You could say that living in Davidson offers the best of both worlds, but that’s not quite right. It actually offers the best of many worlds. It’s a safe, closely knit small town that’s just a short drive from the metropolis of Charlotte. It enjoys the benefits of a being a college town, and also easy access to Lake Norman.
The most lauded restaurant in the Charlotte area, Kindred, is right here on Davidson’s Main Street. Joe Kindred has landed on the James Beard Award semi-finalist list for best chef three years in a row. The restaurant has been praised by publications like Bon Appétit (who named it a best new restaurant in 2015) to Wine Enthusiast (American’s Best Wine Restaurants of 2016.) They’re getting that attention with their inventive sharing menu culled from fresh, local ingredients. Bonus: Sidewalk seating for people watching.
The Soda Shop, Davidson’s first cafe, has been open since the 1940’s serving classics like cheeseburgers, chili dogs, BLTs, milkshakes and sundaes.
Other popular restaurants are Restaurant X Bistro, Famous Toastery (the flagship restaurant of the ever-expanding regional chain), The Pickled Peach and The Egg. And make sure to visit Carrburritos. It’s got everything to meet all your burrito and taco needs, plus a full bar.
Kindred, 131 N. Main Street
The Pickled Peach, 202 S. Main Street
Restaurant X Bistro, 408 S. Main Street
Famous Toastery, 101 N. Main Street
The Egg, 231 Griffith Street
Carrburitos, 445 S. Main Street
Davidson is undeniably a charming small town, but what differentiates living in Davidson from other small southern towns is that it’s home to Davidson College, a highly selective liberal arts college that was established in 1837. The college is an integral part of the town. It opens its doors to the community for concerts by music students and plays from its theatre department. The town of Davidson enthusiastically supports the Davidson Wildcats, whose men’s basketball team, led by Stephen Curry, advanced to the Elite 8 in the NCAA 2008 Tournament. More recently, when the team headed for the airport for the 2018 tournament, the entire student body of Davidson Elementary School lined the street to cheer them on.
Davidson’s Main Street is about the prettiest you’ll find anywhere. If you’re a bookworm, you’ll love Main Street Books, which is eminently browse-worthy, and also hosts visits from well-known authors. Shop for art and hand-made gifts at Sanctuary of Davidson. Enjoy an ice cream float or sandwich at The Soda Shop. Indulge in artisan chocolate or retro candy at South Main Sweet Shop. Shop for gifts at The Village Store. Or learn to play guitar at The Birdsnest.
Main Street Books, 126 S. Main Street
Sanctuary of Davidson, 108 S. Main Street
The Soda Shop, 104 S. Main Street
South Main Sweet Shop, 107 N. Main Street
The Village Store, 110 S. Main Street
The Birdsnest, 102 S. Main Street
It’s fun and easy to spend time outdoors, thanks to Davidson’s Parks and Recreation. Facilities range from the Mary Beaty Tot Lot, which provides playground equipment right behind Summit Coffee, to Roosevelt Wilson Park, which includes paved trails and boardwalks around a pond. Fisher Farm provides four miles of mountain bike trails, and Parham Park, on the shore of Lake Norman, is a great spot to launch a kayak. Don’t forget your pup. The Preserve Dog Park gives Max or Bella lots of space to exercise and meet new friends.
Besides the extensive arts opportunities at Davidson College, and the live music at Summit Coffee, there are a couple of other hometown options for entertainment. Davidson Community Players is a community theater company that presents year-round adult theatre productions and on-going children’s programming. For a movie, settle into one of the extraordinarily comfortable chairs at Our Town Cinemas.
The Davidson community is rich with tradition. In the spring, summer and fall, they gather twice a month on the Village Green for concerts and picnics. The town has an annual Halloween parade. Its Arts on the Green Festival draws thousands of people. And the annual three-day Christmas in Davidson festival is a collaborative affair, with performances and events at the library, restaurants, churches, the banks, schools…even the barber shop. Pretty much everyone is involved, which is just what you’d expect in Davidson.
Summit Coffee is a popular gathering spot for Davidson locals (and folks from Charlotte too.) Part of the draw is the excellent coffee, roasted locally in small batches. But maybe the real draw is the vibe of the shop—quirky, friendly and artsy, with both indoor and outdoor seating. Summit hosts live music several nights a week. In the colder months the music is held upstairs, but it really becomes magical in the warmer months, when it’s happening out back, with ample room for friends to mingle over beers, and for kids to run around on the lawn. One of the nicest things about small town living is running into familiar faces, and Summit is one place where that happens a lot.
Summit Coffee, 128 S. Main Street