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When it comes to planning an affordable and exciting visit to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, look no further. We’ve put together some of the best low-cost activities you can enjoy in this charming southern city, our alma mater college town!

Murfreesboro, TN on map

Whether you’re into history, outdoor adventures, or family fun, Murfreesboro has something for everyone, and the best part is that you won’t break the bank along the way.

A visit to the historic Stones River National Battlefield is not only a must-see but also free of charge. Walk through the well-preserved grounds and learn about one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.

For those who enjoy immersing themselves in the local culture, Murfreesboro boasts a vibrant arts scene, and you can take in the beautiful art pieces at local galleries without spending a dime.

To keep the kids entertained, we recommend stopping by the Discovery Center which offers a budget-friendly experience that combines fun with education.

With a wealth of cheap and free activities in Murfreesboro, there’s no reason not to have an amazing time exploring this delightful Tennessee city.

Cannon At The Stones River National Battlefield And Cemetery In Murfreesboro Tennessee

Historical Sites and Museums

Stones River National Battlefield

One of the main attractions in Murfreesboro is the Stones River National Battlefield. This remarkable site commemorates the Battle of Stones River, one of the bloodiest conflicts of the Civil War. We can explore the battlefield, learn about the battle’s impact on Rutherford County, and visit the Stones River National Cemetery, which is home to 6,100 Union soldiers.

If you have kids, there are great trails to explore and our kids love to play on the unique rock formations, however very small children might not be the best to take inside and we got yelled at for sitting on a cart on the property, so not the best for smaller kids.

Oaklands Mansion

Another fantastic destination to explore local history is Oaklands Mansion, a beautiful antebellum home that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Here, we can roam the grounds, enjoy the walking trails, and gain a deeper understanding of the lives of the people who lived in Murfreesboro during the 19th century.

Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center

For those looking for an in-depth glimpse of African American history in Murfreesboro, the Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center is a must-visit site. It was once an African American school, and now houses exhibits and artifacts that showcase the local African American community’s rich history and their fight for education and equality.

Earth Experience: Middle Tennessee Museum of Natural History

As the first museum of natural history in the area, the Earth Experience is a fantastic place to learn about Middle Tennessee’s natural world. We can discover interactive exhibits, learn about local wildlife and geology, and even participate in special events that cater to all ages and interests. It’s an excellent spot for families and nature enthusiasts alike.

The hubs and I at Cannonsburgh Village

Historic Cannonsburgh Village

Travel back in time with a visit to Historic Cannonsburgh Village, a living history museum that showcases life in Rutherford County during the 1800s. We can stroll through the village, which includes a working grist mill, blacksmith shop, and log cabins, to experience what life was like for settlers in the area.

This quaint little village is where my husband and I had our vowal renewal ceremony! We got married away from family when the hubs was in the Army and deploying, so a few years later we had a celebration where the whole family could come. Weddings at Cannonsburgh are great!

Now we’ve covered the most interesting historical sites and museums to visit in Murfreesboro, TN. Each site offers a unique opportunity to immerse ourselves in local history and culture, and to enrich our understanding of the past. We hope you take the time to explore these incredible destinations during your visit to Murfreesboro.

McFadden's farm city public civil war historic site and nature trail in Murfreesboro, TN
McFadden’s farm city public civil war historic site and nature trail in Murfreesboro, TN

Outdoor Activities

Murfreesboro, TN offers plenty of budget-friendly outdoor activities for families and nature lovers alike. In this section, we will explore some beautiful spots, including Barfield Crescent Park, Stones River Greenway, Gateway Island, Old Fort Park, and Murfree Spring.

Barfield Crescent Park

Barfield Crescent Park is a beautiful destination for a day out with the whole family. The park features miles of trails for hiking, as well as picnic shelters and tables for a leisurely lunch. The park is also home to the historic one-room schoolhouse, which is worth a visit. While you’re there, take advantage of the opportunity to explore the surrounding area and enjoy the great outdoors.

Stones River Greenway

The Stones River Greenway is a popular spot in Murfreesboro that offers beautiful views along miles of scenic trails. It’s perfect for jogging, cycling, or simply taking a leisurely walk. Oaklands Mansion is situated nearby, making it a perfect day out for history enthusiasts as well. This greenway also connects to landmarks from the Civil War period.

We love the Greenway and have walked several of its trails, even driving 45 minutes to enjoy the paved trails and scenery. Here is a picture of one of our adventures:

author's husband and sons on Stones River Greenway

Gateway Island

Gateway Island is a hidden gem located just a short drive from downtown Nashville. It’s a fun place to explore the beautiful scenery that Murfreesboro has to offer. The island features a picturesque lake, picnic tables, and plenty of areas for children to play. Keep an eye out for local artists showcasing their work during events and gatherings.

Old Fort Park

Old Fort Park is a historic location near the Stone River in Murfreesboro. The park was established as a site where Union soldiers camped during the Civil War, and it still retains some of its original charm. Today, the park offers hiking trails, picnic shelters, and a splash pad for children. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon with the family, enjoying the tranquility of nature.

This is another area that’s really special to us, as my husband and I spent a lot of our dates just walking the trails in the area. The playground for our kids is amazing and we still love to explore the park!

the author's sons at the Murfree Spring wetlands
My boys at the Murfree Spring wetlands

Murfree Spring

If you’re looking for a peaceful refuge to connect with nature, Murfree Spring is the spot for you. The spring consists of a small, blueberry patch habitat and serves as an oasis for local wildlife. The city of Murfreesboro’s visitor center can also be found here, making it a convenient spot to stop and gather information about the area.

author's son at the Discovery Center in Murfree Spring
Our son at the Discovery Center at Murfree Spring

Family-Friendly Entertainment

Discovery Center

Our family loves visiting the Discovery Center in Murfreesboro, TN! This hands-on museum has interactive exhibits for all ages. The best time to visit is when they have temporary exhibits, which usually coincide with seasonal activities. These experiences not only entertain but also educate us in a fun way.

