The light rail had me curious, but I never had a reason to ride because I have a car. The Lynx Blue Line opened for business in 2007 and here we are in 2019 riding it for the first time. We moved to Charlotte in 2006.
This is a perfect example of how blogging and vlogging gets us doing things we might not normally do. If we weren’t busy being content creator’s we probably would never have given it a try. I’m really glad we did though because it turned out to be a really cool ride, a mini Charlotte exploration adventure.
Now we get to share places to go and things to do off our favorite LYNX Blue Line stops!
I actually rode the LYNX twice. The first ride was with Apache for our vlog day date. My second ride was during rush hour just to see what it was like. I wanted to take in the experience of riding with the commuters.
There are currently 11 LYNX Blue Line Park & Ride locations. Which Park & Ride locations are free? Two out of the eleven will charge a $10 fee if an all-day pass (which means you can ride the train back and forth as many times as you like for $6.60) or a pass of higher value is not purchased.
The two stations that currently charge are the JW Clay Station and University City Blvd. All of the other Park & Ride lots are free. The stops that have a Park & Ride deck have a P on the Lynx Blue Line map so they are easy to find.
Before I get into the meat and potatoes of our favorite LYNX Blue Line stops, I want to share about my commuter experience.
The Commuter Experience
After parking in the outdoor lot, I followed a group of people moving with a steady intentional pace toward the train.
There were two long stairways leading up to the train. I wasn’t sure if it made any difference which I took so I asked this young girl in route (who looked like a high school student to me, but since she was catching the train I guessed, maybe college). She smiled and informed me that she was headed to work (so now I’m thinking it’s just because of my age that she looks like a baby to me). She told me it didn’t make a difference which flight of stairs I took, “they both lead to the same place.” I followed her to the indoor parking deck across the street to take the elevator up instead.
During rush hour everyone seemed calm. The station was very clean and quiet. Surprisingly, there was enough seating for everyone that got on the train. If I had the choice, I would choose this easy-going train ride over driving in Charlotte’s new nerve-racking traffic any day.
There were only two stops left before I had to get off, my bladder was beginning to make some serious demands on me. I’m sure if I was in my 20s this wouldn’t have been an issue- sigh.
A entire one-way trip took 50 minutes. I simply got off, walked to the other side and rode back to my car. Easy-Peasy!
The temperature on the Blue Line was mild. It was a smooth ride with each stop announced before-hand. This ride would make a perfect time to catch up on some reading or writing. If you are gonna be hanging out all night visiting different spots near the LYNX, take the light rail back and forth and skip the driving. Who wants to have to look for parking or pay for parking if they don’t have to? ugh.
Now on to the juicy part. Here are a few places we have visited or plan to visit off our favorite LYNX Blue Line stops. All locations listed are within walking distance from the light rail. Try them out for yourself. Let us know what you think about any of the locations mentioned.
Things To Do & Places To Eat
The Woodlawn and Scaleybark stations are in Mountclaire South/Lower South End.
Sleepy Poet Antique Mall– We both appreciate antiques and love vintage clothing and this mall has both! This is a multi-level mall with over 80 dealers. I know we will be enchanted for hours wandering around this mall. We are currently planning a day date to go check it out.
Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen– This cooking class sounds like it would make a fun date, girl’s night out or even a solo night out. Learn some new culinary skills. This is definitely on our To Do list!
East/West Blvd Station
Superica – Tex-Mex Cuisine at it’s best. Superica has become our favorite Mexican food spot. Just thinking about those in-house made chips, perfectly salted…their variety of chip dips that have me singing “oh my God” after each bite, the Margaritas (crying now), the Appetizers are crazy. We had appetizers for dinner and left completely satisfied and wishing we had more money and space in our bellies so we could continue. We enjoyed watching Lady and The Tramp on their xtra-large screen as we happily stuffed our faces. I have checked with others to see if they had the same experience and the feelings were mutual.
Stonewall through 9th is considered Uptown
3rd Street Station/Convention Center
Chima steakhouse– Brazilian cuisine here-it’s a whole experience!
Chima is expensive but I promise you won’t regret spending a penny. We have been here a couple of times for special occasions and never been disappointed.
The salad bar is super elaborate and the meat is unbelievably good. Expect great service with lots of class. It’s a good idea to starve yourself before going to Chima. You will likely eat a full days worth of calories. Enjoy and don’t forget to wear something loose around the waist!
Charlotte Transportation Center/Arena Station
Discovery Place– This is a really colorful and interactive establishment for kids of all ages but also a lot of fun for the adults as well. We actually went here to play with our family/friends that came to visit from NYC (no small kids at the time only us big ones).
Sea Level NC -Curious about this place. Apache and I both love seafood and the pics on the website have me salivating and hangry!
First Ward Park – Apache and I started off at the First Ward Park around 8am. It was abnormally clean first thing in the morning.
Some homeless were still sleeping or just rising from the benches. An older conservative looking male began a rigorous routine using his exercise band and the park equipment. A casual bike rider rode through the spray ground and everything seemed serene on this sun kissed morning.
We did a light workout in First Ward Park -yaay, it’s better than nothing! First Ward Park has practical stationary equipment available for all your fat burning needs.
