If you are looking for fun things to do in Chapel Hill but are on a budget, look no further. Here are 5 free things to do in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


girl browsing art.Ackland Art Museum

This museum features over 18,000 pieces of art in their permanent collection. It contains a variety of European art, Asian art, African art, contemporary art, and even pottery from North Carolina. The museum contains everything from sculpture to photography to works of art from Asia on ancient paper. They hold many exhibitions throughout the year for people of all ages. Some are geared specifically toward young adults and students, as Ackland is part of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Botanical Gardenvenus fly trap.

The North Carolina Botanical Garden is another part of Chapel Hill. If you are looking for somewhere in Chapel Hill to take amazing photos, this is the place. They have over 9 different garden areas, each with a different theme. Besides the beautiful flowers, there is also a giant chess board, a cabin, and other structures that could be the perfect background for your next photoshoot.


Seats in basketball stadium.Basketball Attractions

Interested in basketball? You’re in luck. The Tar Heels have been playing their home games in the Dean E Smith Center since 1986, although it’s since been renovated into a cutting edge basketball arena. There are no official tours of the Smith Center, but you can view the court by walking through the seats. Chapel Hill is also home to the Carolina Basketball Museum. This museum contains interesting information about the Tar Heels. There are videos, photos, artifacts, and more.


Gimghoul CastleNo trespassing sign.

The Gimghoul Castle is a mystery. It’s a small castle that’s a bit hard to find, as it’s in a secluded section of a neighborhood near campus. Some say that it was home to a secret male fraternity from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill called the Order of Gimghoul. Supposedly, the cost for making the castle amounted to $50,000. It was built in 1924, while the secret order was founded in 1889. There are many rumors about the castle, including that a man named Peter Drumgoole was killed and buried on property. While we don’t know if that’s true, we know this creepy castle is worth the visit for the photographs alone.


Girl eating at restaurant. Franklin Street

If you are looking for nightlife in Chapel Hill, Franklin Street is the place to go. Just walking down the street, you ll hear music from some of over 200 restaurants, bars, and stores lining the street. Many of the festivals and special events of Chapel Hill are held here. Stop by Kipos Greek Taverna, one of our favorite dessert shops, while you’re there.

By Martha Kendall Custard