Best place for a date night: Birkdale Village

Birkdale Village is the best location for a date with its variety of stores, restaurants, events and areas to walk. The shopping center hosts 55 retail stores and 11 fine-dining restaurants. The Village is a 52-acre area that can be walked through day and night with a stunning fountain to sit round in the center of the property. There’s also a 16-screen theater to watch newly released flicks after a nice day of shopping and dining together. Events are held all year, but the Mingling on the Greens Concert Series proves to be a popular attraction from June to September. – Matthew Johnson


Best family-friendly restaurant: Brixx Wood Fired Pizza

Brixx Wood Fired Pizza is the best family-friendly restaurant in the Lake Norman area, with 23 pizza varieties cooked over a wood fire that adds great flavor. The restaurant also serves 24 flavors of local, national and microbrew beers to help put down the delicious pizza. The children’s menu offers small meals with sodas and juices with a final touch a delectable dessert. After a nice meal, you can step outside to the Mingling on the Greens Concert Series this summer at Birkdale Village. – Matt Johnson


Best DJ: DJ Bob

DJ Bob Lazar has been performing at On the Roxx Martini Bar since 2008. You can see him performing at the Cornelius nightclub on Thursday and Friday nights. You can also find him at ICE Martini Bar in Huntersville. The Philadelphia native has also performed at charitable and community events. Known for his dance music, he has shown versatility at events such as the Eighth Annual Lake Norman Senior Fun & Fitness Day on April 15 at Jetton Park in Cornelius. He was also tapped to perform during the Lake Norman Publications Best of Lake Norman party. – Justin Vick

Best boat rental: Westport Marina and Boat Rentals 

Do not have a boat but have your boating license? Don’t worry. Westport Marina and Boat Rentals offers a line-up of pontoon, skiing and all-purpose boats to rent for a day. Its staff of Lake Norman experts can have you on the water and well-prepared at no time at all. The Denver company has been proving its superiority in the area for more than 30 years. If the rentals get you into boating and you buy a boat, they still have you covered with boat storage and repair. – Matthew Johnson


Best bar: Big Al’s Pub and Grubberia

If you like wings and a menu that seems to never end, then you should stop by Big Al’s Pub and Grubberia. This is the place to visit and get good food like wings, burgers, pizzas, salads and pastas, so you can have fun on a night away from home. There is a wide variety of alcohol, with flavored martinis, domestic and imported beers and wines to keep the night going. The bar offers specials every day of the week to make sure prices are not a problem. The bar also offers games and musical entertainment. – Matthew Johnson


Best golf club: Verdict Ridge Golf Course and Country Club

If you are looking for a course that will be more and more enjoyable every time you play, Verdict Ridge Golf Course and Country Club is your course. It has been used by the US Open Qualifying, which shows the best play here. The Denver course itself feels like traveling through North Carolina as you play the holes. Some holes feel like your are playing in the low country. Other feel like you are teeing up in the mountains. The golf cart path feels like driving down the Blue Ridge Parkway throughout the course. – Matthew Johnson


Best patio dining: Red Rocks Cafe

Red Rocks in Huntersville offers a wide variety of signature pastas, steaks, chops and ribs to enjoy outside in the restaurant’s private, screened-in patio. Fresh salads, seafood and sandwiches best complement the summer weather. The outdoor restaurant provides an upscale dining experience in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. Fine wine, vegetarian and kids menus are popular evening specialties. Sunday brunch draws patrons who enjoy high-quality American cuisine in the inviting warmth of the summer morning. – Meghan Flyke


Best place for live music: Village Green

At Davidson’s Village Green, picnics and live music on the lawn are a summer favorite for the whole family. On the first and third Sunday of every month, bands and performers provide free entertainment to crowds of fans and attendees. From symphonies and jazz numbers to rock ensembles and country groups, every music lover is sure to find a performance to their liking. Beach, variety and eclectic music groups provide a unique style and upbeat summer flair. For musical revelry all ages will love, pack a blanket and comfortable chairs and claim a great seat in front of the Davidson Public Library. – Meghan Flyke


Best Lake-night snacking: Cookout

Cook-Out serves patrons at Denver, Huntersville, Lincolnton and Mooresville locations. Open as late as 4 a.m. on weekends, late-night snackers in the Lake Norman area can grab a bite of char-grilled chicken breasts, homemade burgers and crispy chicken strips at a convenient low price. With more than 40 flavors of hand-spun milkshakes, floats and cheesecake on the menu, Cook-Out satisfies any midnight sweet tooth. With drive-thru, dine-in and outdoor eating options, the restaurant offers high-quality fast food all day. Cook-Out is also famous for its combos and kids meals. – Meghan Flyke


Best art gallery: Cotton Ketchie’s Landmark Galleries

“Cotton” Ketchie is a nationally recognized watercolorist who owns a gallery in Mooresville. He preserves North Carolina’s cultural and geographic heritage through his paintings of the Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina lighthouses, beautiful florals and state and local landmarks. Ketchie is also well known for his photographs of stunning North American landscapes. Online catalogues include prints, photos, gifts and more. The gallery on Main Street opens for business during the week. – Meghan Flyke