16 Best Things to Do in Davidson, NC

Davidson, NC
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A vibrant Main Street and vast green spaces offer exciting things to do in Davidson, North Carolina.

Located on the banks of Lake Norman, the town of Davidson, founded in 1837, is a suburb of the greater Mecklenburg and Iredell County areas.

Davidson's name came from local Revolutionary War hero Brigadier General William Lee Davidson.

When it comes to the history of this little town, it's impossible to separate Davidson College from its legacy.

Small railroad towns were typical of Davidson's expansion in Piedmont's late 19th and early 20th centuries.

But the presence of the institution made the town special. Davidson's tree-lined campus and classically styled buildings set it apart from neighboring towns.

Additionally, the school's influence went beyond the campus, impacting the town's economy and culture as well as the architectural aspect of the city itself.

Today, Davidson, North Carolina, has many visitors, including quaint shops, fascinating events, and miles of beautiful coastline.

There's something for everyone here, from horseback rides to live theater.

You'll depart with lasting memories and a desire to return for at least one more day after your visit.

Visiting this charming town isn't enough; try the best things to do in Davidson, North Carolina.

Peruse the Different Shops along Main Street

Shops along the Main Street of Davidson.
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For over two centuries since its inception, Davidson, North Carolina's Main Street, has evolved into the city's physical and symbolic heart.

The neighborhood has worked hard to keep the street's authentically American vibe and historic ambiance active throughout the years.

Locally owned businesses line the roads, preserving the area's close-knit community atmosphere.

Exterior of Mestizo restaurant at Main Street davidson.
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Main Street is a quarter-mile stretch between Depot and Jackson Street.

Davidson's Main Street Shops feature locally owned boutiques, gift shops, book stores, arts and crafts studios, and sports memorabilia for the Carolina Wildcats.

Outdoor tables are available at several cafes and restaurants, allowing you to enjoy the view of Main Street while dining.

A barber shop at davidson Main Street.
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Stroll around Fisher Farm

Even though Davidson is a thriving town with a vibrant cultural scene, green space is abundant in the area.

A 200-acre park, Fisher Farm has a lot to offer the whole family.

Families with toddlers or older individuals may enjoy a stroll around the park's beautiful, tree-lined trails.

A mountain bike track is also available in the park, suitable for both experienced riders and those just getting started.

This farm is the best place to get away from the city and appreciate nature in Davidson.

Rent a Paddleboard or a Boat at Aloha Paddle Sports

Aloha Paddle Sports specializes in selling the best paddleboards on the market to all levels of paddlers.

Since 2010, this company has manufactured paddleboards in North Carolina.

With over 45 paddleboards on display in their beachfront showroom, Aloha is a one-stop shop for all things paddleboard-related.

Offering group intro and private lessons, Aloha Paddle and Surf makes standup paddleboarding accessible to the greater Charlotte region so that anybody can get their feet wet with a qualified teacher.

Rentals for paddleboards and kayaks are available for individuals who have mastered the fundamentals of paddling and safety.

Even further, it offers My Aloha offers SUPyoga courses many times a week, bringing yoga to the sea.

It also has a friendly and knowledgeable team.

Enjoy Various Water Activities at Lake Norman

Sunset reflecting on Lake Norman.
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

A short drive from downtown Davidson brings you to Lake Norman, only a mile away.

Catawba River supplies the waters of the lake.

Norman Atwater Cocke, the former president of Duke Power, was the inspiration for the lake's name.

The lake, completed in the 1960s, serves as a hydroelectric power supply.

Daytime view of Lake Norman.
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

Lake Norman's 32,000-acre surface area is equivalent to 25,000 football fields.

It is a great place to go swimming, boating, and playing other water sports.

You can paddleboard, canoe, kayak, and sail along the 520 miles of shoreline.

You may also rent a boat or a jet ski and explore the lake at your own pace.

Cycle through South Prong Rocky River Greenway

You can get outside and enjoy nature on the South Prong Rocky River Greenway whether you choose to stroll, run, ride a scooter, or pedal your bike.

The South Prong of the Rocky River flows through downtown Davidson and links it to the communities to the southeast.

Together, these trails and sidewalks up a six-mile network in Davidson, North Carolina.

There is plenty of room for everyone on the wide, paved route.

In the town of Davidson, this walk meanders along a peaceful creek and past a variety of residential areas.

Visitors to the course can rest their feet on a few benches that border the path.

The neighboring town of Cornelius recently expanded the greenway into the Antiquity neighborhood, making it easier for residents to walk and bike.

Because of this, the community may enjoy hiking or biking along the 8.5-mile Antiquity Greenway to West Branch Nature Preserve Trail.

See Stunning Artworks at Belk Visual Arts Center

If you need more inspiration, Davidson offers another art gallery for you.

In a state-of-the-art structure of 43,000 square feet, the Belk Visual Arts Center houses art history and studio work.

These two galleries are home to students, teachers, and artists' works from different parts of the world.

There is an extensive permanent art collection in the galleries and an outdoor sculpture garden.

The exhibits rotate six weeks apart.

In the middle of the arts center's atrium stands Auguste Rodin's life-size statue of Jean d'Aire, a member of the famed Burghers of Calais monument he sculpted in 1886.

The Semans Lecture Hall, equipped with an AV system, seats 50 people for art history classes.

Play with Your Furry Companions at The Preserve Dog Park

The Preserve Dog Park is more than a dog park; it also features a nature path, parking, and a drinking fountain.

This park is also completely fenced.

However, note that this dog park caters to canines immunized against rabies and with a valid Davidson dog identification tag.

To register your pet, you may bring a copy of your dog's rabies vaccination certificate with the rabies tag number at the Davidson Police Department during office hours on weekdays.

