If you are looking for the Top 20 Budget Things to Do in Nashville, TN then just as my sister Ellen from megustamantequilla.com, she keeps me in the know of the best happenings around Music city and she has put together a perfect selection of 20 active excursions in Middle Tennessee. Nashville is bustling with free or cheap activities all year long. Below is a sampling of fun and active outings around the area. Some are perfect for summer time weather and some are perfect for a day indoors of adventure but we tried to keep all the ideas just right for a moderate or free budget!
Top 20 Budget Things to Do in Nashville TN
The Harpeth River is located just 30 minutes from Nashville and is a class II river, perfect for a nice float down the river. Many outfitters supply everything you need to take a canoe or a kayak out for a quick trip or an all day excursion. My personal favorite is Tip-A-Canoe in Kingston Springs, they have trips from 2 hours to 12 hours. I love the four hour trip, it’s a great workout and perfect for a morning or afternoon of sun and swimming.
There are plenty of parks to take a hike in Nashville, but Beaman is by far my favorite. It is tucked in the Northeast hills of Nashville and makes you feel far away from the city with only being a 15 minute drive from downtown Nashville. It is less frequented compared to other Nashville favorites the Percy Warner Parks and Radnor Lake State Park, which is one of the reasons I love it. It is more of an escape, and you probably won’t see your high school boyfriend or the people from work. I am also partial because I met my husband here when I went on a hike with the Nashville Hiking Meetup, also mentioned below.
Other great city parks are listed here.
The Parthenon and Centennial Park
The Parthenon at Centennial Park is a great day trip as you can enjoy Nashville’s urban park and the beautiful ode to Greece all within a few miles of Downtown Nashville. Almost every weekend there are events at Centennial Park from Shakespeare in the Park to Crafts Fairs to the Celebration of Cultures event. Also, there is a great one mile greenway around the edge of the park (great for jogging or walking) that takes you by the lake and you can feed the ducks gluten free bread if you wish!
The Parthenon stands proudly as the centerpiece of Centennial Park, Nashville’s premier urban park. The re-creation of the 42-foot statue Athena is the focus of the Parthenon just as it was in ancient Greece. The building and the Athena statue are both full-scale replicas of the Athenian originals.
Originally built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition, this replica of the original Parthenon in Athens serves as a monument to what is considered the pinnacle of classical architecture. The plaster replicas of the Parthenon Marbles found in the Naos are direct casts of the original sculptures which adorned the pediments of the Athenian Parthenon, dating back to 438 B.C. The originals of these powerful fragments are housed in the British Museum in London.
I love Team Green because many of their events are free if you are not interested in paying the membership fee (although it is very affordable) PLUS it’s single and couple friendly, and many of their events are even family friendly. They have a great deals to go to Climb Nashville, SUPing, health workshops, backpacking, etc.
Team Green Adventures creates outdoor treks for the Middle Tennessee community and partners with existing organizations to enhance participation. Promoting a strong commitment to health, well-being, and the environment, Team Green Adventures is a leader in inspiring a closer community in Middle Tennessee.
Radnor Lake State Park – Oasis within the City
Radnor Lake State Park is a 1,332-acre park and is protected as a Class II Natural Area. It is unique due to the abundance of wildlife viewing opportunities, environmental education programs, hiking opportunities and its location in an urban area. The park is day-use only and the more than six miles of trail are strictly used for hiking, photography and wildlife observation. Pets, jogging and bicycles are only allowed on the Otter Creek Road trail. The Lake Trail is accessible to people with all-terrain wheelchairs.
Tuesday Night Volleyball or Yoga at Centennial Park (April- End of Sept)
This is one of my sister and I’s favorite free events in Nashville. Playing volleyball is so fun and casual. There are usually two games going on at all times, and it’s a great workout as well as being super fun. No pressure, everyone is super nice even if your serve kind of sucks.
