Photo of the Botanical Gardens

In a metropolitan area like Charlotte, nature lovers may need help finding outdoor spaces to unwind and enjoy their natural surroundings. However, Charlotte features an array of gardens and parks that can be a respite for visitors. These are some options to explore.

UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens

The University's Botanical Gardens, located on campus, is the perfect place for students to unwind in their downtime. This space includes two separate gardens, the "Susie Harwood Garden," an outdoor space where native and non-native plants grow alongside art pieces, paths, benches and other landscaping. The second garden is the "Van Landingham Glen," a woodland garden featuring native plants and wildflowers. The gardens are open to the public during daylight hours and free to visit.

Toby Creek Greenway

This greenway is located off-campus next to Toby Creek. The greenway is a paved trail that takes visitors 2.8 miles through the green spaces North of University City Blvd. It connects to the Clarks-Mallard Greenway System.

Freedom Park

Charlotte's Freedom Park features walking trails, soccer, softball and baseball fields and a lake at its center. The park connects to Little Sugar Creek Greenway, a 3.9-mile trail where visitors can walk and enjoy the outdoors.

McGill Rose Garden

Located outside Uptown, this cozy garden is primarily marketed as a wedding venue. Still, it is also free to visit during its public hours when no events are scheduled. The garden's general hours are visible on its website

Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary

Wing Haven is unique in its intentionally bird-friendly design. In addition to its natural beauty, the space includes nesting sites, pools and other features to accommodate our feathered friends. The Wing Haven Foundation owns and operates the garden, a non-profit dedicated to inspiring a love of nature and wildlife. General admission is $10 for adults, allowing access to the SEED Wildlife and Children's Garden and the Elizabeth Lawrence House and Garden.