We believe that you don’t need a massive budget to have a great time in Nashville. If you know where to look, you’ll find plenty of things to do and see completely for free. Having been around the block a few times, we’ve discovered plenty of great free activities and attractions in Nashville that we are more than happy to share with you!
1. Catch a Free Live Music Show
When in Music City, attending concerts is a must! However, you don’t need to break the bank to hear some great live performances. Across the city there are a ton of places that host fantastic live music shows throughout the week, and they don’t require a cover charge. That said, still remember to tip the bands you see for the great shows they put on.
Check out the Nashville Tourism Guide to Free Live Music for a list of the best free music venues.
2. Take a Free Tour of the State Capitol Building
Nashville was selected as the permanent state capitol of Tennessee in 1843. The capitol building has stood since 1859, and it was added to the National Historic Register of Historic Places in 1970 as well as declared a National Historic Landmark in 1971. Inside these great marble walls resides a century and a half of remarkable living history that you just have to see!
Visitors can tour the stoic Tennessee State Capitol building on either guided or self-guided tours from Monday-Friday free of charge. Guided tours are approximately 45-minutes long and limited to groups of 15.
3. Discover More Tennessee History at the State Museum
If you’re itching to learn more about Tennessee’s culture and history after your state capitol tour (who wouldn’t?!), then you have to make a trip to the Tennessee State Museum. This immense museum covers everything from Tennessee’s natural history beginnings through to the present day. Admission is free, but you can make donations to the museum if you like.
After your visit to the Tennessee State Museum, two other great free places to see are Fort Negley and the Fort Donelson National Battlefield. Both were significant sites during the Civil War, and they are deeply fascinating to explore today!
4. Relax at a Tranquil Nashville Park
Yes, every town and city has parks to relax in, but Nashville parks go above and beyond the call of park duty! A perfect example of this is Centennial Park which features the standard affairs like nature trails, ponds and lakes, a dog park, etc. However, in addition to those, Centennial Park hosts a full-scale recreation of the Greek Parthenon. You know, because why not just throw that in the mix?
And that’s just the one aspect of one of the many great parks to check out in Nashville. Be sure to check out our Nashville Parks information page to learn more about Centennial and other local parks.
5. Absorb Nashville’s Contemporary Art Scene
Although Nashville is famous for its music, a stroll down almost any street will reveal the city’s artistic spirit as well. Not only do the combined storefronts of Nashville’s famous Broadway look like a vibrant painting in-and-of-itself, but the many walls of the street are also adorned with impressive murals and street art.
Off the streets there are several art galleries and exhibits free to enter. The Sarratt Gallery at Vanderbilt University, for example, features 10 exhibits of contemporary art from regional and national artists every year. Check the Art Scene page on the Nashville Tourism website for more impressive galleries and exhibits.
To sum up, you really don’t need a large budget to have a great time in Nashville. When you know where to look, you’ll find more than enough art, culture, and history to enjoy for free. And, after your full budget-friendly day, you can come back to your Nashville vacation home to relax for a good night stay.