3 Places to go for Date Night in Charlotte,North Carolina

Our first stop of the night was in the South End neighborhood of Charlotte, NC.

If you are new to Charlotte or been here awhile, Charlotte is constantly changing. It’s worth it to look around and explore all there is to do– which is a lot! Apache and I have been making effort to go out more lately being that we are now self proclaimed travel content creators!  I’m going to share 3 places you could go for your next date night in Charlotte, NC.

Charlotte, North Carolina is expanding by the minute with new apartment complexes, homes, businesses and transplants from all over the world. I think most people are coming from the north though- Let’s Go Yankees! Of course there are a multitude of options for things to do around Charlotte. I’m gonna make sure you are aware of at least 3!  

Apache and I went to see “The Ghost of Splinter’s Cove” at the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte on a Friday night so we decided why not tack on dinner and finish up with a dope House Music Party!

I know you’re burning with excitement to find out how you to can recreate such an exciting night!  Lucky for you I’m willing to share all the juicy details!

Make sure to start your night off getting dressed to some fun music and dance yourself right into that date night outfit like I did! 

Charlotte Date Night Idea #1

Places to eat

First and foremost is always food!

We arrived at the South End section of Charlotte for dinner. This neighborhood is cool because you can sit out on a few of the restaurant patios and look out at the tall Uptown Charlotte buildings off in the distance. They are pretty when lit up in the evening hours. South End is an enthusiastic, buzzing, contemporary little village.

I was thinking “this light rail looks pretty sleek”

Looking newly renovated, South End is young and vibrant with new hang out spots, cozy narrow tree lined streets, and happy looking people walking through town socializing or zipping around on prepay electric scooters. The Lynx Blue Line light rail quietly runs right through the center of town if you prefer not to drive.

The Lynx Blue Line light rail in Charlotte, NC 

Riding around on an electric scooter looks like fun! You can rent an e-scooter from anywhere using a smart phone app and park it at your final destination as long as it does not block sidewalks, curb ramps or bus stop, driveways. In other words, use common sense.

View of Uptown Charlotte from South End , i believe it looks much better at night when the buildings are all lit up.

A good friend of ours referred us to check out Hawkers Asian Street Fare as a great place to eat on Camden Road. I’m sure Hawkers would have been amazing had we left cushion time for 1) already running late 2) blowing more time trying to avoid the pay for parking (which was a useless pursuit- grumble, grumble). I’ll be nice and spare you my rant about why people shouldn’t have to pay for parking. Instead I will say that I’m glad it wasn’t more than $5. Last but not least is 3) the 30 minute wait time that the hostess gave us. Blank stare.

We will get here next time… 30min early!

My watch said 6:15pm and there was a show to catch by 7:30pm so we side stepped on over to the next option. Right next door to Hawker’s, sat  Pike’s Old Fashioned Soda Shop!  Yup, it’s the same soda shop featured in that movie “Shallow Hal.”  

We enjoyed a great home style meal here at Pike’s while preparing ourselves for a long night of fun.

Copper -Olde Mecklenburg Brewery at Pike’s

We sat out on the patio with a very nice view of Uptown Charlotte, a lovely breeze caressing our skin and lots of bubbly people to look at. 

The waitress was very friendly and helpful in picking out a dinner that would be delish but not take long to prepare. We both settled on the Quiche of the Day which came with a side.  I got my typical French fries and Apache picked the sweet potato casserole as his side dish.

Apache and I both agreed the Quiche of The Day definitely did taste like a Southern Grandma homemade it in her kitchen and found it very satisfying with chunks of onion and mushrooms baked in. We were so grateful for that thick but flaky crust covered in cheese!

This was the Quiche of The Day and yes we ate all this food!

If you have a sweet tooth like Apache does, you might also choose the sweet potato casserole side. It has chopped pecans and is lightly topped with brown sugar- a dinner dessert! 

The appetizer was a hearty Chicken Quesadilla (I really need to get more adventurous though). Next time I think I will try the warm Homemade Pimento Cheese with Tortilla Chips because I just found out recently that pimento cheese is a big deal in the South like fried pickles… I had no idea. 

