It’s spring. (Finally!) The birds and bees are out, and you and your significant other should be too! What’s that? You’re trying to save your money? That’s great, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit on the couch watching Netflix all weekend; your watchlist can wait for a rainy Saturday. In the meantime, 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. Organized according to the calendar, we’ll start with what is available year-round.
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 Southernaire Market, Miss Daisy’s Kitchen 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 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
Arts & Music at WeHo coincides with First Saturday and galleries in the neighborhood, including David Lusk Gallery, Fort Houston, Valentine Valentine and Zeitgeist Gallery, open their doors for the evening.
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 Tin Cottage, Franklin Glass Blowing Studio, Finnleys Good Findings, Franklin Antique Mall, Savory Spice and The Registry on the first Friday of each month.
Music & Dancing
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 — their 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 3 a.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 on August 11, 18 and 25, 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 on June 23, and it should be another banner year for bringing talented artists to Music City!
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.
UNDER $20 DATES
Still keeping things cheap, these dates all come in under $20 total for you AND your date. Grab a fresh Andrew Jackson (or soon, Harriet Tubman) as you and your wallet both enjoy a night out!
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 and Sinclair Factory Tour
Engage your mind and your taste buds at the Olive and Sinclair 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.
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 tap room 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. (SB Tip: If tours are your thing, here are 13 more super-fun Southern Tours Worth Taking.)
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.)
Shakespeare in the Park
A Music City favorite, the Nashville Shakespeare Festival performs in Centennial Park from mid-August to mid-September. This year, the group performs Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors” and “Macbeth.” The Thursday through Sunday performances start at 7:30 p.m., but we recommend arriving early to ensure a good seat and enjoy the Talking Shakespeare guest speaker, as well as the pre-show musical entertainment. Shakespeare in the Park 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 $50 is available for those interested in premier seating and boxed dinner.
The Ben & Morey Show
Laugh and learn at Nashville’s Late Night Talk Show, hosted by Ben Oddo and Nashville native, Morey Hill. The humorous duo bring a variety of guests to the stage of the Centennial Park Black Box Theater on Thursday nights. The first season of The Ben & Morey Show premiered last August and season two is now well underway. Previous guests have included Tye Dye Mary, author Anne Patchett, Heisman trophy winner Eddie George, and StyleBlueprint’s own Elizabeth Fox and Liza Graves, among numerous others. $10 grants you admission for one and 2 beer tickets.
The Nashville Sounds
The Nashville Sounds hosted opening day on April 7, and now the season is in full swing. If you have yet to make it to the new First Tennessee Park, consider date night the perfect opportunity to go. Tickets start at $9 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.
After a tough loss to the University of Virginia in the D1 College Baseball World Series last year, the Commodores are back and ready to reclaim the championship. The season is underway, and the boys already have a great record. Make plans to cheer on the Vanderbilt baseball team in what is sure to be another exciting season. Outfield seating starts at $8.
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 all 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 the intro package. For $27.50 (East Nashville) or $29.50 (West Nashville), you get a day pass, gear and a belay lesson. The more experienced climbing couple can get a day pass with gear for $18.50 (East) or $$20.50 (West). Belay on!
Pickin’ Parties at Warner Parks
Enjoy great bluegrass music under the light of a full summer moon at the 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, $25 at the gate. 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 paddle boarding (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. For $20 to $25 each, you and your date can have fun getting outside and enjoying this beautiful spring!
For those wishing to enjoy the water with less risk of getting wet, a canoeing 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 roughly $40 a canoe, you and that cute guy from the office can spend the day paddling gently down the stream.
Sky High Sports
Leap into a good time with a night at Sky High Sports. Friday and Saturday nights, the trampoline park has a Jump After Dark special from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. For $15 each, you can bounce and dance with laser, disco and party lights. Get a little competitive and a lot flirty while playing glow-in-the-dark 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 two premier Escape Rooms (East Iris Drive and Third Avenue North). 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 ($28 each) and be in a room with other people you don’t know or simply reserve the entire room for a dozen friends ($336 total).
Explore Nashville’s Culture
A Visit to Cheekwood
With gorgeous gardens and grounds, Cheekwood 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 $14 per person.
Tour the Frist Center
This Art Deco landmark curates compelling shows that feature local and internationally renowned artists. The Frist 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 $12 per person (Frist members are admitted free of charge).
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 Picnic Tasting seems the surest way to sample wines while avoiding the crowds. This “basket” includes samples of four wines, as well as some tasting notes and wine crackers. All guests wishing to enjoy wine will need to provide ID.
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:
Set in the historic Factory at Franklin on Wednesday nights, Music City Roots is a live, two-hour radio show that features innovative interpretations of Americana traditions across all genres of music. Make a night of it and enjoy Saffire’s preshow dinner package. For $30 per person, you’ll receive a ticket and enjoy a savory selection from their preshow dinner menu.
Marathon Village’s popular music venue, Marathon Music Works, is hosting a Spring Block Party on April 30 at 4 p.m. Kaleo, Roots of a Rebellion, Future Thieves, Simo and Matt Walberg & The Living Situation will all be performing. Find a date and get out to enjoy talented musicians at a favorite local venue.
Ascend Amphitheater had a banner opening year in 2015 and its popularity has continued into 2016, with many of this season’s shows already sold out. A few notable names that caught our eye included Cage the Elephant on May 19, Ray LaMontagne on July 29, the Goo Goo Dolls on August 5 and The Lumineers on September 22.
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!
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