Y’all, Nashville is the place to be right now! There’s NOTHING you can’t find in Nashville, whether you’re looking to chow down on some delicious food, shop ‘til you drop at cute boutiques, or listen to live music (which can be found around just about every corner), this is the city for you.
Keep reading to find out about all the best things to do in Nashville!
You can’t talk about Nashville without talking about country music. Nashville is Music City, USA for a reason!
Countless great artists got their start in Nashville, and so many aspiring stars still flock to the capital of country music to try to make it big.
You can also arrange to take a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium to get a behind the scenes look of the biggest venues in country music. You’ll get to see the dressing rooms at the Grand Ole Opry and some of the old costumes worn by the greats at the Ryman.
The best part of these tours is getting to stand where your favorite music stars stood before some of the biggest nights of their careers. It’s a pretty unforgettable experience to stand on stage and look out into the countless rows, just imagining what it would be like to perform there. It gave me butterflies, and I wasn’t even singing!
If you aren’t able to swing a spot at one of those venues, don’t worry because you can hear live music in just about any bar in town. Some hotels even have performances right in the lobby.
Now it might not be quite as fun as rocking out to live music, but learning about the history of the music industry in Nashville is really fascinating and definitely worth your while.
If you’re interested, Nashville has various museums dedicated to specific genres and famous artists. Head to the Country Music Hall of Fame to see exhibits on all the country music legends.
You’ll see greats of the past like Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, and the museum often has temporary exhibits to feature the familiar faces topping the country charts right now like Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton.
Another popular Nashville attraction is the Johnny Cash Museum right off-Broadway which, you guessed it, is all about the great Johnny Cash. You will learn everything you ever wanted to know (and probably some things you didn’t want to know) about the life and music of Mr. Cash.
A Foodie’s Paradise
While Nashville is no doubt famous for its delicious hot chicken, it’s got way more to offer in terms of delicious grub. Nashville has become a real foodie city over the years, and you can find everything from that traditional Southern comfort food to juicy burgers, street tacos, trendy brunches, and even purple ice cream!
If you are looking for a first hand foodie experience, you can book a “Taste of Nashville” Walking Tour.
Nashville definitely has something to satisfy every craving, so you’re definitely going to be loosening that belt buckle after a few days in this foodie paradise.
Who doesn’t love brunch? Lucky for you, Nashville is the KING of brunch.
Some great brunch restaurants are:
- Biscuit Love for bonuts (biscuit donuts) and “the best sandwich in America”
- Proper Bagel
- Pancake Pantry
- Frothy Monkey
- Five Daughters Bakery
- Loveless Café
- Acme Feed and Seed
After trying these brunch favorites, you’ll want to extend your stay in Nashville just so you can keep eating!
The best place for hot chicken and my personal favorite is Hattie B’s. Do yourself a favor and order the banana pudding for dessert. You can thank me later!
And because no list is complete without mentioning everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure, don’t miss the HUGE New York-style pizza slices at Five Points Pizza. You’ll be back for more just like I was!
Another Nashville favorite is Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. There are a couple of locations around Nashville, so you’ll always be able to satisfy that sweet tooth.
The waffle cones are made fresh every day. You can smell them from down the block, and they’re DELICIOUS. I also recommend the lavender ice cream for a fresh, floral sensation. YUM.
Nightlife / Bar Scene
Nashville isn’t nicknamed Nashvegas for nothing!
Walk down Broadway once and your eyes will light up brighter than the MANY vibrant signs adorning the walls. Seriously, it’s like Vegas with a little country twang, which means you’re guaranteed to have a good time.
Lower Broadway is a strip of one bar after another, some are your traditional honky-tonks while others have transformed into more club-like venues.
You can get down at places sharing names with the biggest stars in country, like Jason Aldean’s Kitchen & Rooftop Bar, Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, Kid Rock’s Big Honky Tonk Rock N’ Roll Steakhouse, and it’s no party without a visit to Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville!
There are also a bunch of pub crawls you can book if you want to explore with a group!
