Visiting Nashville is a destination that is entertaining for all audiences. Whether you are looking to get away for a weekend, take a trip with the family, or have the ultimate bachelorette party, Nashville is your place!
17 Best Things to Do in Nashville
Once you start looking into Nashville for your next vacation destination, you’ll immediately see that there are countless sights and attractions to do while there.
How do you know which are worthy of a visit? And how do you figure out which you can move to the bottom of the list?
In this comprehensive guide, we list 17 of the best things to do during your time in the birthplace of country music. Continue reading to learn more about these popular attractions!
The Grand Ole Opry is synonymous with Nashville. Therefore, a trip to Music City wouldn’t be complete without visiting the famous establishment. Whether to take in a concert or get a tour of the grounds, any reason to see it is acceptable.
When you are done exploring all that the venue has to offer, be sure to stop into their retail store for unique Grand Ole Opry merchandise. There are also ample concessions opportunities so that you won’t go hungry during your visit!
Many people will take the chance to visit the Circle Room Premium Lounge inside the Opry before or after a show. This upscale environment is offered as a ticket upgrade.
Therefore you have to pay extra to obtain admission. However, your purchase comes with complimentary food and drinks and the chance to visit with the country stars performing that evening.
If you are looking for the hub of Nashville, you will find it on their most famous street. Broadway offers everything you need and could possibly want in a city.
From the local honky tonks to souvenir outlets, you won’t get bored when in the area. If you’re tired out from a long day of sightseeing, you can take a trolley tour of the area and hop off at your chosen dinner destination.
You will find that there is no shortage of live music and activity on the street, and you’re bound to make some new friends during your time there. Some of the best options for dinner include Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and the Broadway Brewhouse, and Mojo Grill.
However, if these aren’t up your alley, there are many more to choose from throughout the street. Round out the evening with a drink from one of the top bars in the area, and your time on Broadway will be complete!
In a nod to Greek culture, the city of Nashville has its own replica of the infamous historic building from Athens. As one of the most beautiful architectural designs in the city, many tourists descend on the area daily to take it in.
Today the Parthenon operates as a cultural center and holds a 42-foot statue of Athena. When you enter the building, you will see many art pieces, most of which are representative of the 19th and 20th centuries.
You will also see an array of statues and monuments. Historical texts are included in the exhibits to keep the time period in mind. Besides the sheer massiveness of the building (it is a full-scale replica of the original), the design and beauty will captivate you.
That alone makes it worth the visit. However, you will frequently have the chance to take in Greek theatre or live music concerts during your stay as well.
Whereas New York has Central Park and Chicago has Millennium Park, Nashville has its own outdoor paradise. Known as Cumberland Park, the space offers amenities that cater to various interests.
Whether you’re looking for a way to cool off on a hot summer day with a splash pad, a fun playground area for the littles, historical memorials, or an outdoor amphitheater, Cumberland Park is the place to be for all of those wants and needs.
One of the most extraordinary things about this park is that it has the recent addition of an elevator to be more handicap accessible. With this change, individuals can enter the park by Shelby Street Bridge.
As an attraction and accommodation in one, the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center is a terrific place to visit in the Nashville area. Even if you don’t choose it as lodging for your vacation, you can purchase a day pass to check out the different activities on the property.
Between a water park, fountain show, riverboat tours, shopping, restaurants, recreational activities, and spa, you will enjoy a day with a multitude of entertainment options.
What’s more, in the winter you can experience their winter wonderland. This activity is unmatched and will make memories that will last years.
We all know that Nashville is the birthplace of country music and the home to many music stars. With all of that talent in one location, the need for recording studios and production facilities is high.
When you come upon Music Row in Music City, you will find all of the music creation resources available to the stars. When you walk the street, you will come face to face with the building where Elvis recorded his famous song “ How Great Thou Art.”
Want something to commemorate the occasion? The rock-oriented clothing and retail store called Any Old Iron has a wonderful selection of unique apparel and trinkets for the choosing.
Keep your eye out for any music stars coming around to record their next album. With such a high percentage of musicians in the town, the chances are good that you’ll spot one or two.
The great thing about going to a zoo is knowing that regardless of anything else, you’ll get to observe some incredible animals. Each zoo has its own unique features, and the Nashville Zoo is no exception.
One of my favorite exhibits is the animatronic display. When you come upon this, you won’t expect what you’re about to witness.
While you are strolling along, an array of life-sized dinosaurs will begin to move. You will start to hear noises coming from them, including hissing, spitting, and roaring!
While none of us were around during the dinosaur age, this gives us a view into what life was like with these large animals moving around the earth. This exhibit may be scary for the youngest visitors, so visit at your own discretion.
