Cheap (But Not Skimpy) Date Spots


Whether you’re looking for an easy, low pressure date spot for meeting someone for the first time or you just want to go on a date that won’t break the bank after you pay the babysitter and get yourself a drink, Charlotte has a wide variety of free to low-cost cultural offerings. Don’t miss the last one on this list—it’s a bonus for Saturday nights with the kids to get you through the aftermath of a fun night out.  


The Charlotte Folk Society  

926 Elizabeth Ave 

Charlotte, NC 28204 

 Celebrating almost thirty years of folk music, this organization has more than just string-bands. They offer monthly events on the second Friday of every month. The events include food trucks, bluegrass, and acoustic music and the main event – a concert in the sanctuary – at 7:30 p.m.  


Free but a $10 per person donation is suggested. 


McColl Center for Art & Innovation 

721 N Tryon St  

Charlotte, NC 28202 

(Located at W 10th St and N Church St)  

Located in a historic, neo-Gothic church in Uptown Charlotte, the Center houses nine artist studios and over 5,000 square feet of gallery space. Admission is always free, but donations are accepted. Even Parking is free! 


Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.  

Friday & Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  


The Light Factory 

1817 Central Ave 

Charlotte, NC 28205 

If photography is what interests you, let Charlotte’s only space dedicated to the photographic arts into your life. The art on these walls is always changing, cycling through signature events like their Annual, and curated exhibitions guaranteeing there is never a dull visit.  


There no admission for the gallery.  

Wednesday through Saturdays from 12 noon to 6 p.m. 


Charlotte Lit 

1817 Central Ave 

Charlotte, NC 28205 

The Charlotte Center for the Literary Arts is in the SAME building as The Light Factory, but caters to the written word rather than photography.  


There is a fee for the wide variety of workshops, but the quarterly poetry and art poster series is free and the community conversations are just one of the many engaging formats this organization offers. Check it out!  


South End Gallery Crawl  

South End is home to the largest concentration of art galleries in Charlotte and this twist on a Pub crawl offers you the chance to tour the following:  


Hodges Taylor Art Consultancy 

118 E Kingston Ave 

Suite 16 

Charlotte, NC 28203 


Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art 

1520 S Tryon St  

Charlotte, NC 28203 


Hidell Brooks Gallery 

1910 South Blvd 

Suite 130  

Charlotte, NC 28203 

The first Friday of each month 

Admission is free. 


Mint Museum 

500 S Tryon St 

Charlotte, NC 28202  

The innovative program, “ArtBreak,” at Levine Center for the Arts is a guided 30-minute tour of either The Mint Museum Uptown, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, or the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Art + Culture, designed to give you a break during your lunch hour. It’s held at noon on the third Thursday of each month.  


Admission is free to both the Uptown and Randolph Rd locations. 


ImaginOn / The Joe & Joan Martin Center  

300 E 7th St 

Charlotte, NC 28202 

This collaborative effort between the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Children’s Theatre of Charlotte is a 102,000-square-foot space that is a dedicated library space for kids 11 years old and under, four multi-use classrooms, a teen-only library, a multi-media production studio, and an interactive exhibit space. 



Monday to Thursday 9:00am – 8:00pm 

Friday to Saturday 9:00am – 5:00pm 

Sunday 1:00pm – 5:00pm 


Photo by Cody Hughes @clhughes21

Tour Charlotte’s Street Murals

Do it for the gram.  


Or for the culture.  


If you haven’t seen them yet, check out The Talking Walls festival — 17 mural artists painting 16 new murals around Center City Charlotte—debuted this past fall in Charlotte.  


Southern Tiger Collective’s Alex DeLarge and IMEK Studio’s Kevin Taylor, with the help of committee members Rob Reilly and Queens University professor Mike Wirth, put together the initiative that allowed for ten local artists and seven national/international artists to come together in the name of Charlotte’s public art. 


One of the sponsors was the Hyatt House, who came into Charlotte’s art scene in a heartbreaking way. After glass windows were broken during protests in the wake of the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, Hyatt House invited artists to paint on the plywood temporarily boarding up the space. Those plywood pieces have become works of art. 


Each artist was given $1,000 + supplies (including paint and lifts) + food. They also received creative control — all of the art was the artist’s choice.  


