Tours

Walking tours

The best way to know your community and encounter its history is to walk around. Printable PDF guides are provided to help you explore and enjoy the city’s tangible past.

Center City Spectrum

Twenty-six historic buildings within walking distance of Trade and Tryon streets represent a full range of post-Civil War Charlotte culture. The way we lived and worked is represented by five late nineteenth-century homes, a pair of turn-of-the-century public buildings, ten commercial buildings (with an emphasis on 1920s modernism), a cemetery, a crossroads and an array of churches. Download the list of buildings or view the online interactive tour.

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Pinewood / Elmwood Cemetery

In the Pinewood / Elmwood Cemetery, Charlotte has three adjacent burial sites that summarize the diverse racial and socioeconomic history of a true southern city. 

Located in historic Fourth Ward, Pinewood / Elmwood Cemetery is 72 acres of rolling, tree-filled green space in the heart of Charlotte. Today the graves of people of civic importance are nestled among the thousands of others who lived, worked, worshipped, and died in Mecklenburg County, making Elmwood / Pinewood an important historic and cultural resource. The cemetery is maintained by the Joint Committee to Preserve Elmwood / Pinewood Cemetery. 

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Rural Hill Burying Ground

Just a few miles north of uptown Charlotte, Rural Hill Farm is a peaceful retreat from the activity of the city. The farm is the historic homestead of John Davidson, son of a Scottish immigrant who settled the plantation about 1760. His wife, Violet Wilson Davidson was interred at Rural Hill on January 3, 1818, the first of more than 60 family members to be laid to rest in the bucolic setting. A self-guided walking tour of Rural Hill’s Davidson family burying ground illustrates the story of a remarkable clan whose members have contributed to their community for more than 250 years. 

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Uptown Mid-Century

Walk eight blocks along Tryon Street to see twenty-two buildings expressing seven distinct mid-century modern architectural styles. Download the walking tour to learn about the architects, uses and storied histories of these visually arresting buildings. 

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Driving tours

Charlotte is more than a vibrant uptown. One of our favorite ways to learn about the extended community is through these driving tours. On shady lane or multilane highway, these tours will take you down memory lane.

African American Heritage Driving Tour

Spend a leisurely day exploring the culturally rich and fascinating history of the African American experience in and around Charlotte. The tour, which meanders through neighborhoods to give a true sense of the community, is about 55 miles and will take up to three hours, without stops.

Download the tour; each site number corresponds to a picture on the inside of the brochure with a note about the historical significance. The tour begins at Latta Plantation located 15 miles north of Charlotte and ends at the W.T. Alexander Slave Burial Ground.

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Roadside Wonders Driving Tour

Across the paved American landscape is a trove of roadside wonders — commercial buildings and signs built to catch the attention of motorists as they took to the highways in our flourishing post-World War II economy. Enterprising business owners wanted these millions of travelers as customers and so let their imaginations rule when it came to roadside advertising.

In and around town, along major thoroughfares, are excellent reminders of that era, from drive-ins, movie theaters, and diners to motels, gas stations, and billboards. So hop in your car and take a spin around town to see Charlotte’s bounty of vintage signs and roadside wonders using this guide and map.

Help increase appreciation for the beauty and ingenuity of these cultural resources. If you have a favorite sign or roadside wonder not featured here, send information to HistoricCharlotte@gmail.com.

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