By Kristen Moore
We all love Charlotte’s stunning skyline, but there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the many beautiful views of the Queen City. From city sights to vivid green spaces, take a look through the lens with us as we show you some of the most spectacular views of Charlotte and what you can experience at each picture –perfect location.
A Charlotte favorite, the U.S National Whitewater Center is the world’s premier outdoor recreation and education center and home of the largest man-made recirculating river in the world. Alongside nearly 30 miles of mountain biking and running trails, a rock climbing center, zip lines, flatwater kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, eco-trekking, a free-fall experience, an adventure course and a challenge course, the facility’s most unique feature is the multiple-channel whitewater river with class III-IV rapids for rafting and kayak enthusiasts of all levels. Get an All-Sport Pass to enjoy all-day access to more than 20 land and water activities.
Experience America’s favorite pastime at a Charlotte Knights home game at BB&T Ballpark. After playing at the Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, South Carolina (yes the Charlotte Knights did play in a different state for more than 20 years), the new 8-acre, LEED-certified ballpark opened in Uptown in 2014. With capacity for more than 10,200 fans, every seat offers remarkable views of the natural grass field and the city skyline. Combine the view with Cracker Jacks, local beer and nice weather, and you’ll be asking yourself why you didn’t buy season tickets sooner. Head out to Friday Knight Fireworks each Friday for a guaranteed celebration after the game. Be on the lookout for other unique events held in the stadium throughout the year such a beer festivals, concerts, community events and more.
If you’re looking for a place to hike near Charlotte, the trails of Crowders Mountain are great options and are just a short drive away. Views from the top of the 1,625-foot summit (the second highest point in Gaston County) stretch more than 25 miles, giving you a view of the Charlotte skyline when the sky is clear. With a variety of trail options including the Crowders Trail (2.8 miles), the Turnback Trail (1.2 miles), the Rocktop Trail (1.5 miles), the Pinnacle Trail (2.2 miles) and the Backside Trail (0.8 miles), no matter what route you take you’ll enjoy the sights and sounds of nature and wildlife. There are two places to park and access the trails: Linwood access via Linwood Road and Sparrow Springs access via Park Office Lane. Pack some water, grab some friends (furry friends are welcome too) and escape from the city for a breath of fresh air at Crowders Mountain.
Carowinds, also known as the “Thrill Capital of the Southeast,” just launched the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster, Fury 325. With heights reaching 325 feet, an 81-degree initial drop, a staggering length of 6,602 feet and breathtaking speeds of 95 mph, it doesn’t hit the brakes at all during the three-minute and 25-second ride. Guests can also hop on the 301 foot tall WindSeeker, 300 foot tall Slingshot or 232 foot tall Intimidator to experience a full-throttle thrill ride with stunning views of the Charlotte region – if you’re brave enough open your eyes!
Opened in 2013, this 5.4-acre urban park next to the BB&T Ballpark commemorates Charlotte-born artist Romare Bearden. The park features unique elements such as the two gardens (Maudell and Madeline), a courtyard with tables and chairs, outdoor event space, interactive digital chimes, water features and more. The park has quickly become a community gathering spot for festivals, musical performances, art programs, fitness programs and kid’s activities year-round, helping to transform and revive the Third Ward area of Uptown.
Dubbed a “visionary dining experience,” Bentley’s on 27 features a span of glass windows throughout the restaurant with a beautiful view of the city from a dining table on the 27th floor of the Charlotte Plaza Building. Since 2003, Bentley’s has been serving up exquisite French and American cuisine amid dazzling panoramic views of the city. For a unique experience, try the French tableside dining (where the dish is prepared and presented at the table) by ordering the chateaubriand bouquetiere, a tenderloin for two with asparagus, mushrooms and potato dauphinoise with a red wine reduction.
The 145,000-square-foot, five-story Mint Museum Uptown includes two full floors of galleries, each featuring 12,000 square feet of permanent collection space and 6,000 square feet of changing exhibition space. Focal points like Dale Chihuly’s “Royal Blue Mint Chandelier” or pieces like “Carolina Shout” by acclaimed Charlotte native Romare Bearden are cherished mainstays. Check out the Mint on Wednesday nights for free admission from 5-9 p.m.
This article ran in the July issue of Charlotte Happenings.