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Find out the best things to do in Nashville Tennessee. If you want a big city experience with a small-town vibe, you’re headed to the right place. Nashville delivers on much more than just being the country music capital of the world!
You will find plenty to see and do in Music City, with fun for all ages and plenty of bucket list experiences while you’re at it!
So to help you plan your time better, we’ve put together a huge list of ideas for whatto do in Nashville, Tennessee.
THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN NASHVILLE TENNESSEE
Whether you are in Nashville for a short stay or an extended break, there is sure to be plenty of things on this list to help you fill your time, not to mention great eats!
This list is sorted into types of activities, to make it easier for you to pick and choose the things that make your heart sing when travelling!
Check out our 29 BEST things to do in Nashville:
NASHVILLE CULTURE & HISTORY
Nashville, once known as Fort Nashborough, is rich in history and culture, from its humble beginnings to becoming the capital of the state of Tennessee.
If you’re a history buff, you will find plenty to enjoy in the city, learning about days of the past and how the city blossomed into the thriving place you now see.
Here are some of our top picks for historic and cultural Nashville experiences:
1 – City Walking Tour
There are heaps of walking tours available around Nashville and some of these are FREE!
The best part of a walking tour is getting to see the sights up close and enjoy the great weather most of the year too!
The best way to find out about the available tours when you’re visiting is to pop into the Nashville Visitor Centre or have a look on Tripadvisor to find yourself a local tour guide.
If you’re a fan of the Nashville television show, this self-guided tour kicks off with a walking tour then gives you some choose your own adventure options in different districts around town.
It wouldn’t be a visit to music city without a whole lot of music experiences to fill your time with! These will likely be some of the most memorable of your trip so make sure you squeeze at least a couple of them in!
Don’t leave Nashville without having at least one live music experience! That’s where the magic happens and lasting memories are made!
From Downtown Nashville to Music Row, there is no shortage of places to explore when you’re a country music fan.
6 – Grand Ole Opry
Of course, it’s only natural we start with one of the most iconic music attractions in Nashville – The Grand Ole Opry!
The Opry is one of the most well-known music concert halls in the world, and not just for country music either!
The Opry has been going since 1925 and has had a huge array of musicians grace its stage over this time.
There are regular performances year-round and if you have the time, be sure to grab yourself tickets to a show. It doesn’t need to be a big name act. It’s simply about the experience!
And you never know… the act you see could very well become the next big thing!
There are also daily tours backstage of the Grand Ole Opry House too, which you can book online or in person.
They will take you behind the scenes for a glance at the opulence and tell you some of the incredible histories.
The previous home of the Opry, The Ryman Auditorium – The mother church of country music, is also a popular concert venue and hosts a couple of special Opry events throughout the year too, to celebrate its roots as the original home of the Nashville music scene.
The Ryman Auditorium is set out more like a church than an auditorium, with cushioned pew seating. You can see what concerts and events are happening, and find out tour times via their website.
There are so many incredible bars and music venues in Nashville, however if you are a fan of the Nashville television show, this is another must visit attraction on your list!
The Bluebird Cafe features heavily in the show and it also happens to be a really cool place too! The seating is limited for each performance, creating an intimate vibe and unique experience.
It has been known to have some pretty big name artists pop in for a surprise gig too! Bookings are almost always essential.
Certain sessions are free (no cover charge) although you do need to spend $10US on food and drink.
Other shows have a cost associated, but you can book via the website. Reservations for the free sessions usually open just a couple of days before so jump online as they go live to secure your seats!
If you do happen to love the Nashville show, the behind the scenes of the Nashville TV show tour will take you to all the places you recognise from the show, including the Bluebird Cafe, the homes of your favourite characters, the Ryman Auditorium and more.
Everyone knows about the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but Nashville has their very own dedicated to music stars, along Music Mile, which is where music stars from all genres who have had some influence and connection to Music City are honoured.
You can check out the Walk of Fame anytime and even cooler is the fact that the induction ceremonies are always open to the public too!
You may see one of your favourites getting inducted! Check out the updates on who’s being inducted next and when.
12 – Johnny Cash Museum
If you are a huge fan of Johnny Cash, this is a place you will want to check out! It features the largest collection of Johnny Cash memorabilia in the world and situated conveniently downtown.
Find out open times and ticket info on their website. And if you are a fan of Patsy Cline, there is a specialty museum dedicated to Patsy upstairs!
13 – Line Dancing Lessons
While you’re in the heart of country music, it’s only natural you learn to dance like the locals! Country music and line dancing go together like peanut butter and jelly… well so they say in the USA.
That’s totally not a thing here in Australia, but we sure did give line dancing a crack!
