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Nashville is having a serious moment in the travel spotlight. Bachelorette parties are flocking here for rowdy nights at honkytonks along Broadway, families are checking out the sprawling Opry Land Hotel, and—as usual—wanna-be songbirds are moving in droves, hoping for a moment on stage at Tootsie’s. Whatever your reason for coming, Nashville is sure to delight with its all of its great live music, hip restaurants, public parks and more—all at a price point that won’t break the bank! Here are 20 things to do in Nashville for less than $20, listed in no particular order.

RELATED: 10 fun things to do in Denver for under $20

hattie bs fried chicken - nashville - jason

Hattie B’s | Photo courtesy of Jason Heidemann

1. Test your toughness with hot chicken

Head to Hattie B’s for her famous hot chicken. For well under $20, you can play chicken with your taste buds: Spice levels start at “Southern” which is little heat, and end at “Shut the cluck up” which is categorized at “burn notice.” And there are four other variations of piping hot chicken in between. Our suggestion: Maybe order a glass of milk on the side!

Catch a show at the Bluebird Café

Just about every big name singer-songwriter in Nashville, from Garth Brooks to Faith Hill, has performed on the dimly lit stage of the Bluebird Café. It’s not easy to score tickets to this iconic venue, but if you do, the cover charge usually runs just from $12-$20.

Tour the Hermitage

Located just east of Nashville, the Hermitage was once home to President Andrew Jackson. Explore this historic mansion and farmland to really get a sense of what life was like for the 7th President of the United States back in the early 1800s. General tour tickets will cost you exactly $20!

Parthenon, Nashville

The Parthenon

Picnic by the Parthenon

Not in Greece, though! Believe it or not, Nashville has its own full-scale replica of Athens’ Parthenon. Nashville’s version lies in the center of Centennial Park, just west of downtown. A sprawling green lawn surrounds the structure, and it’s a perfect place read a book or enjoy a picnic.

Walk the waterfront

The scenic Cumberland River snakes through the heart of Nashville. Start with a stroll along the grassy stretch of Riverfront Park, directly across from First Avenue, then make your way across the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, for a great look back at the city skyline.

Nashville, Broadway


Hit the honkytonks

If you didn’t go to a honkytonk on Broadway, did you even really visit Nashville? The answer is no. Nashville’s main downtown drag is home to an iconic strip of live music bars known as honkytonks. Enter from the front (or from the back alley, shhh!) and enjoy a rowdy crowd dancing to up-and-coming performers. Venues like Legends and The Stage usually have a low (or even no) cover charge!

Stroll Vanderbilt’s scholarly grounds

Less than a mile from downtown lies the gorgeous grounds of Vanderbilt University. Walking around the campus, marked by red brick buildings and sprawling green lawns, you’ll quickly forget you’re in the middle of a city. The university has even been designated as an arboretum, with more than 6,000 different types of trees and shrubs on its grounds.

Brunch with the masses at Pancake Pantry

The line is always long, but the meal is most definitely worth it at Nashville’s most beloved brunch spot, Pancake Pantry. This diner-style breakfast joint is a favorite of everyone from country music stars to students on a budget. You can’t go wrong with the old fashioned buttermilk pancakes with house-made maple syrup and real whipped butter for $7.16.

vineyard in nashville

Sip vino at a vineyard

For $14, you can taste eight different wines at Arrington Vineyards. Owned by Kix Brooks, of the famed country music duo Brooks and Dunn, the property sits perched on a hill with beautiful bucolic views. Bonus: You can also catch music here for free! Check their event calendar to see who’s playing.

Opryland, Nashville

Gaylord Opryland Resort

Visit the Gaylord Opryland Resort

Even if you’re not staying there, you could make a whole day out of experiencing the colossal Gaylord Opryland Resort. The mega-resort has nine acres of indoor gardens and waterfalls, shopping, restaurants, and even an indoor waterpark. During they holidays, they put on one of the best light displays in the country, but you’ll be blown away by the establishment any time of year. Don’t forget to catch a show next door at the Grand Ole Opry while you’re there!

Take a hike

In Nashville, you don’t have to head far to find yourself in the quiet hillsides of central Tennessee. Radnor Lake, less than 10 miles from downtown, is known for its beautiful trails and scenic lake views.

See a flick

Want some entertainment mixed with a little history? Watch a movie at Nashville’s oldest theater, Belcourt, for $10.50. Belcourt Theater has been open since 1925—back when they were showing silent films!

Get your art on

If you’re in town for the first Saturday of the month, hit up the First Saturday Art Crawl downtown. The event itself is free, and a lot of the participating galleries serve complimentary cocktails, as well!

Whiskey on the rocks in nashville

Sip famous Tennessee Whiskey

Spend an afternoon at Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, where adult tours are $11. Here, you’ll finally get to taste what Chris Stapleton’s been singing about—a little Tennessee Whiskey!

Join a studio audience

Did you watch American Idol? Then you’ll remember Kellie Pickler with her soft, twangy Southern voice. She and Ben Aaron now have a TV show called Pickler & Ben and are always looking for folks in town to fill their studio audience. It’s a fun taping, and it’s free!

thompson hotel in Nashville

Photo courtesy of Thompson Hotel

Have a rooftop cocktail

Head to the rooftop of one of Nashville’s coolest boutique hotels, the Thompson Hotel, for delicious drinks and unbeatable city skyline views. The bar serves great artisan cocktails and beer from a wide selection of Southern breweries.

Catch a Predator

Predator hockey, to be specific. Do you love the NHL but hate those sky-high ticket prices? You can go watch the Nashville Predators practice at Centennial Sportsplex, and it’s completely free and open to the public!

Boutique shop in Hillsborough Village 

Spend a leisurely afternoon perusing the shops along 21st Avenue in Hillsborough Village. You’ll find everything from home goods to chic women’s apparel and accessories. For great clothing, pop into Posh, and for eclectic decor, don’t miss a visit to Hey Rooster General Store.

bbq, nashville

Brisket barbecue

Feast on the finest BBQ

Tennessee pork shoulder, Texas beef brisket, and St. Louis-style ribs—you can nosh on it all at the legendary Jack’s Barbecue off Broadway in downtown Nashville. Just look for neon Jacks sign or let your nose draw you to the sweet, sweet smell of BBQ sauce. Most sandwiches are under $6 and most plates are under $12. Not bad pricing for some of the best eats in town!

Take the stage at Lonnie’s Western Room

After a long night of watching country music performers at the bars on Broadway, it’s your turn to be one. Take a quick walk to Printer’s Alley and pop into one of the greatest dive bars / karaoke joints of all time, Lonnie’s. Put your name and song-of-choice on the list and get ready to belt out Friends in Low Places or Man! I Feel Like a Woman in front of a whole audience like it’s your full time job.

Tagged: City, Types of Travel

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