Filling up on Pike’s Chicken Quesadilla!

Having dinner here felt easy breezy lemon squeezy- very laid back because it wasn’t crowded. 

Feeling super relaxed after a great dinner!

Charlotte Date Night Idea #2

Go to the theatre

Go catch a show! We went to the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte which is within the wonderland of a library called ImaginOn to catch a production called “The Ghost of Splinter Cove.” We got FREE may I repeat FREE parking (big smiles).

You can get free parking on Friday’s after 5pm and Saturday- Sunday with a validated parking ticket; check the website for further details about this.  

This was our second time seeing a CTC production. 

The theatre is small and intimate so everyone gets a great seat to the show and can feel more connected to the characters. The Ghost of Splinter Cove was short and sweet while simultaneously comical and dark. The show kept our interest with underlining messages about trust and closure with a disinterred family secret.

The Ghost of Splinter Cove is portrayed through the eyes of children. They resort to their own creativity in the basement of their home so their parents could have “Adult Time” upstairs. Can’t we all relate to this? 

We found the play warm, personal and sculpted for all ages because we were all children at one time and more than likely played similar make-believe games. Apache and I walked the line between their imagination and reality as we escaped into their world for just a little while.  

 We had to get a picture in front of this set up for the kids!

What made this story cooler is that the playwright, Steven Dietz, also created another story linked to The Ghost of Splinter Cove called The Great Beyond. The Great Beyond is based around the same family, in the same home with the same theme but takes place upstairs as seen through the experience of the adults. The Great Beyond was showcased at the Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte (ATC) and generally geared toward older audiences. The ATC is another option for date night theatre.

The Second Story Project was a collaboration of these two theaters to show opposite sides of the same coin so to speak. As we all know there are always at least two sides to any story!

Theatre prices

We have always loved theatre so it was really fun to go see an affordable show in Charlotte after dinner. Ticket prices generally range between $15-$30 at CTC and $30-40 at ATC.  ATC also offers a Pay What You Can night which you could take advantage of if your budget is running on low.

Charlotte has tons of entertainment but now you know of two great theaters that won’t break your piggy bank!

Charlotte Date Night Idea #3

Go dancing

You only live once so dance while you can!

We figured we were on a roll so why stop after the show?  There was a party going on and we still had energy so we cruised on over to Crown Station Coffee House & Pub on N. Davidson St. The House Music party hosted by the Solstice crew was taking form. 

Crown Station is open during the day for regular or spiked coffees and check out their calendar for evening events

Inside Crown Station during the daytime hours. Check out the wide open floor space for evening parties!

A corner chill spot in Crown Station for when you need a break from dancing or to sit and read during the day !

As the party gradually unfolded the older House Head generation definitely danced a burning hole through that floor!  One of the regular attendees that I didn’t even know wandered around the spacious dance floor giving people love (including me!) with welcome greetings, hugs and selfie pics. She even offered to share her instruments with us including tambourines and rattles for a heightened experience. 

We got to end off our night being in the presence of great people! It was a very loving inclusive environment where everyone came together in joy through the power of House Music!  Lots of laughs, hips shaking and also some good two stepping on our part! I love the lack of stuffiness and ego in a real House Music party environment.  

Photo by NonieTakesPictures
We went to meet friends at a Raw Substance House party held at Crown Station.

The Cranberry Cosmo that Apache and I got at Crown Station was fabulous to say the least! That bartender gave us a sweet kick in the *ss and I could have had two more but used restraint. 

A perfectly made Cranberry Cosmopolitan at Crown Station – Yum!

Go out dancing!

Check out our favorite Charlotte DJs listed below. Look them up on IG and message them for inquiry about when and where they will be playing next! You can find one of these DJs spinning at a cool lunch brunch, festival, art gallery showing or other special event. Don’t forget to let them know CLP sent you because they are the real deal holy field!   

