101 Free Things to do in Nashville

by brenna

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Looking for some free Nashville events to keep your family occupied and happy? Look no further!

There are lots and lots of fun things to do around Nashville and the surrounding communities. But, it’s hard to believe how much of it is free…that’s right zero dollars.

Today, I give you my “101 FREE things to do in Nashville” courtesy of our resident expert, Ms. Cheap. This list was originally published a few years ago so as always, check with the venue to make sure they are still offering the events below. (Dates may have changed).

What I especially love about this list is that not only does it cover the entire year, but it also covers areas and neighborhoods just outside of Nashville as well. This means that whenever you come to Music City, there will be something fun (& free!) for your family to do.

101 Free Things to do in Nashville


1. CMA Music Festival hits Nashville every June, and there are four days of great free music and activities, featuring artists performing free at venues all over downtown in addition to the ticketed events at Music City Center and Nissan Stadium. www.cmafest.com


2. The famed Bluebird Cafe’s early show at 6 or 6:30 p.m. is almost always free (call first to be sure). and most Sunday night writers nights, Sunday Spotlights and Monday Open Mic nights have no cover charges. www.bluebirdcafe.com or 615-383-1461.

3. Head for the honky-tonks on Lower Broadway. Many, including Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and Robert’s Western World, never have a cover charge and have live music night and day. Tootsie’s even puts on a free Birthday Bash street party concert every October. nashvilledowntown.com

4. Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree tapes at 10 p.m. almost every Saturday, with free admission and at least two artists performing at the Texas Troubadour Theatre, 2416 Music Valley Drive. It airs at midnight on WSM 650-AM,  615-889-2474 or www.ernesttubb.com

5. Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp.’s annual New Year’s Eve and Fourth of July free concerts in downtown Nashville have become signature events for locals and tourists alike. The New Year’s Eve musical extravaganza with big-name artists like Keith Urban is known as the Jack Daniel’s Music City Midnight: New Year’s Eve in Nashville, and takes place at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. The Fourth of July event with a night full of music, capped off by fireworks and the Nashville Symphony takes place on the Riverfront. www.visitmusiccity.com 

6. Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music offers dozens of free concerts throughout the school year and even provides free valet parking at most. There are also other musical treats like the Vanderbilt Opera Theatre and University Orchestra teaming up for opera productions. blair.vanderbilt.edu or 615-322-7651

7. Belmont University School of Music has an impressive lineup of free concerts, including its symphony, monthly Belmont Camerata concerts and more. www.belmont.edu/music, 615-460-6408.

8. The acclaimed Fisk Jubilee Singers perform several times a year, including Oct. 6 Jubilee Day. The original Jubiliee Singers introduced “slave songs” to the world in 1871 and were instrumental in preserving this unique American musical tradition. www.fisk.edu/campus-life/jubilee-singers

9. Other area colleges and universities have wonderful free music offerings open to the public, too: Lipscomb University (www.lipscomb.edu/music), Trevecca University (trevecca.edu/music) Middle Tennessee State University (www.mtsu.edu/music), and Tennessee State University (www.tnstate.edu/music).

10. Nashville Symphony Summer Community Concert series is a perennial favorite, with seven outdoor concerts set for 2017 at various midstate parks in June. These concerts draw thousands of picnickers and music lovers who enjoy a night out at the concerts. Thesymphony also has an “Annual Free Day of Music” in the fall, which is a full day of music from numerous groups including a full Nashville Symphony performance in the beautiful Schermerhorn Symphony Center.  The symphony also has four free “OnStage” events that feature an intimate performance and conversation, with the audience sitting either on the stage or in the choir loft in Laura Turner Concert Hall. (Reservations fill up fast)  www.nashvillesymphony.org or 615-687-6500.

11. “String City: Nashville’s Tradition of Music and Puppetry” will be performed at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum June 26-July 8, with daily shows at 10 and 11:30 a.m., except Sunday. This production, a collaboration between the Hall of Fame and the Nashville Public Library’s Wishing Chair Productions, incorporates 50 puppets, marionettes, rod puppets and shadow puppets to chronicle the history of country music.  615-416-2001 or countrymusichalloffame.org.

