Insider’s Guide to South End’s Hidden Gems
Speakeasies, murals, and historic passageways—wander off the beaten path and discover these unexpected spots in South End.
Known for its unique industrial vibe, South End is without a doubt one of Charlotte’s hottest neighborhoods right now. From its Insta-famous (and BOB-winning) Confetti Hearts Wall to the popular Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, this local hotspot has earned quite the reputation—leading Charlotteans to believe they’ve seen and done it all.
However, if you’re looking to explore beyond the ordinary and become a true Charlotte insider, follow along as we point out a few of South End’s unique hidden gems.
The Riva Finoli Passage
307 Lincoln Street (Magnolia Emporium)
You may have walked past South End’s intriguing Magnolia Emporium, but did you know that this quirky gift shop has a colorful side alleyway? Not only that, but it’s rich in history... Rumor has it that the Riva Finoli Passage is where “Charlotte’s wealth conscience was born.” It was recently named to honor Don Vincenzo de Riva Finoli, an Italian man who took this path back in the early 1800s and pioneered the Rudisill Gold Mine, which put Charlotte on the map as a viable gold source. No big deal.
Sixty years later, as a result of this little passageway, roughly $2.6 million dollars in gold had been extracted from 60 mines in the Charlotte area.
South End Murals
As a testament to its history, the Gold District (a sub-district of South End) cherishes its past through art and celebration of the surrounding urban community—including the area's first project, The Gold District Community Mural. While you're exploring the Riva Finoli passage at Magnolia Emporium, you can also find the colorful Community Mural parallel to the alleyway, depicting Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg (a supporter of the arts).
What makes this mural so special is that it was created by neighbors in the community—they all got together to paint a wall, and the result was a beautiful backdrop that also serves as a public table of contents with the logos of different business owners. Connect with our city's past, present, and future as you view this mural—after all, you are standing on top of tunnels of gold mines.
Other murals in South End and the Gold District by Charlotte artists include...
- "People the River" at Magnolia Emporium
- "Wake the Queen" at Magnolia Emporium
- "QCity Angels" at Max & Lola Bodega (another BOB winner)
- "Lens of Love, Dignity & Respect" at CBI (just a bit farther south, but worth it)
101 W. Worthington Avenue (Superica)
Recognized for its prime location next to Tex-Mex spot Superica, Nebel’s Alley is a lovely place to stroll with friends or family. If you stumble upon this brick-walled corridor at the right time of year, you’ll see it transform into one of the most unique, intimate night markets in Charlotte. Paired on the same night as the monthly South End Gallery Crawl, Nebel’s Night Markets offer the chance to peruse local vendors and artisans under charming papier-mâché lanterns.
Catch the Nebel’s Alley Night Market on September 6, 2019, and other select first Fridays of the month. Click here to see the full event calendar for South End.
Atherton Mill Farmers Market
2000-2140 South Boulevard
While many Charlotteans are quick to shop Atherton Mill’s mixed retail scene, many tend to overlook its weekly Farmers Market occurring every Saturday through September 28, 2019. Stop by for fresh produce and local meat and dairy, plus terrarium finds, flowers, and gourmet doughnuts.
2433 South Boulevard (SouthBound)
Step inside this red-draped South End hideaway for a cozy evening away from the crowds. BackStage Lounge is a speakeasy-style bar hidden behind SouthBound that requires a $20 annual membership. Upon entrance, you’ll follow the mural-lined wall to a curtained phone booth, where you’ll be prompted for membership. Once inside, you’ll find craft cocktails, decadent small plates, romantic booth settings, and bar-top seating for the ultimate city escape.
1812 South Boulevard (The Manchester)
Impress your visiting friends with this insider experience. The password to enter Room 1812 changes daily (check for it here) but if you get in, you can enjoy the
1300 South Boulevard, Suite S.
There's a lot to discover in one of our city's most historic and iconic neighborhoods—even more than what's listed here. For your full resource on all things South End, visit HistoricSouthEnd.com, and follow @southendclt on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.