Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Five Points Plaza in the Historic West End

This past weekend, our family took a fun outing to the grand opening of Five Points Plaza, a beautiful new community space located across from Johnson C. Smith University. Situated at the spaghetti-junction intersection of Rozzelles Ferry Rd., Trade St. and Beatties Ford Rd., Five Points Plaza offers formality to what's long been considered the gateway to the Historic West End.  

In this thoughtfully designed area, which spans two corners on opposite sides of Rozzelles Ferry Rd., you'll find swings, an amphitheater, a splash pad, public Wi-Fi, tables and chairs, solar lighting, brick pavers, and a decorative wall. 

Another remarkable feature is the artwork, which includes two public pieces, called the Excelsior Collection (after the landmark Excelsior Club), commissioned by the City of Charlotte and created by J Stacy Utley + EVOKE Studio Architecture. One of the installations is called "Ever Upward" and the other is titled "Even Higher." Both names are a nod to Latin definitions of the word "excelsior." 

A trip to visit Five Points Plaza can be an adventure in and of itself (let me recommend a ride on the CityLYNX Gold Line -- currently free! -- to get there; there are two train stops -- Bruns Ave. and Johnson C. Smith -- straddling the Plaza). But community-led teams are already planning events and festivals to take place regularly in the newly designed space. Check out upcoming events here

Next time we go back, we'll include a stop at neighboring Rita's Italian Ice and, in the heat of summer, will opt for a dip in the splash pad. 

Another great option while you're in the area is to take a Neighborhood Walking Tour, created by renowned Charlotte historian Tom Hanchett. 

While Five Points, in such close proximity to uptown, has long been a local hub for activity, it's seen a remarkable renaissance in recent years. If it's been a while -- or never -- since you've visited the beautiful, sprawling campus of Johnson C. Smith University, or enjoyed a walk along the neighborhood streets of the Historic West End, consider the opening of Five Points Plaza an excuse and an invitation to check out this beautiful, burgeoning part of Charlotte. 

Note: Five Points plaza is open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Public Wi-Fi can be accessed by searching for network name Five Points Plaza.

How to get there: 
Five Points Plaza is located at 1803 W Trade St, Charlotte, N.C., 28216. To get there, I highly recommend you take the train! CityLYNX Gold Line is currently free and offers two stops (Bruns Ave. and Johnson C. Smith) a short walk from on either side of Five Points Plaza. 

Alternately, there are some on-street parking spaces and a few parking decks (Mosaic Village Parking Deck/1601 W. Trade St., Charlotte NC 28216; SP+ Parking/116 S. Cedar St., Charlotte, NC 28202; 
Gateway Village Parking/700 W. Trade St., Charlotte, NC 28202). 

Of course, walking or riding your bike are other fantastic options. 

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