20 Free Things To Do in Nashville Today

20 Free Things To Do in Nashville Today

Nashville, the vibrant capital city of Tennessee, is renowned for its rich music history, lively atmosphere, and Southern charm. If you’re on a budget or simply looking for some cost-effective entertainment options while visiting Nashville, you’re in luck. This blog post presents a curated list of 20 free activities and attractions you can enjoy in Nashville today.

From exploring iconic landmarks to immersing yourself in the local music scene, this comprehensive guide offers a variety of options for an exciting day out without breaking the bank. So, let’s dive in and discover the best free things to do in Nashville that will keep you entertained and captivated throughout your visit.

1. Enjoy Free Music on Broadway Street

One of the best things about Nashville is its vibrant live music scene, and you can experience it for free by walking down Broadway Street. Lower Broadway is lined with honky tonks, bars, and restaurants that offer live music throughout the day and night. Many of these venues have no cover charge, allowing you to enjoy talented musicians and bands without spending a penny.

As you stroll down Broadway Street, you’ll be enveloped in the sounds of country, rock, and blues music pouring out from each establishment. From iconic venues like Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and Robert’s Western World to hidden gems and up-and-coming acts, there’s always something new and exciting to discover. Grab a drink, find a spot on the sidewalk, and let the music transport you to the heart of Nashville’s music scene.

2. Explore the Historic Tennessee State Museum

For a deeper dive into Tennessee’s history, head to the Tennessee State Museum. Located in downtown Nashville, this museum offers free admission and is home to a wealth of fascinating exhibits. One of the highlights is the Civil War collection, which explores the impact of this defining period in American history. From artifacts and photographs to interactive displays, you’ll gain a new perspective on the Civil War and its significance in Tennessee.

In addition to the Civil War exhibit, the Tennessee State Museum houses permanent displays that cover a wide range of topics, including Native American history, the state’s role in the women’s suffrage movement, and its contributions to art and culture. The museum also features rotating exhibits that showcase different aspects of Tennessee’s rich heritage.

3. Visit the Picturesque Centennial Park

No visit to Nashville is complete without a trip to Centennial Park. This urban oasis spans 132 acres and offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling city center. One of the park’s main attractions is the Parthenon, a full-scale replica of the original in Athens. You can explore the exterior of the Parthenon for free, but if you’re interested in the art museum inside, there is a small admission fee.

Aside from the Parthenon, Centennial Park features beautiful walking paths, a one-mile loop for running or jogging, and open green spaces perfect for picnicking or playing frisbee. The park also hosts various events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and art shows. Soak up the sunshine and take in the tranquil atmosphere of Centennial Park, just steps away from downtown Nashville.

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4. Attend the Midnite Jamboree Show

If you’re a fan of country music, don’t miss the opportunity to attend the Midnite Jamboree Show. Held at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop every Saturday night, this iconic radio show has been running for over 70 years and is the second longest-running radio program in the country.

The Midnite Jamboree Show features live performances by up-and-coming country artists as well as established musicians. It’s the perfect way to experience the authentic sounds of Nashville’s country music scene without having to buy a ticket to the Grand Ole Opry. Admission to the show is free, but make sure to arrive early as seats fill up quickly.

5. Discover Savannah’s Candy Kitchen

Indulge in a sweet adventure at Savannah’s Candy Kitchen, where you can witness the art of confectionery come to life. From pralines to taffy, this delightful spot offers a plethora of handcrafted treats that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. Immerse yourself in the sights and aromas of freshly made candy, and perhaps even catch a glimpse of skilled candy makers demonstrating their craft. It’s a delectable experience that shouldn’t be missed during your visit to Nashville.

6. Explore the Vibrant Neighborhoods

While downtown Nashville is undoubtedly the heart of the city, don’t forget to venture beyond its boundaries and explore the vibrant neighborhoods that make up Music City. Music Row, located just south of downtown, is a must-see for music lovers. This iconic street is home to numerous record labels, publishing houses, and recording studios. Take a leisurely stroll down Music Row and soak in the atmosphere of a place where countless musical legends have made their mark.

Another neighborhood worth exploring is East Nashville, known for its eclectic vibe and trendy shops and restaurants. This bohemian enclave offers a glimpse into Nashville’s thriving arts and culture scene. Take a walk along Eastland Avenue and explore the local boutiques, art galleries, and coffee shops that give the neighborhood its unique charm.

