It’s finally spring and you and your significant other are looking to get out and about to explore Nashville. Before you decide that cracking down on your binge-worthy watchlist (that can wait for a rainy Saturday) is the only activity that won’t break the bank, we ask you to reconsider. Take a peek and take advantage of one (or all) of these fantastic cheap date ideas in Nashville.
Yes, you read that right. First up, we’re showing you all the fun things you can do around town without paying a dime.
Hiking in Nashville
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Nashville is a beautiful city. And while our neighborhoods and downtown cityscape contribute to that, the lush parks and greenways within a short driving distance make the true difference. Warner Parks and Radnor Lake are easy to get to and have trails of differing difficulty, but make it a point to check out some of the area’s best local day hikes or, on a hot day, a nearby waterfall hike. Pack a picnic and plenty of water and get out there! For easy picnic options, grab sandwiches, salads, chicken or tuna salad and snacks from grab-and-go spots such as Anzie Blue, Southernaire Market, Tinwings or The Corner Market. If you are not looking to hike but are still interested in a picnic and great views, pay a visit to Love Circle.
Art crawls are wildly popular, and the abundance of creative talent in this town never ceases to amaze us. Local crawls grant free access to beautiful exhibitions, and many of the participating galleries also offer refreshments and light appetizers. Even if you know nothing about art, the people watching, wine and a few tasty bites to eat make for the perfect date.
First Saturday Art Crawl
The FirstBank First Saturday Art Crawl takes place downtown on, you guessed it, the first Saturday of each month. You can visit Hatch Show Print, The 5th Avenue of the Arts galleries (The Arts Company, The Rymer Gallery and Tinney Contemporary), as well as Art at the Arcade and Art at Music City Marketplace.
Arts & Music at WeHo
East Side Art Stumble
Franklin Art Scene
Franklin Art Scene is a celebration not only of galleries but local shops as well. Pay a visit to studios and galleries like Tin Cottage, Rare Print Gallery and Savory Spice to cruise and shop or grab a bite at places like Frothy Monkey, Puckett’s and McReary’s Irish Pub & Eatery on the first Friday of each month.
Music & Dancing
The 5 Spot’s Motown Monday
Break out your dancing shoes and prepare to shag. The best tunes from one of the greatest musical eras of all time will show you arguably the most important thing about a person — his or her comfort level on the dance floor. A great dancing partner is nice, but an enthusiastic one is even better. Swing on over to East Nashville for Motown Monday from 10 p.m. to 11:55 p.m. and show off your best moves.
Big Band Dance
Centennial Park is the place to be on Saturday nights from June to August. In the pavilion at the back of the park, a 20-person band of percussion, saxophones, trumpets and trombones transports its audience to the jazz age of the 1930s and 1940s. The music may range in speed and style over the course of the evening, but the floor stays consistently crowded. This is the dance hall date perfect for all ages and abilities — grab your favorite dance partner and head to the Big Band Dance.
Live On the Green
Returning for its eighth year, the free Public Square Park concert series begins with Thursday night installments in August, and culminates with a three-day Labor Day weekend event, giving you plenty of opportunities to enjoy incredible live music with a date. The Live On the Green lineup will be announced midsummer!
Support local artists and The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park by attending Musicians Corner. This Centennial Park concert series is free to the public, though donations are accepted. The spring season runs from May to June while the summer season runs all of August and into part of September. Live music, food trucks and lots of fun await!
Nashville Symphony Concerts
In its effort to bring music to everyone in Middle Tennessee, the Nashville Symphony hosts Free Community Concerts throughout the month of June. At various locations and times, these concerts bring popular classic songs to life. Pack a lawn chair or blanket and a picnic dinner as you enjoy the beautiful sounds of the city’s symphony orchestra.
Lend a Hand
Hands On Nashville
For a really meaningful date, find an opportunity to volunteer through Hands On Nashville. There are so many ways to serve in the community, so consider volunteering next time you have a free afternoon or weekend. Whether you join a Habitat build or pack bags of food with Second Harvest, you are guaranteed to feel good at the end of the date — even if the date himself turns out to be a dud.
If this wasn’t enough to get you going, check out this article for more Fun (& Free) Things to do in Nashville.
UNDER (and around) $20 DATES
Still keeping things cheap, these dates all come in under $20 total for you and your date. You and your wallet can enjoy a nice night out exploring any of these fun and festive Nashville activities!
