The centrally located province is divided into one metro (Mangaung Metro) and four districts namely Xhariep, Lejweleputswa, Thabo Mofutsanyane, and Fezile Dabi district municipalities.
The Mangaung Metro is home to the capital of the province - Bloemfontein, also known as the "City of Roses". The city is regarded as the business and central hub of the province. With the North -South N1 and east -west N8 highways passing through the axis, Bloemfontein is linked to all of South Africa's major cities by road and rail and has a modern airport.
Other towns within Mangaung Metro include Thaba Nchu and Botshabelo. Agriculture, mining and manufacturing sectors cover a relatively small share compared to the province and country. The tertiary sector of the local economy is very significant within the context of the province.
The Xhariep district, previously called Gariep by the indigenous Khoikhoi people, houses one of the tourist attractions in the Gariep Dam with accommodation and leisure facilities mainly around water spots. The district is the smallest compared to the other districts with about 5.2% share of the total provincial population. Most of economic activity in the district is in the agricultural sector (sheep farming) followed by mining, especially of diamonds in the Letsemeng municipal area. Some of the well known towns in the district include Jagersfontein, Koffiefontein, Reddersburg Trompsburg, Edenburg, Zadtron and Philipollis.
The Lejweleputswa district, also known as the Goldfields of the Free State, has mining as its most important economic activity followed by agriculture. The mining in the district is predominantly gold with the main agricultural produce being maize. The mining town of Welkom is the major urban centre in the district. The town of Virginia is the site of a jewellery school and it is intended that this will form the nucleus of a jewellery beneficiation hub. The district is home to towns like Brandfort, Bothaville, Hennenman, Ventersburg, Winburg, Theunissen, and Odendaalsrus.
Thabo Mofutsanyane District
Thabo Mofutsanyane district covers the Eastern part of the province and it borders Lesotho and KwaZulu Natal province. The district is known for its tourist attraction sites such as the Drakensburg and Maluti mountain ranges, and the most famous attraction in the Golden Gate Highland National Park. Although the district is well known for its tourist attractions, agriculture in the district is the biggest contributor to the province's economy. Some of the well known towns in the district include Clarens, Ficksburg, Harrismith, Bethlehem nd QwaQwa.
Fezile Dabi District
The fourth district municipal area in the province is Fezile Dabi which covers the Northern part of Free State. Fezile Dabi is the second largest mining district in the province after Lejweleputswa. The area is considered to be the strategic agricultural region producing considerable share of South Africa's grain crop. The district is the only area in the province where manufacturing is the main contributing sector to the district's economy.
The area is mostly dominated by the industrial giant, Sasol, with the manufacturing of refined petroleum, coke and chemical products adding largely to its GDP. The establishment of Chemcity, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sasol has also added a business incubator which allows for SMME's to feed off and diversify from the opportunities. Well known towns in the region include Kroonstad, Frankfort, Parys and Vredefort with the attraction site in Vredefort Dome being the third largest Meteorite site in the world.