City Walks: Discover Charlotte's Neighborhood Stories

CHARLOTTE CITY WALKS returns in-person this year

A group of people face a walk leader

Charlotte City Walks are back in 2022!

After City Walks were canceled in 2020 and virtual-only in 2021 because of the pandemic, the program is back this year. We've got a full slate of in-person walks scheduled, and we're excited to welcome people from across our community to once again gather and learn about Charlotte's history, neighborhoods and culture.

Registration is now open! Click here to register for the 2022 in-person City Walks

The walks are free, led by community members and open to all. Some virtual walks are still available as well, which means you have more flexibility to experience City Walks on your schedule. Additional self-guided walking tours are also available through historian Tom Hanchett's History South website.

“We’re so excited to bring Charlotte City Walks back in person this year for the first time in three years,” said Angelique Gaines of the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, which organizes Charlotte City Walks. “Now more than ever, we need ways for people to connect across neighborhoods and across differences. City Walks offer people an easy way to get to know our city and each other.”

[Frequently Asked Questions: COVID safety, City Walks scheduling, and more]

Here's a complete list of the available City Walks tours this year. 

2022 Charlotte City Walks

Elizabeth neighborhood tour

When:  Wednesday, April 27, 5 – 6:30 p.m.
What: Explore the bungalow sidestreets of this early streetcar neighborhood, home to the Belk department store family and nationally famed author Harry Golden, as well as Charlotte’s first city-owned park. Led by community historian Dr. Tom Hanchett, whose Charlotte history book, SORTING OUT THE NEW SOUTH CITY, is now out in its second edition. Afterward, if you like, enjoy dinner on your own at Elizabeth restaurants such as Sabor, Fig Tree or The Crunkleton.
Where: Meet at the parking lot behind the Hawthorne Lane Recreation Center, 345 Hawthorne Lane, Charlotte, NC 28204
Accessibility: This walk is accessible and open to all ages.
Parking/transit: Parking is available in the lot behind the Hawthorne Lane Recreation Center.
[Register here]
 
Ramble along The Plaza
When: Thursday, April 28, 5 – 6:30 p.m.
What: Off Central Avenue, the broad, landscaped boulevard of The Plaza holds an eclectic array of buildings. Our tour takes us past one of the city’s most ornate Queen Anne style homes (Victoria) and one of its finest Arts & Crafts examples (VanLandingham Estate), then wends onto the bungalow sidestreet of Thomas Avenue. Walk leader Tom Hanchett is a longtime resident of the Plaza Midwood Historic District.
Where: Meet in the parking lot of the Plaza Midwood branch of the public library, 1623 Central Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205
Accessibility: This walk is accessible and open to all ages.
Parking/transit: Parking is available in the parking lot of Plaza Midwood public library, 1623 Central Avenue.
 
Coffee + Donuts: South End Edition 
When: Friday, April 29, 10-11:30 a.m.
What: Rise & Shine -- It's donut time! Discover your new favorite coffee and donuts spot as we venture through South End. The tour meets at 10:00 am at the Confetti Hearts Wall Mural, located at the bottom of the water tower (Design Center of the Carolinas). Stops include Pepperbox Doughnuts, Krispy Kreme, Not Just Coffee, and Bitty & Beau's. We will be sure to take photos of the great views and art along the way. After the tour, guests are welcome to linger for lunch at any local South End business.
Where: Please meet at Confetti Hearts Wall Mural (alley of Design Center of the Carolinas), 1930 Camden Rd., Charlotte, NC 28203. The tour will end at Bitty & Beau's (also in Design Center of the Carolinas).
Accessibility: We will walk 1.5hrs to sample coffee and doughnuts at several stops. Transit and ADA-accessible. Open to all age groups.
Parking/transit: East-West Station (1800 Camden Rd). Closest parking garage: 100 W. Worthington (in the Lowe's tower). Other South End Parking options: https://southendclt.org/visit/parking
Art in Transit: Blue Line Tour
When: Friday, April 29, 1:30-4:00 p.m.
What: Participants will experience 4 stations along the LYNX Blue Line learning about the art installations and artists featured at each stop. We'll stay at each station approximately 20 minutes until the next train comes. From 9th Street going north, we’ll stop at 36th Street, Old Concord Rd and UNC Charlotte. We’ll then head back south returning to 9th Street.
Where: 9th Street Light Rail Station, 239 E 9th St., Charlotte, NC 28202.       
Accessibility: The tour is open to all ages and is accessible to wheelchairs, walkers and bikes.  Please note: there are no bathrooms along the tour.
Parking/transit: 7th Street Parking Garage, 270 E 7th St., Charlotte, NC 28202. A fee may be required to park.
[Register here]    
 
