Is Charlotte a Walkable City?

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Key Points:

  • Charlotte has a high rate of pedestrian accidents, with the most dangerous areas being Independence Boulevard, North Tryon Street, and Wilkinson Boulevard.
  • However, there are Charlotte neighborhoods that are very walkable and pedestrian friendly. These include Fourth Ward, First Ward, and Cherry. You can enjoy parks, restaurants, and cafes on foot within these areas.
  • Great trails and walking paths in the Queen City include the Cross Charlotte Trail, The Rail Trail, and the McDowell Creek Greenway.

Charlotte, also known as Queen City, is a bustling city in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. With a population of over 920,325 people, Charlotte is the largest city in the state and the 17th largest in the United States. The city covers an area of approximately 310 square miles. It is a hub for banking and financial services and is home to many major companies.

Here, we’ll look at the walkability of Charlotte, including pedestrian safety, accident statistics, and the most walkable neighborhoods in the city.

How Walkable is Charlotte, NC?

In terms of walkability, Charlotte is ranked near the bottom compared to big cities like New York, Boston, and San Francisco. Out of 130 cities with over 250,000 residents, Charlotte ranks sixth from last in a WalkScore ranking, behind Phoenix, Atlanta, and Houston. 

According to WalkScore, Charlotte, NC, is the 49th most walkable city in the US, while Jacksonville, FL, occupies 50th place. Charlotte has a walkability score of 26 out of 100, which makes it the least walkable city. About 78% of workers use vehicles to get around.

Some neighborhoods, like Uptown and Dilworth, are very pedestrian-friendly, with sidewalks, bike lanes, and plenty of amenities within walking distance.

But as you go further from the center toward Ballantyne and University City, things are more spread out, and the roads are wider, making walking harder.

Overall, the city has a long way to go in making it safer and more walkable for pedestrians.

Charlotte Infrastructure

City infrastructure is a crucial factor in making it pedestrian-friendly. 

In terms of intersection density and block length, Charlotte ranks quite low. The city has fewer streets and street corners compared to well-networked cities.

Many areas in Charlotte were developed during the cul-de-sac era (1960s-1980s), where streets were designed not to connect with anything intentionally. 

Even the uptown area, which had a strong grid pattern when it was initially laid out several centuries ago, has experienced the elimination of some streets to make space for large projects such as stadiums, ballparks, convention centers, and parks.

However, the city has made significant investments in its infrastructure in recent years to improve walkability. 

The Cross Charlotte Trail is a mega infrastructure project that includes a 26-mile greenway that will connect neighborhoods and business districts across the city. The trail will run from UNC Charlotte in the north to Pineville in the south, providing a safe and accessible route for pedestrians and cyclists.

Pedestrian Safety in Charlotte

Safety is also an essential factor to consider when evaluating a city’s walkability. Pedestrians must feel safe while walking around the city, which requires infrastructure investments, public safety, and other measures.

The Charlotte Department of Transportation has been making efforts to enhance pedestrian safety and convenience in the city. One notable initiative is the installation of Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) at intersections.

These signals let pedestrians start walking before cars and usually last between 3 to 10 seconds. LPIs make walking safer and more enjoyable, and studies have shown that they can reduce the number of accidents between cars and pedestrians by up to 60%. 

Charlotte has also introduced LPI+, which uses yellow flashing lights to stop only cars turning right. This means less delay for drivers and more time for pedestrians to cross. There are currently 258 intersections in Charlotte with LPIs.

Lastly, the city has implemented a “Vision Zero” initiative that aims to eliminate traffic deaths and severe injuries by 2030. The initiative includes crosswalks, traffic signals, and other pedestrian-friendly infrastructure investments.

Pedestrian Accident Statistics

Despite these efforts, pedestrian safety is still a concern in Charlotte. According to data from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, there were 1,509 pedestrian accidents in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, in 2019. These accidents resulted in 27 fatalities and 1,406 injuries, making it one of the deadliest years for pedestrians in the city’s history. 

Over the last five years, Charlotte has had an average number of pedestrian deaths compared to other places. From 2019 to 2023, there were 265 pedestrian deaths in the Charlotte region, making it the 44th deadliest region out of the top 100 cities in the US.

