Free Things To Do In Nashville: Nashville has plenty of free things to offer visitors too as well as fun nearby day trips. So if you’re looking for ways to enjoy your stay there, without spending a lot of money, these are the very best activities that you can do in 2021 that won’t cost you a dime.
Nashville has so much natural beauty, along with a vibrant art and music scene, there’s no shortage of opportunities to create memories in Music City for free or cheap!
Free Things/Activities to Do In Nashville
1. The Parthenon At Centennial Park
The Parthenon is an interesting building in the middle of an urban park in Nashville. It was built to commemorate Nashville’s Centennial anniversary and houses an art museum.
The museum has an entry fee, but it is free to explore the outside of the Parthenon with its columns and the nearby statues.
If you have kids, check out Kidsville, a free, educational, and crafty weekly program at 11:00 on Saturdays. It’s the only way to see inside the Parthenon for free!
2. Tennessee State Museum
This gem is tucked away beneath the Tennessee Performing Arts Center and admission is absolutely free! The museum was a welcome respite from the hot, humid day we were experiencing. We spent two hours exploring everything it had to offer.
The boys loved all the Native America arrowheads and artifacts they had on display. There was a large section devoted to President Andrew Jackson and his impact on the country.
The museum also had strategically placed ‘Story Baskets’ throughout the exhibits. These contained hands on activates and books to further help little brains understand what they were seeing.
Tennessee has a rich history and its story is well told at this completely free Tennessee museum!
3. Cool Off in the Lake
Several of the state parks located close to Nashville offer access to Percy Priest Lake or other large lakes in the area. Many of these parks, such as Long Hunter and Montgomery Bell have free beaches that allow visitors safe and easy access to the cool, refreshing waters.
The summers are long and hot in the Music City, so if you’re looking for a way to beat the heat, consider visiting one of these locations.
4. Dukes of Hazzard Museum
Anyone else grows up watching this family constantly get into trouble? Cooter’s Place is home to Nashville’s one and only Dukes of Hazzard Museum and Shop, operated by Cooter himself — Ben Jones.
5. Music City Walk Of Fame
Located on Nashville’s Music Mile, this tribute to some of music’s greatest artists is a fun way to spend an afternoon stroll. Artists are announced, inducted, and a ceremony is given as their star is placed in the walkway.
6. Tour The Tennessee State Capitol
Learning about state government and the history behind the building, some from even before 1859, can be fun even for kiddos.
If you are interested, they will be, too. Staff of the State Museum offers tours Monday through Friday at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m..
All tours begin at the Information Desk on the first floor. Groups of ten or more should make a reservation prior to their visit by calling the Public Programs Department at (615) 741-0830 or toll-free (800) 407-4324.
If you’re coming via car, there is no private parking, so you must pay the meter or find a lot. On weekends, visitors may park free in the state employee parking lots around the State Capitol.
7. Goo Goo Shop and Dessert Bar
The Goo Goo Cluster candy confection was created in Nashville in 1912. Whether you’ve tried a Goo Goo Cluster before or not, this is a great stop for all ages. It’s located just off Broadway, in an area known as SoBro.
In addition to sampling the featured treat, you can watch the clusters being made behind a glass wall. If chocolate and caramel isn’t your thing, they have retro candy, sodas and coffee available to purchase as well.
8. Bicentennial Park
Don’t confuse this downtown park with Centennial Park, two miles away. Bicentennial Park offers free one hour tours, led by park rangers, Monday through Friday at 2 pm.
The park has a World War 11 Memorial, 31 fountains representing the major bodies of water in Tennessee, and native trees, shrubs, ferns, grasses, and wildflowers.
9. Nashville Farmers Market
Located in north Nashville, this is another great place that the whole family will enjoy visiting. The market is open every day, with a variety of special events happening throughout the week.
Be sure to check their calendar for community celebrations, cooking classes, or the Night Market. Night Market takes place on the third Friday of every month, offering live music, family activities, food trucks and adult beverages.
Admission is free, so anything you spend on food or drinks is up to you. The Market House Restaurants and Shops offer everything from Chinese, to bbq, to Jamaican fare. It’s a fun, affordable place to taste flavors from around the world.
10. Fannie Mae Dees Park
Sometimes nicknamed “Dragon Park”, this park is toddler and child-friendly, hosting a giant mosaic dragon that is perfect for exploring and climbing.
There are also lots of play areas, a little water area for hot days, and a neat rock play area with slides and tunnels.
11. Bluebird Cafe
The Bluebird Cafe is famous for its intimate shows with singers and songwriters. Their 6:00 pm evening shows are free, but require making reservations in advance. They is a $10 minimum food and drink purchase on each person, so it’s only almost free.
The tickets generally go on sale the week before the performance and sell out quickly, so be sure to put your name on the list as close to one week out as possible.
If you can’t get tickets, check when the doors open at 5:00 pm to see if there are any spaces in their 10 pew seats or any no-shows at the reserved tables. Lines start forming early for these seats.
12. Purchase a Tourist Pass
While not free up front, if you purchase one of Nashville’s city passes you can visit multiple attractions for a bulk discount. These are perfect if you want to see and experience as much of the city as possible.
If you maximize your time efficiently, you will end up getting free entry to multiple attractions each day.
Some passes include bus and trolley tours, museums, Madame Tussauds, the Country Music Hall of Fame, river cruises, and even the zoo.
13. Go Honky Tonkin’ on Broadway
Nashville’s Broadway Street is home to the most famous honky tonk spots in the entire world. In fact, you can listen to great music every night of the week in these colorful, chaotic, local bars.
is almost never a cover charge on Broadway, which means that on any given night you’re likely to hear an impressive line-up of local bands — and occasionally some surprise guests — as they put on a show.
14. Visit the Historic Fort Negley
History buffs will love visiting Fort Negley, which holds the distinction of being the largest inland stone fortification built during the Civil War.
The site’s visitor center offers up insightful information about this important location and is fun to stroll through as well. But self-guided tours of the remains of the fort are absolutely free, with the grounds being open and accessible during daylight hours.
You’ll even find an expansive fossil dig located at the site, which gives travelers the chance to discover their own fossil and take it home with them.
15. Take a Hike at Beautiful Radnor Lake
Conveniently located not far from town, Radnor Lake State Park is a wonderful place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
Visitors will find more than 6 miles of hiking trail to explore, with scenic views of the titular waterway throughout. Those trails are not only perfect for spotting local birds and other wildlife, they are also completely accessible by all-terrain wheelchairs too.
And while Radnor Lake is lovely all year round, it is especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves take on red, yellow, and orange hues.
We loved our time in Nashville once again. The renaissance that’s happening in the city means that every time we visit, there’s something new to discover.
If you visit with friends or another family, you can find plenty of Airbnb’s to accommodate your group and save even more money. It’s truly a budget-friendly, bustling city that appeals to both young and old!
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