Aug 21, 2021 - Culture

10 best “friend date” ideas in Charlotte

Camp North End Boileryard

Camp North End Boileryard

Making friends as an adult in Charlotte is hard, according to our recent survey of 1,125 Axios Charlotte readers. But 80% of those respondents say they’re open to new friends.

In my experience, making new friends is a lot like dating. You start by following each other on social media and like each others posts and stories until someone makes the first move.

You start with a short, casual one-on-one hangout like coffee or drinks, then move on to longer hangouts like dinner or errands.

  • I call these one-on-one hangouts friend dates. It’s a lot like dating, without the romantic intentions.

Next time you strike up a conversation with someone you want to befriend, suggest one of these ideas for a friend date.

  • These ideas were some of the most popular suggestions in our friendship survey.

(1) Grab coffee and walk the greenways

Most of those who participated in our friendship survey are looking for someone to have deeper conversations with. Coffee and a walk is a cheap and flexible way to connect. Choose a quick trail if you’re short on time, or tackle a longer one like Four Mile Creek if you’ve got time.

Best for: Second friend dates.

Four Mile Creek Greenway
Four Mile Creek Greenway. Photo: Bri Crane/Axios

(2) Go brewery hopping

Grabbing a beer is a cheap casual way to get to know someone better. If you’re anxious about the conversation going stale, go somewhere with free live music and lots of people watching.

  • Fun fact: 17% of our survey respondents said going to a brewery or brewery hopping is the ultimate way to make a new friend.

Best for: Your first time meeting in person.

Not sure which brewery to visit? Here’s a Complete list and map of Charlotte’s 30+ local breweries, plus the most popular beer at each.

trolley barn atherton patio views
Balcony and view from Trolley Barn, now open in South End.

(3) Check out the Whitewater Center

You can walk around, listen to live music for River Jam, grab food or drinks or just sit and watch all of the action. Parking is $6, entry is free.

  • Find the River Jam schedule here.

Best for: Those who want to do something quintessentially Charlotte.

Whitewater Center Rafting

(4) Grab food and stroll through Camp North End

There’s so much to do at Camp North End. You can get food and drinks, get a treat from Popbar, check out all the murals, shop, listen to music or play outdoor games.

  • There are a lot of talking points, and you’ll get to know the other person’s interests better

Best for: People who appreciate built-in talking points.

User’s guide: Camp North End, the growing development near Uptown, now home to 41 cool tenants

van gogh exhibit camp north end charlotte

(5) Get lunch or dinner at Optimist Hall

If you don’t know each other well but want to grab lunch or dinner, try Optimist Hall. there are enough options to make everyone happy, and you don’t have to settle on one type of cuisine.

Best for: Indecisive people.

empanada and fries at felix empanadas at optimist hall
Felix Empanadas

(6) Explore Uptown

Many people suggested this in our survey, and for good reason. If you’re new to the city, or don’t work Uptown, it’s fun to explore the center of our city. You can grab lunch, explore museums, picnic in the parks or even see a show at Blumenthal to get a feel for Charlotte together.

Best for: People new to Charlotte.

golden cow uptown
You can’t go wrong with ice cream and walk through the city. (This is Golden Cow)

(7) Go to a vineyard

If you’ve made one-off connections but crave a more solid group, try a vineyard. Even if some in the group don’t drink, many vineyards have snacks and the vibes are immaculate.

Best for: Group hangs.

Axios guide: Summer wine slushie anyone? 7 vineyards within an hour of Uptown

wine slushie douglas vineyards
Wine Slushie from Douglas Vineyards.

(8) Take a SkillPop class

Sitting directly across from someone you don’t know well and trying to carry a conversation for an hour-plus is intimidating. Doing an engaging activity, like a SkillPop class, gives you something to bond over and allows for natural pauses in conversation.

Best for: Those with a bit of social anxiety.

Sweet Spot Studio
Sweet Spot Studio

(9) Do a work workout class

If you and your new buddy are active types, try a class together. Charlotte has tons of group fitness classes, from boutique fitness studios to brewery yoga to run clubs.

Best for: Those who bond over wellness.

(10) Catch a game

The best thing about sports is the way it brings people together. Whether you’re new to town or have lived here for years, you can’t go wrong with going to a Knights, Panthers or Hornets game.

Best for: People of all ages.

Truist Field
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