Urban Parks in Uptown Charlotte
Whether you’re looking for an outdoor adventure or an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, there’s a beautiful park beckoning you to come explore. Grab a picnic, your dog and a few friends and head to Uptown to discover the city’s quirky, quaint and expansive green spaces. Looking for a way to get around from one park to another? Hop on a Charlotte Joy Rides bike (there’s a station in several of the parks) and set out on an adventure.
Romare Bearden Park
Located in Uptown’s Third Ward, this 5.4-acre park is the crown jewel of green space in center city. Named in honor of Charlotte-born artist Romare Bearden, the park’s design pays homage to his paintings and collages. With multiple levels, the park features two gardens (Maudell and Madeline), a courtyard with seating, green spaces for events, a nearly 30-foot sculpture called the Spiral Odyssey, an interactive play area with digital dance chimes, and an impressive waterfall that changes colors and is set in front of a skyline backdrop (the perfect spot to snap a photo).
The park is nestled between Truist Field, home to the AAA Charlotte Knights; Brevard Court, a hidden-away courtyard featuring restaurants, bars and shops; Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel; high-rise condos, apartments, office buildings and a variety of culinary options within a short walk. Just a few blocks away, the Mint Museum Uptown houses the largest collection of Bearden’s artwork on public display. The addition of Romare Bearden Park to Uptown in 2013 completely transformed a whole city block and continues to spur development in the area.
First Ward Park
This 4.6-acre urban park is situated between East Seventh, Ninth and Brevard streets near popular locales like the 7th Street Public Market, the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte/ImaginOn, Google Fiber and UNCC Center City. It also is located between the LYNX Blue Line light rail Seventh Street and Ninth Street stations providing easy access for those coming from outside of Uptown. Anchored by a large fountain with an eye-catching circular white arbor, this neighborhood park features a sprayground, community fitness equipment, gardens, a walking path around the perimeter, benches, public art, Carolina granite animal sculpture seats and a central lawn for events like its popular summer music series.
Located in Second Ward, this 5.5-acre urban green space is located where Brooklyn, Charlotte’s largest African American neighborhood, used to sit for the first half of the 20th century. In the 1960s and 1970s, nearly 1,500 structures were demolished as part of an “urban renewal” project. The federal program funded the construction of the Charlotte Government Center and Marshall Park in the early 1970s. Named in honor of James B. Marshall, Sr., City Manager of Charlotte from 1935 to 1940, Marshall Park features a man-made lake with a fountain, walking path and bridge, a small amphitheater, the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial statue, a Holocaust memorial monument, and open space for community gatherings and events. This park also doubled as D.C.’s Farragut Square for an explosion scene in the first season of Showtime’s “Homeland.”
The largest park in the Uptown neighborhood, Frazier Park encompasses 16.5 acres in Third Ward just off of West Fourth Street near Interstate 77 and is best known for its 1.3-acre dog park (with two separate fenced-off areas for small dogs and big dogs). Other features include the “Our Children’s Memorial” walkway that provides a space to honor the memory of deceased children, access to greenway trails, a playground and athletic fields (including a multipurpose field, two full-size basketball courts and two tennis courts). Frazier Park is a beautiful, shaded community green space that regularly entices visitors, residents and students at the nearby Johnson & Wales University Charlotte.
Fourth Ward Park
Located in historic Fourth Ward, this charming 3-acre park and nature preserve is a gem of the neighborhood. It features walking trails, decorative water fountains, a playground and public art, all nestled beneath Uptown’s shaded tree canopy and set among the diverse architecture of Fourth Ward.
Ninth Street Park
This quarter-acre park is also located in Fourth Ward and features a children’s playground, a gazebo, benches and a colorful mural along its brick wall enclosure.
James Dennis Rash Third Ward Neighborhood Park
Renamed in 2018 in honor of the man who led development in the area, this 1-acre park is located off of West Fourth Street near Frazier Park in Third Ward. The park features walkways, benches and a bike repair station for cyclists.
Opened in 2002, this 1.5-acre interactive, literary-themed park in Second Ward is unlike any other green space in Charlotte. The park welcomes you with giant bronze stacks of classic novels, pages of poetry and quotes scattered throughout, directional signs with city names and mileage to locations that represent famous authors, plus motion-activated sounds like water falling, kittens purring and bees buzzing when you walk through. Two signature pieces in the park include the beloved Fish Fountains that spray water in sequence and the colorful Charlotte sign that bears the words: “Charlotte - The Center of the Known World.” The adjacent historic St. Peter’s Catholic Church’s prayer and meditation garden opens directly to the park. The Green is lined with restaurants, shops, offices and condos and bordered by the Levine Center for the Arts on Tryon Street and the Charlotte Convention Center on College Street. The playful park also provides access to Charlotte’s Overstreet Mall, an indoor walkway with shops and restaurants that connects through several skyscrapers in Uptown.
Thomas Polk Park
Built in 1991, this peaceful corner park located in the northwest quadrant at the intersection of Trade and Tryon streets — also known as Independence Square — is named in honor of Col. Thomas Polk, a state legislator, one of Charlotte’s original founders and the great-uncle of the 11th U.S. President James K. Polk. His homeplace was located at this intersection in Charlotte’s early days. Today, the park features a shaded tree canopy, cascading fountains, seating areas, engraved granite with Charlotte’s American Revolution history and clean landscaping that provides passersby with respite from the busy streets of Uptown.
Located at the intersection of Tryon and Sixth streets at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Main Library entrance, this corner park is named for Arequipa, Peru, Charlotte’s sister city. It’s signature fountains were designed to resemble Old Misti, a volcano near Arequipa. The mini park also features benches and is home to Charlotte’s 6-foot “Buddy Bear'' sculpture. The fiberglass art piece designed by artist Sharon Dowell represents the friendship between Germany and Mecklenburg County, which was named after German-born Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.
Third Street Linear Park
Across the street from Romare Bearden Park in Third Ward, this park runs along Third Street from the intersection of Church Street to the intersection of Tryon Street. It features attractively manicured landscaping and brightly colored light-up public art pieces along the brick-paved sidewalk.
First Ward Linear Park
This small park is located in a large median between tree-lined streets with residential properties in First Ward and features walkways and beautifully landscaped lawns.
Bonus: Urban Trails & Greenway Access
Charlotte offers a system of trails and greenways that connect in Uptown and provide a unique way to explore the city. The urban sections of Irwin Creek Greenway and Stewart Creek Greenway run through Frazier Park in Uptown, connecting the Wesley Heights neighborhood to Third Ward. The 1.8-mile Carolina Thread Trail urban sidewalk segment connects Irwin Creek and Stewart Clark greenways with Little Sugar Creek Greenway via Stonewall Street and Charlottetown Avenue. Additionally, the .75-mile Uptown Charlotte Cycle Track, which features a two-way protected bike lane along Sixth Street, runs from Little Sugar Creek Greenway to the Uptown section of the Charlotte Rail Trail, which is a sidewalk trail that runs alongside the LYNX Blue Line light rail tracks from Seventh Street to Third Street.