Traveling expenses add up quickly, but there is hope! Plan your next trip to North Carolina with these totally free things to do in Charlotte. No matter what time of year you visit this East Coast state, you can find activities that won’t break the budget.
1. The Light Factory
Appreciate photography when you walk through The Light Factory Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 6 PM for free. The exhibits are designed to inspire the community as well as empower it. The artwork is constantly rotating, and educational opportunities are available through workshops, classes, and more.
2. UNC Botanical Gardens
Visit the lush and beautiful University of North Carolina at Charlotte Botanical Gardens for a serene stroll. Enjoy a morning walk or an afternoon of quiet and relaxation exploring native and non-native plants. The gardens provide a lovely array of vegetation including an Asian garden and a greenhouse. Become one with nature when you explore these gardens.
3. James K. Polk Historic Site
If you’re a history buff or just curious about life in the late 1700s and early 1800s, then head a few minutes outside of Charlotte to the James K. Polk Historic Site where the 11th president was born. Daily guided tours are offered, and tour guides might be dressed in era-appropriate attire. The site includes historic cabins, a museum with exhibits on display, a nature trail and an 18th and 19th-century cemetery.
4. Randy Moss Boot Camp
One of the more interesting free things to do in Charlotte is a workout session held by former NFL wide receiver Randy Moss. Receive free fitness training twice a week by an expert. Every Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM join Moss and over 100 other people to sweat together!
5. Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Community libraries provide excellent resources when it comes to free things to do. The Charlotte library offers storytimes that engage children and parents alike! Share stories, songs, and more with a librarian. Also, check out the library’s calendar of events for more activities such as scavenger hunts.
6. Mint Museum
The Mint Museum offers free admission on Wednesdays from 5 PM to 9 PM. Experience all of the artwork on display and the current collections with the whole family while getting in for free. Seriously, you can’t beat a free art museum experience. Occasionally, activities will be available such as music, dance, poetry, and more on Wednesday evenings. Sunday Fun Days also admit kids for free.
7. The Billy Graham Library
The famous American evangelist and prominent pastor Billy Graham was born in Charlotte. “America’s Pastor” is being honored through The Billy Graham Library complete with memorabilia detailing his humble beginnings to his rise to international fame as an ambassador of faith. The experience also includes a tour of his childhood home and a bookstore.
8. Charlotte Douglas International Airport Overlook
If you’re an aerial enthusiast, then the airport overlook will be one of your favorite free things to do in Charlotte. Most airports do not encourage watching planes take off, land, and traveling the runways; however, the airport in Charlotte is one of the few exceptions! Bring your camera and hang out at the overlook where you can get an up-close look at the life of a pilot. Photographers, kids, and couples alike will all enjoy this experience.
ImaginOn is a collaboration between the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and the Children’s Theater of Charlotte. The 102,000-square-foot learning center has an award-winning theatre and offers innovative educational programs. The idea behind ImaginOn is to encourage learning via cutting edge services and library collections. Multi-purpose classrooms, a production studio, exhibit space, and more are all included in the experience. The best part, it’s all for free.
10. Bone Snugs-N-Harmony
Head to a karaoke party on a Sunday evening at Snug Harbor with a few of your friends and enjoy the show. This weekly event is 21 and up, but is sure to be pure entertainment. If you’re brave enough, pick a song and sing your heart out! Admission is always free.
11. Romare Bearden Park
One of the best totally free things to do in Charlotte is to visit Romare Bearden Park. Take a break during lunch and stroll the nearly 5.5-acre park, which is home to a couple of gardens. This park is also the place to be in the summers when Party in the Park is hosted along with more musical series. The events are free concert series where vendors may also be available for food or drinks. Bring a chair, a picnic, and gather your friends!
12. Food Truck Fridays — South End
Food Truck Fridays offers delicious food, local craft beer, live music, and a dog-friendly setting. The event is free admission and is hosted by Sycamore Brewing in Charlotte. Hang out at this perfect meeting place with your friends, family, and your dogs all while enjoying great food, music, and beer. It sounds like the perfect Friday night.
Experience these Totally Free Things to Do in Charlotte
With these options now on the table for your trip to Charlotte, you can relax a little bit more! Not everything has to cost a pretty penny when you take that weekend getaway or plan your next vacation.