As Nashville’s oldest honky tonk bar, Tootsies Orchid Lounge is a top-rated destination for tourists. Many famous musicians have walked through the doors of the lounge, including Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline.
Because of its popularity, it always has an extremely long wait in the evenings to get inside.
However, once you get in, you’ll have a fantastic time with live music and plenty of drinks. Several country artists got their start performing at Tootsies. Who knows, you may hear some live music that ends up on the radio someday!
For sports enthusiasts, a visit to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame should be at the top of your itinerary. With many top athletes that have come out of the state, the city built a unique attraction to honor them and their commitment to their sport.
Located in downtown Nashville, it’s within walking distance for many visiting the area. The Hall of Fame isn’t limited to one particular sport. As you walk through the halls, you will see nods to football stars, hockey players, Olympians, and even equestrians.
There are even fun attractions for children, including an area where they can wear the same uniforms as the sports stars for photo ops.
If you’re planning a visit, keep in mind that the building is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Additionally, if you are coming as part of a large group, reach out for a special discounted price.
What was once former President Andrew Jackson’s home is now a beautiful estate to hold engagements and learn about the history of the south. Slavery is a tremendous part of our past, but it isn’t often spoken about at length.
Andrew Jackson was the owner of several enslaved people, and seeing the stark contrast in the way he lived versus the slaves he kept is incredibly eye-opening. Taking the time to navigate the grounds will provide a relaxing day.
The estate also offers many restaurants and a winery that guests can visit during their time there. With everything available to participate in, you can easily spend an entire day exploring all the different attractions.
If you are looking to break out from the city and explore some of nature, taking a day trip to Radnor Lake State Park will be the breath of fresh air you need. Protected from commercial development, a beautifully preserved natural landscape surrounds the park.
In addition to Radnor Lake, you can enjoy the park’s hiking trails, bird watching, wildlife viewing, and more. After several days of the hustle and bustle, many people want a break and the time to connect with nature.
When you are ready for a break from the outdoors, you can also take a tour of The Barbara J. Mapp Aviary Education Center, which is located directly on the park grounds. In this setting, you can learn about various birds that are native to the area.
Any time you can insert a bit of education and learning into a vacation without your children knowing is a good time. A trip to the Adventure Science Center in Nashville will allow you to open your children’s eyes to the different elements of science and how things work.
Many opt to visit this establishment during the summer months when they necessitate a break from the heat and sun. Parents can relax while their children become enthralled with everything the center offers. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Be sure to check out the tinkering garage during your time there and the planetarium. Both opportunities provide hands-on entertainment with a better context of the world than what you get in a classroom or book!
Another option for taking in a bit of nature during your trip to Nashville is through the Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary.
The facility offers a look into the lives of owls and many other animals, including different types of birds, reptiles, and mammals. If you are interested in visiting the Sanctuary, be sure to obtain passes as soon as possible.
Due to the staff providing appropriate protection to the animals, there are a limited amount of day passes available each day. The hours are from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM every day of the week except for Sunday.
When in Nashville, one must take the time to visit the infamous Country Music Hall of Fame — a celebration of all the musical stars of the country world throughout the years.
Not only is the attraction a testament to the accomplishments of country stars worldwide, but it hosts various forms of memorabilia donated on behalf of the stars themselves. There are often celebrations at the Hall of Fame where they induct new artists and honor them through a new display.
However, those aren’t the only types of events that you will see scheduled. Other opportunities include music workshops for children, songwriting tutorials, and music lessons.
If you plan to spend an extended amount of time at the Hall of Fame, take the time to enjoy lunch in one of the restaurants located on-site. You can also do a bit of shopping in the retail outlets to find unique memorabilia and souvenirs.
With the sweltering summers of the south, sometimes you just need a place to cool off and unwind. The ultimate place to do so in Music City is at Nashville Shores.
Here you are given a chance to play around in a massive water park, swim in one of their several pools, or enjoy a day at the lake. Once you tire of those activities, you can also explore the Treetop Adventure or rent a jet ski or pontoon.
Nashville Shores also provides lodging, or you can just come for the day. Additionally, the resort has excellent camping sites. If you have your RV, feel free to reserve a spot and enjoy all the attraction’s amenities!
Most often, when you think about country music, one of the first artists to come to mind is Johnny Cash. He paved the way for many artists and has been memorialized as a legend in the industry.
With accolades such as that, it’s only fitting that he has his own museum to celebrate his accomplishments! Knowing all of this, it’s imperative to carve time out of your schedule to visit the museum created in his honor.
