East Charlotte is a large conglomeration of neighborhoods in Charlotte. Since it is not a unified district, it has no official boundaries; however, it is generally recognized that the area begins east of Independence Blvd.(NC Highway 74), west of W.T. Harris Blvd., and south of The Plaza. Though large parts of the East Side are considered depressed or fragile, it is quickly becoming the city's most colorful quadrant. Large immigrant communities have made their home here, creating an air of diversity unparalleled anywhere else in the city.
This article does not cover the distinctive Plaza-Midwood neighborhood.
Much of Charlotte's early history can be traced to the settling of East Charlotte, such a few minutes from uptown. Although the area has strong historic roots, the area has gone through a series of boom and bust cycles as Charlotte has grown. East Charlotte is working its way out of a long period of neglect and depression and is slowly beginning to revitalize and redevelop.
Covering a large portion of the city's eastern end, East Charlotte spans the area between University city and Mint Hill bound by Independence Boulevard and 485. Although this area does contain depressed and unattractive sections along several of its thoroughfares, it is regarded by those that live in the area as a diamond in the rough. Businesses in East Charlotte also depict the area similarly to its residents citing easy access to main transportation corridors, existing infrastructure, and low costs.
East Charlotte’s established infrastructure, which includes excellent access to main roads (Independence (US 74), 485 and I 85) and rail, makes it a prime target for increased redevelopment as the city grows. The city of Charlotte has begun implementing a variety of plans to improve the area and spur new growth by redeveloping or demolishing blighted properties, adding aesthetically pleasing hardscape plus complimentary plantings, and updating infrastructure to serve growing needs.
East Charlotte contains some of Charlotte's most interesting cultural development. The area is well known for its prevalent and diverse immigrant composition, inherent cultural diversity, and largely peaceful coexistence of people from all over the world. A pleasant consequence is that virtually any kind of ethnic food can be found here, and much of the city's "street life" gravitates toward this part of town. Excellent international restaurants known for their outstanding cuisine dominate the area and range from traditional southern to international.
Neighborhoods vary greatly in East Charlotte, ranging from stately collections of million-dollar homes to very visible and dated public housing along certain thoroughfares. For the most part, neighborhoods consist of either new starter homes or are targeted at the solidly middle class. Generally neighborhoods are very walkable and consist mainly of classic mid-century homes on large lots with mature shady streets and sidewalks throughout. Community members tend to be very active and vocal about their area taking great care to promote preservation and improvement of its more mature neighborhoods, its parks including Reedy Creek Nature preserve and Nature center, and its historic places.
East Charlotte is also home to many historic landmarks including one of Charlotte’s most historic landmarks, the Hezekiah Alexander House, the oldest surviving house in Mecklenburg County. Listed on the National Register for Historic Places, it was built circa 1774 and still stands on its original site. The Charlotte History Museum, also on this site, is a great place to learn about this city’s past. The area is also home to the N.S. Alexander Homestead. The home is one of the few remaining examples of Queen Anne Victorian architecture in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area and is listed in the Department of the Interior’s Register of Historic Places. Winner of Historic Charlotte’s Preservation Award, the home was restored to its original glory in 2008 and operates as a luxury bed & breakfast.
East Charlotte was once a suburban area, so it is crisscrossed by large roads. This makes auto transit the easiest way to explore the district. Major thoroughfares include Independence Blvd., Eastway Dr., Sharon Amity Rd., and Shamrock Dr.
The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) [dead link] serves the East Side with numerous bus lines, including Route #39 along Eastway, #29 along Sharon Amity, #9 and #17 along Central Ave., and #23 along Shamrock.
- The Charlotte Museum of History and Hezekiah Alexander House, 3500 Shamrock Drive, ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM. A museum dedicated to the history of Charlotte on the property of a prominent 18th-century homestead family. It features the original home and related buildings nearby. Offers guided tours of the historic sites and of the modern museum building. Exhibits inside the museum are relatively small, but of exceptionally high quality due to its collaboration with the Smithsonian. $6 adults, $5 students and seniors, $3 children.
- Wal-Mart, 3304 Eastway Dr, ☏ .
- House of Pizza, 3640 Central Ave, ☏ . Somewhat less trendy than its competitors, House of Pizza has an old-Charlotte appeal that has weathered the decades. Very low-key and friendly, this is an establishment among the working-class families in the Plaza-Midwood area. The food also happens to be cheap and well-made.
- Lang Van, 3019 Shamrock Dr. By far Charlotte's best-reputed Vietnamese restaurant, in an unassuming building on Shamrock Dr. It has become a quiet favorite among fans of Asian cuisine. The neighborhood is perfectly safe by day, but be alert if going for dinner.
- Lava Java, 5724 E. WT Harris Blvd. Classy and chic, this is a good place for lunch or dinner as well as coffee. Reputed for its excellent desserts.
- South 21 Drive-In, 3101 E. Independence Blvd, ☏ . A classic 1950s drive-in that has somehow survived the dramatic changes since that decade. Cheap and delicious, though the menu is limited to burgers, fish, and similar fast-food fare. The experience of golden-age Americana is worth the visit.
- Showmars, 3225 Eastway Dr, ☏ . This Greek fast-food restaurant has many locations citywide (see other districts), and is one of the best values to be found for quality and service. It is not far from the Eastway Blvd. Wal-Mart.
- Ben Thanh, 4900 Central Ave.
- Brazas Brazilian Grill, 4508 E. Independence Blvd.
- Chuuka, 6003 Albemarle Rd.
- Kabob House, 6432 E. Independence Blvd.
- Kilimanjaro, 3001 E. Independence Blvd.
- La Canasta Dominicana, 4808 Central Ave.
- Landmark Diner, 4429 Central Ave.
- Namaste, 4508 E. Independence Blvd.
- Pollos Mario, 6023 Albemarle Rd.
- Portofino Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria, 3124 Eastway Dr.
- Saigon Bistro, 3145 N. Sharon Amity Rd.
- Taste of Havana, 5534 Albemarle Rd.
- Best Western Hotel, 2501 Sardis Rd. N, ☏ . 7 miles from center city off Independence Blvd, or I-74. Beautifully appointed rooms all offer a mini fridge, microwave, coffee maker, and free high speed Internet access. Also on site business center, fitness center, guest laundry, and free breakfast in the morning. All indoor corridors and free parking. $83-145.
- Value Lodge, 2721 E Independence Blvd, ☏ .
- [dead link] Chau Lien Hoa, 6505 Lake Dr, ☏ . Services are conducted in Vietnamese in this large (and growing) temple.
- Hindu Center of Charlotte, 7400 City View Dr, ☏ . The city's largest single Hindu community, in the eastern suburbs off NC-74.
- The Islamic Center of Charlotte, 1700 Progress Ln, ☏ .
- Islamic Society of Greater Charlotte, 7025 The Plaza, ☏ .