Free Things to Do in Nashville – Make the Most of Your Short Trip

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free things to do in nashville

As the holidays are drawing nearer, the excitement of your vacation to The States is getting bigger. But your itinerary seems to be bursting at the seams. How would you make the most of your trip to Nashville? Here are some fun and free things to do in Nashville. This list promises you more bang for your buck.

Nashville is one of the most beautiful cities in the United States. It is also one of the most expensive ones. But there are some things that a tourist can do without touching her wallet, like –

  • Visit parks and gardens
  • Witness the rich arts
  • Spend time at vineyards and farms

Here are some of the things that you can accommodate in a short trip that won’t burn a hole in your pocket:

Gaylord Opryland Resort Gardens

free things to do in nashville
Image Credit: Travel Channel

If trees, plants, and exquisite varieties of flora are your thing, you would love the nine acres of indoor gardens. You may stroll around or take a guided boat tour in the indoor river. Watch the different kinds of fountains and feel refreshed. There are about fifty thousand tropical plants – memorize their names and then forget the very next minute.

The Gaylord Opryland boasts rare international blooms handpicked by in-house horticulturists from various nurseries. A burst of flowers of multiple hues, a leisurely walk amidst refreshing greens, exhilarating fountains, and boat rides, this place is ideal for those romantic Instagram reels.

Centennial Park

Located some two miles west of Downtown, Centennial Park is a premier park in Nashville. The 132-acre park has free entry and offers a lot of open space. If you love your morning run or simply looking for free things to do in Nashville, this park is for you. Here are some of the primary attractions of this park

  • The Parthenon
  • Lake Watauga
  • The Centennial Art Center
  • historical monuments such as the Women’s Equality Day monument
  • a pretty garden
  • a bandshell
  • events shelter
  • sand volleyball courts
  • pet park
  • exercise trails

Centennial Park offers excellent spots for picnics and a small lake for paddle boating.

21c Museum Hotel

free things to do in nashville
Image Credit: ArchDaily

Whenever we say Nashville, we think of country music, honky-tonk highway, hot chicken, and meat and three. But did you know this city is also well known for its art and exhibitions?

Art lovers looking for free things to do in Nashville can use this opportunity to satisfy their thirst for the surreal. The 21c Museum Hotel features a contemporary art museum curated by Museum Director and Chief Curator Alice Gray Stites. You can check out solo or group exhibitions, commissioned installations, and also cultural programs of different kinds.

Art exhibitions are usually done in collaboration with artists and art organizations from different countries. The gallery is open for visitors for free around the year. You can enter the gallery and enjoy the displays of the day. You can also get free guided docent tours on Thursday evenings at 5:30pm.

Nashville Murals

You can not cage art, can you? Then why keep art exhibitions only within four walls of hotels or museums? If you are an ardent art lover, then the streets of this city are just where you have to be. Here you will see beautiful wall graffiti, artistic expressions, and murals enveloping you wherever you go.

South and East Nashville boast the highest number of murals and street art. These artistic displays are the perfect setting for some soul-searching for solo travelers. They can also provide the required backdrop for romantic walks for a couple on a fun vacation looking for free things to do in Nashville.

Tennessee State Capitol

Tennessee State Capitol
Image Credit: iStock

If you like to spend an hour steeped in history, visiting the Tennessee State Capitol is a great idea. This place is one of the oldest operating capitols in the country. You can get free guided tours available from Monday to Friday. Or you could choose a self-guided tour around this magnificent neo-classical building. If you are up for a self-guided tour, take a pamphlet that will guide you. It will provide details about all the things to see, such as –

  • the history of this building and all the facts associated with it
  • various memorials and statues around this place
  • President Polk’s gravesite
  • Replica of Liberty Bell

Visitors are allowed till 4pm. So, reach with enough time (about 2 – 3 hours) in your hand.

Speaking of parks, you can visit other remarkable parks if you want free things to do in Nashville. The iconic Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park has 31 fountains representing the major rivers of Tennessee. It also has a magnificent wall depicting the state’s history.

Then there is Music City Walk of Fame Park, a tribute to musicians of all genres and others who have a connection to Music City and have made massive contributions to the music industry.

Hiking Trails

Nashville offers some of the best parks with free entry. They are excellent sources to know about the city and its rich history.

And if you are hungry for more outdoor activities, visit Radnor Lake for flat and easy trails. It can be a great experience, even if you are traveling with your family. It is a waterfront trail. Your kids will love spotting deer, turtles, turkeys, and other animals.

Live Music

music city Nashville
Image Credit: Belle Air Mansion

Nashville is the music city of the world. And there is a reason why it is called so. You don’t have to visit expensive concerts and pay cover charges to enjoy good music.

You can experience live music at multiple venues across the city every day. And when you do listen to some band or musician for free, don’t forget to tip the artist. This is ideal for thrifty travelers who want exciting but free things to do in Nashville.

  • You can check out Honky Tonk Highway for some neat pubs and bars. Here, you can find venues to groove to free soulful country music as you sip an innovative cocktail. AJ’s Good Time Bar is a fine place to start with.
  • Another popular restaurant is B.B. King’s Blues Club & Restaurant in Printer’s Alley. Live Blues and traditional Southern cuisine – if that is you, this place should be at the top of your Nashville itinerary.
  • In the same place (Printer’s Alley in SoBro), there is Johny Cash’s Kitchen & Saloon – yet another unmissable place, especially if you are fond of the legend’s works.
  • And while you are here, you can visit The Gulch for free music and great food that Nashville is famous for – hot chicken.

The list is just endless. 

  • The Commodore Grille, inside the Holiday Inn West End/Midtown.
  • The Original Tin Roof on Music Row 

No matter how deep your pocket is, if you are a music lover, the Honky Tonk is your place to be. Although live music is free of cost, you need some dough for the drinks and food.

Conclusive Insight

Contrary to popular belief, most of the attractions in Nashville are free of cost. Although the accommodations, transportation, and food can be a bit expensive. But thankfully, there are many free things to do in Nashville, and some of them are not very pricey. The city has natural beauty, parks, and great outdoors. At the same time, there is a rich history, free music, and a history of music that you can explore and enjoy.