12 reasons to visit Waxhaw — including a tapas restaurant in a 19th century cotton mill

12 reasons to visit Waxhaw — including a tapas restaurant in a 19th century cotton mill
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Looking for the perfect day trip from Charlotte? Here are 12 quick things to do in Waxhaw, a charming spot that may make you reconsider the hustle and bustle of urban life in Charlotte.

Waxhaw is underrated.

With its southern charm and quaint shops, restaurants and parks, a visit to Waxhaw (population a little over 15,000) should be on your radar. It’s about a 45 minute drive from Charlotte and almost everything is within walking distance on the city’s main street.


(1) Visit the Waxhaw Farmers Market

With weekly fresh produce, including berries, artisan breads and baked goods, local honey, grass-fed beef, local eggs, herbs and flowers, there is no better place to get your produce.

The market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday of the summer, rain or shine.

Rolling Hill Farms: If you can’t make it out for the Farmer’s Market, no fear! You can still buy fresh produce at the Rolling Hill Farms Fresh Market located right next door to 4th Corner Bakehouse and Coffee Co.

Right now, the top produce includes fresh berries, peaches and watermelons.


(2) 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 (gasp!).

The top sellers are the classic chocolate chip and cake batter.

If you’re up for it, try out their cookie dough shake, which includes any cookie dough flavor mixed with either chocolate or vanilla ice cream. It also features a very Instagram-worthy interior, for those who have to keep their aesthetic poppin’.



(3) 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 nick knacks, these two stores are perfect for you. The Used Book Store is 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.

(4) Grab a rocking chair at Cross Roads Coffee House

Cross Roads Coffee House embodies the perfect combination of cool coffee shop and small town vibes.

Try out one of their speciality lattes. I went with the Hazelnut and White Chocolate.

Sitting on the front porch in one of their rocking chair with coffee in hand is definitely the move.

(5) Swim and play at Cane Creek Park

The perfect location to bring your family on a hot summer afternoon.

There are tons of outdoor activities available such as hiking trails, fishing areas, picnic spots, canoe, pedal boat and rowboat rentals to take out on the lake, several playgrounds and a beach access. It is a little bit of a drive from downtown (about 15 minutes), but it is definitely worth it.

Activities are available during the summer from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and it only costs $4 to park.

(6) Walk across the bridge with an ice cream cone from Waxhaw Creamery

After you grab a cone (I recommend the Black Raspberry Swirl, a summer favorite), mosey on over to the bridge, which is definitely a contributor to the town’s charm.

(7) Listen to live music at Jammin’ by the tracks

Once a month during the summer in downtown, local bands come play underneath the Waxhaw water tower.

Shows are from 7-9 p.m., and on July 5 a North Carolina cover band, ‘Off the Record’ will be performing and the Caroline Keller Band will be playing Aug. 2.

(8) Eat at American tapas-style restaurant, Emmet’s

Starting as a cotton mill from the 19th century, it’s recently been turned into a social restaurant, aimed at stimulating conversation and providing a cool modern space for time spent with family and friends.

The tapas-style menu features many fan favorites including Poke Stuffed Avocado ($12), Crispy Green Tomatoes ($8), Ahi Tuna Salad ($15) and Figgy Flatbread ($11) during lunch.

Figgy Flatbread

Poke Stuffed Avocado

(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 Tuesday nights from 7-9 p.m. and trivia on Wednesday nights from 7-9 p.m.

It also serves BOGO half-off 32-ounce crowlers every Friday. The space is super authentic and has a great social scene on Fridays and Saturdays.

(10) Make a pit stop at South Main Street Barbecue 

It’s a local favorite.

With mouthwatering pulled pork and chicken and tasty sides, they recommend getting a platter that 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 cole slaw, which were also a local recommendation.

They also serve liquid nitrogen ice cream, which is pretty awesome.

(11) Shop and eat local at Provisions

If you’re in the mood for a local food market, delicious sandwiches and fresh salads, go to Provisions Waxhaw.

It definitely has a local flare with Waxhaw products, a community room to enjoy your meal and even 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 a loaf home (I recommend the Sour Dough), or share a treat with friends or family out on the back patio.

Just 45 minutes from Charlotte, Waxhaw is totally worth a day trip. Go check it out!

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