The great thing about touring larger metropolitan areas is that seemingly for every pricey attraction, there is a free one. Charlotte, North Carolina, is home to many free things to enjoy. Therefore, this helps you maximize your travel budget with local points of interest that are fascinating and fun. With unique historical offerings to a family day spent outdoors, there is plenty to experience on a budget.
Take a Brewery Tour
As the oldest and largest brewery in the city, it’s no wonder that it won USA Today’s Best Brewing Tour title in 2014. Mecklenburg Brewery strictly adheres to a traditional German brewing technique. In addition, they way that they present their information is almost as easy to digest as the end result.
The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery offers free tours each weekend and begins on the hour at 2, 3, and 4 pm. The tour last about 40 minutes, and when accompanied by an adult, children can attend as well. Most noteworthy, visitors can experience a beer tasting or experience a private tour for an additional cost.
The Billy Graham Library
One of the most influential evangelical leaders is celebrated here in this site built where the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association can be found. This ministry-first center details the life and efforts Graham made to his cause, having visited 185 countries to spread the Christian gospel. Also, guests can visit Graham’s real childhood home, originally built in 1927, which has been faithfully restored.
Most noteworthy, visitors will find many unique exhibits containing Graham’s personal effects, antiques, photos, media offerings, and a custom piece of Thomas Kinkade artwork. Also, tours of the Billy Graham Library are offered Monday through Saturday, starting at 9:30 am to 5 pm.
Stop and Smell the Flowers
The University of North Carolina, Charlotte, is home to more than just liberal arts and science degrees. On campus, guests can tour the Botanical Gardens and the McMillan Greenhouse completely free of charge. Visitors will be able to walk through all six collections featuring unique botanical offerings unlike anywhere else.
Whether you can’t wait to see fossils at the Dinosaur Garden or insect-eating Carnivorous and Bog Collection plants, guests of all ages will find more than sunshine and roses here. The gardens are accessible every day from sun up to sun down. Opposite, the McMillan Greenhouse is opened during set hours. Usually, 9 am to 4 pm.
James K. Polk Memorial State Historic Site
While Polk may not be one of the most prominent figures in American history, it’s nice being able to visit the 11th President’s home free of charge. Furthermore, The Polk administration saw several important historical events that may not be as well known as other Oval Office residents. Technically the site is in the nearby Pineville city limits, but the town is located just outside of the Charlotte area.
The land that the James K. Polk Memorial State Historic Site sits on was owned by Polk’s parents, and exhibits describe the Mexican-American War (the same war that made the Alamo an important site), the Oregon Territory dispute between the U.S. and Britain, and other significant chapters of history. Also, the memorial is fully furnished to accurately represent what life was like at that time. In addition, visitors will also be able to watch an educational film during their tour.
Spend the Day Outside
The Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve is home to over 900 acres of natural forest land to explore. As a result, visitors can trek across over 10 miles of hiking trails that will take them past lakes, fields, streams, local native wildlife, and flowers. For those looking for something more interactive, fishing can be done on Dragonfly Pond and Slider Pond (with valid North Carolina fishing license).
The Reedy Creek Nature Center has live animals and science exhibits. Finally, Reedy Creek Park, also on site, features a traditional children’s playground, Frisbee golf course, picnic shelters, and sports facilities. This expansive nature park can provide an entire day of conservation and fun, free of charge.