Myers Park is a residential district in Charlotte. About a mile from Uptown, it is one of the city's oldest suburban districts. Myers Park is distinguished for its winding tree-lined avenues, large historic homes and architectural variety. Due to its landscaped beauty, it is one of the most-visited parts of Charlotte despite its relative lack of retail attractions.
Myers Park is best traveled by car or bike. Despite its location near the city center, the neighborhood was originally intended to be an auto-oriented suburb. Thus, attempting to walk through the district can be a tiring and sometimes dangerous ordeal.
For visitors without an automobile, a bus or taxi is the next-best option for visiting Myers Park. The 16, 18, 19 and 20 bus routes all serve the neighborhood; consult a map before embarking if you are trying to end up in a particular destination.
Most of the attractions in Myers Park involve sightseeing and low-intensity tourism. The neighborhood is full of elegant avenues, which are lined with huge oak trees. The trees create a canopy (often compared to a cathedral ceiling) which keeps the streets cool even during the oppressive North Carolina summertime. For visitors short on time, a simple drive through the neighborhood is worthwhile in order to view the large, historic mansions along the major thoroughfares.
For visitors with more time on their hands, there are several attractions worth a casual visit:
Freedom Park - A large and scenic park located in the historic Myers Park neighborhood. Walking trails circle a large pond, which is populated by friendly ducks and geese. This is also a relatively busy park, and a favorite of joggers and families. Each year it is host to a number of special events, including a large festival each fall. It includes a bandshell for performances, and extensive sporting facilities.
Queens University of Charlotte - A historic liberal arts university in the Myers Park neighborhood, noted for its scenic setting. Once a Presbyterian women's college, Queens went co-ed in the 1980s and features a business school founded by prominent Charlotte businessman Hugh McColl. Its brick-lined sidewalks are pleasant and scenic, and its landmarks -- a statue of the goddess Diana and a large, modern clock tower -- are good for snapshots.
Myers Park is home to some of Charlotte's most important cultural attractions. Queens University regularly hosts major performers and speakers, and Freedom Park's events list includes the can't-miss Festival In The Park: a huge collection of regional artisans and performers, and countless food vendors.
In addition, the neighborhood quietly hosts two major museums:
The Mint Museum of Art, 2730 Randolph Rd., +1 704 337-2000, . Tu 10AM-10PM, W-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 12PM-5PM. Closed Mondays and major holidays. Charlotte's main art museum is located in the original building of the Charlotte Mint (see History), which was moved from its location at Mint St. Though its permanent collection is somewhat lacking, it regularly hosts high-quality traveling exhibits from around the world. Its primary strengths are American art and ceramics; colonial/pre-colonial art; and costumes and other decorative art from many countries. Not a must-see, but worth a visit if you are in Charlotte for more than a couple of days or have a special interest in art. $6 adults, $5 seniors and college students, $3 6-17, free under 5.
Nature Museum, 1658 Sterling Rd., +1 704 372-6261, . M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 1AM-5PM. Discovery Place affiliate, this kid-friendly museum offers a variety of exhibits focusing on nature and biology. A butterfly garden, nature trail and live animals offer additional attractions. $5, 2 and under free.
Other neighborhood attractions:
Manor Theater, 607 Providence Rd, +1 704 334-2727. The best place in Charlotte for independent and "artsy" cinema. Very well-reputed, even though it doesn't have the cutting-edge amenities of larger theaters. Just south of Uptown.
Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary, 248 Ridgewood Avenue, 704-331-0664, . Tu 3PM-5PM, W 10AM-12PM, Sa 10AM-5PM. Only three acres in scope, Wing Haven is designed to make the most of its winding paths, reflecting pools and formal gardens. A breathtakingly beautiful attraction in the springtime, it is ideal for relaxation and escape from city bustle. The large home in front of the sanctuary was built in 1927. Its only downside is the very limited hours of operation. Free, donations suggested.
Park Terrace 6, 4289 Park Road, +1 704 556-6843. Small (six-screen) theater in the Park Road Shopping Center. Shows independent and limited-run films, and occasional foreign movies. Cozy and friendly, very non-commercial in nature.
Park Road Shopping Center is worth a visit, and can easily take up an afternoon of leisurely shopping. Charlotte's first true shopping center, this long strip of stores still has its old 1950s-style sign. Included among its tenants are a good bookstore, a record store (specializing in vinyl), an excellent toy store, an old-fashioned hardware store, a drug store, restaurants, a barber shop and a movie theater. Visit during the fall when the leaves of Myers Park are in full color, and outdoor shopping is most comfortable.
Mint Museum of Art Gift Shop, 2730 Randolph Rd.. Not a major retail destination, but it's bursting with unique gift and souvenir ideas.
Park Road Books, 4139 Park Road (Park Road Shopping Center), 704-525-9239, . Charlotte is not known for having an abundance of bookstores, but this is among the better ones in the area. Has a decent selection, and a very relaxing and friendly atmosphere.
If you are traveling on the cheap, don't bother trying to eat in the heart of Myers Park (unless you visit the student union at Queens University). The neighborhood's restaurant selection is predominantly upscale, with prices and attitudes to match. On the other hand, if you are looking for a high-quality dining experience, Myers Park has some of the city's most acclaimed restaurants.
Those looking for more moderate prices would do well to try the area around Park Road Shopping Center, which has a fair variety of options.
The Meeting House, 801 Providence Rd., 704-334-6338, [meeting-house.com]. 7 days 10:30AM-5:30 PM. Pricey, but worthwhile for contemporary American cuisine. Located in an historic home on elegant Providence Road.
Nolen Kitchen, 2839 Selwyn Ave., 704-372-1424. Contemporary American cuisine with a large wine list.
Patou, 2400 Park Rd., +1 704 376-2233. Well-reputed as one of Charlotte's long-standing French restaurants. The location in the fashionable Myers Park neighborhood adds to the ambience.
Mama Ricotta's, 601 S. Kings Dr. Excellent italian food and pizza at reasonable prices ($8-$14 entrees, less at lunch). Penne alla vodka is their signature dish. Known for its highly fashionable interior and attentive service.
Mama Fu's Noodle House, 1600 E. Woodlawn Rd., 704-714-5080. Upscale Chinese takeout that is relatively easy on the wallet. Easy to find -- you can't miss the giant bowl of noodles over the front door.
Quaker Steak & Lube, 1601 E. Woodlawn Rd., 704-561-3351, [www.quakersteakandlube.com]. As featured in the movie "Talladega Nights", this endearingly-tacky restaurant is located near Park Road Shopping Center. Surprisingly tasty and not too expensive, and the NASCAR/racing theme isn't too overbearing.
Sir Edmond Halley's, 4151 Park Road, +1 704 525-2555. Can you say "beer by the yard?" Located in a neat alcove of Charlotte's oldest shopping center, Sir Edmond's is a good place to stop for lunch while exploring the nearby shops.
ONEO Bistro and Wine Bar, 7725 Colony Rd., 704-544-1170, [www.oneo-bistro.com]. Elegant and expensive wine bar with a large patio area.
Sonoma Bistro & Wine Bar, 801 Providence Rd., 704-377-1333. Well-reputed wine bar with award-winning wine list.
As a residential neighborhood, Myers Park only has a few hotel options. If you need to sleep nearby, look for accomodations in Uptown or SouthPark.
The Duke Mansion, 400 Hermitage Rd., +1 704 714-4400, . If you can afford it, this is one of the city's most unique experiences. Everything about the historic mansion (built 1915 and the home of the famous Duke family) screams old-money, and a stay there is second to none in luxury. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Great for weddings or retreats. $169 - $249.