Before this edgy North Carolina borough became the popular arts district as it’s known today, it was a flourishing turn-of-the-century textile mill town. But the area’s original blue-collar community faced desertion as mills began to close in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Thankfully, in the mid 1980’s, artists Ruth Ava Lyons and Paul Sires offered up a new vision. They opened a gallery and, through the years, Charlotte’s thriving arts district formed. Today, NoDa’s (short for main street North Davidson) marriage of old and new is a thing of beauty: Colorful murals dance across aged factory buildings, tunes from up-and comers seep out of weathered music joints, and inventive restaurants sling plates across reclaimed wooden tables. Gallery crawls, offbeat retailers and a slew of breweries beckon crowds young and old. Families and small-business owners fill the updated ill homes around North Davidson and 36th streets. And with the completion of the LYNX Blue Line light rail extension from Uptown, NoDa only stands to grow more.