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Budget Friendly Charlotte

AAA/Sherry Mims
By AAA Travel Editor Sherry Mims
September 02, 2022
Don’t let Charlotte’s reputation as a financial powerhouse make you think there aren’t affordable things to do. The following events and activities add to the fun without breaking the bank when you visit Charlotte, the “Queen City.”
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210 E. Trade St.
(704) 688-5980
This complex features numerous shopping and dining options—not to mention a convenient location by Lynx light rail and the Spectrum Center. One of the most fun things to do with kids is to check out Rocket Fizz, a store filled with snacks, gag gifts and a variety of drinks, including Bacon Soda and Lemon Meringue Pie Soda. Other highlights include a dine-in theater and a bowling alley (for when you want to spend a little more).
AAA/Sherry Mims

First Ward Park

301 E. 7th St.
One of the newest parks in Charlotte, this spot includes a “sprayground” where kids can splash and play, fitness stations and a giant globe for kids to climb. Summer ushers in a free concert series. Though there are numerous green spaces in Charlotte, this park rates highly for both things to do and walkability. It’s across the street from ImaginOn, Lynx light rail and food places in 7th Street Public Market.
AAA/Sherry Mims

Food Truck Friday Dilworth

1324 E. Blvd.
(704) 490-3831
For this event, travel from Uptown to Dilworth, one of Charlotte’s storied neighborhoods. Held April through September, the food truck gathering brings together an assortment of cuisines and activities such as face painting and live music, making it enjoyable for all ages. Admission is complimentary, but expect to pay for parking and services.
AAA/Sherry Mims

ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center

300 E. 7th St.
(704) 416-4600
This expansive children’s library is one of the best places to see in Charlotte if you are traveling with kids—and free to enter. Floors of books, daily story times and interactive activities provide plenty of diversions to keep tots to teens occupied. There’s also a performance hall on-site where you can catch a live act if your budget allows.
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Museums in Charlotte make seeing the city on the cheap quite easy. Both Mint Museum Uptown (500 S. Tryon St.) and Mint Museum Randolph (2370 Randolph Rd.) are free from 5-9 each Wednesday, while Bechtler Museum of Modern Art (420 S. Tryon St.) presents Bechtler By Night for free from 5-9 on the third Friday of the month. For those wishing to understand the history of Charlotte and the region, Levine Museum of the New South (401 S. Tryon St.) halves admission on Sunday, though watch for events with complimentary admission. The Billy Graham Library (4330 Westmont Dr.) is free daily.

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