Whether you’re just moving in, or you’ve been here long enough to know what the “Old, Old Coliseum” is, there’s something new for you in Charlotte. Even better, you can save your money for some new Hornets gear, because these activities are free or very inexpensive.
There are more ways than ever to explore Charlotte’s museums on a budget. Here are a few tips. Keep in mind that on museums’ free days, special exhibits might not be included.
Mint Museum: When you buy a pass to one of the two Mint Museum locations, you can visit the other for free. Just show your original receipt. Also, admission is good for two days. So visit the second museum the next day, or go back to the first, to see what you missed. www.mintmuseum.org.
Free days: Visit both Mint Museum locations for free on Wednesday evenings after 5 p.m. Levine Museum of the New South ( www.museumofthenewsouth.org) offers free admission on Sundays. Park in 7th Street Station and bring your parking ticket to the Levine to be validated.
Two days of museums: The Levine Center for the Arts Access Pass costs $20 and grants you access to Bechtler Museum of Modern Art ( www.bechtler.org), Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture ( www.ganttcenter.org), Mint Museum Randolph and Mint Museum Uptown for 48 hours. This deal saves you $6. Purchase it here: www.carolinatix.org.
Military families: Several Charlotte museums participate in the Blue Star Museums program, which grants military families free access all summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Visit www.bluestarfam.org to learn details of the program and see which museums are participating.
If you’re willing to do a little walking, you can learn a lot about Charlotte, for free. Check out one of these self-guided walking tours.
Charlotte Walking Tour: Charlotte’s Got a Lot, the city’s tourism site, has put together a walking tour of more than 30 stops in uptown. Even longtime residents will discover something new. www.charlottesgotalot.com.
Liberty Walk: It’s true that too much of Charlotte’s past is gone from our streets. However, for an enlightening look into our history, stop by the Visitor Info Center at 330 S. Tryon St. and pick up a brochure for this self-guided tour. It will take you to 15 markers that offer a picture of Charlotte’s role in history, especially in the Revolutionary War era. www.meckdec.org.
Public Art Walking Tour: The Arts & Science Council has put together a walking tour highlighting our public art. You can download a map or a 45-minute podcast, or pick up a brochure at the Visitor Info Center. www.artsandscience.org.
Romare Bearden Park (300 S. Church St.): Located next to the Charlotte Knights’ new home in uptown Charlotte, this instantly became a magnet for visitors when it opened in August 2013. With a stunning skyline view, gardens, artwork and plenty of open space, it attracts uptown lunch-breakers, families and Frisbee-throwers, and also hosts many free events, including several concert series, festivals, an art show and even free fitness classes. www.charmeck.org.
Carolina Theatre Pocket Park (Sixth and Tryon streets): One of the new additions to the uptown landscape is a former vacant lot next to the old Carolina Theatre that has been transformed into a tranquil public space with greenery, art and benches. It’s an especially welcoming place for those who work uptown. Free events are held there throughout the week, including fitness classes, lunchtime concerts and previews of local theater productions. www.charlottecentercity.org.