Disc golf is a great activity for couples and friends alike. Nashville has a few courses, though Seven Oaks Park is the most popular we’ve seen. Play a few holes or all 21 — like golf, this is a game that’s great for most ages and skill levels. The course itself is free, but you’ll need to use a proper disc golf disc. Cumberland Transit has midrange discs (which will work for any novice or intermediate player) for $9.99 each. Stop in and grab one for you and your date before heading out. And if you already have discs, then lucky you — this date is free!
Take a Tour
Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co. Factory Tour
Engage your mind and your taste buds at the Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co. Factory Tour on your next date. Learn about the company’s history and heritage, as well as how artisan chocolate is made. From bean to bar, you will get to see and sample the entire process! Tours must be booked online in advance and are available only on Saturdays for $5 per person (including samples!).
Brewery & Distillery Tours
Craft beer connoisseurs will revel in this date night option. Local breweries offer tours that educate guests on the history of the brewery and the different styles of beer that they brew. Yazoo Brewery, Little Harpeth Brewing, Jackalope Brewing Company and Tennessee Brew Works are a few breweries in town worth checking out. Gather your friends for a group date and take the evening into the taproom for a taste of the full menu. And if you prefer a booze cruise, schedule a tour of Corsair Distillery or Nelson’s GreenBrier Distillery, both local and intriguing.
Shows to Catch
Enjoy some of the top new movies on the big screen while enjoying the warm night air on a cozy blanket for two. Though Stardust is a 45-minute drive outside Nashville, the extra car time just allows more opportunity to get to know your date on the way there and then discuss the merits of the movie on the way home. Stardust Drive-In is open March through November, with movies starting at dusk, and entry is $8 per person. (SB Tip: If you don’t have time to drive to the Stardust, the Belcourt is another Nashville favorite for seeing movies. With a mix of box office hits, documentaries, classics and foreign films, the Belcourt is great for date night.)
A Music City favorite, the Nashville Shakespeare Festival performs at ONEC1TY from mid-August to mid-September. This year, the group performs Shakespeare’s “What You Will (Twelfth Night)”. The Thursday through Sunday performances start at 7 p.m., but we recommend arriving early to ensure a good seat, enjoy bites from vendors and see the Talking Shakespeare guest speaker, as well as the pre-show musical entertainment. Summer Shakespeare suggests a donation of $10 per person for entry, an incredibly reasonable price for the talent you will get to see firsthand. For an elevated experience, try out the Royal & Noble package, which starts at $75 is available for those interested in premier parking, reserved seating and dinner from Pastaria.
The Nashville Sounds
Mark your calendar now because the Nashville Sounds’ season kicks off in April! If you have yet to make it to First Tennessee Park to check out a game, consider date night the perfect opportunity to go. Tickets start at $10 for grass seating on the berm. Pack a blanket and enjoy America’s favorite pastime alongside your date. Peanuts, Cracker Jack and cold beer not included, but strongly recommended.
We’ve always recommended that you attend a Vanderbilt Baseball game when the season rolls around and this year, we can add that the 2019 College World Series Champions are back. Make plans to cheer on the “Vandy boys” in what is sure to be another exciting season. Outfield seating starts at $16.
Nashville Soccer Club
You may have already checked many of these dates off your list, but a Nashville SC game is likely one of the dates you haven’t experienced. In February 2020, Nashville’s newest team made its grand MLS debut to a packed and enthusiastic Nissan Stadium, demonstrating that the momentum is just getting started. Tickets begin at $25 so grab yours and don’t miss the kickoff season for the Nashville Soccer Club!
UNDER $60 DATES
These dates are the perfect way to drop a bit of cash to show your significant other just how much you care. With active and cultural options, both inside and out, these are perfect dates for the established couple or just a very impressive first date!
Combine your workout and a date outing into one fun afternoon. Climb Nashville is a superb indoor climbing facility with locations in both East and West Nashville. While there are numerous options available, the best bet for first-timers looking to enjoy a full day of activity together is a day pass with gear. For $18 (East Nashville) or $23 (West Nashville), you get a day pass, harness and shoes. Additional options such as belay lessons, chalk bags, helmets and more.
Pickin’ Parties at Warner Parks
Enjoy great bluegrass music under the light of a full summer moon at the Full Moon Pickin’ Parties at Warner Parks. Musicians and music lovers alike are invited to enjoy this beloved Nashville tradition in one of its most beautiful settings. On Friday nights closest to the full moon from May to October, head out to enjoy beautiful music floating through the air. Admission is $20 in advance and $25 at the gate (if you’re an avid goer, you can nab your season pass to all six Pickin’ Parties for $100). All funds raised by the Pickin’ Parties go directly toward protecting Warner Parks, as well as funding educational programs and special projects that benefit park-goers of all ages!
