We investigate axion-like particles (ALPs) in the context of asymptotically safe gravity-matter systems. The ALP-photon interaction, which facilitates experimental searches for ALPs, is a dimension-5-operator. Quantum fluctuations of gravity lower its scaling dimension, and the ALP-photon coupling can become asymptotically free or even asymptotically safe. However, quantum fluctuations of gravity need to be strong to overcome the canonical scaling and this strong-gravity regime is in tension with the weak-gravity bound in asymptotic safety. Thus, we tentatively conclude that fundamental ALPs can likely not be accommodated in asymptotically safe gravity-matter systems. In turn, an experimental discovery of an ALP would thus shed valuable light on the quantum nature of gravity.