You can spend as much as you want on a date, but spending a lot is not required in Charlotte.
Here are some ideas for cheap date nights (or days) in the Charlotte area. Many of these dates are free, and none are too pricy.
Got more ideas for cheap date nights in the Charlotte area? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your idea and maybe we’ll add it!
Reminder: Some of these events are regularly scheduled at the time of this post, but could change, so make sure to verify with the venue. Prices also change.
Watch a game
Panthers tickets may not quite make the cut for “cheap dates” but Charlotte has plenty of other sports tickets that are less expensive. (And keep an eye on Panthers, Checkers and Hornets tickets too, because sometimes there are promotions, and sometimes tickets are cheaper on the resale market.)
Charlotte Knights Games
BB&T Ballpark, 342 S Mint Street
Various dates, April through August
Several options for under $15 when purchased in advance. (Check back soon for 2023 prices.)
In past seasons, home game had promotions such as Thirsty Thursday, Friday Night Fireworks, $1 hot dogs, and more.
Charlotte Curling Club
Various dates throughout the year
6525 Old Statesville Road
Charlotte Curling Club hosts tournaments (called Bonspiels) that are free to attend. The facility includes a full bar.
Various dates from October to April
333 E. Trade Street
Believe it or not there are tickets available for $16.50, not on the resale market. Yes, you’ll be in the nosebleed section.
Various dates March through October
Bank of America Stadium
800 S Mint Street
Tickets starting at around $31
Charlotte Roller Derby
Grady Cole Center
310 N Kings Drive
Check the website for ticket prices. They are one of the best bargains in town.
Various dates from October to April
2700 E Independence Blvd, Charlotte
Tickets starting at $21.50
Go on a tour
Self-Guided Fourth Ward Walking Tour
Fourth Ward Historic District (First stop is at N Poplar and W 6th Street)
Download the guide created by Friends of Fourth Ward and explore this quaint and historic neighborhood.
Charlotte Liberty Walk
Visit the 90 spots on the Charlotte Liberty Walk to learn how Charlotte residents influenced the American Revolution. Follow the above link to view the map or download the brochure. The spots are along Tryon Street, Trade Street, Church Street, College Street and 5th Street in Uptown Charlotte.
Reed Gold Mine
9621 Reed Mine Rd, Midland
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Take a free tour of the site of the first documented gold find in the United States. Gold panning is available for $3 per person April 1 through October 31. There are also trails, outdoor exhibits, monuments, historic structures, and picnic facilities. Special events are held throughout the year, some with a small fee.
Throughout Charlotte in May
Participate in a city walk that displays the history and culture of Charlotte. Learn more details, when announced, about all the walks and find links to RSVP.
Super Abari Game Bar
1015 Seigle Avenue
Price varies by game
Charlotte’s first arcade bar is in its second incarnation, and features classic arcade, pinball, and console games. Make sure to check their Facebook event page for upcoming free play nights or other special events, once it reopens.
8024 Savoy Corporate Drive (Southwest Charlotte)
9110 Drivers Way (University)
Topgolf costs up to $45 per hour per bay, depending on the time of day. But on Tuesdays it’s half price. And the price is per bay, not per person. A bay can accommodate up to 6 people, so it’s especially affordable as a group date…on Tuesdays.
Potions and Pixels Game Nights
Various dates and locations
Most of the game nights are free and those that are not are very inexpensive
Potions and Pixels is a group of people who love playing games. They’ve got a library of 300+ games and they bring out a whole bunch of them to several game nights a month.
1318 Pecan Avenue
Play nine holes of mini-golf indoors in Plaza Midwood. There is also a full bar and finger foods.
2306 Central Avenue
Just pay for what you drink at this self-pour facility that’s also a duckpin bowling alley.
Pins Mechanical Company and 16-Bit Bar+ Arcade
307 W Tremont Avenue
Travel seamlessly between these two spots, where you can play pinball and classic arcade games, as well as duckpin bowling and more.
210 Rampart Street
Indoor mini golf. It’s pricier ($18 per person, per round) than the typical outdoor mini golf, but it’s also for adults only.
