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There are only so many times a student can grab a bite with friends on Franklin Street before either becoming broke or bored with the routine. Despite not feeling like it sometimes, Chapel Hill and Carrboro are home to a plethora of activities you can enjoy without worrying about finances. 

Carrboro Farmers' Market

Every Saturday morning year-round and Wednesday afternoon seasonally, the Carrboro Farmers' Market takes place at the Carrboro Town Commons on West Main Street.

A simple stroll along the market’s path is enough to feed your soul. If you’re lucky, you can catch some live music in the gazebo. Even if you do not purchase anything, the year-round market is a wonderful display of produce, flowers, pastries, local art and more. 

The market also organizes and holds special events. On June 8, it will host June in Bloom with flowers, art, themed-food samples and live music. July 13 will be Tomato Day, which the market website calls its signature event. August 4-10 is National Farmers Market Week which the market will celebrate with a "mini museum" and other festivities.

North Carolina Botanical Garden

The North Carolina Botanical Garden is a conservation garden located on Old Mason Farm Road in Chapel Hill. The garden is home to an ecosystem of native plants, breathtaking wildflowers and lively fauna that are maintained by sustainable gardening practices.

Jennifer Peterson, North Carolina Botanical Gardens’ director of communications and visitor experience, said the garden is a very relaxing place for students. 

"I know students face very stressful days with lots of classes and balancing studying and work and activities, and we offer a quiet, nice place to just relax and get in touch with nature and just take a moment for yourself," she said.

In addition to the display gardens, the gardens are home to the James & Delight Allen Education Center and the Piedmont nature trails. The gardens also provide volunteer and internship opportunities for students interested in horticulture. 

Bolin Creek Trail

Bolin Creek trail is a 2.5 mile-long trail located north of UNC's campus and is open from dawn to dusk every day. The walkway is paved through a meadow and grants direct pedestrian or bike access to views of Chapel Hill's lush nature.

The trail is easily accessible through the Chapel Hill Community Center and Umstead Park. Other entrances are available through the Tanyard Branch and Battle Branch trails. 

Chapel Hill Public Library

Rain or shine, the Chapel Hill Public Library is a sanctuary. Whether you are hunting for your next read or studying for an upcoming midterm, the space provides numerous resources. 

The library has meeting rooms, study rooms, a studio and even a B3 Coffee kiosk. The library also hosts events such as tech tutoring, author spotlights, craft nights and more. 

Chapel Hill Public Library accepts volunteer applications for several positions, including event support, garden corps and collections assistants. The library is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Ackland Art Museum

Next time you're searching for a free way to spend your day, consider visiting the Ackland Art Museum — open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. — located just off campus at 110 S. Columbia St. 

“It’s always super welcoming, and I think they’re really trying to foster an appreciation for art," Anna Keith Sullivan, an Ackland student guide, said.

The museum also holds tours and hosts events, as well as free ArtWalks, where artists lead sessions and discuss their techniques. They also host docent-led tours and student-led, discussion-based tours, amongst other events. 

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