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7. Appreciate Art at First Saturday Art Crawl

If you’re an art enthusiast, make sure to visit downtown Nashville on the first Saturday of every month for the First Saturday Art Crawl. This monthly event showcases the work of local artists and allows you to explore the vibrant art scene in Nashville.

During the Art Crawl, various galleries and venues in downtown Nashville open their doors to the public and offer free admission. You can browse through a diverse range of artwork, from paintings and sculptures to photography and mixed media pieces. The Art Crawl is a fantastic way to support local artists and get a taste of Nashville’s thriving arts community.

8. Walk Along the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge

For a picturesque view of the Nashville skyline, take a stroll along the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge. This iconic bridge spans the Cumberland River and offers panoramic views of downtown Nashville and the surrounding area.

The Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge is one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world, and walking across it is a popular activity for both locals and visitors. Whether you’re an avid photographer or simply want to enjoy a leisurely walk with stunning views, this bridge is a must-visit attraction in Nashville. Best of all, there is no admission fee to walk across the bridge and take in the breathtaking scenery.

9. Visit the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park

Immerse yourself in Tennessee’s rich history at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. This 19-acre park is located just west of the Tennessee State Capitol and serves as a tribute to the state’s bicentennial celebration.

The Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park features various monuments, exhibits, and public art installations that highlight significant events and figures in Tennessee’s history. Walk along the Pathway of History, a 200-foot granite map that tells the story of the state’s development. Marvel at the massive granite columns representing the six agricultural regions of Tennessee. Take a moment to reflect at the World War II Memorial and the Tennessee Walk of Counties, which pays homage to each of Tennessee’s 95 counties.

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10. Explore Cooter’s Place Museum

Get ready to dive into the world of “The Dukes of Hazzard” at Cooter’s Place Museum. This fascinating attraction features a remarkable collection of memorabilia from the beloved TV show, including the iconic General Lee car and other artifacts associated with the series. Visitors can explore the museum’s interactive exhibits, learn about the show’s history, and even meet Ben Jones, who played Cooter Davenport. Whether you’re a fan of the show or just curious about its cultural impact, Cooter’s Place Museum offers a unique and nostalgic experience for all.

11. Visit Hatch Show Print

Step back in time at Hatch Show Print, Nashville’s famous print shop. Founded in 1879, Hatch Show Print has been creating iconic posters and prints for over a century. This historic print shop has produced artwork for countless concerts, performances, and events, including many country music shows.

During your visit to Hatch Show Print, you can take a tour of the facilities and see the printing process in action. Learn about the history of the shop and its significance in Nashville’s music scene. You can also purchase limited edition prints and souvenirs to take home as a unique memento of your trip to Music City. Hatch Show Print offers free admission, making it a must-see for both art enthusiasts and music lovers alike.

12. Explore the Tennessee State Capitol

Discover the heart of Tennessee’s government at the Tennessee State Capitol. This majestic building, completed in 1859, is an architectural marvel and a symbol of the state’s rich history.

Visitors are welcome to take a free guided tour of the Tennessee State Capitol, offered several times a day. On the tour, you’ll learn about the building’s history, explore the grand halls and chambers, and admire the impressive architecture. You’ll also have the opportunity to see important artifacts related to Tennessee’s role in the Civil War and learn about the state’s government and legislative processes.

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13. Attend the CMA Music Festival

If you happen to be in Nashville during the CMA Music Festival, you’re in for a treat. This annual country music event takes place in June and features live performances by some of the biggest names in the genre, as well as up-and-coming artists.

While some events during the CMA Music Festival require paid tickets, there are also many free concerts and activities happening throughout the city. Head to public squares, parks, and the Riverfront Stage to enjoy free live music and soak up the festive atmosphere. You can also visit the nearby Country Music Hall of Fame, which offers complimentary admission to youth through the Community Counts program.

14. Enjoy Concerts at Vanderbilt and Belmont

Music is a major part of Nashville’s culture, and two of the city’s esteemed universities, Vanderbilt University and Belmont University, offer free concerts that showcase the talents of their students.

Vanderbilt hosts a variety of free concerts and events throughout the year, featuring performances by its talented music students. These concerts cover a wide range of genres, including classical, jazz, and contemporary music. Keep an eye on the university’s calendar for upcoming events and enjoy some incredible live music without spending a dime.

Similarly, Belmont University’s School of Music also offers free concerts and recitals that are open to the public. These performances give students the opportunity to showcase their skills and provide a fantastic opportunity for music lovers to experience the next generation of talent in Nashville.

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15. Experience Big Band Dances

Put on your dancing shoes and head to Nashville’s Centennial Park for an evening of swing and big band music. During the summer months, the park hosts free big band dances featuring live jazz music.

