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How to Explore Charlotte on a Budget

How to Explore Charlotte on a Budget

The largest city in North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County, Charlotte’s mid-Atlantic location makes traveling to the city quick and easy from virtually anywhere in the country. Known as the “International Gateway to the South,” Charlotte is an exciting city to discover and explore. And fortunately, experiencing the best of Charlotte can be as affordable as you’d like.

Get the most out of your entertainment budget when you visit Charlotte with the help of these cost-saving travel tips.

1. Use CATS like a pro.

The CATS—or, the Charlotte Area Transit System is the public transit system in Charlotte and includes busses, a rapid transit line called the Sprinter, a light rail line, and a streetcar. Getting around Charlotte is simple, quick, and budget-friendly, allowing you to travel across the city for just a couple bucks. Check out this comprehensive list of transit options in Charlotte, including the local Greyhound, cab, and Uber information.

2. Indulge in the best cheap eats.

Eating well during your visit doesn’t have to break the bank (see #4—your accommodation may even have kitchen facilities!). But when it comes to dining out, make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck by doing a little research before hunger strikes. TripAdvisor and Yelp are excellent resources for finding reviews and lists of some of the best, cheap eats in Charlotte.

Don’t miss out on our favorites, including…

Price’s Chicken Coop. Head to the city’s south end for a staple that’s been in business for over 50 years. Stop in for the city’s best fried chicken, served with coleslaw, hushpuppies, and fries. Heads up: this is a cash-only take-out restaurant, so grab your dinner to go!

300 East. Also in the south end, here you’ll enjoy the ambiance of a Bohemian hideaway with an antique mahogany bar, outdoor patio, and surrounding flowers set the mood. Indulge in some of the city’s best martinis, along with a full Sunday brunch menu, sandwiches, salads, and more.

New Zealand Cafe. For a taste of New Zealand, China, and Japan, head to the beloved New Zealand Cafe. Here you’ll fall in love with budget-friendly sushi and hibachi fare in a simple, cozy atmosphere.

3. Enjoy free & low-cost entertainment.

From outdoor things to do, to the city’s most sought-after attractions, there’s plenty of things to see and do in Charlotte that won’t blow the budget. Discover a few of our favorites:

Take a stroll through Freedom Park, a 98-acre park centered on a lake just a few miles from the heart of downtown. Enjoy summer concert series, baseball fields, tennis courts, playgrounds, outdoor grills, and so much more.

If you’ve got children with you, take advantage of the regularly scheduled free days for kids at the Mint Museum and the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Admission for adults is typically half price on these days, and there are plenty of hands-on activities for the whole family.

Admire the UNCC Botanical Gardens, complete with winding paths, orchids, the McMillan Greenhouse and Susie Hardwood Garden, Dinosaur’s Garden, and so much more. Don’t miss the waterfall, pond, botany classes, along with so many beautiful sights.

4. Book an extended stay.

When you visit Charlotte, you don’t have to leave the comforts of home behind. Choose extended stay accommodations and you’ll enjoy plenty of features and amenities that enhance your trip, making it easier and more enjoyable—all at one low price. From mail service to laundry, WiFi and kitchen facilities, there are plenty of reasons to stay at InTown Suites.

Discover our Charlotte extended stay properties offering weekly or nightly rates.