More and more people are ditching the traditional office environment to work remotely or launch businesses on their own. If you subscribe to the digital nomad lifestyle, you could certainly work from home or join one of the many co-working spaces popping up around the country, but what happens when your mailman (or cat) gets tired of hearing about your most recent project, or when you don’t want to commit to a monthly cost for workspace? Whether you’re a solopreneur, remote worker, freelancer, or just searching for some off-site, non-florescent inspiration, these 14 Southern spots promise the free Wifi and good vibes you need to feel your most productive.
- Raleigh: The Hunt Library: Located on NC State’s Centennial Campus, the 221,000 square foot space is not the library you’re used to from college. Set up shop in one of almost 100 breakout rooms, plop down on quirky ergonomic furniture, or sit on a terrace with views of Lake Raleigh and the city skyline. While you’re there, you can also check out 3D printing rooms, studio space, and the famous “bookBot.”
- Charleston: Hampton Park: Charge up your laptop and work outside in one of our favorite city parks in Charleston. Visitors can sit in a gazebo or grab shaded bench overlooking the pond. If you’re feeling especially ambitious (and if you don’t have any video calls), take a break and try out the fitness course.
- Charleston: Charleston Library Society: Pay a small annual membership fee (starts at $50) and you can access the Reading Room at this King Street space, founded in 1748. Not only is the space beautiful, it’s quiet, a short walk to the water, and offers such inspiration in its archives as DuBose Heyward’s original handwritten manuscript of Porgy. Makes those emails seem a bit easier, eh?
- Charlotte: Romare Bearden Park: This city park is nestled right in the heart of Uptown Charlotte, next to the French Quarter and the Charlotte Knights’ baseball field. If you break a sweat while working outside, run through the park’s waterfall. Just remember to put down your laptop and iPhone first.
- Nashville: Pinewood Social: You’ll be able to work (and play) all day at this hip spot situated right off the Nashville Greenway. Spend your morning in the coffee shop, take a lunch meeting in the outdoor courtyard, and grab drinks with a client at the Airstream bar. And hey, we won’t tell anyone if “working remotely” turns into a dip in the pool or a game of bowling.
- Nashville: Centennial Park: This 132-acre park two miles west of downtown is a great place to find some workday inspiration. Take a walking meeting on the one-mile trail, sit in the shade of its iconic Parthenon, or cool off at a table (and maybe try your hand at some pottery) in the arts activity center.
- Atlanta: Dancing Goats: There are several great coffee shops with free Wifi in Atlanta, but Dancing Goats made our list because A) the outdoor area is unbeatable (hello, working from a comfy porch swing / couch hybrid) and B) it’s located at the super cool Ponce City Market, which is home to companies like Mailchimp, General Assembly, and TechStars, as well as a food hall boasting fare from James Beard Award winning chefs.
- Atlanta: Chrome Yellow: Okay yes, this is also a coffee shop, but again, we have our reasons. Located in Atlanta’s up-and-coming Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, the space is like a good mullet – business in the front, party in the back. Grab a coffee in their café, jam out on some work, and leave enough time to visit the perfectly curated clothing and dry goods shop in the back half of the building.
- Miami: Perez Art Museum: Sipping coffee and cold-pressed juice next to the Biscayne Bay doesn’t sound like a bad way to spend your workday. Museum admission isn’t required to hang out at the Verde café and restaurant but if you want some creative inspiration on the cheap, stop by on a Thursday. PAMM is free and open until 9pm, so you can still work a full day before you tour the exhibits.
- Miami: Panther Coffee: You’ll feel like you’re on an episode of Portlandia but trust us, you’re in Miami. The coffeehouse has a couple of locations, including one in South Beach and in Wynwood, Miami’s design district. Plenty of seating, cool local art on the walls, and house-roasted beans (plus beer and wine for lunch…er, happy hour) make it a great work spot.
- Richmond: Byrd Park: This 200-acre park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places earlier this year. Open your laptop next to one of many monuments or be brave and take a call from a pedal boat on one of its three small lakes. There’s a full-service concession building in case you get hungry or need to plug in. Just don’t feed your snacks to the geese.
- Richmond: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts: Located in Richmond’s Museum District, the VMFA is one of the largest art museums in North America. General admission is free if you decide to work amongst the exhibits, or you can grab a table at the Best Café. Here’s hoping the views of a reflecting pool and sculpture garden bring some Zen to your quest for inbox zero.
- Austin: Radio Coffee & Beer: This place is great if you need to stay in one place for the whole day. Sip your morning coffee inside, spend your afternoon eating tacos from the taco truck out back, and then close out your workday lounging on their lawn with a brew from the beer garden. Did we say this place is great? We meant perfect.
- Austin: Zilker Park: This city park makes other city parks feel embarrassed, and lucky for you, it has free Wifi! It’s massive (351 acres), so you’ll want to charge up and plan out your work spot ahead of time. We suggest the Great Lawn for views of the city skyline or the Zilker Botanical Gardens for some workday serenity.
Are you a digital nomad with a favorite free wifi hangout? Let us know on Twitter and we’ll add to our list!
Photo Credit: Kinfolk