For many people, sunset qualifies as their favorite time, when the busy day fades and the night begins. In Charlotte and the surrounding region, this is one of the most beautiful times as well, with bright streaks of light illuminating the horizon and the sky fading to soft hues of purple and pink in the long afterglow. Our list of spots to watch the sunset includes several where you can watch the sun go down over water, as well as some where you can catch Charlotte’s spectacular skyline as it reflects and enhances the light show put on by nature. If you’re planning a weekend in the mountains, watch the sunset high above Lake Lure at Chimney Rock State Park or next to the Swinging Bridge atop Grandfather Mountain. And don’t forget to bring your camera to capture some Carolina magic.
1701 W. Morehead St.
Charlotte, NC 28208
Sometimes it’s not looking west that gives the most impressive sunset view. At this park on Charlotte’s west side, look east to see the sunset reflected in Charlotte’s Uptown skyscrapers. Stone terraces built during the Great Depression by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) line the hillside of this historic park and provide an unsurpassed view of the city skyline as the buildings fade from flaming gold to soft pastels. One of the city’s oldest parks, and long overlooked in Charlotte’s march of progress, Bryant is due for a major facelift, with a new greenway, skatepark, boardwalk and fresh orientation to the superb skyline view planned.
Latta Plantation Nature Preserve
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC 28078
Set on the eastern shores of Mountain Island Lake, the largest park in the county offers numerous picnic areas and trails where you can watch the sun go down across the water. Check out the views from Buzzard’s Rock overlook or wander down to the water on the Cattail Trail. Bring along your kayak or canoe for a quiet paddle on the lake. Arrive well ahead of sundown to see Latta Plantation’s many other attractions, including a historic 19th century house, the nature center, the equestrian center and the Carolina Raptor Center housing injured birds of prey.
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1111 Metropolitan Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28204
Located at the intersection of Kings Drive and Charlottetowne Avenue, this mixed-use complex of shops, restaurants and apartments is bordered on the west by Sugar Creek. Many of The Metropolitan’s restaurants have patios along this western side offering great views of the city skyline at all times of day and night, but especially spectacular at sunset. Down a short flight of stairs, the Sugar Creek Greenway runs along the water, if you’d like to combine the sunset with a stroll. As a bonus, the Metropolitan schedules free METLive sundown concerts on a stage overlooking the creek many months of the year.
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Parkway
Charlotte, NC 28214
The west-facing terrace at the Whitewater Center makes for a relaxing spot to watch the sunset. You’ll be entertained by rafts and kayaks running the rapids on the artificial river, while zip-liners zoom overhead. Dogs are welcome, and the list of craft beers on draft at the on-site River’s Edge Bar and Grille deserves exploration. Spring through fall, sundown brings free River Jam concerts to the center’s outdoor stage several evenings a week.
1221 The Plaza
Charlotte, NC 28205
www.whiskeywarehouse.comWatch the day fade into night high above Plaza-Midwood on the Top Shelf patio atop Whiskey Warehouse. Stupendous views of the city skyline are silhouetted against the sunset on this lofty perch. Take advantage of the weekday happy hour, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., for some half-priced apps. And forget the troubles of the day with a glass of Jack Daniels, always $4 at the Whiskey Warehouse.
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With 15 years of experience covering restaurants in Charlotte and the Carolinas, and two regional guidebooks under her belt, Renee Wright examines the dining scene with enthusiasm plus a deep knowledge of food trends and outstanding local eating ops. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.