This is really an affordable way to spend the day, and an annual membership is really worth it if you will be visiting a few times in a year. This is also a place we’ve done quite a few field trips and our boys absolutely love it!

Especially the fire truck inside:

little boy pretending to drive a fire truck at the Discovery Center
Our youngest enjoying the old fashioned fire truck inside the Discovery Center

Go USA Fun Park

At the Go USA Fun Park, there’s never a shortage of fun things to do. From go-karts to arcade games, it’s an exciting time for the whole family. While some activities require a small fee, we find that the overall experience is a great deal. Plus, there’s a dining area where we can relax and refuel as well as a play area for the little ones.

Old Fort Park

As parents, we appreciate having a safe and clean environment for our children to explore, which is why the outdoor playground at Old Fort Park is a perfect place to let them play!

The playground is huge and updated. It used to be a wooden castle structure but this has been completely remodeled with newer play equipment. There are also trails to walk if you want to wander after the kids play.

Creative Experiences

Murfreesboro, TN is a hub for affordable and fun creative experiences. In this section, we’ll dive into two must-see attractions: live music at Mayday Brewery and local art and cultural events happening throughout the city.

Live Music at Mayday Brewery

If you’re a fan of live music, you can’t miss the vibrant atmosphere at Mayday Brewery. Known not only for their craft beers but also for their commitment to showcasing local talent, Mayday is one of the best places in Murfreesboro to catch emerging artists.

Every weekend, treat yourself to a fun experience of live performances ranging from classic rock and folk to indie and bluegrass, all while enjoying a refreshing brew. Their spacious outdoor patio makes the experience even more enjoyable. So grab a drink, kick back, and let the good times roll.

Local Art and Cultural Events

Murfreesboro is home to a wealth of local art and cultural events, particularly in the historic downtown area. Here are some of our favorite activities and spots to check out:

  • First Friday Live Concert Series: Friday nights June-September you can find live music at the county courthouse. Learn more here
  • St. Clair Street Senior Center: We know it might sound unconventional, but this senior center also serves as a thriving hub for local art. Through their art classes, exhibitions, and events, they’ve cultivated a strong community of talented artists, both young and old.
  • City-produced cultural events: Throughout the year, Murfreesboro hosts a variety of city-sponsored cultural events, such as outdoor movie nights, theater performances, and family-friendly festivals.

Exploring these cultural experiences will not only enrich your understanding of the local community but also give you a taste of the talent and creativity Murfreesboro has to offer. So go ahead and immerse yourself in these creative experiences—we know you’ll love every moment.

Eat, Drink and Shop

Historical Downtown Murfreesboro

We love exploring the Historical Downtown Murfreesboro area, which offers plenty of cheap and fun activities. While strolling through the streets, we enjoy visiting the charming boutiques, art galleries, and antique shops, where we often find unique and affordable treasures.

Our favorite part of downtown is the food scene! There are plenty of budget-friendly restaurants and food trucks to choose from. One of our go-to spots is Gyro Tabouli, where we indulge in delicious Mediterranean cuisine without breaking the bank. If we’re looking for a more casual option, we head over to the food trucks lining the streets, offering diverse and wallet-friendly meals.

Hawkins Variety Store

One of the highlights of Murfreesboro is the nostalgic general store. Here, we enjoy browsing through an assortment of local products, vintage memorabilia, and handmade crafts. It’s the perfect place to find unique souvenirs and gifts, and support local artisans.

Visiting the general store is like taking a step back in time, and we enjoy the friendly and hospitable atmosphere.


When we want to sit down for a bite in Murfreesboro, we have plenty of affordable dining options to choose from, ranging from cozy cafés to bustling eateries. In the dining area, we often look for:

  • Locally-owned family restaurants, like Jeff’s Family Friendly Restaurant
  • Themed diners and sports bars, offering delicious meals and a fun atmosphere
  • Cafés with outdoor seating, allowing us to enjoy the beautiful weather

Rest assured, Murfreesboro offers a wide variety of budget-friendly dining options to satisfy our cravings. Whether we’re on a road trip or simply exploring our own backyard, we always find something delicious and affordable in this charming town.

Additional Destinations Nearby

Old Stone Fort State Park

One of the fun things we found to do in Murfreesboro is visiting the Old Stone Fort State Park. This park is an awesome option for spending quality time with family or friends while exploring the outdoors. The area features beautiful hiking trails, waterfalls, and a rich history. It’s a great way to spend a day without breaking the bank.

Very Active Wilderness Station

Lastly, we suggest paying a visit to the Wilderness Station for a truly immersive experience in nature. The Wilderness Station is part of the Nature Center, where you can enjoy:

  • Outdoor programs
  • Guided hikes
  • Campfire programs
  • Educational workshops

We love spending time in Murfreesboro’s outdoors, and the Wilderness Station offers various opportunities to connect with nature and learn more about our environment. It’s an excellent option for quality family time and exploring the natural wonders of Murfreesboro.

Overall, Murfreesboro has a lot to offer, including local farms, the Discovery Center, and other unique attractions. All these destinations provide opportunities to spend quality time with loved ones while discovering the charm of this Tennessee town.

I hope you enjoy visiting our college town – a place that’s near and dear to our hearts and we still enjoy visiting often!

See all our posts on Middle Tennessee here!

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