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Looking for a quick day trip from Charlotte? Here are 15 reasons to visit Waxhaw, only a 45-minute drive south.
With its charming shops, restaurants, and parks, a visit to Waxhaw should be on your radar. It’s about a 45-minute drive south from Charlotte and almost everything is within walking distance on the city’s main street.
Waxhaw quick facts:
- The population in 2018 was 16,181, according to census data
- MLS data show average sales price for homes in Waxhaw was $439,646 and the median is $378,600 over the last 12 months.
- On average, homes sit on the market for 60 days, versus 59 for the entire MLS.
When you go, here’s a list of 15 must-do activities.
(1) Watch a game at Maxwell’s Tavern
The tavern has the NFL Game Day Package, so this local watering hole is exactly where you want to be when your team is playing.
The menu features primarily American bar food, like fried pickles, nachos, steak, burgers, chicken tenders, and other handheld comforts. Maxwell’s, a local favorite, has a solid 4-star rating on Yelp and a 4.6 on Google.
(2) Sip wine at Cork & Ale
With a covered side patio and 300 wines to choose from, Cork & Ale is where you unwind and catch up with an old friend over a glass, or two, of wine. It also has a small, light menu of sandwiches, flatbreads, and salads.
(3) Get your cookie dough fix at Cookie Dough Bliss
It’s just like an ice cream parlor with a variety of flavors and toppings, except it’s all cookie dough. The top sellers are the classic chocolate chip and cake batter.
If you’re up for it, try out the cookie dough shake, which includes any cookie dough flavor mixed with either chocolate or vanilla ice cream.
(4) Delight your inner history nerd at the Museum of the Waxhaws
For $5 per adult and $2 a child, you can learn more about Waxhaw’s history, dating back to the 1600s, tour a historic home, and check out the grounds.
(5) Connect with your retro side at the Used Book Store and Antique Mart
Whether you are looking for a vintage book to dive into, old records for cheap, pink roller skates (I was extremely tempted to buy), or fun knick-knacks, these two stores are perfect for you. The Used Book Store has a hole-in-the-wall kind of vibe, with all kinds of novels to browse through.
And The Antique Mart has a maze of rooms filled floor to ceiling with trendy and retro items.
(6) Relax in a rocking chair at Cross Roads Coffee House
Cross Roads Coffee House is the perfect combination of a cool coffee shop and small town charm.
Try one of the speciality lattes. I went with the hazelnut and white chocolate latte and grabbed a seat on the front porch in a rocking chair.
(7) Walk across the bridge with an ice cream cone from Waxhaw Creamery
After you grab a cone (I recommend black raspberry swirl), take a stroll over Waxhaw’s famous bridge. It’s a huge part of the area’s historic charm, and it shows off the best view of downtown.
(8) Eat at American tapas-style restaurant Emmet’s
Formerly a cotton mill in the 19th century, the space has been turned into a trendy social spot with a tapas-style menu.
Some of the most popular menu items include poke stuffed avocado ($12), crispy green tomatoes ($8), ahi tuna salad ($15), and figgy flatbread ($11) during lunch.
(9) Try out Music Bingo (or just drink) at Dream Chaser’s Brewery
This brewery is known for its transformed space — it once served as a fire station and now hosts music bingo on Tuesday nights from 7-9 p.m., trivia on Wednesday from 7-9 p.m., and the occasional build-your-own mimosa bar on Sunday.
If you want a social evening out, go here.
(10) Make a pit stop at South Main Street Barbecue
A North Carolina staple, you can’t go wrong with barbecue. Order a platter, which comes with your choice of meat, a side, and cornbread.
I tried out the a la carte tacos with brisket and avocado salsa, topped with coleslaw, which came highly recommended from locals (rightly so). If you have room for dessert, spring for the liquid nitrogen ice cream.
(11) Shop and eat local at Provisions
If you’re in the mood for a local food market with delicious sandwiches and fresh salads, stop by Provisions Waxhaw.
It has local flare with Waxhaw products, a community room to enjoy your meal, and a vintage antique room in the back. I went with the classic BLT with avocado and a kale salad, but they are best known for their rueben.
(12) Pick up delicious baked goods from 4th Corner Bakehouse and Coffee Co.
This gem serves fresh and homemade breads, cakes, cookies, croissants, and other baked goods.
Either take a loaf home (I recommend the sourdough), or share a treat with friends or family on the back patio.
(13) Visit the Waxhaw Farmers’ Market during the summer
This farmers’ market has lots of fresh produce, plus artisan breads, local honey, grass-fed beef, local eggs, and flowers.
The market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. most Saturdays of the year. Check the website for exact dates.
Rolling Hill Farms: If you can’t make it out for the farmers’ market, you can still buy fresh produce at the Rolling Hill Farms Fresh Market located right next door to 4th Corner Bakehouse and Coffee Co.
(14) Listen to live music at Jammin’ by the Tracks (summer only)
Once a month during the summer in downtown, local bands come play underneath the Waxhaw water tower. Shows are from 7-9 p.m.
(15) Swim and play at Cane Creek Park
The perfect location to bring your family on a hot summer afternoon.
Outdoor activities that are available include hiking trails, fishing areas, picnic spots, boat rentals, several playgrounds, and a beach access point. It is a little bit of a drive from downtown Waxhaw (about 15 minutes), but it’s worth it.
Activities are available during the summer from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and it costs $4 to park.