Put Away the Wallet to Discover Music City
You know Nashville, TN, as "Music City," brimming with live jams, historic sites, museums and top-notch restaurants. And you can experience it all without breaking the bank. At any time of year, the city's full of fun, family-friendly things to do that won't cost you a penny.
Catch a Live Show
When you're in Nashville, you have to see a show. It's the rule. Fortunately, several free music venues pump out live tunes round-the-clock up and down the city's liveliest hubs, including Lower Broadway, 2nd Avenue, the SoBro district, the Gulch, Midtown and Music Row. Many bars and restaurants also host songwriters' nights, where musicians introduce their original works to friendly audiences. You can find these cost-free events at famous Nashville hot spots like The Bluebird Cafe (4104 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville, TN), The Row Kitchen and Pub (110 Lyle Ave., Nashville, TN), Bobby's Idle Hour Tavern (1028 16th Ave. S, Nashville, TN) and Commodore Grille (2613 West End Ave., Nashville, TN).
Walk Along a Greenway
If you or the kids need a break from the city's hustle and bustle, it might be time to hit the trail to grab some exercise, fresh air and stillness. The city of Nashville has constructed more than 80 miles of off-street, multi-use greenway trails for walking, hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding—and most of it is paved. The Stones River (Stewarts Ferry Pike, Nashville, TN), Harpeth River (7624 Old Harding Pike, Nashville, TN) and Shelby Bottoms (1900 Davidson St., Nashville, TN) greenways run along flowing water and amid shady trees.
Even in winter, mild Nashville weather accommodates outdoor activities, but, snow or rain can knock an outdoor stroll off the table. So, check forecasts.
Picnic at the Parthenon
It's a funky piece of history and one worth checking out: The Parthenon (2500 West End Ave., Nashville, TN) was constructed in 1897 for Tennessee's Centennial Exposition, built as a replica of the original structure in Athens, Greece. It's complete with a re-created 42-foot Athena statue.
The building sits as the centerpiece of Centennial Park and serves as Nashville's art museum. If fall or winter weather is driving you indoors, consider shelling out a few bucks for museum admission. Otherwise, there's no admission fee to throw down a blanket on the park grass outside the Parthenon and enjoy the view.
There's a lot for the family to learn at Nashville's music hubs and historic sites, but it couldn't hurt to throw in a museum, as well—especially if it's free. Nashville is home to a couple that are well worth your time.
Admission to the Tennessee State Museum's (505 Deaderick St., Nashville, TN) permanent exhibits, the Military Museum and the State Capitol is always free. It claims to be one of the largest museums in the United States, featuring interpretive exhibits on everything from prehistoric people to the Civil War.
The Tennessee Agricultural Museum (440 Hogan Road, Nashville, TN) offers free self-guided tours that include exhibits of home and farm artifacts from the 19th and early 20th centuries, including a renovated plantation barn, log cabins and a one-room school.
Do the Walk of Fame
The Walk of Fame Park (121 Fourth Ave. S, Nashville, TN) is free for your family's enjoyment, featuring inlaid granite stars to honor legendary people in Nashville's music industry. Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Peter Frampton and Jimi Hendrix are among artists recognized on the walk.
Some music fans may prefer an indoor visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame (222 Fifth Ave. S, Nashville, TN), which is free only for children ages 5 and under. Paying admission charges could be worth it, though, to avoid cold winter temperatures, and they may have less bite if taking advantage of other free attractions has helped spare your wallet.