The Downtown area is also the best place to find souvenirs. Whether you’re looking for a honky-tonk t-shirt or a boot-shaped shot glass, you’ll find it here.
Nearby is the John Stiegler Pedestrian Bridge. It’s the best place in town to watch the sunset, so it’s a great stop before your wild night out on the town.
If you’re a big sports fan, then Nashville is a great place to catch a game while you’re in town. They have their hockey team, the Nashville Predators, the Tennessee Titans football team, the Nashville Sounds minor league baseball team, and lots of different athletic teams over at Vanderbilt University.
You’ll see plenty of Smashville signs and posters downtown to help you really get into the Tennessee spirit.
Even if you’ve already tackled all these must-sees on my list of things to do in Nashville, there’s always plenty more to do. The easiest way to get to know Nashville is to take it one neighborhood at a time because each one has its own unique flavor and hidden gems.
To start, a great place to explore is the 12 South neighborhood. So hop on that lime scooter – they’re everywhere, and tons of fun – and let’s get to adventuring!
12 South is one of the trendiest and hippest boroughs I’ve ever been to! Not only is there a bunch of awesome eats (like Frothy Monkey and Five Daughters Bakery that I already mentioned), but there’s lots of great shopping, too.
You can get designer jeans at imogene + willie’s or try to emulate the always charming Reese Witherspoon’s southern fashion at her clothing store, Draper James. Don’t forget to take a picture with the iconic blue and white wall and the “I Believe in Nashville” mural right around the corner.
If you’re lucky, you might even spot Amelia’s Flower Truck, which is only the most adorable mobile florist ever. They move around, so check their website or their Instagram so you can catch them and pick yourself a beautiful bouquet!
If you are looking to stay in 12 South, check out some of the available AirBnBs here.
No trip to Nashville is complete without visiting the West End.
The West End also has its fair share of restaurants and boutiques, but the real stars here are Vanderbilt University and Centennial Park. Centennial Park is the perfect place for a picnic on a beautiful sunny day, which there’s no shortage of in Nashville!
It’s also the location of the world’s only replica of the Parthenon. Yep, the Parthenon. Another of Nashville’s nicknames is Athens of the South, and now you know why! You can tour the Parthenon for a small fee, or just take lots of cute pics outside.
If you’re visiting in the springtime or fall, you might just catch some live music in the park. No surprise in Music City! Sit in the grass, listen to good tunes, and chow down on some yummy eats from the food trucks nearby.
In the summertime, you can attend the Nashville Shakespeare Festival. There’s even stuff to do during the winter since you can sled down a few small slopes inside the park. Nashville is the perfect getaway no matter what time of year you visit.
West End also has some great AirBnB options you can stay in.
Hillsboro is a wonderful place to spend the morning. Not only do they have some of those awesome brunch options I already mentioned (Biscuit Love and Pancake Pantry), but they also have a Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and the Grilled Cheeserie.
The Grilled Cheeserie is SO good, but I expected that. After all, it was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. I had to check it out for myself, and it definitely did not disappoint!
You can also look at the Hillsboro AirBnB options to find a place to stay!
Although the name might not sound that appealing, the Gulch is the place to be. Along with being another hotspot for upscale boutiques and brunch menus that belong in famous cookbooks, the Gulch is where you’ll find the most photographed spot in Nashville.
I’d be shocked if you haven’t already seen the What Lifts You Wings all over Instagram by now. During peak season, people will line up down the block just to snap a pic with the iconic wings, and it can take hours.
I met someone who was driving up from Tampa who only stopped in Nashville just for this picture. People don’t mess around when it comes to the wings!
I recommend heading here first thing in the morning before brunch to avoid the lines and harsh midday lighting. There’s also a tiny pair of baby wings right next to the bigger ones, and they’re perfect for little kids and pups.
There are some luxury AirBnBs you can book in The Gulch as well!
Nashville Wrap Up
There you have it, the ultimate list of things to do in Nashville! Nashville is one of the most fun cities in the US and hopefully this guide will help you make the most of your trip to the Music City!
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