12. The popular Saturday-night Centennial Park Big Band Dances, which include free dance lessons and a full orchestra playing big band music, run June through August in the Event Shelter at Centennial Park. https://www.nashville.gov/Parks-and-Recreation/Cultural-Arts/Music.aspx or 615-862-8440.

13. Metro Parks’ Red Caboose Concert Series, featuring live music for families, is held Friday nights in June at Red Caboose Park in Bellevue. https://www.nashville.gov/Parks-and-Recreation/Cultural-Arts/Music.aspx or 615-862-8440.

14. Dragon Music Sundays, organized by the Hillsboro West End Neighborhood Association and Metro Parks, usually take place in May and June at Fannie Mae Dees Park on Blakemore Avenue. Details to come from Metro Parks. 615-862-8400.

15. Family-friendly and dog-friendly Musicians Corner lawn parties take place on most Friday nights and Saturday afternoons in May, June, select Saturdays in August and September at Centennial Park, with all genres of music, children’s activities, local artisans and food trucks. www.musicianscornernashville.com

 16. Jazz on the Cumberland concert series on the waterfront at Cumberland Park, 592 S. First St., features smooth and traditional jazz one Sunday a month May through October. Dates include:  May 14, June 18, July 16, Aug. 17, Sept. 22, Oct. 19. www.jazzonthecumberland.com  615-731-9001.

17. Gallatin’s Third Thursdays on Main is a series of outdoor concerts held monthly June through September on the Historic Public Square. www.downtowngallatin.com .

18. The 60-member Williamson County Community Band and the Nashville Community Concert Band have a number of free concerts indoors and outdoors. For the Williamson County band schedule, see www.wcparksandrec.com/programs/wc-community-band. For the Nashville Community Band lineup, call 615-352-7713 or see www.nashccband.org.

19. Smyrna Parks and Recreation has monthly summer Cruise-Ins with classic cars, live music, food and inflatables. June 9, Aug. 11 and Sept. 8, from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Smyrna Event Centre, 100 Sam Ridley Parkway East, Smyrna. ​ 615-459-9742, ext. 2622, or www.townofsmyrna.org.

20. Hendersonville Arts Council has a free Sunset Fest concert on Aug.26 on the steps of the Monthaven Mansion, 1154 W. Main, Hendersonville. www.hendersonvillearts.org or 615-822-0789.

 21. Several Middle Tennessee wineries offer free outdoor concerts to bring a picnic, buy a bottle (or not) and enjoy live music. Arrington Vineyards in Arrington has a Music In the Vines music series music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May through November. 615-459-9742, ext. 2622, or www.arringtonvineyards.com. Sumner Crest Winery in Portland has concerts May through October. www.sumnercrestwinery.com or 615-325-4086. Beachaven Winery in Clarksville holds Jazz on the Lawn concerts on some Saturday nights May through October. 931-645-8867 or www.beachavenwinery.com.

22. Murfreesboro’s Friday Night Live concert series runs June through September on the historic downtown square. 615-895-1887 or www.downtownmurfreesboro.com.

23. Crockett Park in Brentwood has a popular series of summer Sunday concerts at the Eddy Arnold Amphitheater, including The Answer Band on June 4, Nashville Symphony on June 11, and the WannaBeatles on June 25. 615-371-0060 or www.brentwood-tn.org.

24. Be a part of Trinity Music City’s live studio audience at several “Praise” concerts through the year and monthly  “JUICE LIVE Nashville” concerts. No reservations are needed for “Praise,” but are required for “JUICE” by calling (615) 431-3505. Trinity Music City is in Hendersonville. Details: www.trinitymusiccity.com or call 615-822-8333

25. Metro Nashville’s “Live on the Green” mini-music festival series runs Thursdays in August and September at Public Square Park. www.liveonthegreen.net.

26. Nashville Public Library’s Courtyard Concerts offer lunchtime music on Tuesdays in late summer and early fall at the main library, 615 Church St. www.library.nashville.org

27. Churches of all denominations all over the Midstate are great sources of wonderful free music. For example, the annual BACH-analia — a free  six-hour music event featuring more than 100 musicians celebrating all things Bach — takes place in March in the sanctuary at Christ Church Cathedral, 900 Broadway.

