Our Matthews guide is proudly presented by Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A. Allergies can be brutal depending on the season we’re in. Luckily, the providers at CEENTA are experts on allergy care (as well as ear, nose and throat, plus eye care). Check out some tips for managing your allergies or schedule an appointment at the Matthews office, if you’re seriously suffering.
Matthews has become a destination. You should visit.
A 25-minute drive from Uptown Charlotte, downtown Matthews offers a nice change of pace from our city. Many spots on our top 21 list are within walking distance, along the Main Street drag.
Matthews quick facts:
- The population in 2018 was 32,635, according to census data
- MLS data show the median sales price for homes in Matthews was $309,500 and the average was $353,666 over the last 12 months.
- On average, homes sit on the market for 35 days, compared to 57 for the entire MLS.
When you go, here’s a list of 21 must-do activities.
(1) Sip a latte from Brakeman’s Coffee & Supply
It’s the type of coffee shop that other coffee shops aspire to be. The beautiful space has several different rooms as well as outdoor seating. Inside and outside, you’ll find a mix of neighbors, workers, and families.
(2) Fill up on unlimited sushi at Umami
This no-frills sushi spot in a space formerly occupied by a KFC offers a ridiculous all-you-can-eat sushi special for $19.99. This deal includes nigiri, classic rolls, specialty rolls as well as Japanese appetizers, soup, and salad.
Make sure to order their popular Matthews Roll — shrimp tempura and spicy tuna topped with spicy crab meat.
(3) Buy a flannel from Buffalo Jackson
A life-size buffalo greets you as you walk through the door. The air smells of leather and canvas. Flannels are on the left, and leather goods are on the right. The store does most of its business online, so its downtown Matthews headquarters will never be too packed.
(4) Grab a cheese plate at The Loyalist Market
This well-designed, unpretentious cheese shop offers sandwiches, small plates, salads, and, of course, cheese and charcuterie boards.
From 3-6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, they have $20 cheese and charcuterie boards (half-priced beers on Fridays, too).
(5) Drink a Silver Meteor IPA (6.0%) from Seaboard Brewery & Wine Bar
All beers are brewed on site in their five-barrel brew house. If you’re into wine, they have more than 1,000 bottles to choose from.
If you’re still thirsty, other noteworthy spots include Temple Mojo (brewpub), Carolina Beer Temple (bottle shop), Stumptown Station (cocktails), and Beantown Tavern (Boston-loving sports bar).
(6) Crush a 12-inch Jordan’s Jamboree pizza at the Exchange Depot
Located next door to Seaboard, you’ll find an old telephone hut with a neon pizza sign in the back of a large courtyard covered with picnic table seating. Go with their popular Jordan’s Jamboree pizza — a classic pepperoni and sausage with red sauce and bacio mozzarella.
(7) Shop at the Matthews Community Famers’ Market
This 27-year-old, producer-only farmers’ market has produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, fresh eggs and more. It’s open on Saturdays year-round. From December through early April, the hours are limited to 8 to 10 a.m.; from April through November it’s open from 8 a.m. to noon.
(8) Eat enchiladas from El Valle
The dining in downtown includes restaurants you’ve heard of like Pizza Peel, Thai Taste, and Mac’s Speed Shop, along with Ming Fu (popular Chinese spot), Portrait Gallery (a new tapas spot), and Sante (upscale American food). All are walking distance from the main drag.
But El Valle has been a downtown staple for well over twenty years, and it’s hard to beat its $7.75 combo plates.
(9) Catch a $2 movie at Cinemark Movies 10
Rewards members can see any movie for $2 on Tuesdays. Think about that. A family of five can see a movie for less than the cost of your average $12 movie ticket at fancier theaters.
(10) Drink fancy tea with a savory Russian crepe at Royal Cafe & Creperie
This place is tiny and the menu is simple (teas, coffee, crepes) but everything on the menu is packed with flavor. Go for the Hamster or Smokey Chipotle Chicken savory crepes then order a dessert crepe for the table — the owner swears by the Bavarian Cream crepe, rightly so.
(11) Take the kids to Stumptown Park
Grab some provisions to go from any of the spots on our list for a picnic in the park. You can snack while the kiddos burn some energy. Or you might catch Food Truck Friday or festival in the summertime.
(12) Sip a cocktail at Stumptown Station
This two-story, frills-free local favorite cranks out some of the best cocktails around. Go with an old fashioned, or if you’re craving something sweeter, the Matthews Market Mule (Salamander Vodka, fresh lime juice, and ginger ale — and you can add kiwi, blueberry, peach, or strawberry).
(13) Pick up Korean food and order bulgogi at Pepero, a Korean restaurant and grocery store
The entrance is on the side of the building where a few grocery carts are lined up. Go through red curtains and to the right when you walk in. To the left is the grocery store which is crammed (seriously the shelves overflow onto the floor) with all sorts of Korean ingredients, treats, and foods.
(14) Do date night at Sante, the best fine dining
The historic charm, exposed brick, and quaint dining room give this place a romantic feel. And the small, French-inspired menu rotates seasonally, pulling from local ingredients.
(15) Eat Mediterranean and Lebanese food at Kabab-Je
This spot isn’t walking distance from the downtown area, but it’s worth the quick 1.5-mile drive. Go with the Shawarma Sandwich, Kibbeh, or Lentil Soup.
(16) Try the flat-top burger at Steady Eddy’s Pumphouse
This place isn’t pretty. But it’s a cozy local watering hole with comforting handheld bar foods priced just right (under $10). Snag a a seat at a regular table upstairs or head downstairs to the lounge, which is reminiscent of the basement on That 70s Show.
(17) Walk the Four Mile Creek Greenway that feeds into Squirrel Lake Park
The best thing about the greenway is that it’s paved with a boardwalk, so you get all the benefits of being in nature without having to get *too* close — and it makes biking or scootering easier on the kiddos. End your stroll with some time in the park.
(18) Crush a pop at Velo Pops
Few things are as refreshing, or nostalgic, as a popsicle. They have 12 fruit pops and 12 cream pops to choose from.
(19) Grab a slice of cake at Edible Art
This local bakery has been on Selwyn for 25 years and in downtown Matthews for just over a year. All the cakes are made from Southern pound cake, and you can choose from almond (the most popular), lemon, vanilla, or chocolate slices. Plus they have cake pops, cookies, cupcakes, and other small treats.
(20) Buy fish and eat a sandwich at Deep Sea Seafood Market
A short drive from downtown, this day boat fresh fish counter is a one-stop shop for fresh fish. You can grab a sandwich for lunch and pick up some fresh catch to cook up at home.
(21) Eat a donut from Your Mom’s Donuts, their flagship and production location
You have to get one of these square hand-crafted beauties. The shop has 12-15 flavors daily, so get one there and fill up a box to take home.