South End’s History: Rail and Reinvention
When: Friday, April 29, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
What: On this walking tour of South End, visit historic landmarks and hear stories about the periods of innovation and reinvention that have marked this neighborhood through Charlotte’s history.
This one-hour walking tour will cover Atherton Mill, Nebel Knitting Mill, the Charlotte + SC Railroad, and the Lance Factory. 
Where: Meet at 4:00 pm in front of the Trolley Barn restaurant at Atherton Mill, 2104 South Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28203
Accessibility: This walk is open to all, ADA accessible. 
Parking/transit: Parking is available at the Atherton parking garage, at the 100 W. Worthington parking garage, and on-street along Camden Road and South Boulevard
[Register here]
 
A Walk on the Wild Side...of Plaza Midwood

When: Saturday, April 30, 10-11:30 a.m.
What: This walk will explore both the history as well as the new and amazing place called Plaza Midwood. We will find out how this unique and very interesting area came to be and the exciting plans for the future. It is very unique to Charlotte and holds much history as well as secrets!
Where: We will meet in the parking lot at Veterans Memorial Park, 2136 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205.
Accessibility: This walk is accessible and open to all ages.
Parking/transit: Please park in the parking lot at Veterans Memorial Park.
[Register here]

History, Murals and Mills - A Walking Tour of NoDa and Historic North Charlotte Tour #1
When:  Saturday, April 30, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
What: Groups will explore the vibrant history of North Charlotte and NoDa with local tour guides. We will visit three textile mills, walk through two distinct and largely intact mill villages, view local art and several large murals, and hear about some of the colorful neighbors from NoDa.
Where: Tours will start and end at The Company Store, 3221 Yadkin Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205.
Accessibility: Our tours are roughly one mile in length along city streets.  They are accessible for walkers, wheel chairs, and strollers.
Parking/transit: There is a paid parking lot next to The Company Store, 3221 Yadkin Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205. There is also ample free parking along 36th Street. The Company Store is also one block off the light rail stop for NoDa at 36th Street.
[Register here]
 
History, Murals and Mills - A Walking Tour of NoDa and Historic North Charlotte Tour #2
When:  Saturday, April 30, 11:30 a.m.– 12:30 p.m.
What: Groups will explore the vibrant history of North Charlotte and NoDa with local tour guides. We will visit three textile mills, walk through two distinct and largely intact mill villages, view local art and several large murals, and hear about some of the colorful neighbors from NoDa.
Where: Tours will start and end at The Company Store, 3221 Yadkin Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205.
Accessibility: Our tours are roughly one mile in length along city streets.  They are accessible for walkers, wheel chairs, and strollers.
Parking/transit: There is a paid parking lot next to The Company Store, 3221 Yadkin Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205. There is also ample free parking along 36th Street. The Company Store is also one block off the light rail stop for NoDa at 36th Street.
[Register here]
 
Exploring the “hidden” history of African American community-building along West Boulevard
When: Saturday, April 30, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
What: Hear the stories of the men and women who made their homes here beginning before the Civil War. Learn about the churches, schools, and neighborhoods they built despite stiff political and social headwinds. Be inspired by the new fruits of this legacy in the creation of a cooperative farm and market and new affordable housing along this “Corridor of Opportunity.” This walk is led by Rickey Hall of the West Boulevard Neighborhood Coalition and historian J Michael Moore.
Where: Tour starts at West Boulevard Public Library, 2157 West Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 2820.
Accessibility: The walk is accessible and open to all.         
Parking/transit: Parking is available in the library parking lot and along the street on Romare Bearden Drive.
[Register here]
 
