Camp North End in Charlotte is the Coolest Spot for Shopping, Dining, and Events
June 3, 2021
On a recent trip to Charlotte, North Carolina, I spent a day exploring. I was on a search to find the best craft beer, street art, and hidden gems. And that I did! Camp North End in Charlotte is easily one of the coolest places I have visited in a while. In what was once an old industrial train yard in the NoDa district is now an emerging shopping, dining, and event destination. It. Is. Incredible. Keep reading to find out why.
The History of Camp North End
In the early 1900s, the site was home to an assembly plant for Ford Motor Company. Over 200,000 cars were manufactured there.
During World War II, the US Army purchased the buildings for use as a quartermaster depot. Civilians and officers worked to create supplies and uniforms to be shipped out to soldiers.
The US Army maintained operations throughout the Cold War, then overseeing Charlotte Army Missile Plan (CAMP).
After the wars, the area became a distribution center for Eckerd and Rite Aid for several decades.
But now? Now Camp North End is the creative hub of Charlotte. ATCO Development purchased the property in December 2016 with plans to turn the 76-acre area into a 3 million square feet of dining, shopping, and event spaces.
If you want to learn more about Camp North End in person, check out their weekly lunchtime walking tours on Thursdays at noon!
Sustainability at Camp North End
Because the project is designed to repurpose and reuse as much of the existing material as possible, the sustainability efforts are everywhere. And it’s impressive! To start, there’s the basic concept of renovating the old warehouses into shared work spaces, event venues, shops, and restaurants.
Everything around the buildings becomes art. Old wires and poles make the gardens more decorative. Pulleys and troughs have turned into flower beds. Old rolling carts and underground tubing makes for creative up cycled seating.
Then there are the animals! Off to the side, beside the storage containers you’ll find a small family of goats. Next to them? A beautiful collection of colorful beehives. Visitors are warned to stay at least 20 feet back as to not disrupt the bees. Their honey will be collected to be used or sold at the Camp North End businesses.
Camp North End Murals
Of course the first thing that drew me to Camp North End was the abundance of murals. It’s so fitting that the space is covered in beautiful street art – they bring color and energy to the old industrial buildings. You’ll find murals all over the place – from the garage doors to the brick walls. Every single one is incredible, each designed and painted by artists both local and international. Have fun taking photos with all of them!
Pop into any of the shops to grab a map of the property and you can follow along the mural walking trail. That way you’re sure to see them all. Plus, they each have a QR code which you can use to get more information on the artist and their work.
If you love murals as much as I do, drive around the area near Camp North End to find more street art in NoDa!
Camp North End Restaurants and Bars
Whether day or night, there’s always something good to eat at Camp North End. During the day, check out the restaurants in the Keswick area. There’s a vegan eatery, a ramen shop, and a few others to check out. But when night falls, head over to the Boiler Yard. That’s where you’ll find airstreams that have been converted into pop-up cocktail bars, and tiki huts serving up delicious drinks.
Also in the boiler yard is lots of retro and up cycled seating, plus swings and fire pits. There are open spaces for events including live performances and yoga.
Shopping at Camp North End
Currently there are only a few shops at Camp North End, but they are fantastic! And I can’t wait to see what others open by the next time I’m in North Carolina. My favorite shop was Good Postage. It’s a stationary shop owned by Karen & Jane Manfredi. I chatted with Karen during my visit, and she raved about the potential of Camp North End while giving me advice on what to check out. Her daughter, Jane, is the one who creates all the artwork on the cards and stickers for sale.
Make sure Camp North End is part of your next trip to Charlotte