Many of the honky tonks will offer line dancing lessons several times during the day/night, so you can just join in and have some fun with it!
Trust me, we weren’t very good but we sure did laugh!
We joined a lesson at the Wildhorse Saloon, which is a massive place with live music, a big dance floor, heaps of tables and totally family friendly too!
Make sure you try their moonshine cocktails too. Yum! It has hosted some massive acts over the years too… like Ringo Starr! I’m a Beatles fan so this is super cool!
NASHVILLE WITH KIDS
Nashville may not sound like the first choice of family holiday destinations, however there is so much to do as a family in the city!
Nashville may be a big city, but it has a small town vibe to it, even with the neon flashing lights and loud music cascading out every doorway.
The best thing is that many of the places that would traditionally be adult only stops in other cities are aimed to be family friendly in Nashville.
But music aside, there are plenty of other family travel experiences to be had while you’re there too! Here are some of our top picks!
14 – Centennial Park
Big open spaces are always popular when travelling as a family, and even if you’re kid-free, you will no doubt appreciate a bit of fresh air and greenery during your Nashville visit!
Centennial Park hosts many events throughout the year, so you may get lucky enough to be in town when there is something fun going on.
There is always plenty to fill your time within the park grounds, being that it is home to the Parthenon, the Centennial Art Center, walking trails and a lake.
There is also a sports centre and exercise trail in case you are ready to get active!
15 – Nashville Zoo
We love animal experiences whenever we travel and Nashville has their own zoo that is open daily. It will give you the chance to see a huge range of animals up close during your visit.
With creatures great and small, you’re sure to fill in a few hours or a full day at the zoo and it’s a great option to educate and entertain the kids! You can find out their opening times and ticket prices via the website.
16 – Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum
If you are a fan of snapping pics with your favourite celebrities, Madame Tussauds Nashvillehas you covered, even if they are of the wax variety.
Music stars are the main theme of this particular Madame Tussauds museum, which is only fitting for Music City.
Be greeted by Taylor Swift and Johnny Cash at the entrance and find other huge country, rock, jazz, and pop stars throughout.
The Nashville Tennessee wax museum is located inside the Opry Mills Shopping Centre too, so you’ve got shopping and lunch covered for your day too!
The Nashville Science Center has plenty to do with the kids, and a great way to learn some cool new science stuff too! Educational fun at it’s best!
Check out the website to see the latest exhibits and events happening, and enjoy everything from the planetarium, to hands on experiments, 3D printing, virtual reality and daily live shows featuring science experiments.
Fun for the whole family!
18 – Nashville Children’s Theatre
When looking for the best things to do in Nashville, the Nashville Children’s Theatre offers up regular performances aimed at children and families, popular with kids and for school trips too.
They also hold regular drama classes for kids who are keen to pursue their own future in the performing arts. You can find their upcoming performances on the website.
19 – Frist Art Museum
The Frist Art Museumlocated downtown is a family friendly gallery dedicated to presenting an ever-changing schedule of exhibitions from local, regional, national and international sources.
The Frist Center features the award-winning Martin ArtQuest Gallery with 30 interactive art-making stations, educational programs and they even have free live music on Thursday and Friday evenings.
Definitely exciting enough to keep the kids occupied for a couple of hours! Visit their website to check out the latest exhibits.
20 – Murals & Street Art
Nashville has become quite well known for some of its iconic street art over recent years, and walking the city in hunt of fun photo opportunities with the family can be a lot of fun!
Sometimes there’s some pretty big line ups for some of the more well known street art, such as the gorgeous What Lifts You by Kelsey Montague in the Gulch, but you will get your turn soon enough!
Get directions to the most well known Nashville murals. Some may say that the murals are right up there near the top of the best things to do in Nashville Tennessee!
21 – Cheekwood Estate & Gardens
Cheekwood Botanical Garden is a 55-acre botanical gardens and art museum. It was built in 1929, and today it’s one of the most beautiful places to visit in Nashville.
The gardens are special for all ages, with lots of open spaces, spectacular gardens and world-class art exhibits.
There are family activities, programming for all ages and seasonal festivals held in the gardens throughout the year. There is also a Train Depot playhouse inspired by The Little Engine That Could.
Find out more about what is happening at Cheekwood Estate and upcoming special events.
WHERE TO EAT IN NASHVILLE
When you’re short on time and want to fit everything in, sometimes the thing that you miss out on is a chance to try out all the best eats and drinks in town and Nashville has quite a few incredible offerings.
One of the best ways to find out where to go is of course to ask a local. Uber drivers are so good for this!
And a quick look on Tripadvisor can often point you in the right direction too! But lucky for you, because you’ve got us and we’ve put a list together for you right here!
