Nashville is famous for its music scene, cultural activities, sports and recreational activities, and natural beauty. If you’re on a student budget, how can you enjoy the city without spending much money? Here are our five favorite free activities in Nashville.

Free Live Music


We can’t talk about Nashville without talking about the city’s long history as Music City, USA! There are numerous bars, clubs, and restaurants that offer live music, usually with no cover charge (but check before you go). Check out this list of places to go!

First Saturday Art Crawl


Join hundreds of other art lovers for the monthly First Saturday Art Crawl. Galleries around downtown Nashville open their doors for free, with many serving wine and refreshments. Other Nashville art galleries that are always free include the Fisk University Galleries and the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery.

Radnor Lake State Park


Radnor Lake offers a beautiful natural area known for its rich variety of wildlife, all only 20 minutes from downtown Nashville. You can hike on six miles of trails, enjoy a canoe expedition on the lake, visit wildlife exhibits, and observe birds, turtles, otters, and more. Like all Tennessee State Parks, Radnor Lake offers free parking and admission.

Gaylord Opryland Resort

Photo by Bobak Ha’Eri / CC BY 3.0

No, staying in this luxury hotel is not free, but visiting it is free and worth your time. The Gaylord Opryland contains an amazing nine acres of indoor gardens plus numerous fountains, waterfalls, and even an indoor boat. Be sure to visit in December to see the gorgeous Christmas lights and decorations. Insiders’ tip: Park for free next door at the Opry Mills mall.

Tennessee State Museum

Photo by Thomas R Machnitzki / CC BY 3.0

Learn about the history of the state at the free Tennessee State Museum. You’ll see exhibits with information and artifacts from prehistoric times through the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and beyond. The museum also hosts temporary exhibits of art from the state’s history.

But Wait…There’s More!

It’s hard to stop this list at five, so check out this list of free fall events in and around Nashville from The Tennessean’s “Ms. Cheap”!