2015 Readers' Favorites: Editors' Picks
We think Charlotte is a wonderful place to live and an especially great place to raise a family. We also believe there are a few places that every family needs to know about for playing, dining, exploring and simply having fun as a family. Some of these places you may already know of, or maybe they are all new to you. Either way, we hope you'll give a few of our favorites a try.
Best Place to Throw a Fishing Line
Cane Creek Park
This Union County park has a 350-acre lake perfect for throwing in a fishing line. The lake is home to some of the best largemouth bass fishing in the state as well as bluegill, crappie and catfish. Canoes can be rented year-round for $8, or you can bring your own boat. No boat, no problem. Fish from the two floating docks or walk a trail to find a spot to fish from the lake's banks. A North Carolina fishing license is required to fish. Licenses and bait can be purchased on site. $4 per car entrance fee. 5213 Harkey Road, Waxhaw. co.union.nc.us/parks.
Best Place to Donate or Buy a Used Bike
Trips for Kids ReCyclery
"Dusty, not rusty" bicycles are repaired to become safe, sound bikes that are either used by the Trips for Kids Earn-a-Bike Program or sold to the public at a reduced price. The ReCyclery has a vast variety of sizes, styles and makes of bicycles, plus an extensive selection of bicycle parts. Proceeds benefit Trips for Kids, which provides mentoring through bicycling to at-risk kids. 512 E. 15th Street. tripsforkids.org.
Favorite Place to Get a Hotdog
JJ's Red Hots
Whether you like your dog with slaw and onions, chili and cheese, or Chicago style, JJ's Red Hots has it covered. Kids can get a plain dog or choose the Puppydawgs, bite-size hotdog pieces battered and fried. Or if Mom and Dad were the ones who really craved the hotdog, they have peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches or chicken tenders. The space is decorated with classic memorabilia that makes for a fun game of I-spy while you wait. 1514 East Blvd., jjsredhots.com.
Favorite Doughnut Shop
Your Mom's Donuts
Feel good that you are feeding your family a farm-to-table treat at this family-owned doughnut shop in Matthews. The doughnuts are made with flour milled in North Carolina, local eggs and produce from nearby farms. With that in mind, flavors change seasonally, and may include strawberry-lavender, coconut lime, or peanut butter and caramel. You can always count on finding a vanilla glazed, too. 11025 Monroe Road, Matthews. yourmomsdonuts.com.
Favorite Place to Find Food Trucks
Food Truck Friday
Food trucks are popping up all over Charlotte, but you can find them swarmed together on Fridays in Historic Southend. Try a grown-up version of the traditional grilled cheese or a Big Cheesy for the kids at the Papi Queso truck, have a sweet treat from Southern Cake Queen or ice cream from Sticks and Cones. Expect 10 or more trucks each week. Held every Friday, rain or shine, from 5-9 p.m. Corner of Camden Road and Park Avenue. historicsouthend.com.