With an eclectic amount of artifacts included in the various displays, you’ll be enthralled for the duration of your visit.
The museum also has a cafe that is available to the public, and if you are traveling as part of a group, there are special rates available. When planning your excursions for your time in Nashville, block off at least half a day for this unique attraction!
If you have a keen interest in stars, constellations, planets, and everything solar system, then a trip to the Dyer Observatory at Vanderbilt University will make for an exciting day for you.
Not only do the staff members at the Observatory hold special programs for astrological events like eclipses and stargazing, but they have multiple educational programs available for adults and children alike.
One of the nice things about the Observatory is the astrological calendar they release each month.
Regardless of whether or not you can make it to Vanderbilt to enjoy the event, the calendar will provide dates and times to view astrological wonders such as eclipses, full moons, black moons, and even special events that occurred on that day in history.
Keep an eye on their official website for special events and programs you and your group can participate in during your vacation to Nashville.
If you don’t have time for a visit during your time in the city, never fear! The Observatory also offers virtual events like stargazing and lectures from experts in the field of astrology.
Things to Consider
Being a unique destination, there are a few things that you want to take under advisement when you plan your Nashville trip. As with all things in life, it’s always better to be overinformed than under-informed. With that, be sure to consider:
- Choose the time of year in which you visit wisely. Tennessee has sweltering summers and winters that can be a bit unpredictable. The state does not have the equipment to take care of snow and ice, so expect many closures if you are traveling in that type of weather.
- Country music is played everywhere you go in Nashville. If you don’t like country music, you may want to bring earplugs or choose a different destination.
- As a city, Nashville is incredibly pet friendly. Many hotels offer amenities specific to your furry friends, and you will see many restaurants with outdoor seating to accommodate your dogs.
Frequently Asked Questions
As is the case when you visit any new city or country, doing the proper research is critical. Below we offer the most frequently asked questions that come about when people are looking into a trip to the Hot Chicken Capital.
There are so many attractions worthy of your time in Nashville that it’s hard to narrow it down to a few key places. However, a trip to the city wouldn’t be complete without seeing the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and also trying out their delicacy – hot chicken. With everything that Nashville offers, you may think that two days is too short for a complete visit. However, many people tend to come for a weekend visit and find they have more than enough time to see all the top attractions. While overall, it will depend on what you want to do while visiting; on average, having two full days is an acceptable amount of time. When you think of Nashville, you should put the idea of the ultimate southern cuisine in your mind. As the definition of comfort food, you can find all of your southern favorites in many Nashville restaurants. These items include the aforementioned hot chicken, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, greens, fried green tomatoes, and so much more. Nashville is now more conducive to walking, with better pedestrian conditions. It hasn’t been the best city for that, but you can now visit the city without needing a car. The best route to avoid the extra transportation expense is to book a hotel in a central location near the destinations you want to visit. You will quickly discover that the most popular street in Nashville is Broadway. With many honky tonk bars, shops, restaurants, and live music, many tourists flock to this street. If you find yourself without something to do while in the area, a quick trip to Broadway will solve that issue.
What should you not miss in Nashville?
Are two days in Nashville enough?
What food is Nashville famous for?
Do you need a car in Nashville?
What is the most popular street in Nashville?
There are so many attractions worthy of your time in Nashville that it’s hard to narrow it down to a few key places. However, a trip to the city wouldn’t be complete without seeing the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and also trying out their delicacy – hot chicken.
With everything that Nashville offers, you may think that two days is too short for a complete visit. However, many people tend to come for a weekend visit and find they have more than enough time to see all the top attractions. While overall, it will depend on what you want to do while visiting; on average, having two full days is an acceptable amount of time.
When you think of Nashville, you should put the idea of the ultimate southern cuisine in your mind. As the definition of comfort food, you can find all of your southern favorites in many Nashville restaurants. These items include the aforementioned hot chicken, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, greens, fried green tomatoes, and so much more.
Nashville is now more conducive to walking, with better pedestrian conditions. It hasn’t been the best city for that, but you can now visit the city without needing a car. The best route to avoid the extra transportation expense is to book a hotel in a central location near the destinations you want to visit.
You will quickly discover that the most popular street in Nashville is Broadway. With many honky tonk bars, shops, restaurants, and live music, many tourists flock to this street. If you find yourself without something to do while in the area, a quick trip to Broadway will solve that issue.
So, What’s the Best Thing to Do in Nashville?
It’s nearly impossible to put all of the best things to do in Nashville into a single list. However, if we think there’s a single best sight to see, we think you should visit Broadway. Here you will get a glimpse into the unique culture that Nashville offers, and you won’t be disappointed.