10+ Free Things to Do in Nashville

From the Author: I've lived and worked in Nashville for 12+ years. I'm heavily involved with the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, so when you visit, you might find me giving the odd tour or helping out wherever possible. If you have any questions, I respond quickly to comments. Come in and say hi!

Nashville, known as Music City, is a treasure trove of culture, history, and, of course, music. But let's be honest – visiting can quickly drain your wallet. Whether you're here for the honky-tonks or the hot chicken, costs can add up fast.

Luckily, Nashville offers a wealth of free activities that let you experience the city's charm without breaking the bank. From historical landmarks to beautiful parks and live music, you can dive deep into what makes Nashville unique without spending a dime.

When you’re shelling out for food, drinks, and accommodations, saving a few bucks here and there can make a big difference. The good news? You can enjoy Nashville for weeks without spending a penny on attractions. Here’s a list of over 15 free things to do in Nashville:

Tennessee State Museum

Free Museums and Attractions

Nashville has a treasure trove of free museums and attractions. Here are some you shouldn’t miss:

  • Tennessee State Museum: Dive into Tennessee's rich history through artifacts, artwork, and exhibits. This museum covers everything from prehistoric times to the present day and comprehensively examines the state's past. Admission is always free.
  • Music City Walk of Fame: Stroll along this downtown walk to see stars honoring famous musicians like Dolly Parton and Jimi Hendrix. This outdoor attraction celebrates those who have contributed to Nashville’s musical heritage. Always free and open to the public.
  • Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park: Explore this 11-acre park with monuments, walking trails, and a 2000-seat amphitheater. It also features a 95-bell carillon, a World War II Memorial, and a Pathway of History. Open daily from 6am-10pm.

Free Locations for History Buffs

  • Fort Donelson National Battlefield: Learn about the Union victory that turned the tide during the Civil War. This site includes a visitor center with exhibits, self-guided tours, and trails through historic battlefields. Self-guided tours are available year-round.
  • Fort Nashborough Interpretive Center: Discover the origins of Nashville with a visit to this replica of the original fort built by early settlers. It offers insight into the city's early days and features exhibits on Native American history. Open for self-guided tours.
  • Fort Negley: Explore the largest inland masonry fort built during the Civil War. Interactive exhibits and educational videos provide a deep dive into Nashville's history. Self-guided walking tours are available year-round.

Free Outdoor Activities

Nashville’s parks offer endless outdoor fun without spending a dime:

  • Fannie Mae Dees Park: Known for its mosaic “Sea Serpent” sculpture created by local artists. This park includes playgrounds, picnic areas, and open spaces for family fun. Open sunrise to 11 pm.
  • John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge: Walk across this bridge for stunning views of the Nashville skyline and river. It’s a popular spot for photography and a great way to experience the city from above.
  • Shelby Bottoms Nature Park: Hike the trails at this park, or try Radnor Lake State Park or Warner Parks. Shelby Bottoms offers over 950 acres of green space and a nature center with educational programs.
Centennial Park Nashville

Free Parks

  • Centennial Park: Home to the iconic Parthenon, this 132-acre park features walking trails, Lake Watauga, historical monuments, and an arts activity center. It’s a hub of activity and perfect for a leisurely day out.
  • Cumberland Park: Located along Nashville's riverfront, this park offers interactive water features, an outdoor amphitheater, and green spaces for picnics and relaxation. It’s designed for families and offers plenty of activities for kids.

With so many free things to see and do, you can enjoy Nashville without breaking the bank. Whether it’s music, parks, art, or history, there’s something for everyone to enjoy for free in Music City. So, get out there and explore all that Nashville has to offer!

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