Things to do in Nashville

Things to do in  Nashville

Welcome to Nashville

Nashville may sound like twangy country music and smell like barbecue, but this Tennessee city is swinging past stereotypes and fast becoming the hipster hub of the South. Think street art, coffee shops, craft breweries, farm-to-fork dining, and of course, plenty of live music (not limited to country)—all happening along the banks of the Cumberland River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Come for the Parthenon, a full-scale replica of its counterpart in Athens, and stay for literally everything else.

Top 15 attractions in Nashville

Ryman Auditorium

Known as the “Mother Church of Country Music,” Ryman Auditorium helped transform Nashville into a legendary music destination. Since 1892, the venue has hosted notable stars such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Van Morrison, and Minnie Pearl. Today, visitors can tour the 2,362-seat auditorium, visit the museum, or catch a live show.More

Downtown Nashville

Music City’s lively downtown doesn’t disappoint. Nashville’s entertainment hub is home to a who’s who of restaurants, hotels, and cultural hot spots, including the Frist Art Museum, Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium, and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. After dark, live music takes over the bars of Honky Tonk Highway.More

Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum

From Elvis Presley to Dolly Parton, Nashville's stars have earned the place its title as “Music City,” and you can dive into that history and culture at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Learn about the best of this classic American music genre with historic video clips, recorded music, and a menu of live performances and public programs.More

Music Row

No trip to Nashville is complete without a visit to Music Row. This is the home of the country music industry, with a slew of record labels, radio stations, and recording studios working side-by-side. There are also live venues on or near Music Row, to check out established artists as well as up-and-comers looking to break through.More

Tennessee State Capitol

The Tennessee State Capitol stands tall on Nashville’s highest hill as a symbol of its time, virtually unchanged since its construction in 1859. The structure is the masterpiece of notable architect William Strickland, who passed away during construction and was laid to rest in the building. The National Historic Landmark was built in Greek Revival style and is one of few state capitols without a dome. It was modeled after an Ionic Greek temple. Though classic in design, at the time it was considered innovative in construction.The capitol building is beautiful to see and historic to visit, with statues of many important political figures as well as the graves of President James K. Polk and his wife. Its walls are lined with beautiful murals, frescoes, and paintings, while its halls are lit by ornate chandeliers. It is still in use by the Tennessee state government today. It is the oldest operating state capitol in the country.More

Grand Ole Opry House

From radio broadcast to world-renowned stage show, the Grand Ole Opry showcases genres from country and bluegrass to folk, comedy, and gospel both live and on the radio. Unlike a typical concert, the Grand Ole Opry presents six or more artists during each show, giving the audience a variety of great music at each event. Superstars who have performed here include Patsy Cline, Blake Shelton, Willie Nelson, and Carrie Underwood.More

Centennial Park

Like New York’s Central Park and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the lush green landscape of Nashville’s Centennial Park provides welcome refuge from congestion, crowds, and bustling city life. The most notable, and possibly most out-of-place, feature of Centennial Park is its impressive Parthenon replica.More

Johnny Cash Museum

Despite its small size, the Johnny Cash Museum manages to hold one of the world’s largest collections of Johnny Cash artifacts. Bill Miller, one of Cash’s closest friends, gathered and cataloged the country music superstar’s memorabilia for decades, resulting in this popular Nashville attraction and Cash-fan pilgrimage site.More

Nashville Riverfront Park

Nashville’s Riverfront Park was built in the early 1980s on the site where the area’s first settlers founded the city back in 1780. Today the sprawling green enclave on the banks of the Cumberland River is home to several attractions, including Fort Nashborough, Bicentennial Park, and the Ascend Amphitheater.More

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park

Opened on June 1, 1996, to mark the bicentennial of the founding of Nashville, the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is both a popular recreational area and a scenic tribute to Tennessean history. In the shadows of the Tennessee State Capitol and stretching over 11 acres (4.5 hectares; it’s dotted with monuments, memorials, and open-air exhibits.More

General Jackson Showboat

Take in views of the spectacular Nashville skyline while rollin’ down the Cumberland River aboard the General Jackson Showboat. This Victorian-style riverboat includes a 2-story theater hosting a range of dinner shows, such as Taste of Tennessee and Music City Nights, as well as a Southern Sunday brunch.More

Belmont Mansion

Belmont Mansion offers Nashville visitors the chance to experience an antebellum-era home, complete with antique furnishings and period details. Uncover Belmont’s history and learn about its owner, Adelicia Acklen—one of the wealthiest and most successful women in 19th-century Tennessee.More

Frist Art Museum

Lavish cream and green marble floors and wall paneling, high ceilings with and cast iron doors surround guests with the art deco charm of the Nashville’s original post office completed in 1934. The historically significant building kept its original charm through a public/private partnership-driven revamp into the non-profit Frist Art Museum in 2001. The space now holds art exhibitions, interactive art workshops as well as a gift shop and café.The Frist is a different kind of museum that does not have permanent collections. Instead, it sources a host of themed exhibits that roll through every six to eight weeks. Traveling national and international shows including classical pieces by Michelangelo and Monet have hung on Frist walls, as have collections of American folk art, modern photography, European classical works from the age of exploration and even an exhibit deconstructing Italian sports car design. The building’s 24,000 square feet of gallery space includes 30 interactive stations on the upper level for kids and families to get creative and make their own stop motion animation, printmaking, watercolor painting, etching, sculpture creation and more—some of these stations also rotate to match visiting exhibits. In the summer, Frist Fridays bring bands—also often tied to exhibit themes—to jam at the museum, and live music features year-round on Thursdays and Fridays in the Grand Lobby or café. Be sure to check what’s on before stopping by—it’s a new experience every time.More

