UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
On the east campus of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, these expansive, year-round gardens consist of the McMillan Greenhouse, the Van Landingham Glen, and the Susie Harwood Garden. The latter two are named for members of one of Charlotte’s most historically prominent families.
January is peak time for orchids, April is spring wildflower season, late April-mid-May is ideal for azaleas and rhododendrons, and autumn is a great time to simultaneously see colorful trees and camellias. Be sure to visit Nykie the Dinosaur skeleton in the greenhouse (surrounded by hothouse tropicals), stroll to the waterfall pond, and seek out at least some of the 1,000 native Carolinian woodland plants grown here.
There’s no on-site café at the gardens, but nearby you’ll find a coffee shop, as well as the campus bookstore and cafeteria.