If you are visiting Nashville on a budget, then never fear – we have a great list of free things to in Nashville that don’t break the bank. From exploring the Parthenon at Centennial Park, to strolling the music-filled streets of Downtown, to getting your nature-fix at the sprawling Radnor State Park, to visiting the fantastic street art around Downtown – like the WhatLiftsYou Wings mural. There’s something for everyone here in Nashville and there’s plenty of activities that won’t cost you a dime. So use our guide of the best free things to do and plan your next trip to Nashville.
If you are visiting with kids, check out our guide to the best things to do in Nashville with Kids. Or, if you are looking for an exhaustive list of the top destinations and activities, browse our guide to the 30 best things to do in Nashville here.
1. Centennial Park
Centennial Park is a must-see park near downtown Nashville and it’s easy to see why. With a full-size replica of the Greek Parthenon as the centerpiece, this park also features lush grounds, an artificial lake, play structures, jogging paths, and various sculptures and exhibits. We think Centennial Park is one of the best things to do in downtown Nashville so head on over to check it out!
2. Downtown Nashville
For great food, entertainment and nightlife options, you need to check out downtown Nashville. As Nashville is known as Music City, there are many great music destinations to check out, like Honky Tonk Highway – a row of multiple music venues, eateries, and bars that provide continuous musical entertainment all evening, or Tootsie’s Orchid lounge which features great live country music.
Downtown Nashville is very walkable, which makes it an easy place to explore by foot and take in the different downtown destinations, like the Public Square or Riverfront Park, or exploring the rockin’ nightlife destinations in the Lower Broadway district. If you are visiting Nashville, then exploring downtown should be near the top of your list.
3. Warner Parks
To get out into nature, you can visit one of the 2 sprawling Warner Parks – both located right next to each other and both have great features. Both parks, the Edwin Warner Park and the Percy Warner Park, have many great dirt and paved trails throughout the forested hilly areas and are both popular parks for jogging, hiking, and biking. In addition to the fun hiking trails, the Warner Parks also features athletic fields, a golf course, and even dedicated horse trails. For a quick escape into the wooded Tennessee forest, we’d highly recommend exploring the Warner Parks during your visit.
4. Printers Alley
For a fun thing to do in downtown Nashville, you can walk through the Famous Printers Alley. This famous alleyway is lined with restaurants, nightclubs, bars, and jazz clubs and it’s a fun place to explore at night. The alley used to be home to multiple bustling newspapers and print shops, and quickly gained the name “Printers Alley”. Now, the printers are gone but the alley is full of activity and is one of the more famous nightlife destinations and top things to do in downtown Nashville.
5. Radnor Lake State Park
If Hiking is your thing, then you need to check out Radnor Lake State Park. With over 1,000 acres of open untouched nature area, this state park is a nature-lovers dream. With multiple lakes, rivers, and miles of unpaved trails, this park is popular with hikers, joggers, and birders, who love the excellent variety of birds found within the park. Other than birds, you that can often spot white-tailed deer, beavers, bobcats, mink, and coyote. As Radnor Lake State Park is located just minutes south of Nashville, we think it should make it on your list of things to do while you’re in Nashville.
6. Tennessee State Capitol
If you want to see one of Nashville’s most historic buildings, you need to pay a visit to the Tennessee State Capitol building. Sitting on an impressive hilltop location and designed in the Greek Revival style, this capitol building was completed in 1859 and to this day still acts as an official government building. Located in the heart of downtown Nashville, the Tennessee State Capitol is a must-visit location for the great view it provides of the city and to learn more about the city’s deep roots.
7. Riverfront Park
Riverfront Park is a great spot on the edge of downtown to picnic or relax with a great view of the Cumberland River and the multiple river bridges. The park features large grassy steps that end down at the river’s edge and since it’s such a picturesque location, many events and concerts are held here throughout the warmer months of the year. Riverfront Park is a great place to watch the riverboats go by and gather your thoughts between your Nashville activities.
8. Tootsies Orchid Lounge
Tootsies Orchid Lounge is arguably the most famous country music venue in Nashville. It seems small, but it has hosted the largest acts in country music, like Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, and hundreds more. It’s even known that the famous country musician, Willie Nelson, got his first gig here and many other musicians have named Tootsies Orchid Lounge as the most important venue in the Country Music world. For a great night of music, drinks, and food, we’d suggest you enjoy an evening here and experience the magic of this special venue.
9. Cumberland Park
If you are visiting Nashville with kids in the warmer months of the year, Cumberland Park should be at the top of your list of things to do. This amazing 6.5-acre park has fun play equipment, grassy picnic areas, and fantastic water features for kids to play in and stay cool. There is always walking trails that weave throughout the park and a small kid-friendly climbing wall where kids can test their climbing skills. This park is on the banks of the Cumberland River and has great views of the river and Downtown Nashville. Cumberland Park is a true gem and we’re positive that you and your kids will love it!
10. The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge
The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge is a beautiful and uniquely designed pedestrian-only bridge that spans the Cumberland River. Its unique truss design has made it a highly photographed bridge and it’s a popular spot that can be seen in many Country Music videos. The bridge is over 3,000 feet long which makes it one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the whole world. The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge is a fun place to visit while you’re in town and it’s especially fun to walk across at night as it’s covered in bright lights for good pedestrian visibility.
11. Nashville WhatLiftsYou Wings Mural
For an unusual thing to do in Nashville, you can check out the street murals dotting the downtown cityscape. One of the most famous is the WhatLiftsYou Wings Mural. Located in the Heart of Downtown on 11the Avenue, this mural is a highly photographed public art-piece by local artist Kelsey Montague and features artistically drawn angel wings that visitors can stand between for photographs. The Nashville murals are becoming more popular tourist destinations and the Nashville WhatliftsYou Wings Mural is the most popular, so definitely worth a visit and a photograph if you’re exploring Downtown.
12. Charlie Daniels Park
As far as Parks go, Charlie Daniels Park is one of the top parks for kids in Nashville. It’s located a short drive to the east of Downtown in the suburb of Mount Juliet and features sprawling grassy areas, massive play structures, and water-play areas and will keep kids busy and entertained for hours. Though it could be a drive from where you are staying, this park is truly amazing and you and your kids are sure to love Charlie Daniels Park.
13. Stones River Greenway
The Stones River Greenway is a popular 5.7-mile long paved trail that starts near Downtown and travels along the Stones River. This great scenic trail is popular with walkers, joggers and bikers, and features multiple pedestrian bridges. We think the Stones River Greenway is the quickest way to get out into some nature while you’re visiting Downtown and is a great place to explore if you want to rent bikes to explore downtown by bicycle.
14. Music City Walk of Fame Park
Since Nashville is well known as the birthplace of American music, Nashville has an entire park dedicated to the famous musicians and leaders in the historical Nashville music scene. Music City Walk of Fame Park features a walkway paved with plaques dedicated to these legendary musicians, and grassy areas for relaxing and enjoying the downtown views.