You may find these statistics concerning, but it’s important to note that pedestrian accidents are not evenly distributed throughout the city. Some neighborhoods are safer for pedestrians than others. 

The majority of pedestrian accidents occur on urban roadways, with Independence Boulevard, North Tryon Street, and Wilkinson Boulevard being the most dangerous roads for pedestrians.

The government is working hard to ensure all pedestrians are safe and can easily wander around.

Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Charlotte

According to Walk Score and Redfin, the best walkable neighborhoods in Charlotte are mostly near Uptown, Charlotte’s city center. These are the top neighborhoods with the highest Walk Score ratings:

Fourth Ward

Fourth Ward is one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Charlotte, with a Walkscore score of 89. Established in the late 1800s, it was home to some of Charlotte’s wealthiest families. Today, it is a popular residential area with historic homes, modern apartments, and townhouses. 

This neighborhood is approximately 30 city blocks in size and has beautiful Victorian-era homes, tree-lined streets, and charming parks. Most of the amenities are within walking distance. 

Fourth Ward is home to several parks and green spaces, including Fourth Ward Park, which features a fountain, walking paths, and a playground. 

The AvidXchange Music Factory is another famous attraction. It is a large arts and entertainment complex with The Fillmore Charlotte, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and comedy clubs. There is also an IMAX theater nearby.

You can take a self-guided walking tour by the Friends of Fourth Ward to see the most beautiful parts of the historic district. During this tour, you’ll stroll along streets lined with trees, where you can see Victorian homes and historic churches.

The street parking is only for residents with permits and is closely monitored. Still, there are plenty of public parking spaces available. You can park at the Discovery Center lot on Sixth Street near Church St. or other public parking lots.

First Ward

First Ward is a 4-acre Charlotte neighborhood near Uptown, with a good walkability score of 85. It is full of big businesses, museums, theaters, restaurants, and shops. The Market at 7th Street is a popular spot with various restaurants and cafes.

In the middle of the district, there is First Ward Park, where you can see fountains, let your kids play, or take a walk and enjoy the city views. The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Levine Museum of the New South, and Time Warner Cable Arena are nearby. 

The Center City Building, where you can find the uptown campus of UNC Charlotte, is also nearby. First Ward is well-connected to public transportation, including the LYNX Blue Line light rail.

Second Ward

Second Ward, located in Uptown Charlotte, has a Walkscore of 84. Accessibility is a perk in this neighborhood, as daily tasks do not require a car. This 17-acre neighborhood offers a walkable environment with various amenities nearby, including shops, restaurants, and more. 

There are a few parks and playgrounds, including Little People’s Park. On weekends, families can have picnics or stroll on the trails. Another good spot is Marshall Park, where you can see the city skyline.

There are many places to eat in Second Ward, Charlotte. You can get your morning coffee from Queen City Grounds, Starbucks, or Energy Cafe. People also like to eat tacos from Trade Street Taco, Condado, or Taco Del Mar.

The neighborhood has good access to public transportation. The nearest highways to Second Ward are I-77, I-277, and US-74.


With a Walkscore of 78, Dilworth is famous for its suburban beauty and pedestrian-friendly environment. It is located between Myers Park and South End, near the southern part of Uptown Charlotte.

Dilworth, Charlotte’s oldest suburb, started in 1890 and was recognized on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. This 31-acre district has over 1,000 historically significant buildings, including many craftsman homes, businesses, restaurants, cafes, and shops. 

In September, Dilworth hosts the Yiasou Greek Festival, a big cultural event with Greek exhibits, music, dancing, and food.

For outdoor activities, Latta Park is a great place with basketball courts, nature paths, and a playground. Freedom Park, near Dilworth, has sports courts and fields, and the Little Sugar Creek Greenway is perfect for strolling or biking.

There are plenty of places to shop and eat in Dilworth, such as Sunflour Baking Company, ROOTS Cafe, and Duck Donuts.

Dilworth’s proximity to Uptown Charlotte provides convenient access to quality public transit services, allowing residents and visitors to explore other parts of the city easily.


Cherry, located in the southeastern part of Charlotte, is a historic neighborhood with a Walkscore of 80. It is a pedestrian-friendly area with tree-lined streets, streetwalks, and many facilities within walking distance.