28. Music for Seniors offers free monthly interactive live daytime performances for seniors at various locations. musicforseniors.org

29. Free holiday concerts. Look for “Ms. Cheap’s Guide to the Holidays” in late November for a full calendar including Merry Tuba Christmas, Nashville Unlimited Christmas concert, Messiah Singalong and lots of other church and community musical offerings. tennessean.com/mscheap


30. Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s annual Shakespeare in the Park takes place at Centennial Park on weekends in mid-August through mid-September and in Academy Park in Franklin Sept. 27-Oct. 1. The 2017 plays are “The Taming of the Shrew” and “The Winter’s Tale” for Centennial and “The Winter’s Tale” for Academy Park.  Admission is free, but a $10 donation is suggested. 615-255-2273 or www.nashvilleshakes.org

31. African American Cultural Alliance’s annual three-day African Street Festival takes place in Hadley Park in September with music (gospel, reggae, jazz, blues, African drumming and R&B), street dance,ethnic cuisine, international block party, bike repair station and children’s activities. 615-251-0007 or www.aacanashville.org

32. Buchanan Log House Folk Festival in mid-September at 2910 Elm Hill Pike, is an early 19th-century celebration with an encampment, period costumes and demonstrations such as candle making, spinning, quilting, soap making, wood carving, basket weaving, dulcimer building, live music and old-time children’s activities. www.buchananloghouse.com

33. Tennessee Craft Fair, with more than 200 fine arts craftspeople comes to Centennial Park twice a year, in May and September. 615-736-7600, www.tennesseecraft.org

34. The fall Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival at Centennial Park showcases more than 60 music and dance performances on multiple stages and includes a marketplace with handcrafted and imported items, more than 50 food vendors, interactive children’s area, an area just for teens and the Global Village, where you can experience the traditional music, languages, food, colorful clothing, decorations and traditions of the cultures that are right here in Nashville. Plus, admission to the Parthenon is free that day. 615-862-8400 or www.celebratenashville.org

35. The Granville community has several festivals in spring, fall and holidays, with live music, arts, old-time crafts and a chance to check out Granville’s Sutton Homestead with its 1880s home, blacksmith shop, grist mill shop, log cabin and weaving shop. Granville is a beautiful riverboat community near the Jackson/Smith County line. www.granvilletn.com

36. The annual Gallatin Main Street Festival is in early October with two music stages, children’s area and crafts. There is also a Square Fest on the last Saturday in April with music and crafts. 615-452-5692, www.mainstreetgallatin.com

37. The Southern Festival of Books, in October on and around Legislative Plaza in downtown Nashville, features as many as 200 authors gathered for a weekend of author talks, readings, panels and book signings. Plus there are children’s storytimes and activities, and music. www.humanitiestennessee.org

38. Oktoberfest in historic Germantown is a raucous early October weekend of music, parades, dancing, German food and beer gardens, and tours of the historic Church of the Assumption. www.thenashvilleoktoberfest.com

39. The two-day Tennessee History Festival in October at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park downtown is designed for all ages, offering re-enactments, demonstrations and historical talks that cover the span of Tennessee history — from Hernando de Soto to the Gulf War. 615-741-5800

40. The Japan-America Society of Tennessee’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival is held at Nashville Public Square Park in April, with live music, Japanese crafts, a Ginza marketplace, martial arts and children’s activities. nashvillecherryblossomfestival.org

41. Hot Chicken Festival takes place on the Fourth of July in East Park, 700 Woodland St., featuring live music, fire truck parade and Nashville favorite hot chicken samples. https://hot-chicken.com 

42. The Tomato Art Festival, which celebrates all things tomato is set for Aug. 12 in the 5 Points area of East Nashville. The costume-friendly festival, initiated by the Art & Invention Gallery,  features tomato-inspired art, music, food and a tomato parade, and attracts as many as 60,000 people each year.  tomatoartfest.com


43. Metro Park’s annual Movies in the Park series takes place in June with family-friendly movies shown outdoors. 615-862-8400

44. Movies Under the Stars in Murfreesboro has been a mainstay since 1947, and always has a fine lineup of family-oriented films that are shown at various Murfreesboro outdoor locations in June and July. 615-890-5333.

