You don’t have to be a professional photographer to take a memorable picture of the Charlotte skyline. That’s partly because each building in the Charlotte skyline is so distinctive — the crown on top of the soaring Bank of America Corporate Center, the Duke Energy Building with its ever-changing lights and (from a certain angle) a “handle” on top, and the graceful curved top of One Wells Fargo Center.
Also, there are just so many overlooks and so many nooks and crannies where you can situate yourself to take a picture. From each angle, and at each moment, the picture tells a different story. You don’t have to get a clear shot of the whole skyline to take an interesting picture. And sometimes it’s the contrast of what’s in the foreground that makes the picture thought-provoking or moving.
We’ve put together a list of great vantage points to take pictures of the Charlotte skyline. None of these pictures were taken by professional photographers, or were edited, aside from a little cropping. All of these spots are free to visit. This is far from a comprehensive list. And there are also many more great vantage points from Charlotte’s rooftop bars and condos, but we’re not covering those here.
We’ve also included the logistical information you need for each spot, including parking, and some information about visiting the area around each spot.
After the information about the 17 spots for Charlotte skyline pictures, there’s a Google map of the locations.
After that, we are including a list of some our favorite Instagram accounts for spectacular pictures of Charlotte’s skyline.
This article, including the photos, was a collaboration between Charlotte on the Cheap and freelance writer Jason Cline.
Hawthorne Lane Bridge
After years of construction, the Hawthorne Lane Bridge is finally open! The new bridge is bike and pedestrian friendly, and offers visitors a striking view of Charlotte. Located in the historic Elizabeth neighborhood, this bridge provides an excellent view of the sunset, making it the perfect destination for an evening stroll.
On the Plaza Midwood side of the bridge you’re close to Snooze Eatery, Moo & Brew and much more. On the Elizabeth side you’re close to Hawthorne’s New York Pizza, The Fig Tree and Cajun Queen. So, definitely get a bite to eat in the area!
Hawthorne Lane, between Sunnyside Avenue and Bay Street. Park on the side streets between Hawthorne Lane and Lamar Avenue.
Statesville Avenue and Oaklawn Avenue
The massive Camp North End property offers seemingly endless takes on the Charlotte skyline. This one is from the sidewalk of Statesville Avenue, near Oaklawn Avenue. You can also get a great picture from Graham Street, or from within Camp North End.
Park in one of Camp North End’s parking lots. Use 1824 Statesville Avenue as a destination point.
Central Avenue Bridge
The view from Central Avenue Bridge is another iconic one. It’s on the edge of Plaza Midwood, very close to Lunchbox Records, Two Scoops Creamery and Central Coffee, so make sure to pay them a visit. Walk on the bridge from the Plaza Midwood side, near Prospect Street, and walk past the groups of trees for the best view.
Central Avenue, just west of Prospect Street. Park on Central Avenue’s side streets, including Prospect Street and Piedmont Street.
Romare Bearden Park
Located near the heart of Charlotte, Romare Bearden Park is surrounded by skyscrapers. Situated on 5.4 beautiful acres, the park features a terraced layout, a wide open grassy area for recreation, a beautiful fountain art installation that is a must-see at night, picnic areas for a midday lunch, and public restrooms.
Chicago-based artist Richard Hunt’s sculpture “Spiral Odyssey” provides a dramatic focal point for photos.
Romare Bearden Park is close to Mellow Mushroom, Famous Toastery, Bechtler Museum of Art, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, and Mint Museum Uptown.
First Ward Park
Located between UNCC’s Center City building and ImaginOn, First Ward Park is one of Charlotte’s newest parks. It features a play area for children, public exercise equipment, a fountain, and a wide open green. First Ward Park hosts many concerts and festivals. Head across the street to 7th Street Public Market for a unique eating and shopping experience. Levine Museum of the New South is also close by.
First Ward Park, 309 E 7th Street. There is some street parking available, as well as parking lots and garages. 7th Street Station is right across the street. Park there, buy something at 7th Street Public Market, and get your ticket validated for an hour and a half.
Fourth Ward Park
Fourth Ward Park is a small but charming area nestled in the center of one of Charlotte’s most historic neighborhoods. Surrounded by Victorian homes dating to the late 1800s, Fourth Ward Park offers a unique location to witness the Queen City’s old and new architecture side by side. The Park features an open green, a children’s play area, walking trails, and gardens.
Fourth Ward Park is close to Discovery Place Science.
The Charlotte skyline from Marshall Park is one of Charlotte’s most iconic scenes. Marshall Park features a view of Charlotte made more beautiful by the landscape. Located in the Second Ward Neighborhood, this park boasts a lake, a fountain, an amphitheatre, and plenty of large trees for shade, making it a great location for relaxing and taking in the views. Marshall Park is also home to a statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
It’s across the street from the Mecklenburg County Courthouse, so if you have the bad luck to need to be at the the courthouse, at least pop over to Marshall Park for some relaxation afterwards.
Marshall Park, 800 E Third Street. Parking meters on 3rd Street.
Located in Villa Heights, between the NoDa and Belmont neighborhoods of Charlotte, Cordelia Park is a sprawling and hilly recreation area along the Little Sugar Creek Greenway. With a basketball court, picnic areas, a playground, and plenty of trees for shade, Cordelia park has something for everyone! It also contains one of Charlotte’s only two outdoor public pools. Its hills also make it a great sledding destination during a rare snowfall.
