Date Night Ideas In N.C. That Won’t Break The Bank

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Whether you’re in a relationship or just getting to know someone new, check out our list of affordable date ideas in North Carolina.

You don’t need to break the bank to plan something special. Sometimes the best dates include trying something new and getting a little creative.

Remember as JLo says love don’t cost a thing!

Go to a comedy show

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  • Check out Beerly Funny for various upcoming comedy shows all around North Carolina.
  • Beerly Funny, hosted by Lauren Ansley, partners with different local venues to host comedy shows for free or for a small price.
  • Upcoming shows and tickets can be found here.

Go to a drag show brunch

Buff Fayes Drag Brunch

Buff Faye’s Drag Brunch

While there are various drag shows being held all around the state, we suggest going to see Buff Faye’s Drag Brunch.

  • Buff Faye has been hosting the number 1 drag show in the Carolinas since 2001.
  • Faye has received numerous accolades since starting to do drag in 2008, including being crowned as the 2019 National Entertainer of the Year.
  • Out of drag, Buff Faye is known as Shane Windmeyer, aka the founder/executive directer of Campus Pride which is a leading national nonprofit organization that benefits LGBTQ+ youth nationwide.
  • During her shows, Faye raises money for several local and national charities including Campus Pride, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the Charlotte Humane Society.
  • Tickets start at $30 at for entry into the show and a family-style brunch buffet.
  • Pro Tip: Don’t forget your $1 bills to tip these amazing performers.

Pick & paint pottery together

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P.C. @megartpottery

Pick out a pottery piece from various price points and design something original on your next date.


  • Get creative and head to your local pottery store to paint a piece you can keep forever.
  • Most pottery places will allow you to bring in your own food and drink (including beer and wine if you’re feeling frisky).
  • A few pottery places we recommend include Paint Ur Peace Art Studio in Charlotte, Meg Art in Huntersville, and Dish It Out Pottery Studio in Charlotte.

Search out Happy Hour deals

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P.C. @hawkerscharlotte

If you want to try some new foods and specialty cocktails on the cheap, we suggest searching for Happy Hour deals around town.

One website called Daily Special CLT will allow you to search out Happy Hour deals by the day, Charlotte neighborhood, and by drink and food specials separately.

A few restaurants in the area with great deals we recommend include:

  • Hawkers Asian Street Food, 1930 Camden Road #260 Charlotte, N.C.
    • From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 p.m. to close Sunday through Thursday, head to the restaurant for $3 small plates.
  • Kid Cashew, 1608 East Boulevard Charlotte, N.C.
    • The modern Mediterranean restaurant offers $6 small plates from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.
    • The restaurant also has daily drink specials including $6 martinis on Mondays, 1/2 off bottles of wine on Tuesdays, 1/2 off whisky, bourbon, and scotch on Wednesdays, and $6 craft cocktails on Thursdays.
  • 37sol Southwest Kitchen, 8724 Outlets Boulevard Charlotte, N.C.
    • Enjoy $5 dishes during Hangry Hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
    • The restaurant also features daily drink specials including $6 Moscow Mules & $6 margaritas on Tuesdays, 1/2 off glasses of wine & sangria on Wednesdays, $5 local pint drafts, $6 blackberry margaritas, $6 blackberry vanilla mojitos on Thursdays, and more!

Go swimming

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P.C. @carriganfarms

It’s way too hot outside! So maybe take your next date swimming and enjoy a little time outdoors together.

  • The Quarry at Carrigan Farms, 1213 Oakridge Farm Highway Mooresville, N.C.
    • The granite stone quarry located in Mooresville is the perfect place to cool off this summer.
    • Tickets for open swim are available for $15 per person.
    • Click here to reserve your time slot before driving down ($5 is required to reserve your time and can be used towards food once arriving at the quarry).
    • Reminder! Cash or paper checks are the only forms of payment they accept at the door.
  • Mecklenburg County pools and beaches.
    • Ramsey Creek Beach, 18441 Nantz Road Cornelius, N.C.
      • Open five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday, this beach is only $10 per vehicle for county residents and $15 per vehicle for non-residents to access.
    • Double Oaks Family Aquatic Center, 2014 Statesville Avenue Charlotte, N.C.
      • Open Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. this pool costs $2 per person to enjoy.
    • Cordelia Pool, 2100 North Davidson Street Charlotte, N.C.
      • Open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. this pool costs $2 per person to enjoy.

Click here to learn more about the hours and operation of Mecklenburg County pools and beaches.

Go Hiking

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P.C. @crowders.ranger

There are several local spots to go hiking in the state. Get out and enjoy nature on your next date for a free, intimate experience.

Bonus points if you pack a picnic to take with!

  • Kings Mountain, 807 South Battleground Avenue Kings Mountain, N.C.
    • With several trails to choose from, you won’t be disappointed by making the trip up to Kings Mountain.
  • Crowders
    • Linwood Road Access: 4611 Linwood Road Gastonia, N.C.
    • Boulders access: 108 Van Dyke Road Kings Mountain, N.C.
    • Sparrow Springs access: 522 Park Office Lane Kings Mountain, N.C.
    • This is probably the most popular place to hike in North Carolina. Close to an hour outside Charlotte, Crowders offers 2.5 miles of hiking.



  • Meetup is a service used to organize groups that host in-person and virtual events for people with similar interests.
  • From hiking groups, to trivia groups, bowling groups, and more, there is something for everyone!
  • Click here to join and search for various groups.
  • Pro Tip: Finding a group to meet up with may take some of the pressure off of being alone on your first date.

Volunteer together

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P.C. @VolunteerMatch

So you want your date to know you care…what better way to do that than volunteer together.

  • Check out VolunteerMatch here to get connected with volunteer opportunities in your area.
  • This is a great way to give back to the community and spend some time with like minded individuals.




If you haven’t heard of Groupon, what rock have you been under?

  • Groupon offers local deals from car services, massages, spas, restaurants, things to do, and more.
  • Just go to their website to see what deals are happening near you.

Go to a Museum

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P.C. @themintmuseum

If your date is an art lover, then checking out a museum may be the perfect choice.

  • Mint Museum Randolph/Uptown.
    • Tickets are usually $15 per adult with discounts available for college students, seniors, and children.
    • Go on Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for FREE admission to both museums.
    • Click here to purchase tickets ahead of time.
  • Levine Museum of the New South.
    • Tickets are $10 per adult with discounts available for frontline workers, students, kids, and more.
    • Tickets are 1/2 off on Sundays (FREE the first Sunday of every month).
    • Click here to purchase your tickets ahead to time.
  • Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
    • Tickets are $9 per adult with discounts available for seniors, students, educators, kids, and FREE for military personnel and their families.
    • Click here to purchase tickets ahead of time.
  • Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture.
    • Tickets are $9 per adult with discounts available for college students, kids, and more.
    • Click here to purchase tickets ahead of time.