This month, I’m getting back on budget and nerding out hard. I LOVE a good money saving challenge (against myself, ha). We let our financial reins a bit loose throughout the month of June and then spent a large chunk of savings on a new roof, so it’s definitely time for a reset.
It doesn’t hurt that our beach vacation is coming up in August and I intend to spare NO expense on crab legs and fresh bay oysters. To say I’m having a bit of travel envy is a major understatement and it’s all the motivation I need.
Luckily there are plenty of budget friendly activities and events in Nashville all summer long! Whether you’re planning a quick, wallet friendly weekend in Nashville or you’re a native and overdue for a staycation, I’ve curated a list of my favorite free activities around town for the month.
Nashville Hot Chicken Festival
A free festival dedicated to Nashville’s best flavor? Yes please! It’s hosted every year on July 4th at East Park starting at 11AM, but get there EARLY for the free samples. First 500 people in line win!
If you have extra time (or are extra cheap), sign up to volunteer and get 2 free drink tickets as well!
Country Music Hall of Fame
Davidson County residents with a library card can visit the Hall of Fame for free anytime with a Community Counts Passport. Each pass- which can be picked up in person at a local branch, is good for two free admissions and must be used and returned within 10 days.
The Outlaws and Armadillos exhibit is on my July bucket list. It’s all about the migration of country music to Texas by some of my favs- Willie, Waylon and Coe.
Waterfalls + Swimming Holes
Tennessee has plenty of free state parks with crystal clear, natural swimming holes- perfect for a hot July day trip from Nashville. Here are my top three spots within 100 miles of Nashville.
Cummins Falls: Pro tip- Get an early start or visit on a weekday to avoid the massive crowds. The glorious visitor free days prior to becoming a public park are gone, but it’s still a favorite excursion from the city. Pack a picnic and take in the 75 ft falls.
Rutledge Falls: I’d recommend hiking at nearby Machine and Busby Fall trails for more of a workout and then hitting up Rutledge for a dip and much deserved rest. These three trails are all located in Tullahoma.
Foster Falls: An hour and a half from Nashville, Foster Falls provides adventure seekers a challenging and rocky trek, a wide swimming hole flanked by a pristine waterfall, and several primitive camping sites to round out the day.
Nashville Flea Market
The Nashville Flea Market is a must do, if nothing else for the people watching and vintage memorabilia. Entrance is free, but event parking is $5. To make a day of it, first head to nearby Smokin’ Thighs for their smoked chicken tacos with roasted pepper corn slaw and then walk over to the fairgrounds.
The flea market is scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday of every fourth weekend of the month.
Natchez Trace Parkway
The old lady in me loves a scenic drive through rolling hillsides, but the Natchez Trace is more a history lesson with hiking, biking and camping breaks throughout.
The entire parkway spans 444 miles throughout three states and the portion nearest Nashville starts conveniently by the famous Loveless Café (which I’ve embarrassingly enough never eaten at!
Nashville has attracted loads of creatives, artists and makers in the last decade, and monthly art crawls provide a perfect way to immerse yourself in the scene. Most galleries provide complimentary snacks and drinks for your perusing pleasure.
Sample all that Nashville has to offer with walkable art crawls across the city:
- The downtown arts district and the Wedgwood/Houston area both host First Saturday Art crawls.
- The East Side Art Stumble happens on the second Saturday of the month.
- Historic Germantown showcases its local art on the third Saturday of the month.
What’s on YOUR Nashville bucket list for this month?