Various dates and locations
Try one of these trivia nights. There are a ton of them every week and are almost always free.
Download the free app and search for one of the 1,606 geocaches hidden around Charlotte.
Hike at Crowders Mountain State Park
522 Park Office Lane, Kings Mountain
Trail hours vary by month
Offers 11 different trails, ranging from easy to strenuous. The payoff: fantastic views. You can often see Charlotte’s skyline from the peak.
Hike at the U.S. National Whitewater Center
U.S. National Whitewater Center, 5000 Whitewater Center Parkway
Open daily from dawn to dusk, but make sure to check the trail status online before leaving
Free, but parking is $6 per car
Offers over 20 miles of trails that are also good for biking and running.
50+ Hikes and Walks
We’ve put together a huge list of hikes and walks in and near Charlotte. Explore everything from ruins of old buildings, to waterfalls, to a winery.
University Place Paddle Boats
WT Harris Blvd and Hwy 29 (across from Boardwalk Billy’s)
$15 per boat for a 30 minute ride
Paddle in the large pond at University Place. Each boat can accommodate up to two adults and one small child. Seasonal attraction.
Find a Waterfall
Check out our photo guide to visiting 9 breathtaking North Carolina waterfalls!
Cat Cafes in Charlotte
There are several cat cafes in the Charlotte area. In general you pay per hour to hang out with the felines. Cat Cafes include Mac Tabby Cat Cafe in NoDa and Downtown Concord, Daily Mews Cat Cafe on Monroe Road, the Cat Cafe at Humane Society of Charlotte (no charge to visit) and Cool Beans Cat Cafe in Gastonia.
Good Karma Ranch
1041 Brevard Place Road, Iron Station, NC
$13 per tour
This ranch is 28 miles northwest of Charlotte. Get up close to alpacas during this 45-minute tour. The ranch also hosts alpaca yoga for $25.
Cedarbrook Alpaca Farm
7408 Cedarbrook Drive, Charlotte
Believe it or not, there’s an alpaca farm right in East Charlotte. They’ve also got goats, emu, pigs, and more. Message them to arrange a visit. They also host sip & paint events, where you can paint a picture of an alpaca while alpacas mill around, and more.
More Animal Encounters around Charlotte
We’ve put together a big list of places to meet animals in the Charlotte region.
Do almost anything at a brewery
These days breweries are hubs for entertainment all through the Charlotte area. You’ll find live music, salsa lessons, comedy shows, fitness classes, art markets, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Many of the events are free. See a list of upcoming free and cheap events at breweries in the Charlotte area.
Share a laugh
Comedy Night at Starlight on 22nd
422 E 22nd Street
Every Tuesday there’s a free comedy night. There are also many other free and inexpensive events.
Comedy Arts Theater of Charlotte
4128 South Blvd
Comedy Arts Theater of Charlotte (or CATCh) specializes in improv. Most shows are $15 and they are often doubleheaders.
Listen to music
There is plenty of affordable live music around Charlotte. Check out this list of upcoming free and cheap shows. If you want to see a more complete list of live music the next few days, this list of Charlotte concerts includes all price ranges. Read on to learn about a few places to listen to good music on a budget.
Free Outdoor Concert Series
Days and times vary. Seasonal.
Enjoy the warm weather and live music at these outdoor concerts. Check back regularly for updates. The above link will be updated as concert series are announced this spring.
The Evening Muse
3227 N. Davidson Street
This intimate listening room has impeccable sound and hosts a wide variety of music at both seated and standing shows. Tickets for most shows are $15 or under. The weekly Find Your Muse Open Mic, which takes place every Monday, is only $5.
1919 Commonwealth Avenue
This friendly bar in Plaza Midwood is the setting for live music, dance parties, piano bar karaoke, art markets and much more. There’s also an art gallery and a patio. Some of the events are free and the vast majority are under $10.
1228 Gordon Street
Most shows at this Plaza Midwood music spot are around $10. Hang out on the back patio too.
3124 Eastway Drive
Live music several nights a week. No cover. (Please tip.)
3629 N. Davidson Street
Crown Station has regularly scheduled music, including Jazz Mondays, Soulful Tuesdays and Open Mics (with house band.) Many events have no cover.
