Updated May 15, 2024 - Neighborhoods

Ballantyne is undergoing a transformation. Here's what to expect during your next visit

Ballantyne

The Bowl at Ballantyne will see the opening of its first tenants May 2024. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Drive just 30 minutes south of Uptown and you'll reach Ballantyne, a swanky neighborhood that practically borders South Carolina.

Why it matters: Ballantyne is in the midst of a transformation. The biggest draw to the area is arguably what's yet to come.

Driving the news: The grand vision, called Ballantyne Reimagined, is a redevelopment project by commercial real estate firm Northwood Office to turn the south Charlotte corporate office park and golf course into a family-friendly campus with restaurants, bars and entertainment.

Catch up quick: A focal point of Northwood's Ballantyne rebrand is the creation of a mixed-use district called The Bowl at Ballantyne, which will see its first tenants open in May 2024.

A look into The Bowl at Ballantyne

The vibe: A town center-like destination, The Bowl aims to be Ballantyne's new cultural attraction to eat, drink and gather, Axios' Alex Sands reported.

Zoom in: Owned and operated by Northwood, the brick Main Street encompasses 70,000 square feet of retail, 80% of which is already occupied, Axios' Alex Sands reported.

What to expect: Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, Charlotte's oldest craft Brewery and The Bowl's anchor tenant, will open its new biergarten and restaurant at The Bowl on June 1.

  • Other upcoming include Flower Child and North Italia from James Beard-nominated chef Sam Fox, reformer pilates studio [solidcore] and Fly Kid Fly, a new coffee spot from the owners of HEX Coffee Roasters.

Stop by: 15119 Bowl St.

Go deeper: See the progress of The Bowl at Ballantyne

flower child
A South End favorite, health food restaurant Flower Child will be the first eatery to open at The Bowl on May 21, 2024. Photo: McKenzie Rankin

Yes, and: Wegman's, one of the nation's most popular grocers, will debut its first Charlotte location in Ballantyne in 2026.

Between the lines: As Ballantyne grows, the lines that constitute the area have begun to blur. For this guide, we're considering Ballantyne the area that extends south from Interstate 485 and down to the South Carolina state line.

Zoom out: While not considered Ballantyne, other south Charlotte hotspots worthy of a visit include The Arboretum Shopping Center and StoneCrest at Piper Glen, home to a movie theater and a range of dining options.

While there's still plenty to come to the area, here are seven ways to eat, drink and explore your way through the Ballantyne neighborhood.

Catch a concert at The Amp Ballantyne

Context: The Amp is a 3,500-person outdoor amphitheater that opened as one of the first attractions inside The Bowl in the fall of 2023.

What to expect: A mix of live shows (past concerts include artists like Suki Waterhouse and Eli Young Band), festivals, markets and fitness classes with a tiered lawn, concessions and space for food trucks. Check out the full calendar here.

Stop by: 11115 Upper Ave.

The Amp
The Amp. Rendering courtesy of Northwood Office.

Explore Ballantyne's greenways and parks

By the numbers: Wanna get outdoors? Get to Ballantyne. It's home to 20 parks and ponds, plus more than 20 miles of walking paths and bike lanes, according to GoBallantyne. A few to check out include:

  • Cullman Park: Located on the west side of the Ballantyne campus, Cullman is a must-visit for catch-and-release fishing. Open daily from 7am-8pm.
  • Stream Park: A six-acre park with an interactive playground behind The Ballantyne Hotel and close to The Bowl. Open daily from dawn to dusk.
  • Brixham Park: Also on the campus' west side, Brixham Park offers covered seating, turf lawns and food truck areas with a nearby apiary.
  • Ballantyne's Backyard: A privately-owned community park on the east campus with over 100 acres of green space, trails and catch-and-release ponds. Hungry? Work in a stop for tacos and margs at Charlotte favorite Cabo Fish Taco, located right outside the park.
stream park
Stream Park has its own greenway extension, which links Ballantyne Corporate Place with the Lower McAlpine Creek, McMullen Creek and Four Mile Creek greenways. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Eat, drink and shop in Ballantyne Village

The vibe: Located across from The Ballantyne Hotel, Ballantyne Village is a boutique-style, outdoor shopping center that has become a signature landmark of the community — get the full directory here.

If you go: Here's how we suggest making the most of your time there.

  • Have chicken and waffles for brunch at Eggspectation — the Montreal-based brunch chain recently expanded to Charlotte.
  • Take a hot yoga class at YogaSix.
  • Eat Italian fare at locally owned Zinicola.
  • Get panoramic views of Charlotte on the rooftop of modern Asian restaurant Hestia.
Hestia
Ballantyne's Hestia Rooftop. We went on a cloudy day, but on a clear day you can see the Uptown skyline and Carowinds' roller coasters. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Go deeper: Hestia is Ballantyne's newest rooftop restaurant

Yes, and: If you're in the mood for coffee or baked goods, local Sunflour Bakery is just across the street.

Try some of the area's best sushi at Prime Fish

The vibe: This snug restaurant, which makes it into our best sushi guide year after year, has some of the highest-quality sushi rolls in town.

What to try: The black truffle salmon ($21) and the Sake Yaki ($20) with eel, avocado, seared salmon belly, eel sauce, truffle oil, black salt and scallion.

  • Pro tip: For a more elevated sushi experience, check out their tasting menu restaurant, Prime Fish Omakase, near Cotswold.

Stop by: Find Prime Fish at 11212 Providence Road.

  • Open Tuesday 4:30-9pm, lunch 11:30am-2pm Wednesday through Friday; dinner 4:30-10:30pm Friday and Saturday, 12-9pm Sunday. Closed Mondays.
prime fish
Sake Yaki and Prime Tuna. Photo: Alexis Clinton/Axios.

Make your great escape at Timed Out Escape

What to expect: Varying escape rooms with varying levels of difficulty — you'll have one hour to find your way out of a room of your choosing. The experience is optimal for groups of four to eight.

Stop by: 12239 N Community House Road (in Toringdon Market)

  • Sunday noon-7pm, Monday noon-9:15pm, Tuesday-Wednesday 3-9:15pm, Friday-Saturday noon-9:15pm.
Timed Out Escape Ballantyne
Photo: Axios Archives

Book a staycation at The Ballantyne Hotel

The vibe: You'll feel like you're out of office without all the travel at The Ballantyne, steps away from The Bowl. The luxury hotel, owned by Marriott, has its own spa and restaurant called The Gallery.

Of note: You don't need to be a guest to dine at The Gallery.

Stop by: 10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.

  • The hotel, and nearby Stream Park, is now connected to The Bowl via a suspended boardwalk.
Ballantyne hotel
Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Fill up on madeleines and Korean pastries at Littl Madeleine

The vibe: A recently-opened, locally owned cafe and coffee shop specializing in Korean treats and madeleines (small sponge cakes with a shell-like shape that originated in France).

Dig in: All the baked goods are made with organic ingredients, and the madeleine flavors rotate weekly.

Stop by: 11318 N Community House Road

  • Open Monday-Saturday 8am-7pm. Closed Sunday.
matcha
I ordered the double matcha madeleine with an iced americano. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Editor's note: This guide was last updated on May 15, 2024. We updated the opening date of OMB to reflect the latest from the brewery.

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