Last Updated on October 11, 2022
Charlotte’s historic arts and entertainment district used to be a mill village, but one visit is all it takes to realize that NoDa is anything but run-of-the-mill.
What does NoDa stand for?
Named for North Davidson, the street running through the heart of the community, NoDa is a tight-knit haven for artists, foodies, and small business owners.
What to do in NoDa
From the impermanence of a perfect cup of coffee to the permanence of a tattoo from a renowned artist, you can pretty much find it all in a short stroll around the intersection of North Davidson Street and East 36th Street.
Smelly Cat Coffee House & Roastery
Fuel up at Smelly Cat Coffee House & Roastery, where you won’t see Phoebe Buffay but you will support an eco-conscious small business that roasts its own ethically-sourced beans and has been a beloved part of the neighborhood for decades.
Mac Tabby Cat Cafe
If you were hoping to see a real cat while sipping your coffee, head over to Mac Tabby Cat Cafe, where free-range adoptable kitties cuddle with patrons.
Shopping in NoDa
The shopping options in NoDa include one-of-a-kind gems like The Rat’s Nest, where vintage treasures abound, and Pura Vida Worldly Art, carrying items from more than 40 countries across five continents.
Johnny Fly Co. creates sustainably-made, high-fashion wooden sunglasses, while Curio, Craft & Conjure is a supplier of personal magickal supplies. (Not to be confused with stage magic, “magick” is the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will.)
Custom Jewelry Lab offers in-house designs and heirloom redesign, with an emphasis on man-made diamonds and gemstones for their ethical and aesthetic advantages. In a neighborhood as pet-friendly as NoDa, Four Dogs Pet Supplies is essential—and since we’re in NoDa, this pet supply store has a gallery displaying animal-related art.
Art galleries in NoDa
Speaking of art, you’ll want to peruse the gallery scene. While galleries have been dwindling as NoDa has become more popular and accessible, there are still plenty of treasures to inspire you—you might even be sitting on one.
From mosaic benches to grand murals, much of NoDa’s most notable art is outside. In fact, the NoDa Neighborhood and Business Association has provided an interactive map on Noda.org of the neighborhood’s outdoor art, including links to the artists’ social media and websites so you can follow and support them.
For additional inspiration, stop by TAC Gallery, a 60+ artist collective and popup gallery, and the Charlotte Art League, a non-profit visual arts organization that offers a unique mix of open working studios, classes, and community outreach programs along with a public gallery.
Of course, one of NoDa’s best-known art forms is ink-based. Whether it’s Fu’s Custom Tattoo (NoDa’s first studio, opened in 2001), 510 Expert Tattoo (opened in 2010), or Canvas Tattoo & Art Gallery (boasting multiple accolades including Best Tattoo shop by Queen City Nerve), NoDa is a haven for talented tattoo artists.
Where to eat in NoDa
Whatever you do, don’t leave your appetite at home when you’re going to NoDa. Some of Charlotte’s most beloved establishments call NoDa home, including Haberdish for southern fare, Boudreaux’s Louisiana Kitchen for Cajun, Creole, and more.
Benny Pennello’s pizza sells 28-inch pizzas (one slice needs two plates), and JackBeagle’s is the place to grab a burger and watch a game, or indulge in a Beagle Biscuit for breakfast. The Crepe Cellar is more than NoDa’s own creperie—it’s also a European gastropub with lauded burgers and cocktails.
Save room for the treats offered at the beloved Amelie’s French Bakery, Reigning Doughnuts (open morning and evening), and the abundance of fresh-baked breads and gourmet sandwiches at Local Loaf.
Breweries in NoDa
Charlotte is a craft beer city, and NoDa is certainly no exception. Heist Brewery has transformed what was once a cotton mill into a sprawling place to not only drink from a wide-ranging beer and cocktail menu, but also enjoy an impressive selection of food.
The Jalapeño Pale Ale at Birdsong Brewing Co. is a must-try, and Divine Barrel Brewing embodies the tight-knit feeling of the neighborhood with its weekly running club and Mindless Minutia Trivia.
NoDa Brewing Company boasts Hop Drop ‘N Roll, one of the best-selling beers in the state, and is a recent medalist at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, CO.
Salud Beer Shop began as a bottle shop for local and regional craft beers, and now offers 16 beers on tap plus bottles and cans from around the world. They even have an in-house brewery, Salud Cerveceria. NoDa Company Store is the place to enjoy a Sangria, grab a snack, and relax at one of Charlotte’s best hangout spots.
Living in NoDa
Just a few minutes north of the center of Charlotte by LYNX light rail or car, NoDa is perfect for individuals or families looking for a vibrant, tight-knit community.
Real estate options include single-family bungalows and, more and more these days, condominiums. Some of the properties have been completely renovated since their days as mill workers’ homes in the early 1900s. Some could use a renovation. The variety makes this neighborhood accessible for people looking for every type of living situation, from a fixer-upper to a move-in ready gem.
While home prices range widely because of the variety of options and various levels of renovation, the median listing price for a property in NoDa is $390,000, and the average days on the market is currently 43.
Are you ready to explore the eclectic, unique offerings in NoDa?
History of NoDa
This part of north Charlotte was farmland until the turn of the 20th century when Highland Park Manufacturing #3, a textile mill, was built, and a community emerged around it. Highland Mill Village, a collection of 80 homes and the businesses and churches that came with them, is the oldest village of North Charlotte’s nationally registered historic district.
When textile mills around Charlotte started closing in the 1960s and 1970s, those who once worked at the mills moved their families in search of other opportunities, leaving the historic mill homes and warehouses empty.
We have a group of pioneering creatives to thank for the renaissance of the former Highland Mill Village, which today we call NoDa. As these “pioneers” dedicated their TLC to the buildings in the area, mill homes became galleries, warehouses became breweries, and NoDa became a thriving hub of arts and entertainment.
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