Some of the nearby businesses you might want to visit are NoDa Market and Deli, Free Range Brewing, Rhino Market & Deli, and Amelie’s French Baker & Cafe.
Cordelia Park, 2100 N. Davidson Street. The park has a parking lot.
The view from Matheson Bridge is instantly recognizable, with the tangle of train tracks approaching the city. It’s a striking reminder of the role of railroads in building our cities and keeping them running. The traffic whizzing behind you doesn’t make for the most relaxing viewing experience, but this location is a must visit for skyline gazers.
Matheson Avenue is a gateway to NoDa. It’s close to Amelie’s French Bakery & Cafe, Brooks’ Sandwich Shop, and Benny Pennello’s, home of the biggest pizza in Charlotte.
Matheson Avenue, southeast of N. Tryon Street. It’s not officially sanctioned for parking, but you can park at the gas station at N. Tryon and Matheson, buy a little something, and walk to the middle of the bridge.
Charlotte’s Airport Overlook Drive offers not only a distant view of the skyline but also a front row seat to an endless stream of airplanes arriving and departing. With a landscaped viewing area and benches, this is an ideal location to bring children for a fun educational opportunity. Charlotte Douglas International Airport is one of the few airports in the United States that maintains a public viewing area. Bring a picnic and relax.
7300 Airport Overlook Drive. Free parking in a lot at the overlook. Read more about CLT Airport Overlook.
Bland Street Station
The Lynx Bland Street Station is located in the heart of South End, offering a great view of the skyline and a diverse array of restaurants within walking distance. The Charlotte Rail Trail runs along the Blue Line in the South End, making it a prime destination for foot traffic and biking. If you’re visiting by March 7th, 2021, at night, make sure to check out I Heart Rail Trail: Lights, a set of six temporary interactive light exhibits along the Rail Trail.
Bland Street Station, 1511 Camden Road. There’s plenty of parking lots in the surrounding area, but it may cost a few dollars to park, and you might have trouble finding a spot during busy times. You can also ride the light rail in for a fun, low-stress outing.
This one takes a bit of a drive, and then some comfortable shoes, and a bottle of water, some exertion, and some luck, because you need somewhat clear skies, but the view of the Charlotte skyline from Crowder’s Mountain is magical. Crowders Mountain State Park’s Backside Trail starts at the Linwood Access Area, 4611 Linwood Road, Gastonia, NC, and is a short but strenuous .9 miles each way, including 336 wooden steps, and ending at the summit of Crowders Mountain.
CPCC Parking Deck
A favorite location for shooting local music videos, CPCC’s Parking Deck #1 offers a sweeping view of the cityscape. This is a great place to watch the sunset or shoot some roller skating TikToks. Disclaimer: These activities might not be officially sanctioned.
1321 Charlottetowne Avenue. You need a parking pass for Parking Deck #1, so park in the visitor lot across the street, by the Kathy H. Drumm Facilities Services Building. Parking map for CPCC’s Central Campus.
Lower Tuck is West Charlotte’s newly completed adaptive reuse project and it has a knockout perspective of the Queen City. Make sure to get a coffee at Not Just Coffee while you’re there, and check out the mural at 929 Jay Street. 1018 Jay Street, Charlotte.
The 72-acre Elmwood/Pinewood Cemetery, established in 1853, is, maybe surprisingly, an excellent place to glimpse the Charlotte skyline. The grave monuments in the foreground spark the imagination. What role did the people buried here play in the building of Charlotte? What would the view toward the city center have looked like to them? While you’re here, use this photo guide of Charlotte’s historic cemeteries to help you explore.
Elmwood/Pinewood Cemetery, 700 W 6th Street. You can drive into the cemetery and park.
Graham Street, outside of Camp North End
Step outside of Camp North End, near the food stalls, onto Graham Street, for a great view of the skyline. Of course, there are also many vantage points for skyline pictures from within Camp North End.
Camp North End is one of the most happening places in Charlotte, with live music, loads of art, food stalls, coffee, a brewery, and much more.
Camp North End, Graham Street at Keswick Avenue.
Target Midtown Parking Deck
The roof of Target Midtown’s parking deck offers a pretty good look at the Charlotte skyline. Currently, the parking deck is only open up to level 3. So you’ll have to park there and walk up a couple flights of stairs to the rooftop. There’s also an elevator. Warning: the parking deck gets a little chaotic, especially on the weekend. If you’re in the area, there’s tons to do, including all the shops and restaurants at Metropolitan, which also has a rooftop parking deck where you can see the skyline.
And you’re also at Little Sugar Creek Greenway, where you can walk or bike for miles along the creek. Check out our photo guide and GoPro video tour of this section of Little Sugar Creek Greenway, including the Trail of History, eight statues of men and women who played significant roles in the history of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.
Target Midtown, 900 Metropolitan Avenue.
Google Map of Charlotte Skyline Spots
Charlotte Skyline Instagrammers
If you’re a fan of the Charlotte skyline, and are looking for some inspiration or just some “wows!”, check out these Instagrammers: