Uptown Charlotte for Free

Uptown Charlotte
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Visiting Uptown Charlotte doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. Here are some fun ways you can enjoy Uptown Charlotte for free.


Charlotte's children's library, ImaginOn, is part of the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County. There is no charge to use library services at ImaginOn or participate in drop-in programs. ImaginOn features hands-on exhibits for kids, a large library complete with computers and houses two theaters where The Children’s Theatre of Charlotte performs throughout the year. ImaginOn also includes an area called The Loft for teens ages 12-18.

Parking may be your only cost when visiting ImaginOn. If you park in the deck below ImaginOn, the first 90 minutes are free for ImaginOn guests with validation. After 90 minutes additional rates apply. If you choose to park at 7th Street Station (a mutli-level parking deck across the street from ImaginOn), the deck offers 3 hours of free parking after 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, and free parking on Saturday and Sunday.

First Tuesday Concerts

Chamber music is no longer limited to the elite or the high-brow. Anyone can enjoy exposure to this musical style performed by members of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and other local or regional musicians. The First Tuesday Concerts run the first Tuesday of the month from October through May. Music selections will be performed at 1 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. The evening concerts include a wine and cheese reception in the Carillon Lobby.

Picnic on the Green

The Green Uptown is a well-maintained outdoor area in the heart of the hustle and bustle of all the big buildings. The Green sits between Tryon and College and is bordered by 1st Street and Three Wachovia Center. While the area caters to business lunchers and has many walk-up lunch counters around, you can save a buck by packing a picnic lunch and enjoying the great outdoors with family, friends, loved ones or even coworkers.

Ride the Gold Rush

Taking in the sights of Uptown can be a lovely, free way to spend a day and the CATS-operated Gold Rush Trolley can help you get around. CATS provides Uptown workers and visitors a free trolley service for getting around. The Gold Rush trolley service offers two circulating lines in Center City. The Gold Rush trolleys stop at marked bus stops every seven minutes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Fourth Ward Walking Tour

Charlotte's Historic Fourth Ward was one of Charlotte's most prosperous areas back in the mid-1800s providing homes to some of Charlotte's elite including local merchants, physicians, and ministers. The area suffered neglect as residents moved to Myers Park and Dilworth in the 1900s, but since 1970, many of the homes and buildings have been restored and the area is thriving once again. Allow at least an hour to enjoy a foot-tour of the area highlighted by historic homes and churches.

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