Check It Out: Nashville on a Budget

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Nashville Full MoonWhen times are tough and money is scant, folks are forced to stretch every entertainment dollar to its fullest. Fortunately for those living in or traveling to Tennessee, a multitude of cultural and historical sites are available on the cheap in and around the state’s capital city, Nashville.

To see all the city has to offer, fun-seekers in the Volunteer State may find it easier to travel by car, due to a less-than-stellar public transportation system. Former buy here pay here lots in Nashville often have great bargains on used vehicles that help you get behind the wheel and on your way to any of these great attractions:

Frist Center for the Visual Arts

Price: Varies; there are “family days” and discounted admissions available, and youth 18 and under are always free

The Frist Center is the hub of Nashville’s visual arts scene. With its colored-marble hallways and art deco style, the building is an architectural marvel. Inside, new exhibits are installed every six to eight weeks. Coming up in 2013: Sensuous Steel: Art Deco Automobiles, Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age and an exhibit featuring the paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings of early 20th century German Expressionists. Sign up for the Frist Center’s weekly email newsletter to be notified of discounted and free admission days.

Jack Daniel’s Distillery

Price: Free

Nestled in the small town of Lynchburg, Jack Daniel’s Distillery produces every single drop of its premium Tennessee sippin’ whiskey on site. Ironically, the distillery is located smack dab in the middle of a dry county no one has enjoyed intoxicating beverages here since Prohibition, at least not legally. The tour takes place mostly outdoors, where the whiskey distillation process is explained as well as the hyperbolic life of Jasper Newton Jack Daniel. For a nominal fee, tourists can take a special sampling tour offered every Monday through Saturday.

Cheekwood Botanical Garden Museum of Art

Price: $12 adults, $10 seniors (65+), $5 college students and youths (3-17)

This 55-acre estate was once home to Leslie and Mabel Cheek, investors in the now-famous Maxwell House Coffee brand. In the 1950s, their daughter offered the mansion and its environs as the site for a botanical garden and art museum, and now this horticultural wonder boasts 11 specialty gardens and verdant landscaping, including 50,000 tulips in springtime bloom. The museum houses decorative and contemporary paintings and sculptures and several exhibitions. Pack a picnic lunch for a scenic family outing.

The Hermitage

Price: $19 adults, $16 seniors (62+), $14 students (13-18), $9 children (6-12), free active military and children 5 and under; discounted group rates available

The Hermitage is a 1,120-acre National Historic Landmark and the former home of the seventh president of the United States, Andrew Jackson. Take a guided tour of one of the most authentically preserved presidential homes to learn about the fascinating life of Andrew Jackson and his family. The museum contains 19th century furniture, artwork, textiles and wallpaper, and visitors can see Jackson’s tomb, his two-story log blockhouse and slave quarters. History aficionados will enjoy stepping back in time to view this well-preserved site.

Written by Penny Juarez:

Penny is a freelance editor and writer who works at home with her dachshunds Lucy and Dezi.

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