2015 Readers' Favorites: Dining + Destinations
Our readers' favorite places to get out and about in Charlotte.
Favorite Place to Brunch With Kids
The Flying Biscuit Café
Whether it's pancakes or pimento cheese you want, this hidden gem fills you up with Southern-inspired breakfast and lunch items, including the decadent, flaky biscuits. The eclectic breakfast menu includes a kids menu complete with gourmet oodles of noodles and healthy organic oatmeal pancakes. Stonecrest at Piper Glen and Park Road Shopping Center, flyingbiscuit.com.
Favorite Burger Joint
Bad Daddy's Burger
This local favorite serves up everything from burgers to breakfast. But what this place is known for is their spin on the all-American burger. The menu includes gluten-free burgers and meatier options for dads and moms looking for a stick-to-your-ribs meal. Multiple locations. baddaddysburgerbar.com.
Favorite Place for Barbecue
With mouth-watering tangy and spicy flavors, this place is 'finger-lickin' good. Favorites include pimento cheese fries, barbecue pork sandwiches and melt-in-your-mouth macaroni and cheese. 1401 Central Ave.; and 12410 Johnston Road. midwoodsmokehouse.com.
Photo credit: Logan Cyrus
Favorite Place for Mexican Food
Tex-Mex done right plus a festive atmosphere is what makes this place stand out from the rest. Mom and Dad can choose from guacamole made at your table to mouth-watering enchiladas and molé. Kids can choose items on the kids' menu. On select nights, Mr. Twister, the balloon artist, pops in to make surprise creations. Park Road Shopping Center and Stonecrest at Piper Glen. cantina1511.com.
Favorite Pizza Place
More than 24 pizza specialties, a wide selection of craft beers, plus the kids' menu makes this a local family favorite. The kids' menu offers kid favorites - cheese pizza, pasta, and s'mores pizza dessert - with each ringing in under $5. In addition to the activity placemat and crayons, ask for a ball of dough for kids to play with while waiting for the food. Multiple locations, brixxpizza.com.
Favorite Place for Kids Eat Free
It doesn't matter if you just left a play date or need to fuel up before an all-afternoon adventure, this deli delights with something for every palate, and ahem, suits every parent's wallet. Multiple locations. mcalistersdeli.com.
Favorite Place for a Frozen Treat
The smooth texture of this yogurt-based frozen treat may just trick you into believing you're eating ice cream. The kids can hand-scoop their own toppings and make creative combinations to their individual liking. Multiple locations, sweetfrogyogurt.com.
Favorite Children's Museum
All ages can enjoy this science-crazed museum "ooing" and "awing" over the many wonders of the world. Expect exhibits, programs and experiments that connect to groundbreaking larger-than-life inventions. Plus kids love the chance to touch a python, explore the rainforest, and see a 3D movie at the IMAX. Ages 7 and younger can also have fun making things happen at KidScience, the early childhood education exhibition. 301 N. Tryon St, discoveryplace.org.
Favorite Art Museum
The Mint Museum offers kid-friendly programs that engage and excite kids about permanent and temporary art exhibitions. Through drop-in Sunday Fun Days, ARTventure scavenger hunts and a variety of art classes and camps, children get a great introduction to art and art collections. Be sure to pop in the Lewis Family Gallery at the uptown location for a puzzle challenge, or make a giant doodle. 501 S. Tryon St. at the Levine Center for the Arts and 2730 Randolph Road, mintmuseum.org.
Favorite Live Theater
Children's Theater of Charlotte
The heartwarming line-up of shows isn't the only fantastic thing that makes this a favorite for families. Children's Theatre of Arts offers a slew of classes and summer camps to show the behind-the-scenes action, and is a fun way for kids to build character, dressing up and acting out on stage. At ImaginOn, 300 E. Seventh St. ctcharlotte.org.
One of the area's biggest festivals happens every Labor Day weekend. Kids can do hands-on art projects at the Kids Craft Pavilion, ride a train or pony, plus a take a spin on the many Midway rides. Be sure to have a funnel cake while listening to live music on one of the many stages. And bonus: Proceeds benefit local nonprofit organizations. Downtown Matthews, matthewsalive.org.