The 'fisticated life is closer than you think 

Five things to do in SouthPark

79. Yuppie it up on a date night at Whole Foods.

Start off with a visit to the wine bar at the back, where, along with whatever cabernet or pinot you fancy, you can order a cheese plate. The best part: The "bartenders" don't accept tips. When the heavy drunk munchies start creeping in, turn around and bask in gourmet-food paradise. Also worth the money if you've got it: the cooking classes. 6610 Fairview Road. 980-213-2400.

80. Dance like everyone's watching but no one cares at the Latin American Festival.

The cultural epicenter of SouthPark is undoubtedly Symphony Park. Signature events include the Orchestra Summer Pop series every June, which features the local symphony, and the annual Latin American Festival. Drawing nearly 20,000 visitors at its 23rd annual showing last year, the festival is a colorful display of the Latin cultures that have found a home in Charlotte. Ailen Arreaza, regular CL columnist and wife of festival co-organizer Tony Arreaza, had this tip for properly experiencing the Latin American Festival: "My favorite thing to do at the festival is to get a giant chicharron, a couple of Colombian empanadas, a beer, and sit on the lawn in front of the stage to watch the live music and the incredibly diverse crowd of people around me dancing and having fun." Be sure to show up early — parking can suck — and bring plenty of bug spray.

81. See up close the fashions of Charlotte's fanciest ladies at Coplon's.

Jason Wu. Oscar de la Renta. Stella McCartney. Jimmy Choo. Christian Louboutin. These designers are all represented at this more-than-40-year-old luxury retailer. Sure, you probably can't even afford to walk into this boutique, let alone run your thick peasant fingers over these fine threads, but peeking through windows never hurt anyone. 6800 Phillips Place Court, Suite F. 704-643-1113. (Kimberly Lawson)

82. Step outside of your comfort zone: Try fusion at Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar.

Say it with me: Bur-gu-shi. Burgushi! The unique pairing of burgers and sushi can only be found at Cowfish, and is probably one of the main reasons anyone who doesn't live in SouthPark ventures there (aside from the mall, of course). Be prepared for a wait, though, especially if you go on a weekend night. 4310 Sharon Road, 704-365-1922.

83. Learn more about wine than just how many glasses will get you drunk by talking to Arthur's Wine Shop owner Robert Balsley.

CL dining critic Tricia Childress calls Balsley "a treasured resource for wine lovers in Charlotte." His shop Arthur's is considered by many a hidden gem at SouthPark Mall — the shop and restaurant is located in the basement of Belk and has been serving the community for more than 40 years. In addition to hosting classes and tastings, we hear Arthur's has a mean grilled cheese sandwich. 4400 Sharon Road. 704-366-8610. (Lawson)

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