45. The City of Franklin offers free outdoor family movies at Pinkerton Park on Murfreesboro Road on April 8, and June 9 and 23. 615-550-6947.

46. Leiper’s Fork outdoor lawn theater, 4144 Old Hillsboro Road, features classics and family movies on Fridays, June through August. www.jailhouseindustrys.com

47. Mt. Juliet’s family-oriented Movies in the Park series is the first Friday, June through September at the amphitheater at Charlie Daniels Park, Mt. Juliet. www.mjparksandrec.org

48. Libraries are a good movie resource, too.  The Nashville Public Library shows movies at many of its branches through the year. The Metro library system also has nearly 150,000 DVDs that you can check out as well as movies to stream online.  www.library.nashville.org or 615-862-5800.

Miscellaneous fun

49. Regions Bank sponsors a Regions Free Day almost every month, offering a limited number of free tickets to local attractions, like Children’s Theater, TPAC Hot Program, The Adventure Science Center, The Hermitage and more. Details at Regions branches.

50. Nashville Zoo rarely has free days, but it teams up with the Metro Police Mounted Patrol to do a toy collection drive in December in which they give out free admission coupons to people who donate toys. The zoo usually also has a free day for seniors (65-plus) once or twice a year, and a free afternoon for kids during the Week of the Young Child. www.nashvillezoo.org

51. Check out one of our Midstate farmers’ markets, many of which are adding programming. The Nashville Farmers’ Market,900 Rosa L Parks Blvd.,  not only has local produce and Tennessee products, but special events like the monthly Friday Night Markets, and kids activities on many Saturdays. 615-880-2001, www.nashvillefarmersmarket.org; Other markets include Franklin Farmers Market, behind the Factory at Franklin on Saturday mornings, www.franklinfarmersmarket.com; and Murfreesboro’s seasonal Saturday market next to the Courthouse. 615-895-1887, www.downtownmurfreesboro.com. For a full list of markets in Tennessee, see www.picktnproducts.org.

52. There are three great venues where you can see some free animal programs, including horse shows, exotic bird shows, dog agility shows and rodeos: Williamson County Ag Expo Park, 4215 Long Lane, Franklin, 615-595-1227, www.agexpopark.info; Tennessee Miller Coliseum, Murfreesboro, www.mtsu.edu/~tmc or 615-494-8961; and Tennessee Livestock Center, Murfreesboro, www.mtsu.edu/~tlc or 615-898-5575.

53. If you want to see a horse race, Kentucky Downs’ annual season of live turf horse racing takes place in the fall with several days of races. Admission and parking are free. Kentucky Downs, America’s only European-style turf course, is in Franklin, Ky., just off Interstate 65 at Exit 2. 270-586-7778 or www.kentuckydowns.com

54. Barnard-Seyfert Astronomical Society holds free “star parties” at parks and other locations around town. Members bring telescopes or you can bring your own to explore the night sky. Society amateur and professional astronomers are on hand to answer questions and help new star gazers. www.bsasnashville.com

55. Vanderbilt’s Dyer Observatory, 1000 Oman Drive, Brentwood, has “Open House Days” 9 a.m.-noon the first Tuesday of each month. Make a reservation and get a tour of the observatory and star chamber, and look through the solar telescope. www.dyer.vanderbilt.edu

56. The monthly flea market at the Fairgrounds Nashville is always fun to explore. Parking is $5, but admission is free. www.nashvilleexpocenter.org/expo/fleamarket

57. “Shakespeare Allowed,” a partnership between the Nashville Shakespeare Festival and the Nashville Public Library, takes place at noon on the first Saturday of every month for a reading of one play.  https://nashvilleshakes.org/shakespeareallowed.htm

58. Volunteer. Almost every nonprofit has some activities, but the best source for volunteering is Hands On Nashville, which has a calendar full of good options for all ages and interests. www.hon.org


59. Watch the Titans open practices and get some autographs in late July and early August at Saint Thomas Sports Park, 45 Great Circle Road in MetroCenter. Check www.titansonline.com for times and details.