Photo by NonieTakesPictures
Dope House DJs of Charlotte, NC

House Music DJs of Charlotte

1)Charles Gaitling @Rawsubstanceclt

2) Steve Howerton @guided_beats_radio of @Rawsubstanceclt

3) Ifeanyi Ibeto aka DJ Kato @Katobeats

4)Smitty @Thatguysmitty

5) DJ Marcus Wade @djmarcuswade

6) @Unifiedsoulsevents

5) Jason Cooper @Vonfunkhauser

You don’t stop having fun when you get old, you get old when you stop having fun. – Ritu Ghatourey

 

 

The United Ink Productions Queen City Tattoo and Arts Festival

A perfect cover up tattoo by Jorge Martinez @jorgestattoo

I am super excited to write this blog about the Queen City Tattoo and Arts Festival we attended in Charlotte in October!  We have had great luck with North Carolina festivals so far!

Apache and I are fascinated with tattoos. Tattoos show freedom of creative expression. The outlet creates conversation, stimulates the imagination and fulfills the artist! When a person gets a tattoo, they become a walking, breathing canvas. Moving art work! 

Photo by Komadori Photography

United Ink Productions

Anyone recognize this character??? Hint…from an old school video game. Photography by Komadori Photography

United Ink Productions is a company that creates large tattoo festivals! In 2012 United Ink Productions began facilitating 2 conventions per year. The first festival of the year is held in April in NYC. As of 2018 Charlotte, NC will host the second festival every October! The Queen City Tattoo Festival is conducted at the Charlotte Convention Center over a period of 3 days. That’s 3 days of color, live tattooing, entertainment, vendors and competitions!

In 2018 the festival theme was Alice in Wonderland. I dressed up as Uptown, N.Y.’s version of Alice and Apache was the Mad Hatter. The Tattoo and Arts Festival reigned in 250+ artists from around the world and local artists to create this enlivened Wonderland.  It was fun to dress up in Royal Peasantry clothing for this event! We became “Curiouser & Curiouser” (Alice in Wonderland quote) as we wandered around the convention center engulfed in the alluring culture of skin adornment.

This was the first Tattoo festival we have ever been to and it was an awesome experience.

Photography by Komadori Potography
Our talk with Jorge Martinez @Jorgestattoo of Inspiration Tattoo about how he got started in the business. Komadori Photography
Komadori Photography

Tattoo Art: Past to Present

Tattooing is an ancient art form and cultural aspect to many indigenous tribes around the world. The practice has evolved and continues to stand the test of time.

Tattoo History

Skin branding is evidenced to have been in practice at least 5,000 years ago as found on two Mummies in Egypt! Polynesia has an extensive tattoo history and this tradition extends over 2000 years ago.

As skin branding pertains to the United States it was introduced to NYC by sailors who originally used hand needles to pass away time from boredom at sea or to initiate one another into the fraternity.  NYCs most well-known tattoo is the big red Macy’s department store star which was worn on the forearm of ex-whaler turned Macy’s store founder RowlandH. Macy. Civil War veteran Martin Hildebrandt is considered one of Americas first tattoo artist’s to open the first tattoo shop in NYC during the 1800’s.  Martin Hildebrandt is known for branding other veterans for identification had they been killed or wounded during the war.  

Tattoo Culture Today

Interview with Sarah Miller at the QC Tattoo & Arts Festival 2018! Komadori Photograhphy

This year at the Tattoo and Arts Festival we talked with world renowned tattoo artist SarahMiller from Ink Master reality T.V. show seasons 2 &7. We also had an insightful talk with her manager Chris. Chris shared how USAA  is an insurance company that caters to military members, encompassing therapeutic tattooing, where artists can donate time to help vets tell their stories through this medium.

Pleasure to meet with Christine (Sarah Miller’s Manager). Komadori Photography
Click here to see our experience of this event in Charlotte, NC and hear this insightful interview.

Family & Friends Event

We were so grateful to have had our friends Robin of Komadori Photography and Chris of FinalSignal assisting us on this project which allowed us increasing space and perspective to grasp more out of this whole experience to share with all of you- Blessed!

