Travel Guide: The Best Things to See and Do in Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville is a city with so much to offer. You can find things to do in Nashville for any type of person, whether you are looking for the best music scene or just want to relax on the riverfront. Whatever your heart desires, something is waiting here for you!

In this blog post, we’re listing down things you should check out if you come into town!

Nashville Landmarks

Grand Ole Opry

The Grand Ole Opry is the top destination in Nashville. The show has been running since 1925 and is a must-see for any country music fan. It’s a great way to get up close and personal with country music’s biggest stars, so be sure to take advantage of that. This place is responsible for making Nashville the “Country Musical Capital of the World.”

Things to know about The Grand Ole Opry:

  • It used to be inside the iconic Ryman Auditorium where Johnny Cash made his debut in 1956
  • You can take a daytime backstage tour or a post-show tour for a more in-depth look at this Nashville landmark.

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Parthenon

Another iconic Nashville attraction is the Parthenon. It’s a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon located in Greece. It was originally built in 1897 for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition but is now a permanent fixture in Nashville’s Centennial Park.

The Parthenon is a great place to visit if you want to learn more about Greek culture and art or just see some beautiful architecture. There are also regular exhibits held here, so be sure to check the schedule before your trip!

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Hermitage

If you’re looking for what to do in Nashville, look no further than the Hermitage. It’s a museum dedicated to the life of Andrew Jackson, our seventh president. It’s not only a closer look at the seventh president, but it dives deep to the lives of his 150 enslaved people who lived in the compound too.

Things to know about The Hermitage:

  • The main mansion is in a Greek Revival-style that’s part of the National Historic Landmark
  • You can take several tours on the grounds solely dedicated to Jackson’s slaves

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John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge

This bridge is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. It’s a great place to take in the views of downtown Nashville and the Cumberland River. The bridge is also home to some of the best graffiti in town, so be sure to check it out!

Things to know about the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge:

  • It used to be called the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge and before that, the Sparkman Street Bridge

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Sri Ganesha Temple

The culture in Nashville is as diverse as they come and the Sri Ganesha Temple is proof of that. It’s the only Hindu temple in Tennessee and is open to anyone who wants to come and learn about Hinduism. This Nashville destination is definitely one of the lesser known landmarks but it’s still worth a visit.

This temple is a beautiful example of Indian architecture and is perfect for you if you’re interested in learning more about other cultures.

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Tennessee State Capitol

The Tennessee State Capitol is the building that houses our state government. It’s located in downtown Nashville and is an impressive icon of the city. If you’re a bookworm, don’t miss the library here. Though the building is cool, there isn’t much to do here. It is near Victory Park and the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.

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Neighborhoods

Music Row

One thing everyone knows about Nashville is their incredible music and you’ll see a glimpse of it in the famous Music Row.

This neighborhood is where all of the major record labels are located. There are a lot of sightseeing to do here with some of the city’s iconic landmarks on display. You’ll also find lots of tours in recording studios, booths, and many more.

For music lovers, there are also a lot of easter eggs here. If music is what you’re looking for, this is definitely one of the places to go!

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Broadway

One of the neighborhoods to check out in Nashville is right here on Broadway. The area is home to some of the best live music venues in town. This includes a ton of restaurants, bars, and shops. It’s the perfect place to go bar hopping, see a live show, or party. If you’re looking for a good time, this is the place to be!

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Printer’s Alley

Contrary to Broadway, this nightlife spot is a little darker and grittier. It’s one of the oldest parts of downtown Nashville and has a ton of things to do. You’ll find many bars, restaurants, clubs, and burlesque joints. To make it more mysterious, you’ll find ghost tours too!

Things to know about Printers’ Alley:

  • It was named for all the printers that used to work there in the early 1900s as it’s the home of some publishing companies
  • Cars aren’t allowed inside so be prepared for the crowds

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Draper James & 12th Avenue

Draper James is the new store from Reese Witherspoon that’s full of things her character would wear if she lived here in Nashville! 12th Avenue South isn’t far behind it, either! 12th avenue is where you’ll find some of Nashville’s best restaurants, bars and shopping options.

