City Guide / Charlotte

A Local’s Guide to the 19 Best Parks in Charlotte, NC

By Ramsey Qubein | Oct 18, 2022
A park and pond with the city skyline in the background in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Charlotte is a beautiful, green city packed with bucolic spaces. If you’re looking for a spot to get some exercise or just kick back and relax, a park in Charlotte is not hard to find, whether you want to head to a public park amid the tall skyscrapers of Uptown or want to drive farther around town. Many parks in Charlotte, NC, are even connected via the greenway system, allowing you to follow paths to bike or walk between them.

Looking for some inspiration? Here are some of our favorites!

The best parks in Uptown Charlotte, NC

The new Romare-Bearden park in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina

Romare Bearden Park

Adjacent to Truist Park and surrounded by high-rise buildings, this Charlotte park is a favorite for people wanting to take formal family or wedding photos. Photographers appear here on a daily basis with clients and share the tree-lined spaces with herb gardens, beautiful fountains, and plenty of green space for a game of catch with the kids or the pup. The splash pad is always a favorite among children. From here, it’s easy to walk just a few feet to grab a drink in a neighborhood bar or a bite to eat at one of the many Uptown restaurants.

First Ward Park

One of the newest green spaces in town, First Ward Park stretches 4.6 acres (although the area will eventually have office buildings and a hotel incorporated within it). Still, it will maintain its lush surroundings thanks to trees providing shade and lawns that call out for a blanket and picnic basket. Splash pad fountains draw families, and during the workday, don’t be surprised to see business attire as people descend from the high rises for lunch or a coffee. Occasional concerts take place here, too.

Marshall Park

On the edge of town, the views of the city skyline are lovely from this vantage point as ducks and other birds share the space with you. It has an amphitheater for the occasional concert or performance. Enjoy the lawn here or peruse the Martin Luther King Jr. statue and memorial to Holocaust survivors.

Frazier Park

What’s better than 12 acres of green space in the heart of the city? Located in Third Ward, Irwin Creek Greenway runs through Frazier Park and has beautiful trails along the creek itself. Families love the playground, and residents in the area often bring their dogs to the canine park to play with other four-legged neighbors. Frazier Park also offers tennis and basketball courts plus fields to play soccer and football. What is most special about this Charlotte park, however, is the memorial to children who have passed away. It’s a touching way to honor them in such a family-friendly place.

The best parks in Central Charlotte, NC

A beautiful spring day in Freedom Park, Charlotte NC

Freedom Park

This is perhaps the most well-known park in town and is often referred to as Charlotte’s Central Park. Near the Myers Park and Dilworth neighborhoods, this prized space measures a whopping 98 acres and centers around a seven-acre lake and amphitheater where regular concerts and festivals take place.

Biking and walking paths abound, and there are picnic tables, restrooms, and ample parking in this otherwise residential neighborhood. It is especially busy on warm weekends. Sports fans will find baseball fields, tennis courts, and a playground, too.

Edgehill Park

In Myers Park, Edgehill Park draws tennis players during the day to use the courts while their kids are in school. Later in the afternoon, the same families return to enjoy the playground and walking trails thanks to the convenient area parking. A unique feature of this Charlotte park is the al fresco workout area, where people can do calisthenics and body lifting before jogging along the trails for some aerobic activity in the fresh air.

Latta Park

This Dilworth Park measures 31 acres and comes complete with running trails, picnic areas, a playground, and sports fields. Visitors can also use the pavilion area with grills and bathrooms for private functions, but they must make reservations. You’ll find families enjoying the splash pad, teenagers shooting hoops, and adults enjoying a quiet lunch on a bench.

Park Road Park

Popular among tennis players, Park Road Park has around three dozen tennis courts that are available year-round. There are areas to play basketball and baseball, and the softball fields are home to Queens University softball games (don’t worry, there’s plenty of parking for everyone here). The 11-acre lake provides a beautiful backdrop to the running, hiking, and biking trails. It’s the perfect spot for a family picnic or a weekend afternoon at the playground.

Veterans Memorial Park

Splashing fountains provide a lovely background sound to this compact green space, complete with a playground, running trails, and a children’s splash pad. There are also basketball and tennis courts that draw locals. Baseball and softball fans have fields of their own to use. A picnic area has shade, bathrooms, and even a small putting area.

Colonel Francis Beatty Park

Measuring 265 acres, this park is close to South Park and is an enormous magnet for families on weekends thanks to its picnic areas and various sports fields, including softball and soccer fields. The lake draws boaters wanting to get a workout kayaking or canoeing, and there’s even fishing! Other amenities include basketball courts, horseshoe pits, walking trails, and two children’s playgrounds. Come sunset, the fire pits are a lovely way to wind down after a day of enjoying the park.

Independence Park

In the Elizabeth neighborhood and just south of Uptown, the 24-acre Independence Park is the oldest park in the city (soon to reach its centennial year in 2024). To celebrate, the entire parking is undergoing a makeover as it goes into its next century. For years, many came here to snap photos amid the rose garden, by the small pond, or beneath the charming gazebo. The 300-seat stadium drew small sporting events, but there are also separate fields and courts for different sports. It will be ready for prime time again soon!