Grab a partner and hit the dance floor as you listen to the sound of live musicians playing classic hits from the big band era. Whether you’re an experienced dancer or simply want to enjoy the music, these dances offer a fun and nostalgic experience for all. Pack a picnic, bring a blanket or lawn chair, and settle in for an evening of live jazz in the heart of Music City.

16. Find a Restaurant with Live Music

One of the great things about Nashville is that you can find live music in unexpected places, including restaurants. Many eateries in the city feature live music performances while you enjoy your meal.

From intimate singer-songwriter sets to lively bands, these restaurant venues offer a variety of musical styles and genres. Some venues may have a cover charge, but there are also many restaurants that offer free live music. Listen to the sounds of talented local musicians while savoring delicious cuisine and experiencing the vibrant atmosphere of Nashville’s dining scene.

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17. Explore the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge

For stunning views of downtown Nashville and the Cumberland River, take a walk across the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. This 3,150-foot bridge is one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world and serves as a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.

As you stroll along the bridge, you’ll be treated to breathtaking panoramic views of the city skyline and the river below. The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge also provides access to some of Nashville’s vibrant neighborhoods, including the historic district and East Nashville. Whether you’re looking to capture the perfect photo or simply want to enjoy a leisurely walk, this bridge offers a unique perspective of downtown Nashville.

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18. Enjoy a Ranger Program at Radnor Lake State Park

Escape the hustle and bustle of Nashville and immerse yourself in nature at Radnor Lake State Park. This 1,368-acre park is located just outside the city and offers a peaceful retreat for outdoor enthusiasts.

Radnor Lake State Park features several miles of hiking trails, bird-watching opportunities, and beautiful scenery. The park also offers free ranger programs led by knowledgeable park rangers. These programs cover a wide range of topics, including wildlife, flora and fauna, and conservation. Join a guided hike or attend a nature workshop to learn more about the park’s diverse ecosystem and enjoy the tranquility of nature.

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19. Visit the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree

Head to the Ernest Tubb Record Shop on a Saturday night for the legendary Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree. This iconic radio show has been running for over 70 years and showcases live performances by established and up-and-coming country artists.

The Midnight Jamboree is free to attend and offers a unique opportunity to experience the authentic sounds of Nashville’s country music scene. Join the audience for an evening of live music and soak in the rich history and tradition of country music at this one-of-a-kind event.

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20. Enjoy Free Concerts at Live on the Green

Spend a summer evening enjoying free concerts at Live on the Green in Public Square Park. This outdoor music festival takes place over several weekends and features performances by both local and national artists across a range of genres.

Set against the backdrop of Nashville’s skyline, Live on the Green offers a lively and energetic atmosphere for music lovers of all ages. Pack a picnic, bring a blanket or lawn chair, and enjoy the sounds of live music while soaking up the vibrant atmosphere of downtown Nashville. With free admission and a lineup of talented musicians, Live on the Green is a must-visit event for music enthusiasts.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, Nashville offers a plethora of free activities and attractions that cater to various interests. From enjoying live music on Broadway Street to exploring historic museums like the Tennessee State Museum, there is something for everyone. Families can also find plenty of options, such as visiting Centennial Park or attending the CMA Music Festival.

Additionally, special events and festivals like the Midnite Jamboree and Live on the Green provide free admission and entertainment. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, there are numerous opportunities to have a fun-filled day in Nashville without spending any money. Have you tried any of these free activities? Comment below and share your experiences!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some popular free attractions and activities in Nashville?

Some popular free attractions and activities in Nashville include exploring Centennial Park and the Parthenon, visiting the Tennessee State Museum and the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, and walking along Broadway Street to enjoy the live music and honky tonks.

Is it possible to have a full day of entertainment without spending any money in Nashville?

Yes, it is possible to have a full day of entertainment in Nashville without spending any money. You can enjoy free live music, visit the Tennessee State Museum, explore the vibrant neighborhoods, and stroll along the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, among other free activities.

Can families with children find free things to do in Nashville?

Absolutely! Nashville offers many family-friendly free activities, including visiting Centennial Park and the Parthenon, exploring Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, and taking part in the interactive exhibits at the Tennessee State Museum.

Are there any special events or festivals that offer free admission in Nashville?

Yes, Nashville hosts several special events and festivals throughout the year that offer free admission, such as the CMA Music Festival, the First Saturday Art Crawl, Live on the Green, and free concerts at various music venues across the city.

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