Nash Vegas. The Athens of the South. Music City, USA. Nashville’s rich history of country music, entertainment, and top universities has earned it many nicknames. If you’re one of the millions of people visiting Nashville each year, you probably want to see how this City We Love lives up to its reputation! So, before you hit the town, watch the videos below and let Direct Auto Insurance be your virtual tour guide. After all, this has been our home base for approximately 30 years.
Still looking for more suggestions? We’ve got you covered! Here are some ways you can kill a few days in Music City, no matter what your budget looks like. We even have some suggestions Nashville natives might find useful.
Free Things to Do in Nashville and the Surrounding Areas
You don’t have to spend a penny to have some fun in Nashville. Here are some of our favorite free activities in and around town.
Broadway is full of neon signs, busy sidewalks, and of course, live country music. You really can’t go wrong by following your ears to any establishment as you walk along the strip. There’s never a cover charge, so you’ll only pay for what you eat and drink. Also, kids are welcome at many establishments until 6 p.m., so you can still stop in and hear music even if you’re traveling with little ones.
- John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge
Just off of Broadway is the pedestrian-only John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge that spans the Cumberland River, connecting downtown to East Nashville. Walk across it for outstanding views of the Nashville skyline and plenty of great photo opportunities. It’s public, so there’s no fee!
Nashville may be known for its music scene, but the art scene is also booming. On the first Saturday of every month, you can see local and world-renowned artwork and diverse exhibitions for free at numerous art galleries during the Downtown Nashville First Saturday Art Crawl. There are similar art crawls in other neighborhoods around the city, and as an added bonus, many of the galleries serve complimentary wine and refreshments. If you want a unique experience, check out the 21C Museum Hotel downtown. They boast they are “North America’s first museum dedicated solely to collecting and exhibiting art of the 21st century and open free of charge 24 hours daily.”
- Parks & Hiking
In Nashville, you can take your pick from dozens of beautiful parks. Consider a visit to Centennial Park to see the Parthenon, a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, or enjoy a nice quiet walk around Edwin and Percy Warner Parks’ 3,100+ acres of green space.
Or, unplug and immerse yourself in nature at Radnor Lake, home to the highest point in Nashville. Other nearby hiking options include Long Hunter State Park, Harpeth River State Park, and Cedars of Lebanon State Park.
Pro tip: The small parking lot at Radnor Lake fills up quickly, so try to avoid visiting on the weekends, or get there early! It’s also a great spot to go birding.
- Nashville Farmer’s Market
Shop for locally grown produce year-round at the Nashville Farmer’s Market! While you might be tempted to buy something, it is totally free to walk around and enjoy the booths. This is the perfect place to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, and baked goods, or to grab a bite to eat in the food court.
Marathon Village is a creative community housed in the historic Marathon Motor Works factory building. Inside, you’ll find fun shops, galleries, a comedy club, a concert venue, and Barista Parlor, a popular spot for Nashvillians to get their caffeine fix.
Shop ‘til you drop at Opry Mills, the outlet mall to visit in TN for shopping deals, entertainment, and dining. Then, take a short drive to the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center and admire the atrium with its nine acres of indoor gardens, winding rivers, and waterfalls, plus several restaurants and bars. It’s free to browse all these shopping hotspots, meaning you’ll only pay for what you buy.
Cheap Things to Do in Nashville
Okay with spending $20 or $30 to make memories? Here are some relatively inexpensive ways to enjoy Nashville.
- Water Parks, Waterfalls, & Spots to Float
Between April and September, Tennessee can get a little bit warm. To beat the heat, visit a water park, swimming hole, or nearby waterfalls. There are plenty of options in and around the city. The Bicentennial Fountains downtown are great for kids. There are multiple places along the Harpeth River that rent out kayaks. You can also take in the city’s biggest waterpark at Nashville Shores or visit Soundwaves at Opryland, an upscale water attraction.