22 – Biscuit Love
If the line up down the street doesn’t give you a good hint this place is amazing, nothing will. Biscuit love is located in The Gulch and is mega popular!
They have two other stores as well, in Hillsboro Village and Franklin and they offer up breakfast, brunch and lunch on their menu.
The food is made entirely from scratch and their hospitality is distinctly southern!
Like the name suggests, their signature focus is on biscuits… sweet, savoury, all kinds.
23 – Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
Hattie B’s have several locations in Nashville and also a couple elsewhere now too and they serve up southern style chicken – with the choice to get your chicken in one of 6 levels of spiciness, from the not hot at all Southern to the Shut the Cluck Up mega hot.
Like I said, Uber drivers give great tips and one of our drivers said he tried the hottest one as a teen and will never do it again! He said it BURNED!
Are you brave enough for some really hot chicken?
24 – Monell’s Dining & Catering
Listed as number 1 on Tripadvisor, Monell’s offers southern food with the family at home feel!
Think fried chicken, cornbread, beans, gravy and biscuits and all things southern. Best of all, you will feel like part of the family! Check out the locations and menu for Monell’s via their website.
Nashville is home to several professional sports teams and stadiums, making it a great place to catch a match of your favourite sport during season and to join in a bit of healthy competition cheering them on!
Or even if you’re not a sports fanatic, it’s always a great thing to experience anyway because the vibe at these games can be really catching!
26 – Nashville Predators
The Nashville Predators are Nashville’s home-grown ice hockey team. They play home matches at the Bridgestone Arena between October and April each year.
With their tagline, welcome to Smashville, you will be in for some high energy fun! Check out the game dates.
27 – Nashville Sounds
You would be forgiven if you thought this one was listed under the wrong heading. In fact, Nashville Sounds is the name of Nashville’s baseball team. Quite fitting!
With their season running April to September, home games are played at First Tennessee Park. You can grab tickets and check out the dates.
28 – Tennessee Titans
If football is more your scene, the Titans are at home in Nashville, at Nissan Stadium. NFL is huge in the US, so it’s only natural you have the chance to see what all the hype is about for yourself!
Soccer is also a big thing in Nashville. Their soccer team Nashville SC play at First Tennessee Park for home games between March and October. Grab your tickets.
BEST PLACES TO SHOP IN NASHVILLE
If you love to shop, Nashville will have you well and truly covered with all the basics and some incredible shopping centres. Think outlets and bargains galore, and of course… boots, boots and more boots!
Perfect if you want to be decked out from head to toe like a cowboy or cowgirl! We went home with a pair of boots each…
Here’s some of the best shopping in Nashville:
30 – Opry Mills
If you are looking for some bargains, Opry Mills is Nashville’s largest outlet shopping complex and it is loaded with awesomeness.
Not only will you find fantastic clothes, homewares and tech products for cheap, you’ll also be able to enjoy great eats and entertainment all in the one complex.
And it’s walking distance to The Grand Ole Opry!
31 – The Mall at Green Hills
If you’re looking for luxury, speciality and toy stores, The Mall at Green Hills has everything from Nordstrom to Gap, Macys to Burberry and so much more.
There are so many stores that you’re sure to find what you want! Find their store listing.
WHERE TO STAY IN NASHVILLE
There are endless options for Nashville accommodation, depending on the type of visit you take.
If you are doing an extended stay in Nashville and you have your own transport or access to public transport, AirBnb is a fantastic option.
There are some beautiful private homes and apartments available in Nashville, including the one we stayed at near the Opry.
Plus if you sign up to Airbnb for the first time, you will get credit towards your first stay.
Alternatively there are plenty of hotels in Nashville, both in the inner city area or on the outskirts of the city.
The OmniNashville Hotel is in a great inner-city location, with rooms suited to all traveller types, including kids. They even have a kids club!
If you are only visiting Nashville for a short stay or if you want to see the highlights while you are in town but aren’t sure where to start, a full or half day tour is a great option! And there are plenty of different tours on offer. Here are some of the best ones:
Hop on Hop off Trolley – See Nashville at your own pace with 15 stops to explore along the old town trolley route.
We have no doubt you will find something on this list for best things to do in Nashville Tennessee for your visit.
Whether you are visiting for the first time or the tenth, or even if you happen to be a local and may have overlooked some of these fun things to do! Nashville is a great city for all kinds of travellers.
Nashville may be a big city but it certainly has mastered the small country town vibe. It’s strong with southern hospitality everywhere you go!
And who knows… you may even bump into some real-life country celebrities!
Make sure you check out our other USA travel tips too!Have you been to Nashville? Tell us your favourite things to do in Nashville Tennessee!