The Talking Walls murals can only be experienced, not seen, so drive around and see for yourself: 

7th Sin Tattoo 

927 Central Ave 

Charlotte, NC 28205 

Artist: JEKS 

Based in: Greensboro 


Abari Game Bar 

1721 N Davidson St 

Charlotte, NC 28205 

Artist: Gus Cutty 

Based in: Asheville 



3217 The Plaza 

Charlotte, NC 28205 

Artist: Ramiro Davaro-Comas 

Based in: Brooklyn, New York 


Hal Marshall Building 

700 N Tryon St 

Charlotte, NC 28202 

Artist: Sebastian Coolidge 

Based in: St. Petersburg, Florida 


Hal Marshall Annex 

618 N College St 

Charlotte, NC 28202 

Artist: Nick Napoletano 

Based in: Charlotte 


Ink Floyd 

1101 E. 36th St 

Charlotte, NC 28205 

Artist: Trasher 

Based in: Mexico City, Mexico 



408 E Trade St 

Charlotte, NC 28202 

Artist: Hoxxoh 

Based in: Miami 


Mecklenburg Valve 

2407 Central Ave 

Charlotte, NC 28205 

Artist: Denton Burrows 

Based in: New York City 


Moo & Brew 

1300 Central Ave 

Charlotte, NC 28205 

Artist: MDMN 

Based in: Phoenix 


Pizza Peel 

1600 Central Ave 

Charlotte, NC 28205 

Artist: Darion Fleming 

Based in: Charlotte 


Pure Intentions 

2215 N Tryon St 

Charlotte, NC 28204 

Artist: Arko and Owl 

Based in: Charlotte 


Salon 1226 

1226 Central Ave 

Charlotte, NC 28205 

Artist: Garden of Journey 

Based in: Charlotte 


Spirit Square 

345 N College St 

Charlotte, NC 28202 

Artist: Dammit Wesley 

Based in: Charlotte 


Spoke Easy 

1530 Elizabeth Ave 

Charlotte, NC 28204 

Artist: OBSO 

Based in: Charlotte 


Tip Top Market 

2902 The Plaza 

Charlotte, NC 28205 

Artist: Scott Nurkin 

Based in: Chapel Hill 


Tire Maxx 

2609 The Plaza 

Charlotte, NC 28205 

Artist: Pucho 

Based in: Miami 


Tryon Street Alley 

200 South Tryon St 

Charlotte, NC 28202 

Artist: McMonster 

Based in: Portland

The Novice Guide to Cheap (Real) Art


Your significant other is right. It’s time to let the Scarface poster go. Or even the Starry Night, if you’re fancy like that. You are an adult. With a mortgage, more than one checking account, and your own health insurance. You know the difference between a 401K and a Roth IRA. You need art. Real art. Yes, Michelle Pfeiffer in that dress was art, but that’s not what I mean. Because you’re an adult, you know real art is expensive.  

Here are a few places to look for real art that won’t set you back on your savings plans.  


C3 Lab 

2525 Distribution St  

Charlotte, NC 28203  

Instagram: @c3lab 

C3 Lab is a multi-functional art-centered space. Operating as a gallery and as a co-working space, they host exhibits featuring local, regional, national, and international artists in styles ranging from traditional, contemporary, to hybrid art forms. The gallery’s annual art exhibit is the perfect time to browse and buy.   

This year’s theme centers on “Intersection: Personal styles, careers, and life don’t always function together in harmony, but when you intersect the common thread of the love of art throughout a creative space, with the true spirit of collaboration – an interesting collage emerges to tell a meaningful story.”  


Check it out Friday, December 7, 2018, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. 


CPCC Holiday Art Market 

1201 Elizabeth Ave  

Charlotte, NC 28204 

CPCC Art Galleries host an Annual Holiday Art Market in Ross Gallery on CPCC’s Central Campus. Students, faculty, and other local artists will offer a wide variety of ceramics, jewelry, paintings, and photography. There’s even an under $50 section!  


November 5th-December 5th, 2018 

Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  



Currently located at:  

555 S McDowell St  

North Tower 

Charlotte, NC 28204 

Instagram: @artpopstreetgallery 


ArtPop is a street gallery. They feature local artists on billboards, buses, news racks, at airports — and turn the everyday “into opportunities for artistic appreciation and discovery.” Four times a year, the art of the current selection of ArtPoppers are shown, gallery-style, at Le Meridien Hotel Charlotte. Can’t wait for the next showing? Visit the ArtPop website artists’ page. From there, you can find individual artists’ websites for pricing info. 


Lark & Key 

128 E. Park Ave 

Suite B 

Charlotte, NC 28203 

 This lovely South End spot featuring art and craft is a great place for a novice collector to begin. Check out the website’s “Art for $500 and Under” page 

 And don’t forget that art encompasses more than 2-D works. A collection of handmade pottery mugs, vases, or bowls can be an inexpensive way to begin an art collection. 


Ruby’s Gift 

3204 N Davidson St  

Charlotte, NC 28205 

Instagram: @rubysgiftnoda 

This NoDa boutique showcases a variety of textiles, pottery, paintings, photography, and jewelry by local artists. 


Slate Furniture + Art Collective 

1401 Central Ave  

Chartlotte, NC 28205 

Instagram: @slateinteriors 

Perfect if you need to branch away from Scarface and Ikea. The Plaza Midwood furniture and art collective showcases rotating exhibitions of local talent and famous artists.  



Tuesdays – Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Photo by Cody Hughes @clhughes21