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 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” (We’re shooting for $15 or under per person) 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.
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 $10, not on the resale market. Yes, you’ll be in the nosebleed section.
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, which can either be attended for free or 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. (Registration is requested but not required for all walks, except the Munching Tours, which require registration.)
Abari Game Bar
1721 N Davidson Street
Price varies by game
Charlotte’s first arcade bar features classic arcade, pinball, and console games. Make sure to check their Facebook event page for upcoming free play nights or other special events.
8024 Savoy Corporate Drive
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 under $10.
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.
Lucky’s Bar & Arcade
300 N. College Street
Price varies by game. On Thursdays, buy 20 tokens and get 5 free.
Play video games, pinball machines, foosball, air hockey and more.
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.
Various dates and locations
Try one of these trivia nights. There are a ton of them every week.
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.
Hike at Kings Mountain State Park
1277 Park Road, Blacksburg, SC
$2 per person
Offers both a South Carolina state park and a national military park. Enjoy four different trails of varying levels, a living farm, boating, and more.
Hike at Lake Norman State Park
759 State Park Road, Troutman
Trail hours vary by month
Hike around the lake on one of their four trails. Some trails have picnic spots. It also offers a mountain biking network and a swim beach area.
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.
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.
Wine and beer
Free Brewery Tours
Explore behind the scenes at your favorite brewery. Some breweries require you reserve your spot in advance or are available by request.
Science On The Rocks
Discovery Place, 301 N Tryon Street
Once a month; times may vary but usually 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
$10 – $18 per person
Every month, the museum is transformed with themed activities. Each floor of the museum houses something different. Only for those 21+.
Mac Tabby Cafe
3204 N Davidson Street
$12 per person for an hour
Charlotte’s first cat cafe offers reserved and walk-in visits that feature adoptable cats and standard cafe fare. Enjoy live music with cats, cat yoga, or a simple cat lounge experience.
Lazy 5 Ranch
15100 Highway 150 East, Mooresville
Adult tickets: $11. ($16 includes a wagon ride and animal feed.)
Get up close to giraffes, antelopes, kangaroos, camels and more. They’ll get up really close if you have a bucket of animal feed.
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.
Providence Swing Dance
Christ Lutheran Church, Providence Campu s
4519 Providence Road
The 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month Providence Swing Dance holds a free East Coast swing dance class, followed by an open swing dance floor.
Caldwell Presbyterian Church, 1600 Park Drive
The first Friday of the month, Gottaswing Charlotte holds Five Buck Friday. For just $5, there’s an “introduction to swing dancing” lesson, followed by an open dance floor.
QC Social Lounge, 300 N College Street
Every Friday, there’s an International/Latin Night, with a free Salsa and Bachata class, followed by dancing. Free event.
Share a laugh
Find a list of upcoming comedy shows that are $15 or under. This list includes stand-up, improv, sketch comedy and open mics. Want to see an even more comprehensive list? Check out Charlotte Laughs Tonight on Facebook. Here are a couple places to catch some comedy:
The Comedy Zone
900 NC Music Factory Blvd, Suite B3
The Comedy Zone brings in nationally known comics, and those shows vary in price, but there are also plenty of shows that are $10 or $15.
Comedy Arts Theater of Charlotte
4200 South Blvd
Comedy Arts Theater of Charlotte (or CATCh) specializes in improv. Most shows are $10.
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 under $10. Many are $5. 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. Often used for weddings or special events, so make sure it is open to the public when you plan to visit.
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.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 South New Hope Road, Belmont
Visit the Four seasons Garden, the Cottage Garden, the Canal Garden, the Orchid Conservatory and more.
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
Queen City Cinephiles
Screenings throughout the year
$5 – $10 per person
See screenings of indie movies and shorts. Each screening is themed.
Cinemark Movies 10
9508 Northeast Court, Matthews
Most tickets are just $3. Rewards members save even more on Tuesdays.
Studio Movie Grill
Locations in EpiCentre and Prosperity Village
Tickets are just $5 on Tuesdays.
IMAX Dome Theater
Discovery Place, 301 N Tryon St
Shows and times vary by day
$10 per person
Experience a nature film or a major blockbuster on the OMNIMAX screen.
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 2020 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.
The Light Factory Exhibitions
1817 Central Avenue
Enjoy the current art exhibition at this gallery, where exhibits are constantly changing.
New Gallery of Modern Art
435 S. Tryon Street
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.
Uptown Public Art Scavenger Hunt
There are seventeen clues at seventeen different stops spread throughout Uptown.
Uptown Public Art Walking Tour
Download and print a walking tour brochure or take a guided tour with the walking tour podcast.
More cheap dates
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.
Various dates and locations.
Charlotte Storytellers is a group of adults who “never outgrew story time.” They meet once a week to workshop their stories and then periodically present a show of stories for the public. Stories are funny, moving and thought-provoking. Sometimes all in one story. These are events for adults.
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.