Sand Volleyball (6-10pm)
Join us for a free weekly pick-up game of sand volleyball at Metro Nashville’s Centennial Park Sand Volleyball Courts. Show up anytime throughout the evening and jump in to play! We will have two courts set up (one for beginners and one for more experienced players). This is a great place to meet fellow Team Greeners, and get some fresh air! Bring a volleyball if you have one, and don’t forget your hydration!
Yoga in the Park (6-7 pm)
Join Team Green Adventures and Kali Yuga Yoga every Tuesday evening from Memorial Day through Labor Day for Yoga at Centennial Park – a wonderful way to unwind from your day, enjoy the outdoors, and have some fun. Kali Yuga Yoga student instructors will lead this beginner-friendly practice each week, highlighting some basic yoga poses and how to perform them safely and effectively. All ability levels are welcome. Afterwards, jump in on Team Green’s Sand Volleyball!
This is a great club and it’s free! They have great hikes, events, and backpacking trips! I also met my husband on a hike with this club, so it’s definitely a great place to meet people! Check out their calender here.
Nashville Hiking Meetup is an outdoor adventure and eco-volunteer club that plans hiking, backpacking, camping, paddling, and biking events throughout the year ranging from easy to strenuous, local to regional. The aim of the group is to explore the natural beauty of Tennessee and beyond and to develop a social network for people with like interests.
In addition to our regular hikes and other outdoor adventures, we also plan social events and organize community volunteer projects such as park cleanup and trail building!
Bike Nashville with B-cycle
Rent a bike for the day or the year, depending on your needs. For a one day rental, it is only $5! Nashville is becoming more and more bike friendly with lots of bike lanes and easy access to Greenways for traffic free biking.
Nashville has 30 B-stations, with more to come, dispersed throughout the city for opportune use by residents and visitors alike. Lunch dates, shopping trips, meetings, or a quick ride for fresh air can be accomplished with no emissions, no gas, no traffic, and no hassle. After all, what better alternative fuel than you?
My favorite Greenways are Two Rivers Greenway and it has a skate park and Wave Country water park on the Greenway and it’s close to Opryland Hotel, also the Cumberland River Greenway that goes along the river and connects to the downtown pedestrian bridge that shows you a beautiful view of growing Nashville and it’s downtown cityscape.
Greenways are linear parks and trails that connect neighborhoods to schools, shopping areas, downtown, offices, recreation areas, open spaces and other points of activity. Often located along natural landscape features like streams, rivers and ridges, or along built features, such as railroad corridors and scenic highways, greenways provide valuable greenspace for conservation, recreation and alternative transportation. Greenways provide all citizens with barrier-free access to natural resources and recreational opportunities. I am so thankful that these exist to make communing with nature easier.
First Saturday of the month enjoy great art and music downtown and it’s free! There is usually wine or some snacks at some of the galleries you can enjoy! Plus, many food trucks saddle up to the Arcade to help hungry patrons.
Mark your calendar for the first Saturday of every month when art galleries throughout downtown host receptions and art openings! Over 1,000 people attend this very popular monthly event. Presenting local and world-renowned artists and artwork, the galleries offer rare opportunities to view diverse exhibitions featuring every genre of art. Admission free, First Saturday Art Crawl is a festive atmosphere with participating venues located along Fifth Avenue of the Arts and upstairs in the Historic Arcade – all welcoming the community to experience downtown Nashville as a center for art.
Most galleries serve free wine and other refreshments. The gallery crawl is a great free night on the town! Click here to see a shuttle route and map of where the galleries are located. For parking options, please use our online interactive parking map.
Exhibits change out each month and additional galleries are often added to the list. For updates, subscribe to Downtown Details – our free weekly e-newsletter.
View a list of all the art galleries located downtown and watch for more galleries to open soon! This growing arts community is one of downtown’s treasures.
Take a Train Trip with Tennessee Central Railway Museum
They have trips for kids with Thomas the Train and more adult themed trips with DelMonaco Winery and Fall foilage trips. They are not free, but when is the last time you got to go on a train for fun? They run all year long and are family friendly.