60. Enjoy spring college football games — Vanderbilt’s Black and Gold, TSU’s Blue and White and MTSU’s Blue and White game, all free.

61. Vanderbilt also has two annual Dore Jam fan events, one before the football season kicks off and one at the beginning of basketball season, when fans can meet the coaches and players, and enjoy some fun activities. www.vucommodores.com

62. All Belmont Bruin baseball games are free (www.belmontbruins.com or 615-460-6420), as are the Trevecca Nazarene Trojan games (www.tnutrojans.com or 615-248-1271). Two other baseball options: The Tennessee Association of Vintage Baseball, (tennesseevintagebaseball.com), which uses 19th century baseball rules with underhand pitching and no gloves, plays at various Midstate locations through the summer; and the Nashville Old Timers Baseball Association (www.otbaseball.com), which has a field at Shelby Park.

63. If it’s hockey you like, a good chance to get a free insider look at the Nashville Predators is by catching a practice.  The Preds’ practices at Centennial Sportsplex are free and frequently open to the public. Call  615-770-7800 for information.

Children’s activities

64. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has a free family day program usually on the first Sunday of the month. Attendees must have a program pass (they are free and are distributed 30 minutes prior to each session)  to guarantee admission since seating is limited.  The museum also does a fall break and spring break deal with free admission for local students. 615-416-2001 or www.countrymusichalloffame.org

65. Nashville Public Library offers about 100 storytimes almost every month at the Main Library and various branches in Davidson County. See library.nashville.gov. Surrounding communities’ libraries have lots of story times, too — Brentwood, Hendersonville, Williamson County and others. Plus bookstores, like Parnassus and Barnes & Noble, and attractions like the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

66. Nashville Public Library’s Wishing Chair Productions professional puppeteer troupe performs hundreds of shows a year at the Main Library and in the community through the Puppet Truck. Last year, more than 67,000 people saw the shows. Shows are almost all Friday and Saturday mornings through the year at the Main Library. library.nashville.org or 615-862-5800.

67. City of Franklin offers a number of free family days, including an Arbor Day celebration on April 22 at Pinkerton Park, Touch a Truck on May 19 at Jim Warren Park, June 3 Kids Art Festival at Pinkerton Park, Animal Show for Kids on June 14 at Pinkerton Park, Kids Water Day on July 26 at Pinkerton Park, and Family Day on Nov. 4 at The Park at Harlinsdale Farms.  615-550-6947.

68. In the hot summer months, little ones love the spraygrounds. In Nashville, there are three  — the Watkins Park Sprayground, the Kirkpatrick Sprayground, and the largest and most elaborate – at Cumberland Park, all of which are open mid-June through August. www.nashville.gov/parks. There is also the popular Ava’s Splash Pad water playground for little ones in Charlie Daniel’s Park in Mt. Juliet. www.cityofmtjuliet.org/avassplashpad.cfm

69. There is more water at the Don Fox Community Park, 955 Baddour Parkway, Lebanon, where there’s a wading pool, water umbrellas and other fun spraying features. The park also has a 2½-mile paved trail, track, exercise station and picnic tables. 615-449-0303

70. Kidsville at the Parthenon event takes place at 11 a.m. every Saturday, offering a craft and a story for children. (It is a great way to get free Parthenon admission.) https://www.conservancyonline.com/about/kidsville

71. Metro Parks Tales at Twilight family program takes place on Friday nights in July at Cumberland Park, next to Nissan Stadium. https://www.nashville.gov/Parks-and-Recreation/Cultural-Arts/Music.aspx

Arts and culture and history

72. Tennessee State Museum, at 505 Deaderick St., is free for all ages. There are temporary exhibits but it is known for its wonderful permanent collection on state history and the Civil War. Don’t miss seeing the mummy and the mummified cat. There is also a Military History Branch of the State Museum in the War Memorial Building with exhibits dealing with America’s overseas conflicts from the Spanish American War in 1898 through World War II. 615-741-2692 or www.tnmuseum.org.

