Nashville is filled with things to do for everyone, and, you may be surprised, it is not just for country music fans. Music is huge in Nashville, but it is for music lovers of all genres. You’ll also find a city steeped in history, fantastic shopping, and fantastic restaurants.
Best Time to Go
The best time to visit Nashville is in from April to October, the weather is pleasant, and there are loads of events around the city. That being said, Nashville is never too cold, and there are always things to do. November and December are filled with holiday activities, while June through March is quieter, making them great times to visit for those wanting less crowds at museums and venues.
Things to Know
Central Standard Time
The weather in Nashville is very pleasant, the winters are mild, and summers can get hot but are comfortable for the most part. Fall and spring have the best weather for visiting, but be sure to always bring layers and rain gear as you never know when the rain may fall!
Getting To Nashville
Flying to Nashville is extremely easy, Nashville International Airport is a major airport with nonstop flights to and from most major cities in the US. The airport is less than twenty minutes from downtown Nashville, and there are plenty of taxis, Uber drivers, and buses to get you from the airport to your downtown hotel.
If you prefer to drive to Nashville, check with your hotel if they offer valet parking or if they have a garage. Nashville is full of public garages and lots, but you will have to pay a daily fee.
How to Get Around
Many of the top attractions in Nashville are within walking distance of each other, and it is a highly walkable city.
The bus system in Nashville will get you where you need to go if it is too far to walk.
Nashville is a highly walkable city, with many attractions within walking distance of each other and of major downtown hotels.
Driving around Nashville is fairly easy, as long as you don’t mind paying to park. Find parking easily in Nashville with ParkWhiz.
Nashville B-Cycle is the local bike share, making it easy for any bicycle lovers to easily bike around town.
Taxis are available in Nashville, with varying base fares depending on the company.
Like most cities, ride shares are in abundance throughout the city with short wait times.
Best Resort in Nashville – Gaylord Opryland
The Gaylord Opryland is located about 10 minutes outside of downtown Nashville, but is a short walk to the Grand Old Opry, making it the perfect hotel for your Nashville stay. Kids will love the indoor water park, and adults will love the huge variety of restaurants.
Best Luxury Hotel in Nashville – Four Seasons
Newly opened in late 2022, the Four Seasons in Nashville is the height of luxury in the perfect location for the top spots in Nashville. Luxuriate in the infinity pool, treat yourself at the spa, and enjoy an amazing meal at Mimo, where Michelin-distinguished Chef Aniello “Nello” Turco cooks up delicious southern Italian meals.
Best Budget Hotel in Nashville – The Capitol Hotel Downtown, Ascend Hotel Collection
You’ll get a boutique hotel experience in the heart of downtown Nashville when you stay at the Capitol Hotel Downtown. Enjoy a complimentary breakfast, a fitness center, and free wifi during your stay.
Best Hotel Near the Country Music Hall of Fame – Omni Nashville Hotel
Located just steps from the Country Music Hall of Fame, Omni Nashville is a prime location to many of the top attractions in the city. Not only is the location super convenient, but it has all of the amenities you need for a comfortable stay: wifi, a restaurant, a spa, a rooftop pool and more.
Best Hotel for Honky Tonk – Hilton Nashville Downtown
For a hotel that allows you to stay up into the wee hours of the night getting down to some honky tonk, try the Hilton Nashville Downtown. Located just steps from Broadway, where Honky Tonk bars line the streets, the Hilton offers luxury accommodations for your best honky tonk, toe-tapping vacation.
Best Restaurants In Nashville
For delicious drinks and small bites, try Henrietta Red. Located in Germantown, it serves up amazing oysters, hard to find in a city nowhere near the ocean. Along with its amazing drinks and food, the atmosphere is also top-notch.
5th & Taylor
5th & Taylor offers American favorites with a bit of a sophisticated flair. Located in a former warehouse, the space is open, yet cozy.
Centrally located in the heart of Nashville, Etch offers a globally-inspired menu. Enjoy a cocktail, a glass of wine, or one of Nashville’s best mocktails.
Elliston Place Soda Shop
Head back in time at the Elliston Place Soda Shop, where you will find old-fashioned milkshakes, burgers, salads, and all-day breakfast. The atmosphere is fun, with a counter for seating, booths, tables, and a jukebox.
For some delicious tapas, head to Black Rabbit. Located in historic printers alley, there is live music Thursday through Saturday, so you can grab a drink at the bar, order a plate of pork belly sope, and just sit back and relax.
Things to Do
Country Music Hall of Fame
You don’t have to love country music to appreciate the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Get a dose of the history of the music genre, learn about the stars, and of course, listen to some music along the way.
National Museum of African American Music
This interactive museum opened in 2021 and is a must-stop destination for anyone visiting Nashville. Not only will you learn about the history of African American music in the US, but you’ll get to try your hand at creating some music of your own.
Can’t get to Greece to see the Parthenon? Then try the next best thing, an exact replica located in Centennial Park, and even includes a re-creation of the 42-foot Athena statue. After your visit to the replica, take a walk around the gorgeous Centennial Park.
Frist Art Museum
A visit to any city wouldn’t be complete without visiting an art museum, and the Frist has everything you could want in an art museum. A non-collecting museum, your visit to the Frist will be different every time you go, as they host a series of exhibits throughout the year.
