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CHARLOTTE'S BEST PARKS AND GREEN SPACES

14 PLACES

UPDATED NOV 11, 2019

Charlotte has plenty of grassy parks and green spaces perfect for when we need a breath of fresh air. Whether you’re looking to get your heart pumping just want to soak up an extra dose of vitamin D, these places will get you a little more acquainted with Mother Nature.

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ELIZABETH SEGARRA

FITT CHARLOTTE CONTRIBUTOR

Romare Bearden Park is known for its perfect lawn and even more perfect city views. Bring a frisbee, a soccer ball, or even just a picnic blanket and spend your afternoon with your feet in the grass at this 5.4-acre park. If you go at night, be sure to snap a picture by the fountains with the skyline in the background, it’s pretty epic.

If you find yourself in Uptown, there’s no better place for a pit stop than The Green. The park at this mixed-use development may be small (it’s only one and a half acres), but it’s full of adventure. At this literary-themed pocket park you’ll find lush greenways and giant statues of books featuring quotes from famous authors. And if you’ve worked up an appetite, there are plenty of restaurants nearby.

At the edge of NoDa you’ll find McGill Rose Garden a charming outdoor space teeming with shady trees, greenery, and—you guessed it—rose gardens. Stop by on Tuesday nights for an outdoor yoga class with NC Yoga Bar. And if you swing by on a weekend, you might catch a glimpse of a wedding in the garden.

Grab a coffee at 7th Street Market, then head across the street to relax in First Ward Park. If you work in the city, it’s the perfect spot to escape to during your lunch break. This park also features new outdoor workout equipment so you can pretend you’re a kid again and take a turn at the monkey bars. We won’t judge. Fitt Tip: on Sundays during the summer, First Ward Park hosts Live on the Green, a live music series showcasing a different performer each week.

Need a new route for your long run? Freedom Park between the Dilworth and Myers Park neighborhoods is your spot. Get in some laps around the seven-acre lake or take on some of the longer, more scenic trails. This park also connects to the Little Sugar Creek Greenway — so it’s perfect for adding mileage to your route.

The Little Sugar Creek Greenway is easily the best part of Midtown. This greenway connects everything from Park Road Shopping Center to the Metropolitan area. Along the way, you can stop at Juice Bar, Zoës Kitchen, or the Kings Drive Farmers Market for an afternoon pick-me-up.

South Charlotte friends, don’t worry — we have you covered, too. If you’re into trail running or biking, then you’ll want to check out Beatty Park. The seven-mile mountain bike trail will take you through forested areas and over jumps (read: it will definitely make you sweat). The park is also home to a lake that’s perfect for kayaking, fishing, or canoeing.

If you’re training for a 5k, check out McAlpine Creek Park. This 114-acre park has a well-marked championship 5k course that’s perfect for practice runs. There’s also a lake with scenic views that will keep you motivated while you train.

If you’ve never been to Fourth Ward, it’s time to plan a trip. A walk in Fourth Ward Park is a walk down memory lane. During your woodsy adventure, you’ll pass historic Victorian homes, churches, fountains, and gardens unlike anything else in the city. Now that’s what we call a day well spent.

Elon Park is a massive 118 acres, but that’s not even the best part. This park has two dedicated disc golf courses. Bring your squad to the Eager Beaver (for beginners) and the Angry Beaver (for advanced disc golfers) for a fun weekend activity that beats sitting at a brewery any day.

This park is well worth the 45-minute drive from Uptown. Lake Norman State Park has campgrounds, waterfront access, and running trails. Really, it doesn’t get much better. Take your friends and your dog and plan to spend the whole day in the sunshine.

Put your dog on a leash, round up the crew, and hop on the Four Mile Creek Greenway. The mostly-paved trails are perfect for a peaceful long walk, run, or bike. And if we’re talking views, this place can’t be beat in the fall when the leaves start to change. Fitt Tip: park in one of the spaces across from the Trader Joe’s in Piper Glen.

Need to escape from campus after a long day of studying? Reedy Creek Park is only a few miles from UNC Charlotte, making it a convenient spot for a change of scenery. Get in 18 holes of disc golf or hike the trails in the nature preserve to clear your mind. And in August, you can catch the annual Hummingbird Festival — it’s always a fun summer activity.

Nothing beats a waterfront view. And seeing as McDowell Nature Center and Preserve is next to Lake Wylie, just on the border of North and South Carolina, there are plenty to be had here. The best part about this park? Copperhead Island. It’s a tiny island on the banks of the preserve, and you can rent the whole island for a night. Yes, you read that right — the whole island! Hit up the group chat and round up your crew, an epic staycation awaits.

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