73. Frist Center for the Visual Arts is free for children 18 and younger and has a number of free-for-everyone days throughout the year. Kids (and adults) love the interactive ArtQuest gallery upstairs where they can make art to take home. The Frist has an ever-changing schedule of exhibitions. Admission is free for college students on Thursday and Friday nights, and there is free evening music in the cafe on Thursdays and on all Fridays except Frist Fridays. 615-244-3340 or fristcenter.org

74. Look inside Hatch Show Print, 224 Fifth Ave. S., which is one of the oldest working letterpress print shops in the country. Paid tours are offered daily, but you can go into the shop and watch the process without paying. 615-256-2805, hatchshowprint.com

75. Downtown Nashville’s First Saturday Art Crawl is 6-9 p.m. the first Saturday of every month, along Fifth Avenue North and around downtown. Downtown art galleries host receptions and art openings and serve free wine and snacks. A free shuttle takes you from gallery to gallery. 615-743-3090 or www.nashvilledowntown.com

76. The downtown Franklin Tour of the Arts is 6-9 p.m. the first Friday of every month in and around downtown Franklin. The tour is free, and a trolley operates on a loop. www.franklinartscene.com

77. There is also a first Saturday Arts & Music at Wedgewood-Houston; drop by this fast-growing neighborhood for a free arts and music walk beginning at 6 p.m.  www.am-wh.com.

78. Tour local art galleries on your own. Here’s a sampling: The Arts Company, theartscompany.com; Local Color, www.localcolornashville.com; Art & Invention gallery, artandinvention.com; LeQuire Gallery and Studio, lequiregallery.com; Sarratt Gallery at Vanderbilt University, www.vanderbilt.edu/sarrattgallery; Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery, www.vanderbilt.edu/gallery; Fisk University galleries, www.fisk.edu/services-resources/fisk-university-galleries; Leu Gallery at Belmont University, www.belmont.edu/art/leu_art_gallery1.html; and Centennial Art Center in Centennial Park, nashville.gov/cac.

79. The Parthenon Symposia lecture and reception series takes place inside the Parthenon, meaning it is a good chance to see the Parthenon for free, too! The series is always free, although reservations are required: 615-862-8431. www.nashville.gov/Parks-and-Recreation/Parthenon.aspx

 80. Explore the ruins of Fort Negley, which was the largest and most important Union fort built after Nashville fell in 1862 in the Civil War. The Fort Negley Visitors Center at 100 Fort Negley Blvd., offers interactive exhibits and a film you can see before checking out the ruins. 615-862-8470 or www.nashville.gov/Parks-and-Recreation/Historic-Sites/Fort-Negley.aspx

81. The Nashville Public Library Foundation’s Salon@615 series features author talks throughout the year. Most  take place at the Main Library and are free, but there are a few that are held at other locations and require a book purchase. www.library.nashville.org

82. The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson, always has a free day on Jan. 8 to commemorate the Battle of New Orleans. Your visit includes a docent-led tour of the mansion, a film and a self-guided tour of the lovely grounds. www.thehermitage.com

83.  The Upper Room Chapel and Museum, at 1908 Grand Ave., has special exhibits at Christmas and Easter as well as a permanent collection of international pieces portraying Biblical figures, stories, nativity scenes, paintings and sculptures. chapel.upperroom.org

84. Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, 600 James Robertson Parkway, offers a unique look at Tennessee history via a 200-foot granite map, walkway featuring the 95 counties andhistory wall. . There are ranger-led tours during the week. 615-741-5280.

85. Tennessee Agricultural Museum, 440 Hogan Road, has an extensive collection of home and farm artifacts from the 19th and 20th centuries displayed in a renovated plantation barn. The museum features textiles, woodworking collection, blacksmith shop, wagons and large equipment, such as a Jumbo steam engine. There are also log cabins, a farm house, one-room schoolhouse, gardens and nature trails. Open 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday-Fridays. 615-837-5197 or tnagmuseum.org.

86. Murfreesboro’s Cannonsburgh Village, 312 S. Front St., is a reproduction of an 1830s-1930s working pioneer village. The Village hosts a spring Pioneer Days Festival and a fall Harvest Days Festival, with music, demonstrations and food. They also have a third Friday summertime outdoor concert series, with bluegrass and/or country bands. 615-890-0355.