It’s a little off-the-beaten path with charming shops like Draper James and cool street art to see.

Take a walk around to see the “I Believe in Nashville” murals. There are a few different locations around town, but the most popular ones are on 12th and Charlotte Avenue.

The murals were created as part of Nashville’s “I Believe in Music” campaign and they’re definitely worth a visit!

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Fifth + Broadway

Fifth + Broadway is the newest development in downtown Nashville and it’s definitely worth a visit! It has a mix of retail, office, and residential space so there’s something for everyone!

Some cool places to see in the neighborhood are:

  • Local eats: Slim & Husky’s and Hattie B’s
  • National Museum of African American Museum

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Nature & the Outdoors

Cumberland Park

One of the things we love about Nashville is that there are so many things to do outdoors. One of these things is spending time at Cumberland Park! This free outdoor park is one of the best things to do in town with a view. It’s located on the banks of the Cumberland River that winds through Tennessee and Kentucky.

It has plenty for you to explore like a gigantic splash pad that’s perfect during summer. You’ll also find a playground, walking trails, and a dog park. It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon with family or be active out in nature!

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Radnor Lake

Radnor Lake is another one of things to do in Nashville. It’s a huge natural area, and it feels like you’re miles away from the city! The trails are great for walking or hiking or just enjoying the views. It’s also a hit with bird watchers and home to various wildlife.

The lake is such a serene sight and many come here for its calm waters and peaceful view.

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Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary

Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary is a really cool place in Nashville that feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere, but it’s actually just 15 minutes away from downtown!

The Sanctuary is home to a variety of wildlife including birds, reptiles and amphibians. They’re dedicated to protecting wildlife, repopulating plants, and conservation of the environment. There are so much more than owls in the sanctuary and if you’re an animal lover, this place will be just right for you!

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Belle Meade Plantation

Ever wanted to see how the South lived in their glory days? At Belle Meade Plantation, you can get a glimpse of what it was like. It’s located just 20 minutes from downtown Nashville and is one of things to do in town for history buffs!

It’s full of things like carriage rides, mansion tours, wine tastings and horseback riding. There are a lot things to do here from touring the mansion itself with its gardens all around it to exploring the grounds on foot or by bike!

The plantation has a rich history and you get to experience it first hand when visiting this place. The house is open as an educational center where visitors can learn more about slavery as well as southern life during the 1800s.

It’s a really interesting place to visit and provides a unique perspective on Nashville’s history.

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Shelby Bottoms Greenway

If you’re looking for things to do outdoors in Nashville, the Shelby Bottoms Greenway is a great place to start. This greenway is over 10 miles long and winds through different parts of Nashville.

You can access it from a variety of places and there are plenty of things to see and do! It’s perfect for biking, running, or just taking a nice walk along the river.

This greenway is one of things to do in Nashville because it’s so close to downtown and easy access from other areas like Germantown too!

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For Kids

Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory

If you’re looking for things to do in Nashville with kids, the Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory is a great option! It’s an observatory that has exhibits about space and astronomy. It’s one of the biggest astronomy centers in the state and are open to the public.

The observatory offers public star gazing nights and also has a gift shop. It’s perfect for kids who are interested in space and want to learn more about it!

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Nashville Zoo

If you’re looking for things to do in Nashville with kids, the zoo is always a great option! It’s home to about 3,000 animals and 350 different species from all over the world.

The zoo is open every day of the year and has different exhibits and activities for kids. There’s also a petting zoo, train ride, carousel, and splash park! It’s a great place to spend an afternoon with the family and learn more about animals from all over the world.

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Warner Parks

Warner Parks are a great place to spend the day with kids. It’s home to miles of trails that can be walked, biked or hiked! The parks are composed of the twin parks, Edwin Warner Park and Percy Warner Park.

There are different types of paths for all skill levels. The parks are also home to a playground, picnic areas, and an animal farm. It’s the perfect place for a day outdoors with the family!

