Things to do in Nashville, TN

Get Your Bearings in Nashville

See & Do

Things to See

Listening to music should be on the top of your Nashville "to do" list, but the city offers a number of museums, parks and historical sites as well. The Parthenon in Centennial Park is a replica of the temple in Greece that houses timeless artwork and the grounds surrounding it are magnificent, particularly in the spring and summer. Outside the city, several plantation homes offer historical tours and make for an informative day trip.


Despite rapidly expanding, Nashville's public transport isn't quite there yet. However, it's becoming more bike-friendly.

Where to Stay

You can stay at your typical hotel in Nashville, but there are so many more options. Nashville is expanding, and the choices are endless! From musical-themed hotels like the Millennium Maxwell House to boutique hotels like the Hutton, the lodging scene in Nashville has character. The Gaylord Opryland Resort is an attraction in itself with golf, shopping, music, restaurants and bars within the property.

Hot Tips:

Even if you aren't staying there, the Gaylord Opryland is worth visiting.

What to Eat

Nashville is witnessing a culinary explosion and is set to be the new foodie city. Trendy East Nash is hipster central, and therefore translates to an eclectic selection of cuisine, ranging from food trucks and upscale cafeterias to gastropubs and artisan food markets - take your pick. Expect a flurry of celebrity-chef restaurant openings soon, but never fear: you'll still find your classic meat-and-threes and savory barbecue joints.


Check the hours before visiting. Many restaurants in the South are closed on Sundays.

Hot Tips:

Don't be afraid of the food trucks!

Places to Party

Nashville's nightlife is legendary, and the debate continues as to whether Austin or Nashville is America's music capital. Walk in any direction on Broadway and you'll find live music, but the truly local spots take a bit of searching. Exit Inn is a top choice that plays much more than country music, and in East Nashville be sure to check out 5 Spot.

Hot Tips:

If you can get tickets for an event at the Ryman, do it!

Where to Shop

Whether you're looking for a Music City magnet or something more original, there's a shop in Nashville for you. Head to Hillsboro Village, a trendy, four-block area with boutique shops and bookstores while Five Points offers art galleries and antiques. For unique posters, be sure to visit Hatch Show Prints in downtown, a legend in Nashville.

Best Local Souvenir:

An original CD from an artist you hear during your visit.



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Things to do in Nashville

Nashville is known for...

Five of Nashville's most unique features and characteristics.

1. Music:

Music City USA, Nashville is home to such celebrated locales as The Country Music Hall of Fame, the Ryman, and The Grand Ole Opry. Street musicians decorate downtown, sending wafts of blues, country rock, and pop into the ears and hearts of passersby. An endless profusion of honky tonk bars and exclusively country venues adorn second avenue, where line dancers are known to enthusiastically kick up their heels. The city that has never met a stranger, Nashvillians are proud of their music scene, and that it consistently has had a history of including all genres. All walks of music are celebrated and explored, and everyone is welcome to join in the music. 

2. Colleges:

From Vanderbilt University to Belmont, Nashville's proud of their  wide array and variety of colleges and universities scattered throughout the city and metropolitan area. Knowledge is celebrated in the city, earning it the nickname, "Athens of the South." Tennessee State, David Lipscomb, and the American Baptist College join Belmont and Vanderbilt in settling their campuses into the lush landscape of Music City. Tourists should be sure to head over to TSU to get a full understanding of the college football fervor in the South, bask in the energy and rhythm of Belmont's gorgeous campus, and stroll the stately grounds of Vanderbilt. 

3. Nightlife:

Where there's music, there's almost always dancing, and in Nashville that's for certain. Country music aficionados will find delight in Nashville's famous honky-tonkin' (also known as bar hopping). Heading over to a honky-tonk is one of the most popular past-times in Nashville. Word of warning to visitors seeking throbbing bass beats and flashing lights, more often than not, a dance club in Nashville will involve line dancing and sawdust. But there are a few typical dance clubs throughout the downtown area. The Lower Broad neighborhood offers the most impressive spread of honky tonks and late night music venues in the city. If you're looking for something a little more low-key, Hillsboro Village offers great eats and drinks, just outside of downtown.

4. Comfort Food:

Southern food, there's nothing like it, and in Nashville southern fares are synonymous with good eats. Music City is a banner city for "down-home," old-fashioned Southern cooking. Here the stereotypical meat and three is challenged, revamped, and repersonified. Time-honored, time-tested institutions like Arnold's Country Kitchen, with its outstanding fried green tomatoes and to-die-for meatloaf, will have mouths watering and bellies grumbling. Though Tennessee barbecue is more strongly associated with Memphis, it's certainly a staple of the Nashville dining scene as well, as evidenced by authentic restaurants like Jack's Barbecue (directly across from Ryman auditorium). Patrons should be sure to track down some genuine Nashville hot chicken (a local specialty), and indulge in the unforgettable home cooking of Loveless Cafe and Puckett's Grocery and Restaurant. 

5. Family-friendly Fun:

Nashville is a family-oriented town, and aims to please children of all ages. Whether families come to visit Universities and gain perspective of the collegiate life, or are interested in exploring a southern perspective of the Civil War, Nashville is a great destination for a family vacation. The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere is a sprawling, state-of-the-art facility that encompasses a large plantation replete with a Greek revival mansion. From the giraffes to rhinoceros to Bengal tiger, the zoo offers a captivating walk on the wild side. The Valley Fair Amusement Park is another great destination night or day, known for their down-home, excellent customer service. If you're looking for history to come to life, the Belle Meade Plantation, Carnton Mansion, and Adventure Science Museum are the perfect excursion for kids and adults alike