Get fit/Get outside

87. Warner Park Nature Center (615-352-6299), Bells Bend Nature Center (615-862-4187), Shelby Bottoms Nature Center (615-862-8539) and Beaman Nature Center (615-880-2238) have great naturalist-led programs for families as well as trails for hiking or walking. Another good option is Bowie Park and Nature Center in Fairview, where there are lots of family events through the year. 615-799-5544, www.bowiepark.org. Murfreesboro’s Wilderness Station in Barfield Crescent Park has a full calendar of hikes and nature programs for all ages, including an Animals Encounters program and some animal puppet shows. 615-217-3017

88. Tennessee’s Free Fishing Day every June is the one day when anyone in the state can fish free without a license. There are also lots of free fishing opportunities for kids that week. www.tnwildlife.org and click on “free fishing events.”

89. Owls Hill Nature Sanctuary has a free family hike day one Saturday a month. www.owlshills.org.

90. Stones River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro has a film about its role in the civil war, as well as lots of programs and tours, including bike tours and lantern tours of the battlefield for history lovers and families. 615-893-9501.

91. Our state parks have wonderful naturalist-led hikes and nature programs. Some of the most popular are Radnor Lake (www.radnorlake.org) and Long Hunter State Park (tnstateparks.com/parks/about/long-hunter), both of which have lovely trails, free canoe floats and wildflower hikes. 615-952-2099.

92.Tennessee state parks offers four “all park hike days” during the year: First Day hike on Jan. 1, National Trails Day Hike, National Public Lands Day Hike and Black Friday Hike. On these days, all of our state parks offer a ranger-led hike for the public.  https://tnstateparks.com

93. If you want a flat, paved walking trail that can easily accommodate strollers and wheelchairs, the Centennial Park 1-mile trail that encircles the Parthenon is perfect. There is also a nice paved trail around Couchville Lake in Long Hunter State Park.

94. Check out the offerings of the Nashville Hiking Meetup, a free outdoor adventure and eco-volunteer club that plans hiking, backpacking, camping, paddling and biking events throughout the year. Anybody can join, and then sign up for any of the programs that are offered at www.nashvillehiking.com.

95. If you are into mountain biking, there are more options than ever, including trails at Percy Warner, Hamilton Creek and Cane Ridge in Nashville. There is a new beginner trail at Bells Bend Outdoor Center, where you can borrow a bike to try it out. (615-862-8400). You could also enjoy a serious bike ride at the Lock 4 Bike Trail in Gallatin, where there’s a 9-mile USA Cycling-sanctioned base course and a 3-mile kids course (615-822-2512). Other good mountain biking spots are Long Hunter State Park’s Jones Mill Mountain Bike Trail, a 3.5-mile loop for hiking or mountain biking (615-885-2422), and more than 20 miles of mountain bike trails at Montgomery Bell State Park (615-797-9052).

96. Metro Parks operates several indoor and outdoor  community pools (Cleveland, Looby, Rose, Napier and Kirkpatrick) that have open swim times. Some of the regional recreation centers have indoor pools. 615-862-8400.

97. Metro’s Regional Community Centers at Hadley Park, Coleman Park, Hartman Park, McCabe Community Center, East Park, Sevier Park and Southeast, have free indoor walking tracks and gymnasiums as well as very affordable fitness classes and workout centers. 615-862-8400, www.nashville.gov/parks

98. Walk, bike or skate on Middle Tennessee greenways. Nashville has completed more than 85 miles of greenways. (615-862-8400 or www.nashville.gov/greenways).

99. Murfreesboro’s greenways system along the Stones River includes almost 12 miles of paved trails with several trailheads (615-893-2141, www.murfreesborotn.gov/parks, click on the greenway page). Sumner County has great greenways and walking trails, too.

100. Roll on out to the skate park at Two Rivers Park, where you can skate on a street course or have some fun in the skaters’ bowls. 615-862-8400.

101. Metro has more than 100 tennis courts, most of which are free. And if you want to see some great tennis, it’s free to watch the tournaments at Centennial Sportsplex.  615-862-8490

This article courtesy of Ms. Cheap, my frugal friend over at the Tennessean. As she likes to say, “Keep it cheap!”

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