Your Guide to a Family-Friendly Day in South End
If you are looking for something different to do with your family or visiting friends, try the kids’ version of a day in South End. Our neighborhood filled with trains, puppies, giant swings and four ice cream shops is a surprisingly great place to plan a family-friendly adventure day. Here are some of the places and activities you won’t want to miss:
Ride the Train!
With the new Blue Line extension open, the Light Rail is the easiest way to get to South End from many points north or south and can get you pretty close to wherever you’re headed for the day. At $2.20 each way for adults, and free for kids under 5, it’s also a budget-friendly outing popular with the very young crowd.
Pro Tip: Wave to the train drivers when the trains pass by. They always wave back!
Explore the Rail Trail
The Rail Trail runs alongside the Light Rail and has something fun at nearly every block. Walk or ride bikes on the trail to find a giant yellow seesaw at the Bland Street stop, magic carpet murals perfect for a photo just south of the East/West stop, a symphony of musical instruments at the New Bern Station and a colorful porch with great columns for climbing near Carson Blvd.
Pro Tip: With older kids, check out the Hex Pong table in the alley next to the Charlotte Trolley Powerhouse, between Bland Street Station and Camden Road. For the brave, or truly talented, try putting the hexagon to use with more than one game at a time!
Cool Off with a Frozen Treat
Everything’s better with ice cream! While you’re wandering the neighborhood, grab a scoop at Golden Cow, Two Scoops or the soon-to-open Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream to keep you cool. You can also stop by the King of Pops pop shop or look for one of their carts selling pops on the Rail Trail.
Pro Tip: You can also find King of Pops popsicles at Pop the Top and Sycamore Brewing, and Publix carries Jeni’s by the pint. Really, you have no excuse not to be eating ice cream.
Check Out a Market
Each Saturday, catch the South End Market at Atherton: a farmers market with local goods including produce, fresh flowers and baked goods. The first Sunday of each month is Front Porch Sunday on the Shook Kelley porch, where Charlotte vendors sell everything from homemade food to jewelry to witty prints. Both of the events have plenty of open space and are laid-back places for kids and parents to explore.
Pro Tip: The South End Market at Atherton is indoors, and you can start the morning with a latte from Not Just Coffee-Atherton next door. Front Porch Sundays is April – June, and August – November.
Grab Some Grub
You’ll need to refuel at some point during the day! For a restaurant that’s able to accommodate groups or allergies, check out Blaze Pizza or Tupelo Honey. Kids will love the option to pick out their own pizza ingredients at Blaze and Tupelo has a kid’s menu that’ll make you rethink your grown-up choices.
Spot Public Art
South End is packed with murals and public art installations. As you walk around the neighborhood, make a game of spotting as much art as you can and while you’re seeking out art, stop by the Unfurled mural on the side of the white building on the Rail Trail and Park Avenue to see how many animals you can find hidden in the mosaic.
Pro Tip: For the preschool crowd, keep your eyes peeled for the Pre-Historic South End Dinosaur and the South End Funky Chickens, both on the Rail Trail between Bland Street Station and Park Ave.