You may find the dog park at 330 O'Henry Avenue.

Explore the Davidson College

Exterior of a church inside Davidson College.
Nolichuckyjake / Shutterstock.com

Davidson College was founded in 1837 by the Presbyterian Church of Concord as a "manual training institution" for male preachers.

More than 23 Rhodes Scholars and Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry have graduated from Davidson University.

As well as sports, the school is renowned for its artistic offerings.

Rodin's iconic sculpture was the first piece in its open art gallery.

Admire the ancient Presbyterian Church and immerse yourself in the beauty of the campus.

See the Interesting Gnomes at Cairn Studio

Over the last three decades, Cairn Studio has worked with a wide range of artists.

Its two outstanding galleries feature selected painters working in the Western, Southwestern, or European landscapes and civilizations.

The limited-edition artworks by Dr. Thomas F. Clark are also available here.

A variety of materials, including Cairn's signature resin media and lost-wax Bronze, are used to create each piece, which is then meticulously hand-painted, antiqued, and highlighted.

Gnomes and Abraham Lincoln are just two examples of the Cairn sculptures that you may see at the shop located at 121 N Main Street.

Watch a Production by Davidson Community Players

Playwright and performer Constance Welsh was the driving force behind Davidson Community Players (DCP).

An original play written by Wilmer Welsh, Connie's husband, was staged by a group of college and town people interested in theater in July 1965 for the debut production of The Players.

While Connie was studying at Carnegie Mellon, the group presented one or two plays each summer in Hodson Hall on Davidson's campus.

There are now six productions that the Players put on each year, which include a March performance, two summer plays in the 525-seat Davidson College Theater, one adult production in the fall, and a Christmas show.

DCP provides three complete children's shows, two teen summer stock performances, and several youth programs and workshops for theater arts education and performing possibilities.

Sip Wine While Enjoying Live Music at Davidson Wine Co.

Lindsey Williams, once a lawyer, developed a taste for wine during her time in law school.

This experience prompted her to go full-time into the hospitality business.

Williams and her family are all Davidson, North Carolina natives.

An urban vineyard fad had caught her eye, and she jumped on the bandwagon.

She gets grapes from some of the world's most recognized wine-making areas for her Chardonnay and creates some of the most popular varieties, including Merlot and Cabernet.

She also produces sparkling and rare varietals like Petit Verdot and Viognier at an adjacent site.

Williams transformed this former organ-making business on Depot Street into a stylish wine bar and restaurant.

It also serves food and offers outdoor seating.

Wine-inspired drinks and local brews are on tap, as well as live music, making this a fun location to spend the night.

Catch a Game of the Davidson Wildcats at Richardson Stadium

Tracks and field at Richardson Stadium
MarkSehnert, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1923, Lunsford Richardson, Jr.,  and Henry Smith Richardson made a substantial donation to build Richardson Stadium to pay tribute to their father, Lunsford Richardson, Sr.

With a capacity of up to 6,000, Richardson evokes memories of homecoming and alumnae cake races for Wildcat supporters.

The Davidson Wildcats has an illustrious past.

Students at Davidson College formed a football team in 1989, playing their first intercollegiate game and gaining the nickname "wildcats" for their perseverance.

The Richardson Stadium serves as the team's home field.

Take advantage of your time in town and get tickets whether you're a football enthusiast or just seeking some exciting entertainment.

Grab a Good Read at Main Street Books

Davidson's Main Street Books was founded in 1987 by two women who dared to take a risk.

Not only bibliophiles can enjoy this beautiful little bookstore's vintage bookcases, original wood flooring, and peaceful reading nooks.

The store sells a wide range of titles, including blockbusters, recipes, science fiction, picture books, young adult novels, and historical books for adults and older readers.

It also holds book signings, readings and signings, a book club, a writing club, and storytime for children and adults.

The staff is also more than ready to assist you in searching for a book to take home.

Get Your Supplies from Davidson Farmer's Market

It's worth the stroll down to the farmers' market on Saturday in Davidson if you're in the neighborhood.

The market is a local tradition in front of the Town Hall every week.

Approximately 1,300 people each week come here to buy fresh produce and more from the market's 40 merchants, located within a 100-mile radius.

Aside from fresh fruits and vegetables, the market features freshly cooked food, local honey, soaps, and salsa.

Customers at the market will learn about the health benefits of eating locally sourced food and incorporating it into their diet.

Grab some fresh fruit for a delightful snack when resting at the nearby park.

Get Crafty at Hearts on Fiber

Are you interested in doing something unique?

In the heart of town, in the South Main neighborhood, you'll find the family-run business Hearts on Fiber.

The business began when the Needlecraft Center shut down.

Its owner believes a small town like Davidson must have a local yarn business.

There are a variety of workshops and hand-dyed materials available in this shop for your next yarn-art project.

If you need yarn or supplies, this is the one-stop shop for all your needs.

Bring Home a Piece of Davidson from Moxie Mercantile

Located between Plaza Midwood in Charlotte, NC, and Davidson in Davidson is Moxie Mercantile, a unique lifestyle shop Michelle Castelloe.

Moxie is an ideal location to pick up a thoughtful gift for a loved one, a friend, or a coworker.

Moxie began in 2015 and still strives to deliver a refined mix of home and personal accessories to Charlotte.

The products featured here include jewelry, wood, ceramics, soy candles, tabletop, handbags, and leather.

While local artists make most of its products, some of its offerings include out-of-the-state items.

Final Thoughts

Whether you're a food enthusiast, scholar, historian, art lover, or merely someone looking for an escape from the life's hustle and bustle, Davidson has something for you.

Visit today and enjoy this small, charming town with our list of the best things to do in Davidson, North Carolina.