Top 20 Lesser Known Instagrammable Spots In Charlotte
If you didn’t know, we moved into the city limits of Charlotte, NC in November 2020. Though we’ve grown up in the Charlotte area and lived here our entire lives, we wanted to explore the city again since it was “ours” now. We spent the last few weeks collecting the prettiest lesser-known Instagrammable spots in Charlotte. Sure, you might know some of these, but they are definitely the more slept-on places in Charlotte. As always, we pick our spots on easy to access, free to use, and of course great for the ‘gram. So whether you are a native or just visiting Charlotte… onto the list to explore!
Looking to find any of them? Check out the map here thanks to Wander Log:
Also if you are looking for the most well-known & popular Instagrammable Spots in Charlotte, check out that blog post here.
#1 Light Rail Station
319 East 3rd Street
The 3rd Street/Convention Center Light Rail station has a unique look on the platform. The green & orange lights are a great spot for an Instagram picture. You can even get the Charlotte skyline in the background on the platform. Make sure you stay in the walking area & not on the tracks though, that’s definitely not allowed!
#2 Nested Hive
423 Eastway Dr, Eastway Recreation Center
This is one of the newest art spots in Charlotte and probably won’t stay “lesser known” for long! It’s located at the Eastway Recreation Center, which will open sometime in 2021. Nested Hive’s form is inspired by the whimsical idea of a giant hive or nest that has split open after falling from a tree, allowing visitors to enter after the insects have left the structure to find a new home. It was created by RE:site Studio and is an interactive play art piece.
#3 Charlotte Urban Design Mural
1507 Camden Rd
This Queen City crown is on The Charlotte Urban Design Center building. Their mission is to advance the quality of Charlotte’s built environment and bring public awareness to the importance of urban design. The center reveals how design influences quality of life and economic resilience, and advocates for great public places in a livable city. With the motto of “people make cities” we love the idea behind this mural and how great a photo spot it is!
#4 Uptown Charlotte Sign
550 E Stonewall St
This neat Uptown display is in the courtyard of the apartment complex Uptown 550. It’s right off the sidewalk on the edge of town beside the NASCAR Hall of Fame. We just loved how fun it was and how great a photo spot this would be, especially if you were visiting!
#5 Mint Museum Stairs
500 S Tryon Street
Of course, the Mint Museum itself is not “lesser-known”. However, they have installed some really neat lighting that appears in the evening and at night on their stairs. The stairs are always a great photo spot, but the new lighting really adds a great touch to it as well!
#6 Sleepy Poet Charlotte
6424 South Boulevard
Sleepy Poet Charlotte is an antique and vintage store in Charlotte. They have 400+ vendors in 60,000 square feet of space. They highly encourage you to take photos in their store when you explore for your next treasure. The phone booth might be our favorite spot, but there are literally hundreds of spots to take a photo. Plus, thousands of treasures to go home with you!
#7 Pillar of Dreams
3205 Freedom Drive
Pillars of Dreams is a new public art piece at the Valerie C. Woodward Center in Charlotte. It is a county building that houses a number of departments and local services. It’s a cloud-like sculpture that really catches your eye driving down Freedom Drive. Pillars of Dreams is an original work commissioned by Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, the Charlotte/Mecklenburg Public Art Commission and Arts and Science Council – Charlotte/Mecklenburg.
It’s an art piece that’s meant to be completely explored. The exterior hides the beautiful colors on the inside. So when you visit make sure to visit all the angles. It has so many different spots for a great photo! This was structurally designed by The Very Many.
#8 Metropolitan Stairs
1133 Metropolitan Ave
If you are walking on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway often you might know exactly where these stairs are. If not, they are a hidden gem you have to check out! They are located on the back of Dressler’s in the Metropolitan shopping center. They were painted by one of our favorites, Nick Napoletano Art, who painted some of our favorites over on our Top Murals Post.
#9 From Charlotte With Love
1440 S Tryon St UNIT 110
Wooden Robot has multiple great murals at their South End taproom, but our favorite is on the garage door to the brewery. It’s a perfect spot to grab a photo at or grab a picture of your beer when you visit (as long as the door is down). You can find it right on the patio, on the left side if you are facing the brewery. The mural is by @trashgenius and @2gzandcountin.
#10 UNCC Botanical Gardens
9090 Craver Rd
The campus of UNC Charlotte has a beautiful botanical garden that is FREE to explore. They have a NC garden and an Asian Garden that are both perfect photo spots. They have limited parking at the Greenhouse or you can pay to park at the parking deck beside it. The greenhouse is a great photo spot as well, but it closes at 4 pm, so get there early.
