This 98-acre (40 hectare) public park is a slice of nature at its best, right in the middle of the city. Complete with four baseball diamonds, two batting cages, a dozen tennis courts, four soccer fields, a basketball court, a pair of volleyball courts, a pair of playgrounds, a seven-acre (two hectare) lake, an amphitheater, a number of sheltered picnic areas, and miles of trails and paths, Freedom Park has something for everyone. There's even a concession stand for joggers in need of water or sun bathers in need of ice cream. Many of the picnic shelters are reservable, as are the Freedom Park Bandshell and the Mahlon Adams Pavilion, a banquet hall that seats 70 people.
The heart of this museum lies in an exploration of the people who have changed and shaped the social landscape of the South since the end of the Civil War. The exhibit addresses controversial issues like race relations and immigration, providing a forum for discussion and contemplation. The facility is newly renovated and many of the pieces contain modern multimedia displays and virtual tours that make the learning experience fun for all ages. Be sure to explore the 'Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers' exhibit, one of the permanent collections that focuses on the changing face of Charlotte and the Piedmont region of North Carolina.
These botanical gardens are run by the University of North Carolina Charlotte campus and are comprised of three separate sites- the Van Landingham Glen, the Susie Harwood Garden, and the McMillan Greenhouse. There is a wide variety of plants among the gardens, including rhododendrons, native Carolina flora, orchids, desert succulents, and carnivorous pitcher plant hybrids. There are also many walking paths and interesting landscape architecture displays to please the eye. The park is open daily and features an ever-changing collection that varies depending on the time of year, so be sure to check the website for updates.
From 1836 to around 1861 this Federal-style building served as the first branch of the United States Mint. During the Depression it was saved from demolition through a community effort and became North Carolina's first art museum. Now it is one of the major collections of American, European, African, and Asian artwork, along with ceramics, photography, maps and contemporary art. There are daily tours, lectures, art classes, and festivals that invite the public to come and enjoy the exhibitions. With such an extensive collection of over 72,000 items and a building rich in history, this museum is a must-see for any art lover! Also be sure to check out the Mint Museum Uptown, located in nearby Uptown.
Over the years, this historic building has been home to many different theatres and shops, but now it is one of the best places around to hear live music. All different types of music genres frequent the Visulite Theatre - alternative, bluegrass, jazz, rock and more. It attracts a wide variety of music lovers from the Elizabeth neighborhood and can hold up to 540 people. In addition, it boasts a full bar and plenty of comfortable couches so you can sit back and take in the mellow atmosphere while listening to your favorite performers. Check out the website for new bookings and events as the hours may vary.
This popular, members-only concert venue hosts bands like Out of the Blue in addition to its in-house rockers who perform on the stage. Several country music concerts also take place here. Free dance classes are offered on ladies nights when women patrons can enter free of charge. Keep your ID on hand —you can enter only if you are 18 or above, while drinks are offered only to those over 21 years of age.
The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra performs regularly at the Belk Theater, the largest auditorium at the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. The theater is constructed so that there are no seats more than 135 feet away from the stage, providing an intimate setting even with over 2,000 people in the audience. In addition, a fiber-optic network with thousands of multi-colored pinpoints of light is placed throughout the audience chamber for spectacular light displays. Call or visit the Blumenthal Center's website for information on upcoming events and tickets.
The Fourth Ward neighborhood has a popular landmark, the Spirit Square. The place is an outdoor events venue often hosting concerts and movie screenings for free to the public. There are several art and cultural centre buildings on the Spirit Square. Among them are the McGlohon Theatre, the Duke Energy Theatre and a visual art space, the Knight Gallery. Those who love the arts and theatre, should definitely visit this place.
The North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center was opened in 1992. Although it has four theaters under it's management, only The Belk Theater and Booth Playhouse are physically part of the Center. Belk Theater offers the largest seating, hosting up to 2,100 people at full capacity, while the Booth Playhouse is a courtyard-style proscenium theater. The other two theaters the NCBPAC runs are the McGlohon Theatre at the Spirit Square and Duke Power Theatre at Spirit Square.
The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is a fresh perspective of art and culture into the city's nerves. Located in the heart of downtown Charlotte, the Bechtler is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. The free audio guide and gallery brochures at the visitor desk and information center keep visitors informed on the modern art lining the walls and hallways. The museum is a fun experience for visitors of all ages, especially since the Bechtler provides children with materials to make their visit to the museum interactive and enjoyable.
The Mint Museum Uptown is located in a historic downtown building that was recently renovated to celebrate the rich legacy of Charlotte's artistic tradition. The permanent collection holds a wide range of items made from ceramic, jewelry, glass, fibers, metal, and wood. Their special glass commissions alone make it worth the visit! For those who enjoy an interactive experience, the museum offers many workshops, lectures, artist demonstrations, and travel guides to enhance the trip. Also, it is located within the heart of the business district and nearby many shopping centers and restaurants. Make sure to also take a look at the Mint Museum Randolph, full of fine and contemporary art.