Hidden Gems of Uptown: Third Ward

October 1, 2019 11:57 am

Imagine a multicolored swirl of pixels. Maybe the screensaver on your smartphone. Kind of mesmerizing. Now imagine it scaled to two stories tall.


In the lobby of Legacy Union, one of Uptown’s newest towers, is a larger-than-life multimedia installation from Second Story called “Unify.” It is the first stop on this tour of hidden gems scattered through Uptown’s Third Ward. You’ll find the neighborhood is home to more than the ballpark and stadium.

Several blocks over, adjacent to Romare Bearden Park, are several more eye-catching artworks. Two bronze sculptures by Spanish artist Suso (aka Jesus Sanchez) grace the property surrounding the Catalyst apartment building: El Toro and El Caballo (pictured). Both were previously displayed at the Coral Springs Museum of Art’s Peace Garden in Coral Springs, FL, before Catalyst owner John Joyce purchased and rehomed them.

In the heart of the park is an Insta-worthy destination in the form of a lighted water wall, also a family-friendly splash zone and centerpiece of the Childhood Muse Plaza. The walls are constructed of Mount Airy, N.C., white granite, and the colors are produced by 12-volt 30-watt color-changing LEDs. A stunning skyline view rises behind this whimsical fountain.

Slightly farther afield, tucked away on West First Street, is a surprising destination: Community Matters Cafe. Housed in an adaptive re-use of the 100-year-old Charlotte Spindle and Flyer building, the Cafe is not just a beautiful spot for a meal or coffee (picture exposed brick and rafters plus original facade details) but an extension of the Charlotte Rescue Mission. Graduates of the Mission’s recovery program learn valuable work skills as employees of the cafe in a four-month training program. Pro tip: There’s free parking for customers.

There is always more to explore in Uptown. Follow along with Uptown Updates for more in our Hidden Gems series.

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