You’ll probably be surprised by how close it is to the city!

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Adventure Science Center of Nashville

The Adventure Science Center is a great place for kids of all ages! It’s home to exhibits about science, technology, and math. There’s a planetarium, laser shows, and different things to do each day of the week.

All of the exhibits are interactive and hands-on and it’s all for learning while play! It’s about 20 minutes from downtown Nashville so it might be worth your while if you’re looking.

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Nashville Shores

If you’re looking for things to do in Nashville with your family, Nashville Shores is a great option! It’s home to the largest wave pool in Tennessee and has lots of different activities that are fun for both kids and adults.

The place features a water park and a treetop adventure course, with many features in both attractions. There’s also a lazy river, ziplines, and arcade! It’s the perfect place to spend a day or weekend outdoors in Nashville.

The best part is that it’s only 20 minutes from downtown Nashville so it makes for an easy day trip if you’re looking to get out of the city but don’t want to drive too far away!

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Specialty Museums

Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame and Museum

If you’re looking for things to do in Nashville that are unique, Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is a great option! It’s home to exhibits related to the rich sports history of Tennessee.

Many sports legends have come out of Tennessee and there are various exhibits that highlight that. It also has interactive games and activities for the kids. For the adults, you can learn more about different aspects of athletics. Plus, look through artifacts such as signed balls, shoes and even helmets!

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Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a great option for all music lovers out there. It’s home to exhibits about country music legends and history.

You can see costumes, instruments, cars, and more from some of the biggest names in country music. There are also interactive exhibits where you can learn more about things like recording studios and producing music.

Some highlights of the museum are:

  • Jimmie Rodgers’ guitar
  • Elvis Presley’s gold Cadillac limo
  • Sing Me Back Home: A Journey Through Country Music exhibit

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National Museum of African American Music

Nashville isn’t just about the country music, it also celebrates African American music!

This specialty museum is dedicated to the history and culture of African Americans in music. It’s a great place to go if you want to learn more about the role they played in shaping music as we know it today. There are exhibits on everyone from Ray Charles to Beyonce!

The museum is home to interactive exhibits that can teach you how songs are written or recorded by professionals. The exhibits also look at African American music throughout the ages. From the history of blues to R&B and the hip-hop and rap culture of today, there’s something for everyone here!

It’s a fairly new museum in the city, so make sure to visit when you’re in Nashville.

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Patsy Cline Museum

The Patsy Cline Museum is dedicated to the life and career of one of country music’s most famous artists. It’s a great place if you want to learn more about her story or just enjoy things like costumes, records, and other memorabilia from the singer.

It’s also home to exhibits on things like how she came up with her famous songs and her influences. There’s even a hologram of Patsy Cline singing!

If you’re a fan of hers, this is definitely the museum for you. It’s located just above the Johnny Cash Museum.

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Frist Art Museum

The Frist Art Museum is a great place to visit if you’re looking for things to do in Nashville that are all about art. It’s located in a beautiful art deco building from the 1930s.

It’s home to various exhibits of art from around the world. You can see everything from ancient pottery to modern paintings in this museum. There are also interactive activities for the kids in the Martin ArtQuest Gallery.

It’s a great place to go if you want to learn more about art or just see some beautiful pieces.

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Johnny Cash Museum and Cafe

This museum is dedicated to the life and music of Johnny Cash. It’s a great place to go if you want to learn more about his influence on country music. There are exhibits on everything from his early days in Nashville to his death in a plane crash.

The Johnny Cash Museum also has a cafe where you can enjoy some of his favorite dishes like chicken fried steak and blackberry cobbler. This museum has the largest collection of Cash artifacts, memorabilia, and even costumes from his time.

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Historical Museums

Tennessee State Museum

The Tennessee State Museum is a great place to go if you want to learn more about the history of Nashville and Tennessee. It’s home to exhibits on everything from the prehistoric era to modern day.

