The 15 Best Parks You Must-See in Charlotte

Charlotte, North Carolina is one of the greenest cities in the state and has some of the best parks.

Enjoy the countless beautiful parks, preserves, and gardens throughout the city as you bike, walk, or hike to your nature-lover heart’s content. These 15 parks in Charlotte are a must-visit whenever you’re in the city.

1. Freedom Park

Freedom Park is known as Charlottes’ version of “Central Park” as it has miles of trails and a seven-acre lake in the very center.

It spreads over 98 acres with tennis courts, baseball fields, playgrounds, and volleyball courts, as well as fields and meadows to relax in. It is a dog-friendly park, so you can bring your whole family and enjoy a sunny day.

2. Reedy Creek Park

Reedy Creek Park covers 146 acres and offers playgrounds, horseshoe pits, three ponds, fields to play on, and even an 18-hole disc golf course.

It also has a dog park and community garden, as well as 10 miles of trails to hike along. It is adjacent to the 727-acre Reedy Creek Nature Preserve.

Related Post: The 10 Best Dog Parks in Charlotte

3. UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens

The University of North Carolina-Charlotte Botanical Gardens is open to the entire public, not just their students. It is on the eastern side of the campus and was originally built to provide educational opportunities for biology students in 1966.

The gardens include the McMillian Greenhouse, which has over 1000 exotic flower species such as orchids, succulents, and even carnivorous ones. Its most famous one is the Titan Arum, which is the world’s largest floral structure and smells like rotting meat when open.

4. McDowell Nature Preserve & Center

The McDowell Nature Preserve covers 1,132 acres and houses the natural flora and fauna found in the area. This is the oldest preserve in Mecklenburg County and protects the land and forest around the shores of Lake Wylie.

There are campsites, trails, and boat ramps for you to enjoy, including a 20-acre island open daily for public use.

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5. Romare Bearden Park

Romare Bearden Park is a 5.4-acre park with two gardens, a plaza with a waterfall, grassy lawns, a lounge area, and concession stands. It’s great at night when the waterfall is lit up and twinkly lights decorate the structures.

It’s surrounded by skyscrapers and towers, so it has a really cool view of the skyline. It’s a really beautiful sliver of nature right in the middle of the city.

6. First Ward Park

This 4.6-acre park is in the middle of the city in Uptown Charlotte. It was built by Shadley

Associates after they won the architecture competition for the rights to design it. First Ward Park has free live musical performances during summer, a beautiful fountain, and a great atmosphere to relax and spend time with your family and friends.

7. Park Road Park

A creative name, Park Road Park is situated on Park Road in the SouthPark area. This park offers 72 acres, 12 tennis courts, 8 basketball courts, 6 baseball fields, a playground, walking trails, and an 11-acre lake with a pier.

Their Newton Memorial Playground was built to honor the teachers and students who were tragically killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting in Newton, Connecticut. It’s a beautiful park with everything needed to have a fun day.

8. Latta Park

Latta Park is a 32-acre urban park with basketball courts, tennis courts, soccer fields, and a playground—which is a water playground. It’s a lovely park to walk through when you need a break from the city.

Visit their recreation center to participate in various events and activities.

9. Marshall Park

Named after James B. Marshall, Charlotte’s city manager from 1935 to 1940, Marshall Park is located in Charlotte’s largest African American neighborhood.

This small park is only 5.5-acres but manages to pack in an amphitheater, a Martin Luther King memorial statue, a Holocaust memorial statue, and a man-made lake. It is a large open space perfect for community events and family gatherings.

10. McAlpine Creek Park

McAlpine Creek Park is 114 acres and offers miles of nature and bike trails, a 3-acre lake that you can fish in, a large dog park, an outdoor fitness center, and even a 5k Championship Cross Country Course.

This park is great to walk through and is even connected to the larger Greenway system, meaning you can just continue walking through to other parks.

Related Post: 11 Great Bike Trails in Charlotte You Must Ride

11. Frazier Park

Frazier Park features 16.5 acres of fields, basketball and tennis courts, a dog park, and a playground. They even have a community garden where you can rent a plot!

It is also part of the Greenway system and has many trails to walk through. It is a fantastic centrally located park.

12. Midtown Park

Midtown Park is a small, one-acre bit of greenery with excellent views of uptown Charlotte. They have a lot of seating and shade, so it’s perfect for a picnic with friends.

This park houses a lot of art and sculptures, such as a large sphere that actually operates as a braille music box. It is connected to the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, so you’ll be able to wander out to other parks, too.

13. Independence Park

This centrally located park has 19-acres full of tennis courts, basketball courts, a baseball field, areas for table tennis, a playground, and demonstration gardens. Independence Park has walking trails all over so you can enjoy a comfortable stroll through the fields and trees.

The Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden showcases how sustainable design is beneficial and practical to city centers. They grow all sorts of vegetables and only take up a small space.

14. Veteran’s Memorial Park

Also located in the center of Charlotte, Veteran’s Memorial Park boasts 19-acres of tennis courts, basketball courts, a baseball and softball field, and a playground.

It has an additional playground and lots of walking trails. It’s a great park to take your young children for the day.

15. Big Rock Nature Preserve

Named for the granite rocks that extrude from the center of the preserve, Big Rock Nature Preserve is one of the smallest in Charlotte at 22-acres. It is completely forested and is split by a 4-mile creek.

It is a designated Historic Landmark because it shows archeological evidence of Native American habitation that dates to almost 7,000 years ago.

Final Notes

These are among the best parks in Charlotte, NC, but certainly not the only ones. This city boasts a lot of greenery and even has a Greenway System to connect them together.

Whether you decide to hike, fish, bike, or picnic, you’ll have a lot of options to choose from. Wherever you go in the city you’ll easily find a beautiful park to enjoy.

Charlotte Unlimited

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