South End is well-known for its retail and dining options, but the neighborhood is also home to lots of fun activities to do alone, with friends or on date night.
From ear piercings to light therapy, wine tasting and stretch sessions, check out six experiences to try in South End.
In the middle of the bustling South End neighborhood lies Beem Light Sauna. The wellness studio provides light therapy options that support a range of wellness goals from pain relief to stress reduction.
What we liked: During the first session, guests view an interactive video that asks about their wellness goals, and explains the benefits of light therapy. Guests can choose a light color depending on the mood they want to leave in (cheerful, happy, relaxed, etc.) and then head back to the sauna. There’s an iPad with streaming apps ready to go, as well as music that can play through the speakers.
What surprised us: Most of the saunas fit just one person, but Beem also offers rooms that fit two people for relaxing alongside a partner. The shower afterwards helps reset after the sweat that’s worked up during sauna time. And Beem has everything you need: towels, soap, shampoo and conditioner.
Our favorite part: Light therapy is very relaxing and mood-stimulating. Choose a cheerful yellow to leave with a extra pep in your step.
Can you touch your toes while standing up? Can you clasp your hands around your back? If you want to work on flexibility, or if you want to relieve muscle soreness, Kika Stretch Studio is the place to do it.
What we liked: Stretch sessions are catered to whichever body parts need the most attention. You can choose to do the whole body or to just focus on your back or legs.
What surprised us: Unlike a massage that relieves muscle soreness temporarily, learning how to effectively stretch your muscles can help to eliminate this pain. To begin the stretch session, the instructor measures how far you can reach between your legs while sitting. By the end, most clients can reach an additional two inches.
Our favorite part: You can feel the immediate impact of the stretching on your body. Plus you’ll leave with stretches you can easily practice at home.
Everything comes on tap now, and wine is no exception. Sixty Vines brings a new dining option perfect for birthdays or date nights to South End.
What we liked: 60 wines to choose from may create indecisiveness. However the waitstaff at Sixty Vines is happy to provide “fan favorites” and recommendations based on your personal palate and food choices. The restaurant is definitely a wine-lover’s paradise, but it offers cocktails, mocktails and ciders, too.
What surprised us: Though Sixty Vines boasts an amazing wine list, they also know what they’re doing in the kitchen. Things like brussel sprouts as a must-try appetizer, pizzas with unique toppings like goat cheese, various pastas and a range of meat options including trout are on the menu.
Our favorite part: The restaurant fits into the fine dining vibe on all accounts with its beautiful decor, great service and extensive menu. However, the prices can ensure a pretty affordable date night.
What’s a fun day or night out with friends without a new piercing? Located right along the light rail, Rowan Piercing Studio is here to provide just that.
What we liked: Rowan Piercing Studio has dozens of options to choose from to fit any personal style. All of the options from stud earrings to dangling earrings felt very unique. Plus, it’s also kid-friendly, so the piercing options are fit for adults and little ones alike.
What surprised us: All of the piercers at Rowan are certified nurses, and the jewelry is all hypoallergenic, meaning only premium metals are used to avoid irritation.
Our favorite part: The inside of Rowan is full of color, LED lights and fun designs. Even the display cases for the jewelry are colorful and welcoming.
Socially Bonded is a little different than most jewelry places; it’s a permanent jewelry shop.
Visitors pick out what type of jewelry they want — a bracelet, anklet, necklace or ring — to have sized perfectly for them. Getting “bonded,” as the staff calls it, is an activity for people who want to permanently share something.
What we liked: The staff at Socially Bonded wants everyone who walks in to have a unique experience. “The second you walk in the door, we want you to feel like we know you,” Michelle Taylor, owner of Socially Bonded Charlotte, said.
What surprised us: Socially Bonded doubles as a space for small, minority-owned businesses to sell their products. During our visit, items like shoes, hats, decor and skin care products were available for purchase in-store.
Our favorite part: Picking out the jewelry for our bracelet felt very personalized. Rather than being asked what piece you like most, you’re asked which style and color best “speaks” to you. The whole process felt fun and laid-back and made us want to return.
South End interactive art
Taking a walk through SouthEnd is almost like visiting an art gallery. There are lots of murals to take in, and what makes them special is the ability to interact. Viewers can learn more about the artwork right from their phones.
What we liked: South End Interactive allows visitors to scan QR codes on 10 different murals in the area. The QR codes connect to videos of the artist, 3-D models of the mural, and even filters viewers can use for photos along with each mural.
What surprised us: While some of the murals are easy to spot, some are tucked away in short alleyways or at the back of a restaurant. This makes finding them almost as fun as seeing them. The entire experience feels like a gallery walk with a splash of scavenger hunt vibes.
Our favorite part: Scanning the QR codes on each mural was the most fun part of the experience. It was nice to see the inspiration behind each piece and learn more about the artist. Plus, the filters and 3-D models that show after scanning the code make the murals feel even more engaging.