Cherry is near Myers Park and was established in 1891 when John Myers used part of his farm to create Cherry. He wanted to provide modern conveniences in the area, like parks and schools. Many people who worked in factories or on railways lived there. 

Even though the area has been renovated, many of Cherry’s original buildings, such as houses, churches, and schools, are still standing. Its iconic landmarks include Mount Zion Lutheran Church, Morgan School, Morgan Park, and more. The Metropolitan Midtown (The Met), a community with many shops, cafes, and restaurants, is just a stone’s throw away from Cherry.

The neighborhood also has parks and playgrounds like Pearl Street Park, Thompson Park, and Cherry Park. The starting point of the Little Sugar Creek Greenway is near Cherry. This trail runs along Little Sugar Creek and is perfect for nature walks and biking. 

Third Ward

Third Ward is also considered one the most walkable neighborhoods in Charlotte, with a Walkscore of 72. Cedar Street is a bustling area with Bank of America Stadium at one end and Johnson & Wales University and Gateway Village at the other end. 

If you want to visit peaceful spots, Frazier Park, Wilmore Park, and Seversville Park are popular attractions. There are also trails along Irwin Creek where you can go for a walk and enjoy nature. 

If you want groceries, you have to go to Fourth Ward. But if you want to eat out, Third Ward has a place called the French Quarter. There are lots of restaurants there, such as Valhalla Pub & Eatery.

Plaza Midwood

Plaza Midwood has a Walk Score of 62. It is located close to Plaza Hills. Even though it’s small, there are lots of things to do there. Its streets are lined with beautiful craftsman-style bungalows. Veterans Memorial Park provides a peaceful place for strolls or picnics. 

Central Avenue is the main street of Plaza Midwood. People who love art, food, outdoor activities, and shopping enjoy coming here. 

Plaza Midwood celebrates its creativity with colorful murals all around. At night, places like Snug Harbor and Petras Bar come alive with music from local and famous artists. 

For fun, Stroke and Pinhouse offers entertaining nightlife activities like indoor mini-golf and bowling with self-pour taps.


NoDa, short for North Davidson, is an artsy neighborhood located just north of Uptown. It is considered a walkable neighborhood in Charlotte with a Walk Score of 62. The area is home to many galleries, studios, and theaters, as well as many restaurants and bars that are easily accessible on foot.

If you have pets, don’t miss Mac Tabby, a café where you can enjoy coffee with furry friends. If you like cocktails, try Goodyear House. You can also try different kinds of beer along the NoDa Craft Beer Trail.

Artisan’s Palate is a unique spot where you can enjoy food, drinks, and art. They even host charity drag brunches to bring people together.

The neighborhood is colorful, and many murals are decorating the walls. You can use guides from Art Walks CLT to discover these artworks all around NoDa, even on sidewalks and trash cans. 

At night, you can watch live music at the Neighborhood Theatre or The Evening Muse.


Is Charlotte a walkable city?

Charlotte is the least walkable city, with a Walk Score of 26 out of 100. Here, people are mostly car-dependents. Some neighborhoods, like Uptown, Plaza Midwood, Cherry, and Dilworth, are more pedestrian-friendly. Others may require a car for daily tasks. 

Are There Any Pedestrian-Friendly Trails in Charlotte?

Yes, Charlotte has several pedestrian-friendly trails and greenways, including the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, the Rail Trail, and the McDowell Creek Greenway. These trails provide opportunities for walking, jogging, cycling, and enjoying nature in the heart of the city.

Which neighborhoods in Charlotte are considered the most walkable?

Some of Charlotte’s most walkable neighborhoods include Uptown, Plaza Midwood, Cherry, Dilworth, First, Second, Third, and Fourth Ward. These areas have high Walk Scores and offer easy access to amenities, public transportation, and recreational spaces.

The Bottom Line

Overall, Charlotte is not renowned as a pedestrian paradise, but it displays many qualities of a walkable city.

Using pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, connected neighborhoods, proximity to amenities, and safety initiatives, Charlotte is trying to create a walkable environment for residents and visitors alike. 

The most walkable neighborhoods include Fourth Ward, First Ward, and Cherry. Third Ward, Plaza Midwood, and NoDa are also very walkable neighborhoods in the Queen City.


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