Charlotte's Belmont Neighborhood: Where do I go from here?
When:  Saturday, April 30, 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
What: Join us for a 90 minute walking tour of Charlotte's Belmont neighborhood (not the town of Belmont). Learn about the origins as a white mill village, the transition to an under-invested black neighborhood, and now another transition. Charlotte's tale of two cities as noted in the Leading on Opportunity report is playing out in the Belmont neighborhood. As housing prices soar, long-time homeowners are concerned about tax increases, and renters are losing their affordable rates. This begs the question – where do I go if I need to leave my home? See large new homes next to small mill homes, learn about mill village life and current redevelopment.
Where: Tour starts and ends at Metrographics Printing, 1003 Louise Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205.
Accessibility: This walk is about 1.5 miles and will occur mostly on sidewalks, some of which are narrow and uneven. Attendees using wheelchairs or walkers should consider their comfort level with navigating uneven pavement. All ages welcome (children must be supervised).        
Parking/transit: Parking available in the Metrographics Printing parking lot, 1003 Louise Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205.
[Register here]
 
Historic West End / Biddleville Tour
When: Monday, May 2, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.
What: Visit the area around Johnson C. Smith University, an historic heart of African American Charlotte. Landmarks include the 1881 Biddle Hall clocktower, the restored 1890s home of educators Dr. George E. and Marie G. Davis, and the recent Mosaic Village project by architect Darrell Williams. Tour leaders are Michael Webb, a JCSU-trained historian whose family has deep roots in the neighborhood, and Tom Hanchett, author of the Charlotte history SORTING OUT THE NEW SOUTH CITY.
Where: Please meet in the front of Neighboring Concepts, 1635 W. Trade St. Suite 1A, Charlotte, NC 28216
Accessibility: This walk is accessible and open to all ages
Parking/transit: There is free parking in the Mosaic Village deck, 1601 W. Trade St., Charlotte, NC 28216.
[Register here]
 
RESCEHDULED: Heart of Myers Park tour
When: Monday, May 23, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.
What: Boston-based John Nolen, perhaps the nation’s most important planner during the early 20th century, created Myers Park in 1911. The tree-shaded avenues, written up in Nolen’s book New Towns for Old, had wide influence across the South and beyond. We’ll explore some of the neighborhood's oldest blocks, including the grand estate of James B. Duke. Tour leader Tom Hanchett is co-author, with Mary Kratt, of the book LEGACY: The Myers Park Story, available at the Duke Mansion.
Where: Please meet at the streetcar waiting station, a vintage stone shelter near 101 Hermitage Road, Charlotte, NC 28207, corner of Queens Road.
Accessibility: This walk is accessible and open to all ages.
Parking/transit: Plenty of on-street parking in the 100 block of Hermitage Road (just off Queens Road).
[Register here]
 
Treetops & Tombstones - Charlotte's Super-Natural Arboretum
When: Saturday, May 7, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
What: Elmwood Cemetery is one of Uptown Charlotte’s most unique and historic locations. Did you know it’s also a certified arboretum? City of Charlotte Arborists will give tips on how to identify some of the special trees in the cemetery.  The Cemetery Manager will discuss the cemetery, its monuments and historical figures buried there.
Where: Elmwood Cemetery, 700 W. 6th St., Charlotte, NC 28202.                 
Accessibility: Not fully accessible, open to all ages.         
Parking/transit: Follow signs to event parking after entering Elmwood Cemetery from 700 W. 6th Street. 
 
The Evolution of University City
When: Saturday, May 7, 10:30 – 12:00 p.m.
What: Come see where momentum is taking University City on this 75 minute walk led by University City Partners' Tobe Holmes, interim executive director and Jordan Harris, director of community development and outreach. Explore featured assets like the University City Farmers Market and current redevelopment sites that will make University City a more walkable environment. Learn about the challenges and opportunities come with growing "a city within a city" as we close the tour at University City's own Armored Cow Brewery.
Where: Mallard Pointe Shopping Center - Armored Cow Brewery, 8821 JW Clay Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28262
Accessibility: This event will potentially traverse active construction areas that may not be as suitable for wheelchairs, bicycles, people with infirmities or young children.
Parking/transit: Mallard Pointe Shopping Center, 8821 JW Clay Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28262
[Register here]
 