Robin of Komadori Photography & Chris of FinalSignal

The Tattoo and Arts Festival is a family friendly event. We noticed kids as young as 7 all the way up to their mid 60’s or early 70’s having a great time.  You can dress up or down for this event – do you! 

Family affair at the QC Tattoo & Arts Festival. Komadori Photography
Meeting cool people at the Festival Komadori Photography
Charlotte’s Fire Dept dropped by Komadori Photography

What to Expect at The Tattoo and Arts Festival

Expect to find entertainment, great artists, fashion and really cool vendors at this festival!

Music

We danced to hard rock music and the enchanting, rhythmic melodies played by mega talented violinist DSharp. You can get a taste of his musical flavor in our YouTube Vlog of this event! On the 3rd day, Biz Markie was scheduled to perform. You get the idea…. Great Entertainment!  

Vendors

There were plenty of vendors selling jewelry, tattoo products and apparel. Apache bought me a cute tank top from SoHo Ink who came all the way down from NYC to represent. We were happy to see fellow New Yorker’s in the house!

Tattoo Flashing! Komadori Photography

People are getting inked everywhere and sport tattoos with pride. It was like a flesh museum! 

Entertainment

Dispersed throughout the convention center you can find painters painting, there was an art gallery, magicians, music and face painting. There was even a live pumpkin carver artist. 

Tattoo Entrepreneurs & Contests

Tattoo removal technicians of Essential Aesthetics and Laser in Charlotte showed up. There are Tattoo Contests every day of the Festival.  Some contests included “Tattoo of The Day,” “Asian Style,” “Fresh Portrait” and “Overall Female” to name a few.

Tattoo Seminars

United Ink Productions hosts educational seminars for Tattoo artists at their festivals. In 2018 the education focused on Permanent Makeup. These permanent makeup conferences are certificate programs that encompass basic skills and master class programs.  Make sure to check out the itinerary or book a booth for their next event in April!

Great interview with Zhang Po! Komadori photography

Meet World Renowned Tattoo Artists

World renowned tattoo artists made themselves very accessible and were fun to talk with. In addition to Sarah Miller we also got to converse with her Manager Chris and world famous tattoo artist Zhang Po.

Each had a story to tell that inspired us. 

Zhang Po has some inspiration for aspiring tattoo artists. Komadori Photography

God is capable of creating miracles at any time in our lives. Sarah, Chris and Zhang shared how they came to realize a career in the tattoo industry. We are so honored to hear, capture and share their stories in our YouTube vlog. All three are living a sustaining lifestyle that they love.

FinalSignal, CLP and Zhang Po! Komadori Photography
MC Joey Tattoo of Spike TV show “Tattoo Rescue”

Tattoo Festival Takeaways

Some people get tattoos for love, as a form of remembrance, some to follow trends, some to tell a story.  They can be a form of healing internal or beautifying external scars.  Tattoos can be self empowering through the process and its outcome. They can represent a personal achievement, belief system or just show what one is enjoying most about their life journey.  

One thing that keeps life interesting is our differences, stories and cultural variances. Choose to take an opportunity to learn more about others with respect and a little curiosity.

Art by Christian Waggoner. Komadori Photography

Conformity is not always a prerequisite to living a fulfilled life. – NK

CreativeMornings Worldwide

Fortunately you can attend a CreativeMornings event in most cities around the world. We got to experience this creative movement for the first time in Charlotte.

Excited to attend out first CreativeMornings event together!

Do you believe in the power of positive energy?  Do you believe that surrounding yourself with others who are purpose driven, seeking to learn, grow and be inspired can encourage transformative change within yourself? My personal answer to these questions would be a big fat YES! This is the type of environment you can expect at a CreativeMornings event.

Fortunately you can attend a CreativeMornings event in most cities around the world. We got to experience this creative movement for the first time in Charlotte.

We didn’t know what to expect when we entered the CreativeMornings event for the first time.

Stepping into the room we could immediately feel that there was something very special happening. When my husband and I attended CreativeMornings in April, there was free coffee and breakfast supplied by local vendors. There were all types of people including photographers, artists, activists, vendors, a DJ playing upbeat music plus a bubbling audience of all ages!  We met Matt Olin, Charlotte’s CreativeMornings enthusiastic MC.