If there is anything Nashville has to offer, it’s definitely music. Check out all the free music options here. Some of my favorite places are Roberts Western World, Tin Roof, Thursday Riverfront Concerts and Symphony in Centennial Park.
East Nasty meets every Wednesday, year round, for a run at both 6am and 6pm. The 6pm evening run is is our ‘main event’ and the best way to get plugged into the group. Rain or shine, hot or cold – we run. There is nothing to sign up to participate, no email list to join – just show up, listen for your appropriate pace group, and run. We meet every Wednesday at 6pm and 6am at the corner of 11th and Holly in East Nashville. Each week there is a 3-6 mile route. We have 12 different runs that we follow sequentially. You can find links to maps of each route over in the right side menu column on this website. Check the blog posts on the main page of this site each week to see which route we are running. All running abilities welcome, but most of our runners can at least run a 12 minute mile. If you’re slower than that, please come, just make sure you partner up with someone for safety. There are usually over 150 runners on any given Wednesday evening, the morning group is smaller. Dogs and strollers are welcome, too. Bring a change of clothes, your ID, some $$$ and join us for a beverage and/or some food at 3 Crow Bar after the 6pm run! (Wednesdays are 2-for-1 at 3 Crow)
We are surrounded by Wild Eatables! Wild growing plants are REAL natural and whole foods. Some are good for raw food eating, some must be cooked to be eaten. Being in nature and eating from nature gives us spiritual and nutritional and spiritual recreation. We can incorporate into our lives plants that were uses by Indians and herbalists for hundreds of years to relieve suffering and restore balance to ailing bodies.
Most events take place on a hilly, mostly wooded “peace” of land in NW Nashville which is the haven of the Organizer and her husband. There will be walks, talks, cooking and eating opportunities.
Many places provide free movies during the warmer months, my personal favorites are the Movies in the Park at Centennial Park in June and the Second Saturday outdoor movie at The Belcourt Theatre. Plus, you can also live your lifelong dream to go to a drive in at the Stardust Drive In in Watertown, TN. See a full list of free options here.
A hotel visit isn’t the on top of everyone’s list for fun, but Opryland Hotel has 9 acres of gardens and canals to walk through and ride a boat inside the atrium of the hotel. It’s gorgeous and definitely deserves a visit, perfect for a natural outing without the outdoors during bad weather or blazing heat. Read a great overview and review here. Insider tip: park at the mall near the movie theater where there is free parking and a walk thru straight to the hotel.
Check out one of the best Nashville lake beaches at Anderson Beach on Percy Priest Lake. There are many other cheap swimming places in Nashville, to check out other lake front swimming locations, click here. But try to keep this awesome beach a secret okay?
Nashville has some of the best coffee shops to relax, check out some local art, and people watch. Check out my post about the best Nashville coffee shops here.
Healthy Paleo Restaurants
The food scene in Nashville is exploding and there are new places to enjoy every month. Check out my post about the most Paleo friendly restaurants in Nashville here.
Take a step back in time…
Visit one of the many beautiful historical landmarks in Nashville. My personal favorite is The Hermitage, the home of Andrew Jackson. The grounds are expansive and gorgeous, perfect to spend a day walking under the shade of old growth trees and soaking up some history. Other beautiful historical places to spend a nice day are Mansker’s Station at Moss-Wright Park in Goodlettsville, Belle Meade Plantation in West Nashville (plus the Belle Meade Winery has free tastings on the property), or the Tennessee Agricultural Museum where the self-guided tours are free and there is plenty of natural space to stroll or have a picnic.
I recommended this especially for people who want to eat healthy or who have food allergies. I have one listing now that is a studio without a full kitchen but another one is coming soon (July 2015) that has more amenities. I actually host one, you can check my listing here. The great part is that the host is available to let you know all the insider local info! You can become a host here.
There are so many great options of wonderful things to do in Nashville whether you are a tourist or longtime resident. Check out a wonderful list from The Tennessean’s beloved Ms. Cheap about 101 Free Things to do in Nashville here.