Stories in Stone - Our Charlotte Hebrew Cemetery
When: Sunday, May 8, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
What: Enjoy a walk with Brian Yesowitch offering up stories of notable Charlotteans who rest in Hebrew Cemetery. The cemetery dates back to 1867. You’ll hear about best-selling author and civil rights activist Harry Golden and discover the lives of civic leaders who contributed to Charlotte's growth after the Civil War.  Spring is a wonderful time to view the cemetery, recognized for its greenspaces and Blumenthal Garden which is a stop on the NC Butterfly Highway.   After the walk, you can take your mother to one of the many restaurants and food stalls at Camp North End, Barrell Arts District, The Charlotte Music Factory or other area attractions.
Where: We will be meeting at the cemetery, 1801 Statesville Ave., Charlotte, NC 28206.
Accessibility: The walk is open to all age groups.  Families are encouraged to bring "mom" to celebrate her on this special day.  The walk takes place on both paved and grassy walks.  Wheelchair users would want assistance on some grassy areas. 
Parking/transit: Parking is on a grass lot on the left, just inside of the cemetery main gate

Virtual City Walks

 

Walks available to experience via phone on the Clio App (click the title to open the walk)
 

NoDa Neighborhood Tour

Groups will explore the vibrant history of North Charlotte and NoDa with local tour guides. We will visit three textile mills, stroll through two distinct and largely intact mill villages, view local art and several large murals, and hear about some of the colorful neighbors from NoDa.

Uptown Mural Artwalk

What’s with all the new murals we have uptown?  Join ArtWalks CLT for a free guided artwalk, Experience firsthand how murals enliven public space, learn about the Talking Walls mural festival, and be inspired by discovering a dozen murals. 

Exploring the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens

The UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens include a wide variety of rare and exotic plant materials. From carnivorous plants to tasty tubers, take a walk with Dr. Jeff Gillman to discover the fascinating histories and hidden treasures in the Botanical Gardens.

Charlotte's Belmont Neighborhood: Where do I go from here?

Join us for a 90 minute walking tour of Charlotte's Belmont neighborhood (not the town of Belmont). Learn about the origins as a white mill village, the change to an under-invested Black neighborhood, and now another change. Charlotte's tale of two cities as noted in the Leading on Opportunity report is playing out in the Belmont neighborhood. As housing prices soar, long-time homeowners are concerned about tax increases, and renters are losing their affordable rates. This begs the question – where do I go if I need to leave my home? See large new homes next to small mill homes, learn about mill village life and current redevelopment, and hear how the community association is working to navigate this change.

Arts, Parks, and Culture in east Charlotte

Central Avenue, Kilborne Drive and Norland Road are undergoing a Comprehensive Neighborhood Improvement Program (CNIP) through the City of Charlotte.  These improvements will provide the area with a safer pedestrian and bicycle connection between two very special urban parks, Kilborne Park and Evergreen Nature Preserve. It also lays the groundwork to pedestrian, bicycle, bus and future streetcar connections for its vibrant diverse community that will provide this East Charlotte community with more economic opportunities for jobs and education.  It will create a sense of community through its small, independent businesses and community gathering places with enhanced neighborhood safety and security.  Good transportation connections will significantly improve the quality of daily life for all who live, work and play in this established East Charlotte community. Come along with CharlotteEAST as your guide to experience the revitalization  - we are excited about the future of this community! 

Treetops & Tombstones: Charlotte's Supernatural Arboretum

Elmwood Cemetery in the heart of uptown Charlotte offers not only a fascinating glimpse into Charlotte’s past, with graves dating back to the 1800s - it’s also a certified arboretum. Erin Oliverio leads this walking tour, where she’ll provide tips on how to identify trees and discuss the city’s meticulous stewardship of this Center City gem.

Video Walks


Around the Clocktower: JCSU & Biddleville

Founded as Biddle Institute in 1867, today’s Johnson C. Smith University has nurtured history-makers for over 150 years. African American history specialist Michael Webb, a JCSU alum, and Tom Hanchett, community historian, delve into stories behind campus landmarks. Then loop through Biddleville to see homes of important education leaders Dr. George E. and Marie G. Davis, a Civil War blockade-runner and more.

Find all the details and directions to see the sights yourself at History South

South End Interactive: Murals that jump off the walls

South End Interactive is where art comes to life. Experience eight murals in South End with augmented reality technology that allows you to dive deeper into each piece, play with face filters, and explore 3-D models of the most intricate details.

You can see directions and where to find all of the murals at SouthEndCLT.org.

[See an archived list of 2019 walks here]

History South: Explore Charlotte's intriguing past and vibrant present


Charlotte's own historian extraordinaire Tom Hanchett has compiled a dozen walking self-guided walking tours for people to explore neighborhoods like Plaza Midwood, NoDa and Dilworth. Learn about the history of Charlotte's streetcar, the mill enclave that became NoDa, and how the Thirsty Beaver saloon hangs on in its little spot on Central Avenue. 