Sheffield Park

The picnic area and playground of this eight-acre park are busy on warm weekends, but the sports fields often stay busy every day in the afternoon for basketball, softball and tennis players. This park is also connected via trails to the 77-acre Evergreen Nature Preserve Loop, where you’ll discover a plethora of bird and animal species. Not far from I-74 (although you’d never know it within the park), it’s easy to reach from all over the city, and there is plentiful parking.

The best parks in North Charlotte, NC

UNCC Botanical Gardens

On the campus of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, the botanical gardens are perfect for strolling through the various trees, plants, and flowers that blossom throughout the year. McMillan Greenhouse is especially attractive for its various flora and fauna, but it is also home to a restored dinosaur skeleton. It houses nearly 1,000 species of exotic orchids, carnivores, and succulents, plus the famous Titan Arum, which was a crowd-drawing phenomenon when it bloomed years ago.

Mellichamp Native Terraces has its own series of beautiful plants where detailed explanations of everything you see provide an educational component to this relaxing space. Check online for one of the many educational programs for children that teach them about horticulture and the environment.

Seversville Street Park

Not far from Uptown and north of the city, Seversville Street Park counts picnic area with grills and a playground among its many amenities. Part of the Irwin-Stewart Creek Greenway, this is a great place to start or end a hiking, jogging, or biking excursion. Stretching 11 acres, this park draws area residents on foot, but there is also a parking area here, too.

Nevin Community Park

Soccer, softball, and baseball fields draw amateur teams to this 197-acre park, but Nevin Community Park offers visitors far more than just mainstream sports, featuring an 18-hole disc golf course, horseshoe pits, and a bocce ball court.

Consider this community space for parties or private events thanks to two picnic shelters that can be reserved in advance. While adults enjoy an outdoor space for picnics and get-togethers, kids can exert their energy on two playgrounds and a splash pad.

Recommended Blog

Looking for more outdoor adventure? Check out our blog post, “The 8 Best Lakes Near Charlotte.”

Reedy Creek Park

North and east of the city center, Reedy Creek Park has a fishing pier on the lake and its several ponds. Other sports fans have their own areas for enjoyment at this 125-acre park. Kids can amuse themselves in the playgrounds while hikers can wander through the extensive nature preserve. There are over 10 miles of hiking trails, and bird watchers will find plenty of variety to keep them busy for hours. If you come for a picnic, be sure to bring the dog, as there is a park for them to roam free and work off some energy.

Hornet’s Nest Park

Another great family park, this North Charlotte park between Huntersville and Uptown Charlotte has 140 acres of outdoor space to enjoy. Unique to the park is the 1,150-foot BMX track that draws visitors from all over town. Walking, running, and biking trails abound, but those who want to build muscles can work out on the outdoor exercise equipment.

There’s also a children’s playground, a picnic area for refeshments, disc golf fields, and courts for volleyball, basketball, tennis, and softball. With something for everyone and easy-access parking, this place is worth the drive north!

The best parks in South Charlotte, NC

McAlpine Creek Park

This is the converging point for both McAlpine Creek Greenway and Campbell Creek Greenway, which means that it is a hub for runners and walkers. After finishing your aerobic activity, the outdoor workout area is ideal for calisthenics and popular among people who prefer this well-maintained spot to a pricy gym membership.

Bring a picnic lunch and Fido for the dog park and plentiful tables and benches. Unusual for many public parks in Charlotte, you can go fishing here or play a round of horseshoes.

McDowell Nature Center and Preserve

On the edge of Lake Wylie and close to the North Carolina-South Carolina border, McDowell Nature Center and Preserve is enormous at 1,132 acres. It’s the only park in town where you’ll see more than 100 species of birds and a variety of animal life, including different reptiles. There’s also a campground for overnighting and the opportunity to go boating, fishing, and hiking along marked trails.

A discovery center teaches visitors about the local animal life and trees, and there’s a gift shop that helps to support the maintenance of the area. Parking is plentiful here, but some people also arrive by boat and park at one of the preserve’s slips.

Enjoy the great outdoors in Charlotte, NC

No matter where you live, you’re not far from public parks in Charlotte of all shapes and sizes. Some are ideal for picnics, while others encourage a healthy stroll or jog through the trees. If you’re looking for a furnished apartment in Charlotte, Landing offers homes throughout town, along with flexible leases that make it easy to move in on your terms. Learn more about what a Landing membership can do for you today!

Ramsey Qubein

Ramsey Qubein is a freelance travel journalist covering hotels, cruises, airlines, and loyalty programs from around the globe. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Conde Nast Traveler, Travel+Leisure,,, AFAR, Robb Report, Readers Digest, BBC Worldwide, USA Today,,,, Fortune, Travel Weekly, and many others. Ramsey flies more than 450,000 miles per year and has traveled to 166 countries, all seven continents, and 50 U.S. states.