Feeling great energy in the room as I signed in at CreativeMornings in Charlotte, NC

Reasons to attend CreativeMornings

Opportunity and networking

There was a positive and quick moving presentation providing a platform to encourage entrepreneurs and creative thinkers. A few new entrepreneurs were allowed to quickly pitch their ideas which was inspiring and exciting.

Inspiration

I have attended two CreativeMornings so far and also enjoyed a variety of their speakers from around the world made available on their website.  Having listened to these talks, I can say the chosen speakers come from all walks of life with a wide span of creative and professional backgrounds.

One Friday each month provides a new global theme for the chosen main speaker to discuss.  At each CreativeMornings event I enjoyed listening to intriguing stories that resonate with the human experience.  We are grateful to hear about topics such as how to overcome life obstacles and how to move forward in becoming the best version of ourselves. Both can be a creative action. 

Win a prize

CreativeMornings in Charlotte is interactive.  Audience members have an opportunity to engage in a brief but fun game to win really great prizes! Someone won a gift certificate to a hair salon.

Cool vendors

My favorite vendors at this past April’s event would have to be Viva Raw and Pop up Produce

Pop up Produce’s founder Amanda Zullo has designed a kit providing families and individuals the essentials to grow their own food.  This kit empowers people to make a difference in preserving the environment as well as educates the user about the benefits of fresh produce.  Fabulous! Check out their website to see how Pop up Produce is impacting Charlotte’s youth and families in food deserts. 

The Viva Raw truck had a delicious and energy boosting drink available for sampling which we loved.  My husband and I are always interested in improving our health and energizing our bodies through nutrition.  Viva Raw is providing cold pressed juices and raw snacks that help keep you looking and feeling your best naturally!  All of their products are dairy and gluten free. 

CreativeMornings is an example of how following your heart can lead to a purpose driven life. This event shows that Charlotte has so much potential and awesome people to meet. We witnessed people connecting with one another, dancing, and encouraging one another.

We were inspired by Pop Up Produce’s community outreach efforts!

Thought provoking speakers

Harvey Gantt was the honored speaker for the CreativeMornings event held on April 21st 2017 at Camp North End warehouse to address the month’s global theme of “Beyond.” 

Harvey Gantt has won numerous local, regional and national design awards for his architecture. Mr. Gantt  has a very extensive educational background.  In 1983 Harvey Gantt became Charlotte’s first African American Mayor for two successive terms. He focused on the revitalization of Charlotte’s inner city with efforts to promote education and taking actions politically as a civil rights activist.  It was a privilege to sit in his presence.

Mr. Gantt has accomplished so much in following his God given purpose.  His message ultimately challenged audience members to find ways to contribute to improving our communities. 

Its free

CreativeMornings work with volunteers, long term partners and generous sponsors that provide funds to help cover event expenses and provide this free venue.  Anyone can attend this event. Learn about what’s going on in your city while enjoying free breakfast and coffee.

Camp North End was a dope space to host CreativeMornings! Very spacious, industrial with a lot of natural light coming in.

CreativeMornings was started in 2008 by Tina Roth Eisenberg in NYC to provide a space for New York’s creative community to gather, support and network with like-minded individuals. Since then, CreativeMornings has expanded to 170+ chapters worldwide.  Subsequently, you could go to just about any city in the world to enjoy a CreativeMornings event.

When you travel to new destinations get a dose of positive energy along with great new ideas to discuss with your friends or family. Check the website to see if there is a CreativeMornings chapter in your city wherever you are!

CreativeMornings happen in Charlotte from 8:30am -10am once a month. Registering to attend is a very simple task of creating a log in at CreativeMornings.com , locating your city and signing up to attend!

I have been married for 20+ years, and attending an event like this invites fresh new conversation between us which is really fun. Everyone is welcome.

Written by: Nikia Knapp /Edits by Craig Greshaw
Photos by Apache Knapp