[Find the full list here.]

Previous 2022 walks

 

Walk Tall: Wander Among the Trees of University City’s Green Heart, UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens 

When: Monday, April 25, 12 – 1 p.m.
What: Join April Faucette for a walking tour through the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens. The walk will start at the McMillan Greenhouse and head into the Van Landingham Glen – a woodland garden of thousands of native plants and rhododendron. We’ll follow winding paths below majestic trees, including a grove of bigleaf magnolia. The tour will continue to the Susie Harwood Garden through the Mellichamp Native Terrace and Asian Garden, and return to the greenhouse to tour its collection of carnivorous plants.
Where: McMillan Greenhouse, UNC Charlotte, 9090 Craver Road, Charlotte, NC 28262
Accessibility: This walk is only accessible by foot. There is a steep gravel path to access the Gardens and Glen. It is appropriate for all ages. 
Parking/transit: There are five free parking spots available adjacent to McMillan Greenhouse, in Lot 16A. If you park in those spots, you must sign in at the Greenhouse. If those spots are full, the closest paid visitor parking is in East Deck 1.
[Register here]

 
Dilworth/South End tour

When:  Monday, April 25, 5 – 6:30 p.m.
What: Join community historian Dr. Tom Hanchett for a 90-minute stroll in what is today South End — but includes parts of the Dilworth Historic District, Charlotte’s first streetcar suburb. We’ll walk a loop past Victorian-era homes and factories, intermingled among new development. Afterward, if you like, enjoy dinner on your own at any of the dozen or more eateries along Camden Road.
Where: Meet at the LYNX East West station on West Boulevard.
Accessibility: This walk is accessible and open to all ages.
Parking/Transit: Arrive by LYNX Blue Line light rail — or by car, parking on the street along Camden Road.
[Register here]
 
 

What is a City Walk?

After you take a tour, take this short survey and let us know what you thought.

Is this just a Charlotte thing?

Activist Jane Jacobs celebrated the power of everyday people to shape their city.

Activist Jane Jacobs celebrated the power of everyday people to shape their city.

City Walks are part of a global celebration – known in many cities as Jane Jacobs Walks or Jane’s Walks – of free, citizen-led walking tours inspired by Jane Jacobs, a famous neighborhood champion who lived in New York and Toronto.

Born May 4, 1916, Jane Jacobs was a writer, activist and urban thinker who championed a community-based approach, based on what she observed in her neighborhood, Greenwich Village. She saw cities as ecosystems with their own logic and dynamism. She encouraged residents to get engaged and to explore where they lived, worked and played.

Scorned at the time – the 1960s – by many professional planners, architects and city officials, Jacobs’ books and ideas are now routinely taught in planning and architecture schools.

Jane's Walks take place around the world during the first weekend in May, to honor her birthday, but in Charlotte they take place throughout May.

Contact us:

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: What COVID safety protocols are in place?

A: City Walks will follow all local guidelines. The walks are mostly outside, which is a lower-risk environment. Participants are welcome to wear masks and/or social distance if they wish to do so. 

Q: If I want to see the virtual tours on the Clio App, what should I do?

1. Open the Apple or Google Play Store on your phone.
2. Search for “Clio” 
3. Choose the “Clio-Your Guide to History” App and choose 
download 

Q: What about the munching tours — those were my favorite! Are they coming back?

A: Yes! We love eating delicious things as well, and we know how popular the munching tours have been. While it wasn’t practical to include them this year due to COVID concerns and challenges in the restaurant industry, we plan to reincorporate munching tours into our lineup as soon as we can. 

Q: Can I still organize a City Walk?

A: For 2022, we have reached our capacity for City Walks-affiliated tours. However, we would love to hear your feedback and ideas for additional walks — contact Angelique Gaines.

Q: Is City Walks still free?

A: Yes. The in-person walks, Clio app and History South self-guided walking tours are all totally free.

Q: Will you have new virtual walks in the future?

A: Let us know what you’d like to see. Depending on the response to this year’s City Walks program, we’ll certainly consider it. Virtual tours and self-guided walks have the advantage of letting you move at your own pace and go whenever you want. At the same time, they can lack the community-building experience of getting to know your neighbors while you learn about a new place together — so, it’s a balancing act. 

Photos by Nancy Pierce