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) has become quite popular, likely because it is such an approachable activity for all ages and fitness levels. Nashville has several places to put in if you have your own board, but for those needing to rent, Nashville Paddle Company and Paddle Up Nashville offer great pricing options. You will want to reserve a spot in advance, as warm days can get incredibly busy. Starting at $26 for your first hour, you and your date can have fun getting outside and enjoying this beautiful spring and summer on the water!
Canoeing & Kayaking
For those wishing to enjoy the water with less risk of getting wet, a canoeing or kayaking date may be just right for you. Cruise along the Harpeth River with a craft from Tip-A-Canoe. The rental company makes the process very easy — all you need to do is paddle! Pricing varies based on group size, but we recommend a double or group date, as it will lessen the cost. For $49.95 a canoe or $30 a kayak, you and your date can spend the day enjoying the sights while floating down the river.
Leap into a good time with a night at DEFY Nashville in Brentwood. For $14.50 each (for a one-hour “flight” ticket), you can bounce around a trapeze, stunt fall, ninja obstacle course, foam pits and wall tramp. Get a little competitive with the ninja obstacle course and extreme dodgeball. This is the date night for the active couple who isn’t afraid to be silly to have a great time together!
The Escape Room
Nashville is home to three premier Escape Rooms (Downtown, Berry Hill and Opry Mills). Test your leadership and teamwork skills as you solve the puzzle in front of you. There are several different options of puzzles to choose from, but all will challenge you and your date to work together – a great first test for any relationship. You will need to reserve your spaces in advance and can choose to pay per person (starting at $32.99 each) to join a random group or simply reserve the entire room for a dozen friends ($336 total).
Drink & Dine
Head 25 miles south of Nashville to Arrington and you’ll find the beautifully manicured vineyards of Tennessee’s wine country. Arrington Vineyards is a premier spot to have a picnic and enjoy the incredible scenery around you while sipping wine that is rich in flavor and body. Though there are several options for enjoying the vineyard, the $14 flight seems the surest way to sample wines while avoiding the crowds. Choose from profiles of mixed, red, white, rose and sweet wines for four tastings of the vineyard’s blends and walk away with a convenient carrying tray towards your chosen picnic table. All guests wishing to enjoy wine will need to provide ID.
Whole Foods Salud! Cooking School
Both cooking lovers and avoiders can enjoy a fun date night spent at the Salud! Cooking School in the Green Hills Whole Foods Market. Choose from a variety of fun hands-on lessons or thorough demonstrations through a number of dishes and cuisines for an evening that gives you the “homemade” feeling without the cleanup. Registration starts at $25 per person. Check out the calendar of upcoming classes and roll those sleeves up!
For more exciting and unique ways to wake up your brain for date night (and beyond), check out these Adult Education Classes happening around Nashville.
Explore Nashville’s Culture
A Visit to Cheekwood
With gorgeous gardens and grounds, Cheekwood Estate & Gardens is the ideal spot for a day date. Pack a picnic or plan a stroll to enjoy the 55-acre property, complete with Japanese gardens, a botanic hall and library, a historic mansion and countless other breathtaking sights, including gardens, fountains and statuaries. Cheekwood also houses a gallery that hosts a permanent collection and visiting exhibits. Adult admission is $22 per person.
Tour the Frist Art Museum
This Art Deco landmark curates compelling shows that feature local and internationally renowned artists. The Frist Musem does not have a permanent collection but brings traveling exhibitions from some of the most established art institutions throughout the country. Show off what you remember from your college art history class as you peruse the fantastic works on display. Adult admission is $15 per person (Frist members are admitted free of charge).
A Music City Evening
As Nashville is known for its talented music scene, a pair of tickets to a show makes for a wonderful date night. Depending on the show, the price will obviously vary. We’ve included a few upcoming favorites worth investing in:
Ascend Amphitheater, Ryman Auditorium, Mercy Lounge, Grand Ole Opry, Marathon Music Works and the occasional Nissan Stadium are just some of our favorite spots to catch a concert, with many of this season’s shows already sold out. See who will take the stage this spring and summer!
For a more intimate concert experience, check out these 4 Unique Ways to Enjoy Live Music in Nashville.
However you choose to spend your date nights this spring and summer, we hope that the company is engaging and full of charm. And if not, there are plenty of eligible fish in the sea!