You can see things like cars from the 1920s, ancient pottery, and even a replica of Christopher Columbus’ ship! The museum also has interactive exhibits where you can learn things like how to make a quilt or play an instrument from the 1800s.

It’s a great place for kids and adults alike, so be sure to visit when you’re in Nashville.

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Cheekwood Estate and Gardens

Cheekwood Estate and Gardens is a beautiful place to visit if you want to see some of Nashville’s natural beauty. It’s home to 55 acres of gardens, nature trails, and even a butterfly garden!

The estate also has a museum where you can learn more about the history of the property. There are exhibits on things like how the gardens were created and the art collection of the Cheek family.

It’s a great place to go for a relaxing day outside. Be sure to visit when you’re in Nashville. Be sure to visit during the spring or summer when the gardens are in bloom.

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Belmont Mansion

Belmont Mansion is a historic site that offers things to do in Nashville. It’s home to exhibits on the Gilded Age, which was a time period in America when there was lots of wealth and luxury.

You can take a tour of the mansion and its gardens, check out special events, and learning about how things were back then. This historic home is also the largest house museum you’ll find in the city.

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Nightlife and Drinks

Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge

Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge is a great place to go if you want things to do in Nashville. It’s home to live music and cocktails, making it perfect for a night out!

The lounge has been around since 1960 and have been across the Ryman Auditorium. This downtown bar is the perfect place to hear the country music everyone’s been talking about in the city.

If you’re looking for things to do in Nashville at night, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge is a great place to start. It’s been a favorite of country music stars for years.

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Bootleggers Inn

Bootleggers Inn is a more subdue bar and live music venue than the Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. You’ll also find it in downtown, with a casual vibe and more indie and acoustics playing.

It’s home to things like live music, karaoke and pool tables that are perfect if you’re looking for things to do in Nashville at night with friends or family! There are events nearly every day of the week including trivia nights, karaoke, and live music.

This is also one of the few places that sells moonshine.

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Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery

Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery is a popular place to go if you want things to do in Nashville. It’s home to tours and tastings of their award-winning bourbons, whiskeys, and vodkas.

The distillery has been around since 1885 and was even closed during prohibition! It reopened by the Nelson family, who are descendants of the original owners.

The distillery is located in downtown and offers things like tours on weekdays with tastings afterward. You can also buy their products at nearby stores if you’d like some souvenirs or take home gifts!

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Hotels

Union Station Hotel

Union Station Hotel is a historic hotel in Nashville that’s right downtown. It was originally opened in the 1900s as the main train station of the city! And some of its original architecture’s been preserved. It’ll take you back in time to the glamour of the 1900s.

The hotel has been renovated and now offers things like a spa, restaurant, and bar. You can also take tours of the property to see things like the original stained glass windows or go on things like a food and wine tour.

It’s a great place to stay if you’re looking for things to do in Nashville that are historic or fun! Union Station Hotel has things like free WiFi, breakfast included with your stay and more.

It’s also near enough other popular tourist destinations!

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Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center

The Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center is one of the most popular places to stay in Nashville. It’s a resort with a spa, golf course, and more than 20 restaurants!

The convention center hosts things like trade shows, banquets, and other events. It’s also home to the famous Grand Ole Opry.

If you’re looking for things to do in Nashville, the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center is a great place to start. You can enjoy the amenities of the resort or visit one of the many attractions nearby.

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Timothy Demonbreun House

The Timothy Demonbreun House is a bed and breakfast and is one of the most popular things to do in Nashville. It offers things like free breakfast, WiFi, parking and more!

This historic house was restored it to its original glory and now offer things like afternoon tea, wine tastings, and more! It’s one of the most unique places to stay in Nashville and definitely offers things you can’t find at other hotels or resorts.

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Local Stores

Hatch Show Print

Hatch Show Print is one of the things to do in Nashville. It’s a letterpress shop that offers things like private tours and classes! This shop has been creating posters for musicians for many years now.

It was founded back in 1879 when they started selling their designs on wooden blocks. It’s one of the oldest letterpress shops in America! You can take tours of their original equipment or attend their events.

