It is possible to enjoy our fine city's culture, history and music without spending a dime. Few things are as pleasurable as looking back on a night out sans a receipt-padded wallet. Summer in Atlanta means free flicks under the stars, no-cover rock 'n' roll, complimentary art events, and much more. It's all here and it's all free. Sure, love don't cost a thing, but a good time is cheaper than you think.
ALCOVE GALLERY OPENINGS We think Alcove Gallery hosts some of the best opening parties in town. The Cartoon Madness IV: Circus fete included flamethrowers, jugglers, clowns and live music. Next up is Barcelona artist Sergio Mora with the boxing series La Serpiente Latina, opening June 12. Expect live music and a boxing tie-in among other bells and whistles. The gallery celebrates its six-year anniversary July 10 with a David Lynch-themed show, with different actors and actress portraying characters from the surrealist filmmaker’s varied body of work. 2852 E. College Ave., Decatur. 404-508-6866. www.alcovearts.com.
CASTLEBERRY HILL ARTS STROLL Add some culture (and wine) to your evening with a leisurely turn through one of Atlanta's most interesting arts districts. Peruse the goods at the diverse selection of galleries and check out unique neighborhood lofts. Fourth Friday of every month. www.castleberryhill.org/artstroll.
CRIMINAL RECORDS IN-STORE PERFORMANCES Summer is the season when big-name concerts come through town, but most of us would prefer not to shell out big bucks to see overpriced superstars. Fight the man, support local artists, and check out the abundance of free in-store performances at Criminal Records in Little Five Points. The Black Lips, Mastodon and the Coathangers have all made appearances. Rocksploitation plays May 16 and Willie Heath Neal drops in June 5. Shows tend to pop up on the schedule at the last minute, though, so keep an eye out and an ear open. 466 Moreland Ave. 404-215-9511. www.criminal.com.
EAST ATLANTA VILLAGE FARMERS MARKET This year the EAV Farmers Market counts its fourth season spreading the local, sustainable food vibe. While the market is free to attend and enjoy — and possibly partake in a few samples — you'll have to drop some dough to take home fresh greens from Greenleaf Farm and veggies from Scharko Farms, among others. But believe us, it's worth it. Thursdays, 4 p.m., May-November. 1231 Glenwood Ave. at Village Hardware. www.farmeav.com.
THE KING CENTER The kiddies are home from school, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't take part in a little schoolin'. Head over to the King Center to see the official, living memorial dedicated to the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most important people in not only Atlanta's history, but our nation's as well. Summer hours are extended until 6 p.m. between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Mon.-Sun., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 449 Auburn Ave. 404-526-8900. www.thekingcenter.org.
OAKLAND CEMETERY Few spots in Atlanta rival Oakland Cemetery's picturesque history. Home to the final resting place of many of Atlanta's most noted citizens, including Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell, the cemetery's a visual delight with an abundance of sculptures and garden space. Use the grounds as an artistic muse or come after dark to tell scary stories with your friends — or whatever you kids are into these days. 248 Oakland Ave. 404-688-2107. www.oaklandcemetery.com.
SCREEN ON THE GREEN Stretch out on the lawn with a blanket, a picnic and a few of your buds and catch a flick under the stars. This year's lineup includes Back to the Future, Dreamgirls, Field of Dreams, and Home Alone, and wraps up with a viewer's choice. Through June 25. Free. Every Thursday at sunset. Centennial Olympic Park Great Lawn, 265 Park Ave. www.centennialpark.com.
UNPLUGGED IN THE PARK One of Atlanta's longest-running free concert series is back for its seventh season. In the past, Unplugged in the Park has featured stripped-down performances from the likes of the Fray, Regina Spektor and Band of Horses. While this year's lineup has yet to be announced, it's always a must-do. Sundays, June-October. Piedmont Park, 400 Park Drive. 404-875-7275. www.parktavern.com.