Explore your world
Charlotte pano | © James Willamor/Flickr
Charlotte pano | © James Willamor/Flickr

10 Free and Cheap Date Ideas to Try in Charlotte, NC

Picture of Shawndra Russell
Updated: 9 February 2018

Breaking out of the boring date routine of dinner and drinks or a movie means more romance and less of a hit to your wallet. These 10 Charlotte date night ideas will impress your date whether it’s your first, 50th, or 1,000th date night together.

Science on the Rocks

Envision a science fair, but with alcohol. That’s the atmosphere happening every third Friday during Science on the Rocks at Discovery Place, one of the most interactive museums in the nation by day. But once a month the space becomes a themed playground where couples can let out their inner child and participate in experiments, contests, or just drink and dance to tunes pumped out by local DJs.

Go on a self-guided statue tour

Uptown Charlotte has 19 points of interest laid out in their Charlotte Liberty Walk guide that together tell the story of the city’s history dating back to the 1700s. Combine stops at cafes, galleries, or shops to make an afternoon of it.

Enjoy a garden stroll

Being surrounded by beauty sets the perfect date day mood and makes commuting, sidewalks, and skyscrapers disappear for a moment. In Charlotte, lovebirds can head to the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens. Bring along your pups and picnic supplies as guests will find several picnic tables and benches along the paths. Or, visit the McGill Rose Garden, home to over 500 rose bushes that’s open to the public five days a week and serves as a popular wedding venue after hours.

Fitness-focused fun

Working up a sweat together can be a whole lot more fun than another Netflix night, so why not hit a driving range? For a bucket of balls, you’ll pay as little as $4 at Westwood Driving Range, Dr. Charles Sifford Driving Range, Golf Depot, and Leatherman Golf Learning Center. Or, rent a bike from the city’s B-Cycle system ($24 for a day pass) and peddle routes through the Uptown, Southend, or Metropolitan areas of town.

Meet up with a brewery club

If you’re looking for a date night activity that you can do together week after week, consider joining one of the many Charlotte brewery fitness clubs. You can find running, biking or yoga groups that always end with a tasty pint of craft beer, which tastes even better after you’ve just earned it.

Picnic hike

It’s tough to top the romance factor that comes with hiking. No cell phones, no distractions, just enjoying nature and each other. Grab picnic supplies, such as easy-to-transport wine, cheese, and charcuterie, and choose between short and easy hikes at RibbonWalk or Evergreen nature preserves, or make time for a 10-mile jaunt at Reedy Creek Park and Nature Center.

Art Date

Charlotte has several art crawls that make for a great excuse to do something different. Uptown Crawls happen on the fourth Thursday of the month and include free trolley rides between stops. Or, join a South End Gallery Crawl on the first Friday of every month, dubbed by Charlotte Magazine as the “Best Artsy Place to Take a Date.”

Arcade night

Play unlimited games for free at two Charlotte bar-cades for a super cheap yet fun date night. At Abari in NoDa, you’ll find nine craft beers on tap and classic cocktails to be sipped between rounds of pinball, arcade, or old-school console games. A few minutes away in South End, more free arcade games await at Palmer St. Arcade Bar, which also features 20 craft beers on draft and a food menu.

Trivia time

Another way to go out for drinks with a twist, Charlotte is home to several trivia nights every weeknight. Pick a themed trivia night and impress your date as you sip on drink specials or win your way to a free gift card or bar tab.

Duet magic

Whether you’re the couple that likes to belt out duets together or just gets a kick out of watching others pretend to be rock stars, a karaoke night might be just what you need to shake things up. Luckily, Charlotte has karaoke somewhere every night of the week, with a few bars dedicated to karaoke including Jeff’s Bucket Shop, NoDa 101, Snug Harbor, or 8.2.0., which has a separate karaoke lounge.

#karaoke #noda #noda101

A post shared by Noda 101 (@noda101clt) on