Hatch Show Print is a great place for things to do in Nashville that are local. It’s also such a significant landmark in the history of music ads.

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Third Man Records

Third Man Records is another thing to do in Nashville. This record store has been around since 2001 and sells things like vinyl records, CDs, DVDs, books and more!

Third Man Records is a great place to visit if you’re looking for things to do in Nashville that are music-related. It was founded by Jack White of the White Stripes and it’s home to things like vinyl records, concerts and more!

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Live Music and Arts

Schermerhorn Symphony Center

Schermerhorn Symphony Center is a performing arts venue that hosts concerts and exhibits! It primarily focuses on classical music in the middle of all the venues for country and bluegrass music in the city.

Aside from that, they also have jazz shows, drum lines, or even ventriloquists shows. It’s the space for anything and everything, so you might find something unexpected each time. But they are most known for violin and string concerts.

If that’s your jam, the center is great for you.

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RCA Studio B

RCA Studio B was home to artists like Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings and more. Some of these artists biggest hits were made in this very studio. It’s a historic landmark that put Nashville on the map for country music and that “Nashville Sound.”

The studio has been restored and now offers tours for people who want to see where all these amazing songs were created! The tour will definitely give you an in-depth look at their story, so go check that out.

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Ryman Auditorium

Ryman Auditorium is a legendary landmark and one of the best things to do in Nashville. It’s known as the “Mother Church of Country Music.” It was the home of the Grand Ole Opry, but it still has a number of top class acts gracing its halls every now and then.

Many famous country music artists have performed on its stage, like Hank Williams Sr., Patsy Cl

It’s one of the most popular concert venues in Nashville, with past performers including Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, and Garth Brooks. If you want to see some of the best country music live, this is the place to go!

You can also take a tour of the place or look through the “Workin on a Building” exhibit on-site. Plus record your own music in the studio and take the CD home.

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Where to Eat

Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant

One of the things to do in Nashville, and definitely a must-eat, is Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant.

This restaurant serves southern comfort food that will make you feel right at home. They have things like catfish, fried chicken, meatloaf and more!

But that’s not all, this restaurant doubles as a grocery with all the essentials you’ll need.

There’s more. This is also a live music venue where local acts put on amazing performances.

If you’re not sure what to do, you can have three-in-one in this cool spot downtown. The atmosphere is also friendly and family-friendly!

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Loveless Cafe

Loveless Cafe is an iconic restaurant in Nashville and definitely one of the things to do. It’s been around since 1951 and serves up southern cooking at its finest.

You can get things like biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, peach cobbler and more! They’re known for their amazing food but also their home-baked pies and hot biscuits.

If you want to try some amazing Southern food, then the Loveless Cafe is a great option. It’s been around since 1951 and it offers things like biscuits and gravy, fried chicken and more!

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Bluebird Cafe

Bluebird Cafe is a place that’s been around since 1982. It was popularized by the TV show Nashville, where things happen at this specific venue.

It’s an intimate setting with live music and great food! They host things like songwriters nights and more. You can also get things like steak, chicken wings or fried pickles.

They’re best known for their songwriters’ nights. This is where up-and-coming writers, as well as experienced ones come on stage share stories, play music, and put on a show.

You’ll love the Bluebird Cafe for their intimate setting, live music, and home-cooked food.

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Goo Goo Shop and Dessert Bar

Goo Goo Shop and Dessert Bar is a place that’s definitely unique to Nashville. It serves things like the Goo Goo Cluster, which is their famous dessert.

It was created in 1912 and is a mix of chocolate, marshmallow, peanuts and caramel. They also have things like milkshakes, floats and sundaes!

You’ll also get a close look at their process with a view of the kitchen as they make these candies. Aside from that, it’s also a dessert and coffee bar.

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That’s a Wrap

There are definitely no shortage of things to do in Nashville! Whether you’re a music lover or just looking for some great food, there’s something for everyone in this charming Southern city.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!