I love to climb whenever the opportunity arises. Lucky for me it did in the form of dome shaped monkey bars in First Ward Park.
ImaginOn– This library/children’s theatre has something to engage every adolescent. They have all kinds of programs, classes and theatre productions to inspire imagination and encourage enrichment. We have enjoyed their theatre productions on more than one occasion. Read more about the theatre here.
Levine Museum of the New South– Levine has educational and powerfully moving exhibits. Make sure to take your family.
McColl Center for Art + Innovation– Artist residency and contemporary art space housed in an antiquated church. We love art and it’s free admission!
Apache and I were ready to see what’s at the next LYNX stop. We walked across the way to the 7th street station and caught the inbound train to 9th.
Waterbean– The first place we visited on 9th street, a USDA certified organic coffee shop and roastery! Humidity was high outside, the air conditioning in Waterbean was such a relief! Waterbean is bright, and airy. Watch our vlog, you’ll see I tried my very first Mochi Ice Cream here. All I have to say is omgah! And our lives will never be the same again.
Imagine your favorite ice cream wrapped in a thin powdery marshmallow! How could this exist? In my head I jumped up and down with excitement for the Passion Fruit flavor option-yaaay!
I wanted to try something new and that’s exactly what I got. The Waterbean coffee was great but the Mochi blew my mind. There are other treats too, like brightly colored macaroons. It was a good spot to wind down in.
Subsecreto – We still have to visit this spot because I know they serve espresso in a chocolate-dipped shortbread cup… really that’s all I’m interested in- haha!
After catching our breath at Waterbean we headed back to our light rail stop where a little hell was breaking loose. Some dude was screaming obscenities while smashing the glass covered booth at the station.
We watched the drama from afar with some cool people from Chicago that just arrived in Charlotte for the DuRag festival. They had been zipping around uptown on the motorized scooters everyone is using these days.
The police arrived quick, scooped up the poor disturbed soul and we proceeded with our vlog.
Parkwood through Sugar Creek station enters the NODA/Optimist Park/Plaza-Shamrock neighborhoods.
Apache and I love old video games from the 80’s and 90’s so we were excited to play at Abari arcade. Bring on the Donkey Kong!
Entering Abari, a man sitting at a table, obviously unwelcoming us with no hello and no smile. He shared a bothered expression as he told us it was $1 to get in and that we also needed ID because it was a private business. I didn’t have ID so we never got in. I shall stop commentary there. Maybe you will have a better experience.
Birdsong Brewing– Since it was a no go at Abari, we shrugged and ran to enjoy some cold specialty beers at Birdsong Brewing!
Some people brought their dogs in with them which I thought was very cool. I will take every opportunity to rub down and high-pitch baby talk to any dog!
Cordelia Park – This park is 24 acres. We took our family swimming here a couple years ago and had a great time. There is also a full basketball court, walking trails and picnic shelter.
Tompkins Hall-Soon to come will be a ginormous food and retail development in this restored textile mill nearby NODA. There is expected to be multi-level outdoor patios with a view of the uptown skyline. I’m sure it will be interesting.
36th Street Station
The sun was about to hit its peak and we rode the LYNX to 36th street in NODA.
There used to be amazing art Gallery crawls on the first Friday of every month in NODA which we miss dearly. We still love to meet vendors in the street and art can also be found all around NODA giving the neighborhood lots of personality. Breweries, bars and variety in places to eat are plentiful. There are fun things to do and great people to meet here off the 36th street LYNX stop.
If you follow the bright red banisters downstairs you will find thin pastel colored geometric shapes coming up from the ground. In addition, see a large concrete wall sculpted into 3D shaped blooming flowers! All great spots to take IG photos or just admire.
Crepe Cellar Kitchen & Pub– This is a European Gastro Pub. The purpose of this day date was to try out some new places. My spicy Bloody Mary here was on point, no complaints there. One meal was enough to feed both of us. Our final consensus was “delish!” This meal is unique to us, a full gourmet meal wrapped in a thin pancake.
Haberdish– Although very popular, we have not tried this restaurant yet. There was a line outside the door.
Cabo Fish Taco– We love their tacos! Their lemon-grilled shrimp tacos are my favorite with a salted Margarita!
Smelly Cat Coffeehouse &Roastery– This place is a dope chill spot. It appeals to us for the laid-back ambiance and great coffee. Smelly Cat has seasonal comfort food, breakfast food and a fully stocked cocktail bar- say what?!
After you finish your meal, roll yourself down the block to see a show!
The Evening Muse– Casual bar and live music in an intimate setting
The Neighborhood Theatre– Live music venue
Go boutique browsing….
Pura Vida– A cultural gifts store we were grateful to find when we first arrived to this city. This boutique is a breath of fresh air bringing in multi-ethnic merchandise and art from all around the world! I purchased my most favorite bracelet here!
ShopBartique– Enjoy a cocktail or beer while you shop Boho-chic designs for men and women! The owners Estelle and Steve have big hearts and fun personalities, tell them we sent you!
We love how Charlotte invited local artists to get in on making the LYNX Blue Line train stops beautiful.
The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it. ~ Richard Bach