Visit a garden
McGill Rose Garden
940 N Davidson Street
Call for hours
This old-fashioned rose garden offers over 230 varieties of roses, with 1.000 roses in total. Rosie’s Coffee & Wine Garden is on site, so you can enjoy a drink outside. Day or night, it’s magical.
UNCC Botanical Gardens
9090 Craver Road
Open daily during daylight hours (hours and days vary for the McMillan Greenhouse)
Stroll through the outdoor gardens and visit the greenhouse.
8 Botanical Gardens in Charlotte
Or check out a list that we’ve put together of 8 botanical gardens in the Charlotte area. They are each unique, and most are free to visit.
Visit a museum
Visit Charlotte Museums for Free
Days and times vary by museum
Several Charlotte area museums have free days. Some of the free days are for everyone, some are for kids and some are for customers of a certain bank. Click the link above to learn which days are the cheapest for each museum.
See a movie
The Independent Picture House
4237 Raleigh Street, Charlotte
Charlotte’s only independent cinema features independent, foreign and art films. Tickets are usually under $15.
There are many free outdoor movies series around Charlotte. Some are geared toward children, but there are others that are for adults. Follow the above link. It’ll be updated when 2023 schedules are announced.
Cult Movies in the Cave
VisArt Video, 3104 Eastway Drive
Free, but donations are welcome.
VisArt presents a free series that focuses on movies that are a little bit oddball.
South End Gallery Crawl
Historic South End
First Friday of every month
Galleries stay open late to host receptions for new exhibits. The events often include live music, food, and beer or wine. Hours for the different venues might vary, but a good guideline is 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
If you like your art big, we’ve put together a guide to 9 huge public sculptures in Charlotte.
The Light Factory Exhibitions
700 N Tryon Street (VAPA Center)
Enjoy the current art exhibition at this gallery, where exhibits are constantly changing.
NoDa Outdoor Art Map
Use this map as a guide to the rich collection of public art in NoDa. You’ll find everything from murals to sculptures to decorated bike racks.
More cheap dates
Camp North End
200 Camp Road, Charlotte
One of the most interesting and extensive adaptive reuse projects in the country, Camp North End hosts art, music, retail and more on 76 acres that used to be used as industrial space (they build Model T cars here!) and military warehouses. There are food stalls, games such as ping pong, cornhole, and jenga (all free) and much more. Check our out self-guided mural tour of Camp North End.
CLT Airport Overlook
7300 Airport Overlook Drive, Charlotte (follow signs)
Pack a picnic and watch the planes take off at one of the only public overlooks at an airport in the country. The planes will take off and land with the Charlotte skyline as the backdrop. The old Overlook has closed, but there’s a temporary one (until the new one is built.) Drivers looking to visit the temporary Overlook must use Wilkinson Boulevard to Marshall Drive. Signage will be in place to direct motorists during the duration of the project.
Cars and Coffee
Charlotte Motor Speedway, 5555 Concord Parkway, Concord
The second Saturday of every month except for May, Cars and Coffee takes place in the Speedway’s Fan Zone from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Check out classics, customs and hot rods, and meet other car enthusiasts.
Use this guide to find great spots to take a picture of Charlotte skyline. Fall in love with Charlotte together.
Once a month on a Friday morning
If your schedule permits you to have a weekday morning date, try Creative Mornings. Each event features a speaker who will speak on some aspect of living a creative life, live music, free coffee and free breakfast. Although tickets are free they go quickly as soon as they become available the Monday before the show, so sign up for the newsletter and you’ll be notified when they are available. Creative Mornings Charlotte also occasionally holds an event in the evening.
1720 Statesville Avenue
Various dates and prices
Goodyear Arts is a home for artist residencies and often hosts live music, artist receptions, film, and art workshops. Many of the events are free, with donations encouraged. Sometimes there’s a small ticket price.
1115 N Brevard Street
Eat your way through Optimist Hall. There’s something at this food hall to satisfy every palate. Check out el Thrifty for games — mini duck pin, golf simulator, shuffleboard and more.