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Walk This Way: Free Self-Guided Tours Through Uptown Charlotte

Choose your own adventure on a free, self-guided walking tour through the heart of Charlotte. From history and art to must-see hot spots, there are so many sides of Uptown to explore. No reservation required. Just grab your family, friends and phone—and get started!

Charlotte Liberty Walk

Step back in history as you visit 19 historic sites in Uptown Charlotte that tell the compelling stories of the city’s involvement in the American Revolution from 1775 to 1780. On this self-guided tour, you’ll uncover the hidden history of Charlotte. Each tour stop features a historical marker conveying the significance of that location, while both an interactive digital map and a downloadable PDF map provide more context and background about the special places and moments in Charlotte’s history.

Arts & Science Council’s Public Art Walking Tour

The Arts & Science Council promotes and supports arts and culture programs in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, including the public art program that was launched in 1981. Uptown Charlotte features an impressive collection of distinctive public art pieces, like the popular “Firebird,” a mosaic glass sculpture in front of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art (affectionately referred to as the “disco chicken” by many locals). Featuring 30 stops both outside and in public buildings, this self-guided tour reveals Charlotte’s unique culture, diverse communities, rich history and civic pride. Get the map online and go at your own pace or download the 45-minute podcast to help guide you.  

ArtWalks CLT’s Uptown Walks and Trails

Launched in 2018, ArtWalks CLT is a community engagement project that connects people to art and artists in their communities. Founder Anne Wise Low created the digital concept as a way to educate, entertain and make art more accessible to all. The Uptown art experiences include:

  • City Stories from ImaginOn - Start at the whimsical children’s library ImaginOn and find 18 artworks within a 5-minute walk.
  • Mad About Murals I - See 16 murals in the blocks surrounding the intersection of 5th and Tryon streets.
  • Mad About Murals II - Start at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation and explore 10 murals within a 5-minute walk.
  • Uptown Trade & Tryon - Head to the center of the city at Trade and Tryon streets and find 13 pieces of public art surrounding the area.
  • Talking Walks Uptown Trail - Discover 10 murals created during the Talking Walls Festival that run from 3rd Street to 11th Street.

Fourth Ward Historic District Walking Tour

In Charlotte’s early days, the Uptown district was organized into four voting precincts that became the city’s first neighborhoods. Fourth Ward thrived for about 100 years from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s but experienced a decline in the 1970s. Thanks to a major restoration project, Fourth Ward experienced a period of revilitzation that brought residents back to the area.

Today, Fourth Ward is a mix of luxurious Victorian-style homes, contemporary condos and modern apartments amid green space, restaurants and cultural facilities. Download a map and make your way along nearly 50 stops across 30 city blocks that highlight the area’s diverse residential architecture, historic sites, beautiful churches and more, all hidden beneath a beautiful green canopy with a skyline backdrop.

Bonus: Virtual Self-Guided Tour with Google Arts & Culture

In 2020, Google Arts & Culture launched a digital cultural tour of Charlotte, featuring more than 3,000 works of art through curated stories from the city’s most popular museums and attractions. Log in, get comfortable and start exploring the Queen City with just a few clicks!