At the intersection of Trade and Tryon Streets in Charlotte lies Independence Square, a focal point of the city that features a public art display. Erected in 1995 and completed by American sculptor Raymond Kaskey, the square hosts four, 24-foot-high bronze figures that personify Charlotte’s past and future.
Most guided city tours make a pitstop at the square where they’ll explain the historical significance of each statue. “Transportation” is depicted as an African American laborer who helped build the railroad through Charlotte, which transformed the city into a transportation hub during the 1800s. “Commerce” is represented by a 19th-century gold prospector, paying homage to the city’s gold rush. “Industry” comes in the form of a woman and child and the role they played as mill workers in the textile factories. And finally, “The Future” of Charlotte is represented by a woman lifting her child into the air, with dogwood flowers (the state’s flower) vining up her dress, symbolizing what is yet to come.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Independence Square is a major thoroughfare of the city, and a good focal point to help get your bearings.
- The statues are situated on each corner of the intersection and visitors must abide by traffic rules in order to safely view the sculptures.
- The tree-lined square is a nice place to cool off under some shade and people watch.
- There are no public restrooms near Independence Square.
How to Get There
Independence Square is located in the heart of Uptown. From the Charlotte Douglas International Airport it is approximately an 8-mile (12-kilometer) drive into town following U.S. 74 East. Or catch the Sprinter bus (route 5) from the airport direct to Trade and Tryon for a cheap, 30-mine ride.
When to Get There
Consider planning your visit to Charlotte during spring or fall when the weather is mild, the city is less crowded, and accommodation prices are lower.
Wing Haven Garden and Bird Sanctuary
A short drive from Uptown is the well-curated Wing Haven Garden and Bird Sanctuary. A respite for feathered and two-legged friends alike, the year-round garden is a 3-acre display of horticulture and tranquility.
- Mint Museum of Art
- Wing Haven Garden and Bird Sanctuary
- Freedom Park
- Carolinas Aviation Museum
- Discovery Place Science
- Discovery Place Nature (Charlotte Nature Museum)
- Historic Rosedale Plantation
- The Green
- Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts & Culture
- Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
- Levine Center for the Arts
- Old Settlers’ Cemetery
- Fourth Ward
- Bank of America Stadium
- UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens