Inspiration at a bargain price – 100% free. The Billy Graham Library chronicles the life and faith of this esteemed evangelist and boasts an impressive facility with stunning grounds.
Take-out doesn’t get much better or economical than Price’s Chicken Coop, recognized by national foodie pubs like Gourmet and Bon Appetit. Grab a box of fried chicken complete with hushpuppies and slaw and make it a picnic in nearby green spaces like Romare Bearden Park, Freedom Park or Latta Park.
Incorporate free museum days into your visit. Mint Museum Randolph and Uptown are both free Wednesdays from 5 – 9pm. Levine Museum of the New South is free Sundays from 12 – 5pm. And the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture is free the second Sunday of every month. And the three museums that are part of the Levine Center for the Arts also offer a 48-hour all-access ticket to explore the Mint Museum Uptown, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and the Gantt Center. The $20 ticket is a $6 discount compared to separate admission prices. Tickets are available for purchase at carolinatix.org
Cash in your golden ticket in this banking boom town. Visit the admission-free Wells Fargo History Museum to learn about the city’s Gold Rush roots. Then pan for real gold at Reed Gold Mine, the first area in North Carolina to strike it rich during the nation’s first gold rush in the 1800s.
From beer gardens to lush escapes in nature, Charlotte’s gardens are worth exploring and easy on the pocketbook too. Hop over to NoDa Brewing Company or The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery for a free behind-the-scenes tour of a local brewery. Or discover a tranquil retreat on the edge of Center City. Maintained through community involvement, McGill Rose Garden is home to more than 1,000 roses and plants. Nearby in Myers Park, Wing Haven Gardens & Bird Sanctuary’s bubbling fountains and winding paths make for a peaceful afternoon.
Taking in the grand Victorian estates in Center City’s Historic Fourth Ward is a treat. Pick up a free walking tour for the neighborhood at the Visitor Info Center (330 South Tryon Street). After checking out historic homes, churches and parks, refuel at Alexander Michael’s (known fondly by locals as Al Mike’s) for dishes like their fried pickles and 4thWard Stroganoff.
Running October through early April, cheer on the AHL Charlotte Checkers as they hit the ice providing affordable, engaging entertainment at Time Warner Cable Arena in Center City. Groups of 15 or more can take advantage of group rates starting at just $15. And from April to September, catch the AAA Charlotte Knights baseball team at the brand-new BB&T BallPark in Uptown Charlotte. Tickets as low as $9 are available for groups of 20 or more.
To see more of Charlotte on a budget, dowload our Uptown Charlotte Walking Tour map and start exploring yourself!