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It’s easy to spend money in Nashville, Tennessee if you splurge on fine dining restaurants, upscale boutique shopping, and high-end hotels. There is a long list of things to do in this city, but it can also be an affordable destination if you plan your itinerary wisely and take advantage of all the free things it has to offer.
To inspire your next road trip to “Music City,” here are some budget-friendly things to do in Nashville, Tennessee.
Tennessee State Capitol Building
What Is It? Nashville is the capital city of Tennessee, and there is a capitol building that you can visit here to learn more about the city. The building was first opened in 1859 and offers free tours.
Why Do It? The building is a wonderful tribute to the land and people of Tennessee. Guided tours are offered on a first-come, first-served basis on weekdays and last 45 minutes.
Good to Know: You can also do a self-guided tour of the capital on weekdays from 9am to 4pm. However, keep in mind that you will need to pay for parking during the week at a paid lot or parking meter.
Public Art Murals
What Is It? There are some unique murals scattered around the city of Nashville, which you can see on your own by driving to various sites in Germantown, the Gulch, and Jefferson Street.
Why Do It? It’s free to visit the murals and take all the pictures you like on a DIY mural tour. They make the perfect backdrops for your travel selfies!
Good to Know: Check out the Visit Music City website for a listing of murals in the city to find them in places like 8th Avenue and Melrose, 12 South, Belmont, and Hillsboro Village.
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
What Is It? Nashville hosted a bicentennial celebration in 1996, but you can still learn a lot about local history when you visit this 11-acre park today. The park has a World War II Memorial, a 95-bell carillon, fountains, and native plants on display.
Why Do It? The park is conveniently located in downtown Nashville and is a nice place to go for a walk.
Good to Know: There is a visitor’s center at the park that is open between 8am and 4:30pm on weekdays. You can find maps and even a mobile app on the Tennessee State Parks website if you’d like to take a self-guided tour of the park.
Live Music Performances
What Is It? Nashville is known for its live music, and fortunately, many of the performances don’t cost any money to see. You can explore the Broadway District and pop into various bars to listen to live music with no cover charges, especially earlier in the day.
Why Do It? It would be a shame to visit Nashville and not experience the amazing music here! There are almost always some free performances going on, so it’s not hard to find a show to catch regardless of when you plan your trip.
Good to Know: Centennial Park and Public Square Park are common places to find free performances, especially during the summer.
The Parthenon in Centennial Park
What Is It? Located in Centennial Park, the Parthenon is a majestic structure that dates back to the late 1800s. It is a replica of the Parthenon in Greece and is accompanied by a 42-foot-tall Athena statute.
Why Do It? The Parthenon is impressive to see both day and night. It is also home to the art museum in the city, which features 19th and 20th-century paintings by American artists.
Good to Know: If you’d like to go into the museum at the Parthenon, the adult admission fee is $10, and the youth admission fee for ages four to 17 is $8.
Nashville Farmers’ Market
What Is It? There’s a great farmers’ market in Nashville that has been going on since the 1800s. It is a place where you can browse the goods from local retailers, artisans, and food vendors. There are cooking classes and a food hall at the market too.
Why Do It? The farmers’ market operates year-round and offers a fun way to spend a day in the city. The market house is open daily from 8am to 6pm, and there is free, two-hour parking available.
Good to Know: If you enjoy markets, you might also like checking out the Nashville Flea Market at the fairgrounds. There are usually around 1,000 vendors here selling their goods to the public. It’s a great spot to browse for antiques, furniture, vintage clothing, yard art, and more.
Sip Local Brews
What Is It? Nashville has an impressive craft brewery scene, so plan to stop by some of the breweries during your visit.
Why Do It? You can visit breweries during happy hour times to get specials on drinks, or get a sampler flight of beer to try a few options before committing to a full pint. Many breweries offer daily deals and have free entertainment onsite, such as yard games and concerts.
Good to Know: A few of the many breweries to check out in town are the Jackalope Brewing Company, Bearded Iris Brewing, and Southern Grist Brewing Company.
Radnor Lake State Park
What Is It? This is a 1,368-acre state park in Tennessee where you can view wildlife and get a dose of nature along with your city adventures. The park has a visitor’s center and offers weekly tours and interpretative programs.
Why Do It? Radnor Lake State Park is a day-use park with 7.75 miles of trails for hiking, taking photos, and viewing wildlife. It is in an urban area and is ideal for nature enthusiasts who are visiting the Nashville area.
Good to Know: Check out the Walter Criley Visitor Center to learn more about the park and the Historic Valve House Trail to learn about local railroad history. The Barbara J. Mapp Aviary Education Center is a place to see birds of prey in an aviary and along a boardwalk.
Music City Walk of Fame
What Is It? Located along Nashville’s Music Mile, the Music City Walk of Fame recognizes musical artists across many genres who have a Nashville connection. You can see if for yourself on Demonbreun Street between 4th and 5th Avenues.
Why Do It? It is free to see the Walk of Fame and take photos with the names of your favorite artists. Also, it’s not just country music artists featured on the sidewalks here.
Good to Know: The Walk of Fame is open 24 hours a day except for when a special event is going on.
Tennessee State Museum
What Is It? To learn about Tennessee’s culture and history, you can visit the Tennessee State Museum and explore the various exhibitions. The museum focuses on events that have shaped daily life in Tennessee, ranging from the Civil War to artistic endeavors.
Why Do It? The museum is free to visit and has exhibits that are from prehistoric times all the way through modern days.
Good to Know: You can visit the museum on Sundays from 1-5pm and on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10am to 5pm.
First Saturday Art Crawl
What Is It? On the first Saturday of the month, you can immerse yourself in Nashville’s art scene in the downtown area. On this day each month, there are lots of opportunities to walk into galleries and learn about artists’ works.
Why Do It? It is free to attend the art walk, and some of the galleries even offer free refreshments to people who come in to see the art.
Good to Know: The art crawls take place from 5-8pm on the first Saturday of every month. Over 1,000 people attend the free event each time it is held.
What Is It? Nashville is a city that loves a good festival, and there are many events to check out throughout the year. Some festivals charge and admission fee, while others are free to attend.
Why Do It? Festivals connect you to the local culture in Nashville and are a fun way to spend a day listening to music, celebrating the holidays, and entertaining the whole family.
Good to Know: Some top festivals to get on your radar before visiting Nashville are the Live on the Green Music Festival, Oktoberfest, Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival, and CMA Music Festival. Annual events that you may be interested in are the Nashville Boat Show, Nashville Fashion Week, Nashville Comedy Festival, Nashville Pride Festival, and Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival.