Davidson, NC is a charming small town located in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. The town was founded in the 1830s and named after local Revolutionary War hero Brigadier General William Lee Davidson. Today, Davidson has a population of around 15,000 people and is known for its beautiful historic downtown, excellent schools, and thriving arts and cultural scene.
Davidson is also known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities. The town is located on the shores of Lake Norman, which is the largest man-made lake in North Carolina. You can also take a walking tour of the town’s historic landmarks, including the Davidson College campus founded in 1837 and ranked as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the United States. Let’s take a look below at the top best things you can do if you visit Davidson, North Carolina.
1. Visit the Davidson College Campus
Davidson College has a beautiful campus that features some stunning architectural styles that are bound to awe gusts. Main Street is a great place to start, and you can take a stroll through the campus and admire the historic buildings and stunning landscaping. You can also visit the E. Craig Wall Jr. Academic Center, an iconic building on the campus, or the library, which features a collection of over 470,000 volumes and offers access to online databases.
2. Attend a Davidson College Athletic Event
Davidson College is a founding member of the Atlantic 10 Conference and is known for its excellent athletic programs, with teams competing in NCAA Division I sports. Cheering on the Wildcats is a must-do activity when in Davidson, and you can experience the excitement of college sports by attending a basketball game or football game.
3. Explore Downtown Davidson
Downtown Davidson is a charming area filled with local shops, restaurants, and art galleries. You can take a leisurely walk through the area and enjoy the quaint atmosphere while popping in and out of shops that feature items ranging from books to jewelry. Downtown Davidson is known for its vibrant community events and festivals. Throughout the year, visitors can enjoy live music, outdoor movies, farmers markets, and other events that showcase the area’s local talent and community spirit.
One major event is the Davidson College Homecoming, which brings alumni, students, and families to campus for a weekend of festivities and sporting events. The event usually takes place in the fall and attracts a large crowd of several thousand people.
4. Visit the Davidson Farmers Market
The Davidson Farmers Market is a popular destination for locals and guests alike. Here, you can shop for fresh produce, artisanal products, and handmade crafts from local vendors. The market is open on Saturdays from 9 am to noon, April through October, and from 10 am to noon, November through March.
5. Go for a Hike or Bike Ride on the Greenway
The Bike Ride on the Greenway is an annual event held in Davidson, NC that celebrates the town’s love of cycling and the outdoors. The event takes place on the town’s greenway, a 2.8-mile trail that winds through scenic forests, parks, and residential neighborhoods.
The Bike Ride on the Greenway is open to cyclists of all ages and skill levels, and offers a fun and safe way to explore the town and surrounding countryside. Participants can choose from a range of ride distances, from a short family-friendly loop to a longer and more challenging route for experienced riders. You can also go for a run or simply enjoy the beautiful scenery that includes forests, fields, creeks, and wildlife.
6. Attend the Davidson Film Club
The Davidson Film Club is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing a diverse selection of independent and foreign films to the Davidson community. The club was founded in 1999 by a group of film enthusiasts, and has since grown to become a beloved local institution. The Club shows two films per month during the academic year, and the screenings are open to the public.
7. Visit the Cornelius Arts Center
The Cornelius Arts Center is a community art center located in Cornelius, North Carolina just a short drive from Davidson. It offers various art programs, classes, and events for people of all ages and skill levels. The center has a pottery studio, a painting studio, a drawing studio, and a printmaking studio where students can take classes and create their own art. It also hosts exhibitions and special events throughout the year, such as the annual Cornelius Art Walk, which features local artists and their works.
The Cornelius Arts Center is a great place for people who are interested in art to learn, create, and connect with others in the community who share their passion.
8. Attend a Concert or Performance at the Duke Family Performance Hall
The Duke Family Performance Hall is a state-of-the-art venue located on the Davidson College campus. The venue has hosted a variety of music genres, including classical, jazz, folk, and rock. The hall has also been home to theatrical performances, dance performances, and lectures. The venue attracts both local and international artists, and many performances are open to the public. Some notable performers who have graced the stage at the Duke Family Performance Hall include Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, and Yo-Yo Ma.