3701 Arco Corporate Dr
We love to visit Metalmorphosis, as it’s right around the corner from our house. However, it was down for a renovation for a while, so it’s been forgotten as a great photo spot! It’s in the Whitehall Corporate Center, but it’s super easy to visit especially after 5 pm. It really catches the sunset beautifully and in the summer it moves into really amazing ways. The creation consists of nearly 40 steel pieces grouped into 7 segments that independently rotate 360 degrees. The mouth spits water into a surrounding pool. When the segments are aligned, the sculpture appears to be a giant, silver head with all of the usual fixtures in their regular places. It was created by artist David Černý.
#12 Midtown Murals
1100 Metropolitan Ave
The Metropolitan in Charlotte has had a lot of murals and art pop up recently. These murals do change yearly during Talking Walls Charlotte. Currently pictured is 2021. We loved this mural as we passed by one day & just had to stop and get a photo. “May all your vibes say I got this” is a great life motto & we think it will be a great photo spot in Charlotte. This mural is by @traveling_gypsy & @duarte_designs
#13 McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 York Rd
Lake Wylie is such a huge part of Charlotte, NC, so we just have to include a favorite photo spot to get a great lake view! McDowell Nature Preserve has 7 MILES of trails, in addition to a beautiful lake front. It’s definitely a great spot if you need a bit of a nature escape from the city life.
#14 Uptown Gold Doors
112 S Tryon St STE 100
These gorgeous gold doors are the entrance to Chase Bank in Uptown Charlotte. During business hours unfortunately they usually are open and you can’t grab a photo. However, after hours & on weekends you can easily grab a great photo here! It used to be beside the entrance to Portal Charlotte but they are in the middle of moving!
#15 NoDa Brewing Mural
2921 N Tryon St
NoDa Brewing opened a larger second location in 2019 and made a fantastic mural in the process. It’s by @southerntigercollective and has EVERYTHING Charlotte. From the Hornets to 704 to Eastland Mall to the FireBird, the Light Rail, Queen Charlotte, and so many more hidden gems. It’s a perfect photo spot if you are a native or just visiting to truly encompass the Charlotte culture.
#16 Convention Center
501 S College St
The alleyway beside the Charlotte Convention Center has always been a favorite photo spot for us. We are always surprised how few people know about this spot. It has great lighting & a true city feel! It’s on a public sidewalk and super easy to snag a great photo there.
#17 Spectrum Center Mural
406 E Trade St
In the parking lot beside the Spectrum Center is a gorgeous mural by Douglas “Hoxxoh” Hoekzema. It’s in a parking lot so unless someone is parked in front of it, it’s super easy to access, especially before a Charlotte Hornets game!
#18 Parktowne Village Stairs
1600 E. Woodlawn Rd
The Parktowne Village stairs are definitely easy to miss & lesser know. They are hidden in the shopping center across from the Park Road Shopping Center. We actually only found them driving down Woodlawn one day and then going to hunt. They even are easy to miss once you find them too! When you are walking down the stairs, they appear to be normal stairs, you don’t see the mural until you reach the bottom and look back up. Definitely a perfect spot for some photos. This is by artist @sharon_dowell.
#19 Alleyway in Charlotte
345 N College St
Beside the McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square, there is probably one of the only alleyways in Uptown Charlotte. If you are from Charlotte or have ever visited you will notice it is very modern and clean city. So if you are looking for an Urban Grunge look, there aren’t many spots & you will have to visit other neighborhoods or towns. However, this little alley is tucked in right off Tryon Street and can give you that look!
#20 McGill Rose Garden
940 N Davidson St
This beautiful little garden is a great bit of nature in the middle of the city. It is open Monday to Friday 10 am to 4 pm, for free. Tuesday to Thursday they are open until 10 pm, Friday and Saturday until 11 pm, and Sundays 8 am to 8 pm, you just need to grab a coffee or glass of wine to browse. It’s a gorgeous and relaxing spot to visit!
So now go & explore Charlotte!
We hope you have enjoyed some of the lesser-known instagrammable spots in Charlotte. There are SO many spots in Charlotte it’s impossible to cover them all. These are some of our favorites we’ve found throughout the years! If you have any we’ve missed we need to check out, make sure to comment them below! We always love finding new spots in our city.
For other things to do in Charlotte check out these other posts:
Spots That No Longer Exist/Aren’t Functioning
425 South Church St *has been replaced with a new mural
This was a favorite from our wedding photographer days & most people don’t know about this great wall! It’s located directly behind the Bechtler Museum & the Knight Theater. If you can’t find it and see an open garage door, it means it’s in use. However, when it’s down, it’s a great spot for an OOTD or random photo!
105 N Tryon *Note: this hasn’t been on during 2021/2022 – unsure of the reasoning!
In the corners of Trade & Tryon there is a little urban park called Thomas Polk Park that holds a beautiful waterfall. It’s a 30 foot waterfall and not something you always find in a downtown of a city. Definitely a perfect spot for a photo, however, if it’s winter the waterfall might not be running, just a tip!