Tootsies Orchid Lounge

Nashville is known for its eclectic music scene, live entertainment, and commitment to country. Nowhere is this more evident than at the world-famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. This Nashville institution has been a part of this dynamic city since the 1960s and boasts three stages that host live music performances.More

Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum

The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville honors music superstars with displays, galleries, and exhibitions highlighting the city’s main attraction: live music. Inside, the interactive Grammy Museum Gallery™ offers guests a behind-the-scenes look at the recording process and a chance to play pianos, guitars, and drums.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Nashville

Nashville to Jack Daniel's Distillery Bus Tour & Whiskey Tastings
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Nashville Evening Trolley Tour

Nashville Evening Trolley Tour

Nashville’s Biggest and Wildest Party Tractor Tour (Ages 21+)
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Grand Ole Opry Show Admission Ticket in Nashville
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Nashville Public Party Bus with Bartender and DJ
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2-Hour Nashville Brewery & Distillery Tour by Golf Cart
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Explore the City of Nashville Sightseeing Tour by Golf Cart
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Nashville to Memphis Daytrip with Graceland VIP Tour and Sun Studio Admission
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Mural Art Tour of Nashville by Golf Cart
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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

All about Nashville

When to visit

After cold, snowy winters, locals and visitors alike look forward to warmer weather. Spring, particularly April, is packed full of festivals, including the Cherry Blossom Festival, Wild West Comedy Festival, and Nashville Film Festival. While summer brings higher temperatures and a bit of humidity, it’s still a great time to get in on the outdoor music scene, especially at Ascend Amphitheater or Carl Black Chevy Woods Amphitheater.

Getting around

Nashville’s MTA bus system can get you around, but it’s slow, so renting a car makes the most sense for quickly traveling around the car-friendly city. Bike rentals and walking are another alternative, and ride-sharing apps are essential if you forgo a rental. Also, if you're staying at a hotel, check to see if they offer a shuttle service to or from the airport before shelling out the cash for a taxi.

Traveler tips

The Johnny Cash Museum is about a 3-minute walk from Paradise Park Trailer Resort, a trailer park–themed bar where a Doublewide Cheeseburger gets you two 1/3-pound beef patties on a bun with a side of tater tots or sweet potato fries. If you’re more of a daredevil, try Nashville’s original hot chicken at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack at one of the two locations: 123 Ewing Drive or 5814 Nolensville Road.

Local Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
CDT (UTC -6)
Country Code

People Also Ask

Is Nashville safe for tourists?

Yes, Nashville is considered safe to visit. The most common reported crime is theft. Tourist-friendly neighborhoods, such as downtown, Sobro, Germantown, and The Gulch, remain some of Nashville’s safest areas. As with any major city, avoid walking alone at night and travel along well-lit, busy routes.

What is Nashville Tennessee famous for?

Commonly known as the Music City, Nashville is home to legendary country music venues including the Grand Ole Opry and the historic Ryman Auditorium, as well as gritter honky-tonks where visitors can catch live music performances nightly. And while the city is synonymous with country music, many artists of all genres call Nashville home.

Is Nashville worth visiting?

Yes. Nashville boasts historical sites, museums, art galleries, and, of course, plenty of music venues—from lesser known to large scale. Visitors are able to catch local, regional, and major touring musicians on stages throughout the city. In addition to sightseeing, travelers can also chow down on Southern comfort food, including the city’s famous hot chicken.

What should you not miss in Nashville?

When visiting Nashville, don’t miss the live music scene and Southern eats such as hot chicken, biscuits, and Tennessee whiskey. Swing by the lively honky-tonks along Broadway to hear upcoming and established musicians, and tour historic venues like the Ryman Auditorium or the Country Music Hall of Fame to learn more about the city’s musical roots.

How do I spend a day in Nashville?

Because Nashville’s main attractions are located in a relatively compact area and are easily accessible on foot or by car, visitors can see and do a lot in one day. Along Broadway, visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Ryman Auditorium. Head over to Music Row to go behind the scenes at RCA’s Studio B. Check out Printers Alley and the honky-tonks in the evening.

What is the first thing to do in Nashville?

Get acquainted with Nashville by taking a river cruise along the Cumberland River, which runs right through the heart of the city. If you opt to stay on land, head to the Country Music Hall of Fame to learn about Nashville’s rich musical heritage, followed by a stop at Tootsies, Robert's Western World, or one of the many watering holes on Broadway—they open early—for a shot of whiskey.

What are 4 things you can do in Nashville?

Visitors can explore Nashville’s musical history at spots like the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Ryman Auditorium, the Grand Ole Opry, and the National Museum of African American Music. Take in the current music scene at venues such as the Bluebird Cafe. Indulge in Southern comfort food like biscuits and hot chicken. And learn more about the city’s past at historic sites such as Belle Meade.

What is there to do in Nashville besides Broadway?

While Broadway, downtown Nashville's main thoroughfare, serves as the center of the action thanks to its bustling bars and music venues, the city also includes diverse neighborhoods and attractions to explore. For example, in the 12 South area, travelers will find some of the best BBQ in Nashville, and Centennial Park, located near Vanderbilt University, boasts a life-size replica of the Parthenon.

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