails (both are free). Or, you can plan your route based on where others have biked.

If you’re more of a water person, head to nearby Cornelius to rent jet skis or a boat for the afternoon. You can rent jet skis for 1 or 2 hours ($85-$125), or a pontoon boat for a half day or full day ($185-$275).


Davidson College Trails

Happy Hour

Before dinner, stop in at the Lake Norman Cottage, a quaint little wine bar on the lake. This cozy spot is a great spot to taste some new wines while perusing the eclectic gift shop. A relaxing way to unwind before dinner.

If you’re more of a craft beer person, check out the Davidson Beverage Company, where you’ll find 12 various local beers on tap as well as over 400 bottled options from around the world. This is a hidden gem in Davidson.


Plan ahead and make a reservation at Kindred, the brainchild of Davidson natives Katy and Joe Kindred. The restaurant has received national recognition and was listed as one of the best new restaurants in 2015 from Bon Appétit.

It’s housed in what used to be the old town pharmacy building on Main Street and has a southern influence with ingredients from locally sourced farmers and foragers.

My favorite part is the mouth-watering milk bread, which you’ll receive as an appetizer. They also have it on their menu if you want to order extra ($5).

To drink, order the Barkeep’s Choice if you’re daring. It’s a personalized drink based on your likes, and you’ll get a little note with what is in it for future reference.

You can’t go wrong in terms of the dishes, but they are specially known for their squid ink conchiglie pasta ($14.00). The dishes are more tapas-style, so you can try a variety of things.

If you want something a little more casual, check out Flat Iron Kitchen and Taphouse at Stowe’s Corner building (also on Main Street). Don’t miss out on the taphouse pretzels ($8), the carbonara ($23) and the pork chop ($26).

Kindred Davidson NC


While the Ben and Jerry’s on Main Street has a fun, college-y vibe, you’d make a big mistake if you didn’t check out the local Whit’s Frozen Custard before leaving Davidson. Choose vanilla, chocolate, or the flavor of the week custard, and add your toppings either mixed in (like a blizzard) or on top like a Sundae.

If you choose to forego driving home and stay the night, the Cedars Bed and Breakfast is about 5 minutes from downtown Davidson and has great reviews. They have four rooms to choose from, with rates from $120-$165/night, and a fresh homemade breakfast each morning.


Whit’s Frozen Custard via Facebook

Warning: Once you spend 12 hours in Davidson, you may end up not coming back to Charlotte. 🙂

Story Views:
Join the 49,932 smart Charlotteans that receive our daily newsletter.
"It's good. I promise." - Ted   Ted Williams