- Writers’ Rounds
Live music is a staple in Nashville, and one of the coolest ways to enjoy it is by attending a writers’ round. These unique events feature a panel of songwriters who play tunes they’ve written. You’ll hear the backstory behind some of your favorite tracks, and you might hear something before it’s recorded and sent to radio stations around the country. Venues like the Listening Room and Bluebird Cafe often host these events; just make sure to grab a ticket before they sell out.
- Affordable & Iconic Nashville Meals
Nashville is known as the “Hot Chicken Capital of the World,” so if you’re okay with spice, try to make it to Hattie B’s, Prince’s, Bolton’s, or one of the other famous fowl hotspots. But poultry isn’t the only thing you can enjoy. Check out other well-known affordable spots like Loveless Café, Bobbie’s Dairy Dip, or Arnold’s Country Kitchen.
History buff? Art connoisseur? Music enthusiast? No matter what category you fall in, Nashville has a museum for you. Here are some popular ones you can visit that don’t have high ticket prices.
- Country Music Hall of Fame
- The Johnny Cash Museum
- National Museum of African American Music
- Lane Motor Museum
- Frist Art Museum
- Tennessee State Museum
- The Parthenon
Splurge Activities in Nashville
Do you have a little extra money budgeted to spend? Here are some slightly more expensive things to consider.
While you can find somewhat inexpensive tickets to attend college sporting events and minor league baseball games in Nashville, the city’s three professional franchises charge a little bit more. If you have the cash to spend, Tennessee Titans (NFL), Nashville Predators (NHL), and Nashville Soccer Club (MLS) games are all worth attending. Due to the seasonal schedule of sports, at least one of these teams will be playing at any point throughout the year.
- Fine Dining
If you’re searching for date night ideas, Nashville is home to upscale dining options, some with Michelin star chefs. Whether you’re in the mood for a fine cut of steak or fresh, handmade pasta, there’s a restaurant for you. Search by category or follow the five-star reviews for an unforgettable dining experience.
Seasonal Activities and Special Events in Music City
No matter when you visit Nashville, there’s almost always something going on. Music City has plenty of annual festivals. It’s played host to special events like the NFL Draft. Here are some popular things (and when they typically fall on the calendar) you can check out depending on when you visit. Make sure to get exact dates before traveling.
- Festivals & Special Events
- Hot Chicken Festival – July 4th
- Nashville Flea Market – One weekend each month
- Let Freedom Sing! – July 4th
- Tomato Arts Festival – One weekend in August
- Movies in the Park – Thursdays in June
- Pilgrimage Festival (Franklin) – One weekend in September
- Music in the Vines – Weekends during spring and summer
- Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival – One weekend in April
- Jefferson Street Jazz & Blues Fest – One weekend in spring or summer
- CMA Fest – One weekend in June
- Iroquois Steeplechase – One Saturday in May
- Full Moon Pickin’ Party – One Friday each month in the summer
- Tin Pan South – One week in late March or early April
- Cheekwood Holiday Lights – Christmas season
- Nashville New Year’s Eve – December 31
For the Locals
If you live in Nashville or one of the suburbs, these suggestions are for you!
- Work up a Sweat
There are plenty of places and ways you can get fit in Music City. Metro Parks has community centers around town with cheap admission for the fitness areas, but many have walking tracks (and more) available for free. You could also join the YMCA of Middle Tennessee near you, or you can purchase a pass to visit any location, no matter if you’re in Green Hills, East Nashville, or Brentwood. If you enjoy running or biking, there are also plenty of greenways and trails to enjoy around the city.
- Visit the Library
The Nashville Public Library gives people access to countless resources and services for free. In addition to being able to check out books and movies, visitors can enjoy free wellness programs, free ESL and citizenship resources, a jobs lab, and more. There are 20+ branches in the library’s network, so you can find one near you no matter what part of the city you call home.
Driving in Nashville? The roads around town can get a little bit crowded! Make sure you’re covered with a car insurance policy. Don’t go without — go with Direct! Call 1-877-GO-DIRECT (1-877-463-4732), click, or come in for a free quote today!