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5 Free Things to do in Ashland


5 Free Things to do in Ashland

By Rebecca Kinman

It’s the middle of winter. Although the promise of summertime offers Ashlanders a cornucopia of activities on the horizon, some of us may like to step out of our cozy homes beforehand and experience the many possibilities our quaint town has to offer.

Most of us would also like to not have to dig too deep inside our wallets to do so. With the economy as it is, free activities are sometimes a life-saver, so it’s nice to know that we can still enjoy our town no matter what we have in the bank.

Although Ashland may have a reputation for being one of the more “expensive” towns in the Rogue Valley, we do have a variety of free activities that we can enjoy year-round. So let’s take a look at 5 free things to do in Ashland:

Visit the Library

How about catching up on all that reading you’ve been putting off? With a wonderful collection of magazines, fiction and non-fiction books, dvd’s, family and community activities, and more, the Ashland Public Library is a great place to visit all year long for people of any age.

We are also blessed to have our very own Rogue Valley Metaphysical Library which allows members to check out books of a more cosmic and esoteric nature.

The Hannon Library at SOU has three floors of extensive information, including some beautiful historical and cultural art on display. The use of the library is free for students and alumni. The public is free to use the library as well, though may only check out materials with a “Friends of the Library” membership (1 year for $45).

Visiting an Ashland Park

Did you know that Ashland has at least 18 parks? Did you know that Ashland covers 6.6 square miles? Well you now know that Ashland has roughly 3 parks per square mile, not too bad for a town already in the middle of virtually endless nature. There is so much to do in a park, like sitting and meditating, throwing a frisbee, playing whiffle ball, having a conversation with a dear friend, or reading a book. Furthermore, here in Ashland the parks can be enjoyed year round if you dress appropriately for the season. We have an extensive list of Ashland parks for your perusal and even note some of our favorites.

First Friday Art Walk

Without fail, the Ashland Gallery Association agrees on the first Friday of every month that the many galleries and a number of shops will stay open and display the work of some of the area’s most skilled and talented artists. My absolute favorite place to visit on First Friday is the Ashland Art Center with three floors of interesting art, crafts, live music, and delicious wine and snacks. Check out the Ashland Gallery Association’s website for a map of each month’s participating locations.

Walking – HikingBiking, etc. 

We are so lucky to have so many foot paths and bike trails inside and outside of the city that are not only scenic but also well maintained. Outdoor activity is essential to a healthy lifestyle, but many activities cost absolutely nothing – and with a friend it can be a wonderful way to spend an afternoon together. We have two dozen outdoor recreation ideas listed on our website, so pick one that piques your fancy, and enjoy!


Having something to do doesn’t necessarily need to be in the realm of passively receiving entertainment. However, it can be quite exciting and definitely rewarding to get involved in a volunteer activity that sparks our interest. We have a long list of well-established non-profit organizations, spiritual centers, and other grassroots programs like the Southern Oregon Time Co-op that could use the community’s time, energy and effort to create a positive experience for locals and non-locals alike. Search organizations where you might be interested in volunteering by visiting our Directory page and narrow by selecting the “non-profit organizations” category.

Whatever you find yourself involved in here in Ashland, it’s always comforting to know that the most valuable things are quite often free.