10 BEST free things to do in Galway 2024 (we tried them all)

The so-called City of the Tribes held the title of European Capital of Culture in 2020, and for great reason. Let’s take a look at the ten best free things to do in Galway.

Anyone who has been to Galway knows that it is a true gem of our little country and captivates almost everyone that visits it.

Galway has a reputation for being an artsy, alternative city with many quirky places to explore, much like Melbourne or Camden Town in London.

Each city in Ireland is different, of course, but each one has something special about it, and every time you go back, you will discover something new.

With that being said, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to explore, discover, and have a great time in Galway. In fact, there are many free things to do that you may have overlooked.

So, here are the ten best free things to do in Galway, ranked.

Ireland Before You Die’s top 8 interesting facts about Galway!

  • Galway is home to one of the longest place names in Ireland, Muckanaghederdauhaulia.
  • The city has a rich medieval history and was once ruled by 14 merchant families.
  • The city was hit by the Bubonic plague from 1348 to 1350, which killed 4,000 residents.
  • Galway is home to the second-fastest flowing river in Europe, The Corrib River.
  • The smallest museum in Ireland, Nora Barnacle’s House, can be found in Galway.
  • The city hosts the Galway International Arts Festival every July.
  • Galway has the largest Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking community) in Ireland, Connemara.
  • There are almost 500 pubs in Galway throughout the county.

10. Eyre Square – the place to people watch

Eyre Square is a great place for people watching.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Also known as the JFK Memorial Park, Eyre Square is the best meeting spot in the city and a great place to rest, relax, soak up the sun, or have a picnic.

Address: Eyre Square, Co. Galway

RELATED: The 10 BEST things to do in Galway, Ireland (for 2023)

9. St Nicholas Church – for a free music event

St Nicholas Church is one of the best free things to do in Galway.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

Watch one of the many free concerts here or purely admire the church for what it is – the largest medieval church in Ireland.

It holds regular concerts, so be on the lookout if you’re looking for one of the best free things to do in Galway.

Address: St. Nicholas Collegiate Church, Lombard St, Co. Galway

8. Soak up the vibes of Quay Street – the street for the senses

Soak up the vibes on Quay Street.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Galway’s bustling Quay Street is where you can surround yourself with the vibrant Galway atmosphere.

With many pubs, cafes, people, live music, and much more, your senses will be delighted here, and it’s one of the best free things to do in Galway for sure.

Address: Quay Street, Co. Galway

7. Visit Galway Market – a local favourite

Visit the Galway Market for one of the best free things to do in Galway.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

To get a glimpse into local life and pick up some treats, head to the city’s market held every Saturday and Sunday, year-round.

If you find yourself in Galway leading up to Christmas, watch it transform into a traditional festive market.

Address: 7 Lombard St, Galway

READ ALSO: IB4UD’s Top 5 must-see markets in Ireland

6. Take a stroll on the Salthill Promenade – for a breath of fresh air

Take a stroll along the Salthill Promenade, just like in the song.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

This is the spot to take in the vibes and the fresh sea air, all while listening to the waves as you stroll along the famous Salthill Promenade, featured in many famous songs and movies. This spot is also a favourite among photographers in Galway and is one of the best places to see the sunset in Ireland.

Address: Salthill, Co. Galway

READ ALSO: The Top Five Most Instagram-able Spots in County Galway

5. Take in the sight of the Spanish Arch – a great piece of Galway’s history

The Spanish Arch is one of the best free things to do in Galway.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Also known as Ceann an Bhalla or Head of the Wall, the Spanish Arch should, in fact, be called ‘arches’ considering there are two.

It is one of Galway’s last remaining parts of the old city walls, and part of it was even destroyed during the tsunami that came after the Great Lisbon Earthquake, making it one of the most unique locations and things to do in Galway.

Address: 2 The Long Walk, Co. Galway

MORE: IB4UD’s guide to the history of the Spanish Arch in Galway

4. Marvel at the Galway City Museum – a family favourite and one of the best free things to do in Galway

You can't miss the Galway City Museum.
Credit: geograph.ie / Ian Capper

For the history and culture enthusiast, the Galway City Museum cannot be missed.

Admission is free to all the permanent exhibitions, and if you’re travelling with kids, check out the interactive exhibits on the top floor. This is a great free activity for all the family and one of the best things to do with kids in Galway.

Address: Spanish Parade, Co. Galway

READ ALSO: The top 10 best free museums in Ireland you need to visit

3. Galway Cathedral – a glorious place to discover

Galway Cathedral is one of the best free things to do in Galway.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

There is no admission to this fantastic monument in Galway City, so take your time in here exploring one of the city’s most iconic buildings.

Complete with beautiful stained-glass windows, floor patterns, and hand-crafted stations of the cross, this is a glorious place to discover.

Address: Gaol Rd, Co. Galway

2. Galway Arts Centre – the perfect day out

Galway Arts Centre is the perfect family day out.
Credit: geograph.ie / N Chadwick

Well, a trip to the Galway Arts Centre will certainly keep you busy with its 3000 sq ft (280 sq m) Irish art gallery, regular events, and exhibitions. This is the place to spend the day surrounded by visual arts and culture.

Address: 47 Dominick St Lower, Co. Galway

READ ALSO: Ireland Before You Die’s Top 5 best hidden gems in County Galway

1. Enjoy a trad session at Tig Choili – for the music lovers

Tig Choili is one of the best free things to do in Galway.
Credit: Facebook / @tig.choili

Tig Choili is the home of ‘trad’ or traditional music in Galway and is the ideal spot for an evening out enjoying the beautiful sounds of Irish music.

This is one of the best free things to do in Galway and one you won’t ever forget.

Address: Mainguard St, The Latin Quarter, Co. Galway

So, there you have it, the ten best free things to do in Galway. There’s no need to break the bank when visiting Ireland’s capital of culture as these activities will certainly keep you busy while saving those few euros. What could be better?

Your questions answered about visiting Galway!

If you still have questions, we have you covered! In this section, we’ve compiled some of our readers’ most frequently asked questions and popular questions that have been asked online about this topic.

Is Galway worth visiting?

Absolutely! Galway has a vibrant arts and music scene, fantastic seafood, and stunning coastal scenery, and offers a variety of must-visit places. There are so many unique things to see and do in Galway.

How many days should I spend in Galway?

This really depends on how much time you have and what you want to see and do! If you want to explore the city itself, two to three days should be enough time to see the main attractions and get a feel for the vibrant culture. If you plan to also visit the surrounding areas like the Cliffs of Moher or the Aran Islands, you may want to add an extra day or two to your Galway itinerary.

What is Galway most famous for?

Galway is known for Connemara Marble, the Claddagh Ring and for being the festival capital of Ireland.

What is there to do in Galway when it’s raining?

There are plenty of things to do in Galway on a rainy day, such as checking out the local art galleries, trying your hand at an escape room or catching a movie at Galway cinema.

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