Lake Norman Arts and Culture Tour
Did you think Lake Norman was just a water sports destination? Think again! Our three towns are full of culture, history, and works of art. Home to several works of internationally known artist Jon Hair, it’s no surprise that the Lake Norman area has great art attractions. You can stroll through the Town of Davidson’s art district and Old Town Cornelius to visit many different galleries and art centers. You can also visit a DIY studio and create your own masterpiece. Come explore all the art Lake Norman has to offer!
2-Day Itinerary. Day 1 Spend the day strolling through the Town of Davidson’s art district and see a movie at a unique theater that’ll make you feel right at home. Day 2 Experience all different types of art by visiting sculpture, photography, wood-working, folk art, and music attractions in the area. Then do some shopping and see a community play.
Day 1 We suggest starting your day with breakfast at Famous Toastery, one of Davidson’s most popular breakfast spots. You’ll have a relaxing morning with its comfortable atmosphere and delicious food. Located in Downtown Davidson, the restaurant is only a short walk from the day’s attractions. Next, stop by the Wooden Stone Gallery located in the heart of South Main Davidson. Splurge a little, as this gallery showcases furniture, pottery, kitchenware, home décor, gifts and jewelry. Since opening, the gallery has grown to represent over 600 artists and craftspeople from the United States and Canada. IMG_4942 Head around the corner and you’ll find yourself at AR Workshop. This DIY workshop and boutique offers mixed media classes where you can learn to craft canvas pillows, tote bags, centerpieces and more. Visit their website to book your seat in a workshop or head into the store and shop their custom creations.
After a short walk down the street, you’ll be at the Whistling Swan Gallery, which features a Fraktur Art exhibit by well-known American Folk Artist, Susan Soloway Daul. The gallery is filled with antiques, reproductions, folk art and more from several featured artists. original_Whistling-Swan-Gallery0 You can stop for lunch at any of the several restaurants on Main Street, including award-winning Kindred. There’s also Flatiron Kitchen & Taphouse, Restaurant X, The Soda Shop, Campania Café & Italian Market, and Fuel Pizza. Don’t forget to stop for a quick dessert at Ben & Jerry’s or Whit’s Frozen Custard. Then explore several art attractions on the Davidson College campus. First, see the magnificent sculptures in the Davidson College Sculpture Garden, then stop in the Belk Visual Arts Center to see the galleries of William H. Van Every Jr. and Edward M. Smith.
To end the day, check out Our Town Cinemas, which provides a comfortable, inviting, and more intimate setting than traditional movie theaters. The concession stand offers all standard theater treats, but also delicious staple items from Brickhouse Tavern, Nathan’s hot dogs, Healthy Home Market wraps, and Davidson Chocolate Company truffles. Don’t forget the funnel cake fries, wine by the glass or bottle, beer and other alcoholic beverages.
Day 2 For breakfast, we suggest Café 100, or The Cookhouse Restaurant, which are both conveniently located in close proximity of the day’s attractions. cafe100 Next, visit the Cornelius Arts Center to take classes or workshops in a variety of media. Enjoy the displayed art in the gallery and see the current exhibits.
Then make your way to Cornelius Heritage Hall. Based on the book “A Town by Any other Name,” by Leslie Rindoks, the hall features antiques, photographs, and maps that provide a tangible overview of the town’s history. Next, head to Brick Row Gallery. Located in the heart of Old Town Cornelius, Brick Row Gallery can be thought of as, “a creative space with walls that talk.” This artisan market features pottery, jewelry, wood-working and more from local artists.
With many great restaurants around, it’s hard to pick where to go for lunch. No matter what you’re in the mood for, you’ll find it in this area. We suggest trying famous BBQ at Mac’s Speed Shop or a waterfront experience at Port City Club. After lunch do some antique shopping in Old Town Cornelius. Stop in Oak Street Mill, a 10,000 square foot historic cotton mill, and browse through furniture, home décor, and vintage knick-knacks. Continue your stroll around town and check out the various boutiques that line the streets.
Lake Norman’s community theatre scene is one you can’t pass up. For your next stop, check out Warehouse Performing Arts Center or Davidson Community Players. Both offer riveting performances that feature local actors. Grab your tickets and head to a show!
End your night at Cornelius’ Old Town Public House. With industrial décor and specializing in craft beer, this neighborhood pub will be the perfect end to your art-filled trip.