From concerts to theater performances, there is always something exciting happening here. You can check the schedule and get tickets online or at the box office.
9. Go Kayaking on Lake Norman
Lake Norman is a popular spot for kayaking, and there are many options for kayaking in the area. One popular option is to rent a kayak and explore the lake on your own. There are also several guided kayak tours available, which can be a great way to learn more about the area and its wildlife. You can paddle through the calm waters and enjoy the beautiful scenery that includes lush forests, rocky shores, and breathtaking sunsets.
Kayakers can expect to see a variety of birds, fish, and other wildlife while paddling on the lake. Some areas of the lake can be quite busy with boat traffic, so it’s important to stay alert and follow safety guidelines.
10. Visit the Carolina Raptor Center
The Carolina Raptor Center is a rehabilitation and education center for birds of prey. You can take a tour and learn about the different species of birds and their importance in the ecosystem. The Center also features several outdoor exhibits and live bird demonstrations that are sure to thrill visitors of all ages.
11. Attend the Annual Davidson Day School Pig Pickin’ Festival
The Davidson Day School Pig Pickin’ Festival is a community event that celebrates the town’s southern roots with live music, food, and activities for all ages. This festival is a celebration of barbecue, live music, and family-friendly activities. The main attraction of the festival is the slow-cooked, whole-hog barbecue, which is served by the Davidson Day School community.
The festival usually takes place in September and is a great opportunity to meet new people, enjoy delicious food, and listen to great music.
12. Visit the Latta Nature Preserve
The Latta Nature Preserve is a beautiful 1,460-acre park that offers hiking trails, fishing opportunities, and stunning natural scenery. The preserve was established in 1974 with the goal of protecting the natural beauty of the area while providing a place for visitors to learn about and experience the outdoors. Latta Nature Preserve features over 16 miles of hiking trails that wind through forests, wetlands, and fields, as well as two lakes that are popular for fishing and boating.
13. Attend the North Carolina Renaissance Festival
The North Carolina Renaissance Festival is a fun and exciting event that takes place every fall in nearby Huntersville. The festival is a celebration of the Renaissance period and features jousting tournaments, live music, comedy shows, theater performances, and various other forms of entertainment. Guests to the festival can also enjoy shopping for Renaissance-themed arts and crafts, clothing, and food.
The festival usually runs on weekends from October to November and attracts visitors from all over the state and beyond. The North Carolina Renaissance Festival is a great opportunity to step back in time and experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Renaissance era.
14. Visit the Historic Beaver Dam
Historic Beaver Dam is a unique site located in Davidson, North Carolina. It is a restored 19th-century cotton mill that was once the largest employer in the area. The site includes the original mill building, a restored mill village, and a museum showcasing the history of the area. You can learn about the history of the textile industry in the region and see the impressive machinery that powered the mill. The site also includes a nature trail and picnic area.
15. Take a Day Trip to Charlotte
Charlotte, NC is a bustling city making it the largest city in North Carolina that offers visitors plenty of exciting things to see and do. A great way to spend a day in Charlotte is to visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame, where you can learn about the history of stock car racing and enjoy interactive exhibits. Another must-visit attraction is the Mint Museum, which features a wide range of art and artifacts from around the world. For those who love the outdoors, the U.S. National Whitewater Center is a popular destination, offering activities such as rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, and zip-lining.
The city also has a vibrant food and nightlife scene, making it the perfect destination for a day trip or weekend getaway.
Davidson, North Carolina, is a charming town filled with history, culture, and natural beauty. From exploring the historic Davidson College campus to hiking through the Latta Nature Preserve, there are many activities to enjoy in this picturesque town. With its local farmers market, independent shops, and delicious restaurants, downtown Davidson offers a unique shopping and dining experience. Whether attending a college athletic event or immersing oneself in the Renaissance era at the North Carolina Renaissance Festival, there is always something fun and exciting to do in Davidson.
Plus, with the nearby city of Charlotte just a short drive away, visitors have access to even more attractions and activities. Davidson is truly a hidden gem in North Carolina that offers something for everyone.