Start Your Small Business Saturday in South End and End with The SE Tree Lighting

With Over 150 Spots to Shop, 70 Places to Eat & Drink, Historic South End is THE Place to Kick Off your Small Business Saturday in Charlotte

Quite possibly the biggest and best holiday shopping market in the region, South End’s Small Business Saturday kicks off at 11:00 am on Saturday, November 30, 2019, and goes til 5:00, with the Atherton Mill Tree Lighting right after at sundown.

How to Do The Day:

Take the lightrail to East West Station or park in one of several options (see here) and ride the free trolleys to get around. Look for a map to use as your guide, as they’ll be available throughout the area.

Map of the Area:

Where to Start:

While you can pretty much start wherever you park, new this year is the New Bern Station festival hub, which will be full of great food, beverages, and places to hang out. Here you’ll find Suffolk Punch, Triple C Brewing and Eight and Sand Kitchen in addition to ample attendee parking. This stop will be have approximately 10 shops in a pop-up alley between Suffolk Punch and the new event space, Norfolk Hall.

Probably the most popular starting out option is on Camden when you get off the lightrail at EW Station. This usually bustling main street of South End gets an added boost with more than 150 pop-up shops to become the best shopping street in Charlotte for the day. Activities and shops will stretch from Atherton Mill to Park Avenue. 

Other solid starting points would be to begin with Lincoln Street and Riva Fanoli Alley in the Gold District which will be transformed into a holiday wonderland with holiday shopping, music, photo-ops, gingerbread cookie decorating, and a special visit from Santa. Then trolley over to Camden or to …..Dudeapalooza at C3 Lab where there will be local shops featuring gifts for dudes and original works of art for sale.

No matter where you start, just hop the trolley to the next section to shop and eat some more.

Don’t Forget Your Tote Bag:

A South End-branded tote bag, sponsored by the Design District and designed by local print studio Three Little Birds, will be available to shoppers at participating retailers.


There is plenty of parking on-street and off-street throughout South End. Here are a few options:

  • Design Center parking deck at Doggett & Hawkins (paid)
  • Little Hardware parking lot at Mint & Bland (paid, $3/day)
  • Gravel lot across the street from Little Hardware at Mint & Bland (paid, $3/day, via app)
  • Gravel lot at Mint Street between Palmer and Quincy (paid, via ParkIt app)
  • Free weekend parking is available on-street throughout South End, try: Church, Summit, S Tryon, Camden, Kingston, Hawkins or Distribution streets
  • Free parking is available in the surface lots near C3 Lab (2525 Distribution St)
  • Free parking is available at the free park-and-ride lots on the light rail line at Scaleybark station, and the stations further south at Woodlawn, Tyvola, Archdale, Arrowood, Sharon Road West, and I-485 S. Ride the light rail for $2.20 per trip or $6.60 for unlimited rides on a day pass

Tree Lighting:

Don’t feel like you need to start the day here if you have some local boutiques you want to hit, as you may well want to END the day here with the South End Holiday Tree Lighting.  At the corner of Tremont and South Boulevard at Atherton Mill + Market, there will be holiday music, cocoa, coffee, hot doughnuts, performances and an appearance from Santa and Mrs. Claus to light the South End Holiday Tree. After the tree is lit, families may meet and take photos with Santa.

NOTE: Parking at Atherton Mill is extremely limited while renovation work is underway. Recommended parking for the Tree Lighting is at 214 W Tremont, the Design Center Parking Garage at 240 Doggett Street, or park and ride the light rail to East-West Station.

Play Shop South End Bingo:

Launching at Small Business Saturday, the Shop South End Bingo game will run from 11/30 – 12/22. Instructions are on the card – visit a South End business and complete the activity in the square for a South End Expert sticker. All completed BINGO cards turned in by 12/22 will be entered into a raffle for merchandise and prizes from the participating businesses.


scoop team
This article was written by one of the many QC women who contribute to our website. They are out and about and around Charlotte digging up the latest & best scoop 🙂