The hidden gems of Charlotte

buffalo exchange interiorFor the newcomer, Charlotte can appear intimidating. With so many places to shop, dine, and have fun, there’s the question of, “Where do I start?” in the Queen City. To the average university student, options may seem a little limited when it comes to finances.  Fortunately, Charlotte does well catering to these specific needs. In seven years here, I’ve discovered a few places that offer a quality experience but that are also easy on the wallet.

Kebab grillFor delicious middle-eastern cuisine, Le Kebab Grill (above) located in the University area has a great selection. Try the lamb shawarma double, with onions, tomatoes, and tahini sauce; or the starter of spiced fried wings. For a vegetarian option, consider ordering a starter of Spinach pie or the veggie sub for a filling entrée.

Coffee Cone shop in CharlotteTo satisfy your sweet tooth, stop by the black-owned Coffee Cone Cafe (above) for a selection of hand-crafted expressos and twenty-four flavors of soft serve. Or head to Pelican’s Snoballs on North Tryon and try flavors like Fuzzy Monkey, Wedding Cake, or (if you’re feeling daring) Toothpaste. And don’t forget to ask for an animal gummy.

Buffalo Exchange exteriorFor an inexpensive shopping trip, Buffalo Exchange (left), located in Plaza Midwood has high-quality, second-hand items without a high-quality price. And to make some extra money, consider selling your unwanted clothing items, which the store happily accepts. And while you’re still in the Plaza Midwood area, Book Buyers has a plethora of books from all genres that are previously used.

If you’re wondering where to spend your free time, head to the Mint Museum (below) in Uptown or Randolph for free admission every Wednesday evening. Current exhibitions include European Art, the Heritage Gallery, and Arts of Africa.  For those who want to get a workout in while having fun, Kate’s Skating Rink located on Indian Trail has admission ranging from $4-8 on select days.

Mint Museum in uptown CharlotteFor anyone that’s new to a city, it can feel overwhelming with so much to do. And Charlotte is no exception. But among the high-end stores and experiences, it still offers plenty of budget-friendly places to eat and things to see and do for the university student new to the Queen City.

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Published by students of Queens University of Charlotte, 1900 Selwyn Avenue, Charlotte, N.C. 28274.