With the pandemic causing severe issues within the job market, there’s less money for people to get out and banish their boredom. However, Charlotte has plenty of activities that don’t cost a dime. We’ve compiled a list of free things to do in Charlotte so that you can focus on making memories and not money.
Abari Game Bar
Here you can reminisce about the 8-bit days of your childhood — or perhaps your parents’ — with classic video games at Abari. Whether you want to grab play some Sega Genesis, hit the arcade, or play some classic pinball, Abari’s got options to keep you entertained on the cheap. Game’s still cost a quarter like back in the day.
Address: 1721 N Davidson St.
Whether you want to tutor children, foster shelter dogs, or write grants, you have plenty of opportunities to support your community. Volunteer organizations like HandsOn Charlotte and Share Charlotte offer hundreds of opportunities, searchable by interest, location, and skill.
ImaginOn is a children’s library that makes adults jealous. Activity spaces encourage kids of all ages to explore and learn, whether they’re a budding scientist or aspiring novelist. There’s even a studio to create videos, music, and costumes. There’s also plenty of free events they host.
Address: 300 E 7th St, Charlotte
Open Streets 704
Streets—and people—go car-free several Sundays each year for Open Streets 704. A route extending several miles and winding through several neighborhoods closes down to cars and opens up to bikes, scooter, and feet. Enjoy family-friendly fun like live music, crafts and carnival games, all to celebrate the heart-healthy benefits of staying on the move.
Address: Between Veteran’s Park and NoDa
The Light Factory
Admire photography and film from emerging and established artists at The Light Factory in Plaza Midwood. Pieces in the gallery continually change, introducing new works and rotating exhibits.
Address: 1817 Central Ave
Sure, you know an IPA from an amber, but how well do you know how beer is brewed? Many breweries in the Charlotte area offer free tours to give you the behind-the-scenes experience. Try the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery on weekends at 2, 3, and 4 p.m. or Legion Brewery Company on weekends at 2 p.m.
Address: 4150 Yancey Rd. or 1906 Commonwealth Ave.
UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
One of Charlotte’s prettiest gardens is free to tour. At UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens, you can explore ten acres of outdoor gardens – the Van Landingham Glen and the Susie Harwood Garden—or you can wander around the greenhouse, which includes a Dinosaur Garden with “living fossils”.
Address: 9090 Craver Rd.
Crown City Comedy
Enjoy brews and a packed event calendar at Crown Station Coffeehouse & Pub. Each Wednesday is Crown City Comedy night, an open mic event hosted by comedian Mimi Benfield and her dog Fiona.
Address: 3629 N Davidson St.
Words By: Ellie Barker