Around Town

Ultimate outdoor spots to escape to on your lunch break

March is here. So is a hint of warm weather and, with a little luck, sunshine. Which means, scoot out of your cubicle,  locate the nearest exit, leave your sad desk lunch behind and get outside on your lunch break.

For the optimal escape in Charlotte, try:

Getting off the beaten path at Atherton Mill

Grab an iced mocha from Not Just Coffee and browse the market (the doors are often flung open in the spring to bring in the breeze) or step off the sidewalk to wander along the old track running parallel to the light rail line.

You should probably Instagram this.

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Find quiet uptown

There’s more to see than just your noisy chunk of the skyline. Stroll across the South Tryon Street/I-277 overpass, pause. The traffic flows like white noise.

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Or go the opposite direction and wander through the tranquil cemetery at First Presbyterian Church. Your risk of bumping into a coworker is probably at a minimum here.

[Related: Ambrose the ghost and the mysterious tunnel at First Presbyterian Church.]

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Sit back in Ballantyne

I’m not aware of any rules against sitting by The Monuments of Ballantyne. I’ve done it and it’s relaxing. Lying back here is like daydreaming in a tiny forest made just for you in the middle of the congested Ballantyne Commons/Johnston Road intersection. Bring a book.

10 bonus points for: Being brave enough to sit in the center of this mound.


Contemplate your existence at Midtown Park

At least, that’s what this public art piece by Po Shu Wang and Louise Bertelsen, “Sight Unseen,” makes me want to do.

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Ponder. Bask in the sun. Maybe practice some yoga.

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Get lost in a garden

I love this option as an alternative to one of the busy (yet still glorious) greenway segments. Especially because you can find a garden-like space on any side of town. From Campbell’s Greenhouses in South End (my personal favorite), to The Green uptown, to Wing Haven in Myers Park, to The McGill Rose Garden in NoDa, to Southern Styles Nursery and Garden Center in south Charlotte.

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Your workday oasis awaits.

Photos: Katie Toussaint