Located just outside of Nashville, Hermitage is the home of the combative seventh president Andrew Jackson. See where the president lived and where the people who were enslaved on the estate slept. See a darker side of American history that is important to learn about and not ignore. Tour the mansion and grounds, which include slave quarters and Andrew Jackson’s grave.
Belle Meade Museum
Another plantation just outside of Nashville, Belle Meade is also part of America’s dark history with slavery. The museum offers a Journey to Jubilee tour, which offers a frank discussion about the humans who were enslaved at the plantation before the emancipation proclamation.
Cheekwood Estate and Gardens
Construction on Cheekwood Estate started in 1929 and was completed in 1932. Built by the family that owned the Cheek-Neal Coffee Company, creators and brewers of Maxwell House Coffee and Tea. You can take a tour of the house, or simply walk around the gorgeous grounds, taking in the gardens, or go on the sculpture trail to view ten works of art along a 1.5-mile path.
Nashville is filled with great spots to go shopping, from shopping malls to quaint, unique gift shops. The key shopping areas in Nashville are:
Located in the buildings that once housed Marathon Motor Works, Marathon Village now is home to artist studios, salons, shops, restaurants, and even a couple of distilleries.
Any neighborhood that is good enough for Dolly Parton is good enough for me. Dolly’s Inca Hoots Productions Inc. is located in this eight-block neighborhood, as are an array of restaurants like Frothy Monkey, and shops like White’s Mercantile, located in an old gas station.
Located near Belmont and Vanderbilt Universities, Hillsboro Village features several shops, boutiques, and restaurants that are perfect for a day of shopping.
The Opry Mills is the perfect way to kill time before seeing a show at the Grand Ole Opry. Featuring outlet stores, a movie theatre, Madame Tussaud’s, and plenty of restaurants, there is something for everyone.
Between Music Row and downtown Nashville lies the Gulch, a super trendy neighborhood and was the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) neighborhood in the south. You can peruse the designer shops, take in some entertainment, grab a bite to eat, and take your picture with the famed What Lifts You Wings.
Expect to spend around $1900 (including hotel, not including airfare) for a week’s stay in Nashville with two people.
Hotel: You can expect to pay less than $200 per night for a double occupancy hotel room during your stay in Nashville.
Food: Expect to pay around $35 for lunch and dinner, but less for breakfast, averaging around $80/day. Of course, if you eat at more expensive restaurants, this will go up, but if you stick with fast food or other cheap options, it can go down.
Transportation: A daily WeGo pass is $4, and a weekly one is $20. An average taxi ride is about $17 per ride.
Entertainment/Attractions: The cost of what you spend on attractions and entertainment really is dependent on what you want to do. The cost to get into museums can vary – but you can expect around $25 for an entrance fee. The Country Music Hall of Fame is $28 per person, while the National Museum of African American Music is $25 per person. Tickets to the Grand Ole Opry start at $69 per person.
Arts & Culture
Nashville is probably most known for its music scene, and chances are if you are visiting Nashville, you are planning on taking in a show or two (or maybe one every night -it’s possible!)
There are plenty of spots to catch theatre and dance in the city, whether you are looking for blockbuster hits or lesser known, local shows. Here are some spots to catch live performances in the city:
- TPAC (Tennessee Performing Arts Center) brings broadway shows, dance performances, stand-up comedy, and more to the city. It is home to the Nashville Ballet, Nashville Opera, and Nashville Rep companies.
- Woolworth Theater – once home to the historic five and dime store, the space has been reimagined into a performance space that aims to provide a “unique, first-of-its-kind theatre experience in downtown Nashville.”
Nashville is bursting with music venues, and it is impossible to mention them all. We already mentioned the Grand Ole Opry, and a sampling of other music spots includes:
- The Ryman is the former home of the Grand Ole Opry, and now offers a variety of concerts.
- Bluebird Cafe – You may be surprised how many superstars played here before they were superstars, so keep in mind you never know who you might hear at this listening room venue.
- The Listening Room – Another famous venue, the Listening Room has a cover for every show, as well as a $15 food and drink minimum for every guest. See some of the best singer-songwriters out there.
- The Station Inn – Located in the Gulch, you’ll find some of the best live country, bluegrass, Americana and roots music in the city.
- The Cobra – Eclectic bar with live music.
- Honky Tonk – Located along Broadway, the honky tonk bars in Nashville provide live music into the wee hours of the night, so get your cowboy boots on and get ready for a good time! Our favorite honky tonk bars include Tootsies Orchid Lounge, Roberts Western World, and Nudie’s.
There is no shortage of festivals in Nashville throughout the year, many of which are music-based. Festivals include
- The Antiques & Garden Show of Nashville – the longest-running, the largest, and most respected event of its kind.
- Tin Pan South – the world’s largest songwriter festival.
- Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival – a family-friendly celebration of Spring and Japanese culture
- CMA Fest – Enjoy live performances, meet and greets, and more from some of country music’s top stars.
- AMERICANAFEST– this festival combines conferences with industry professionals as well as live performances showcasing Americana music.
- Artober – A month-long celebration of the arts.
Key Things to Pack
Packing for a trip to Nashville is common to other cities. Necessities to include:
- An Umbrella
- Walking shoes
- Layers of clothing
- Warm jacket (if going during colder months)
- Rain Coat
- Cowboy Boots (not a necessity, and many people want to buy a pair while in Nashville, but if you want to wear them while you are visiting, you should probably break them in first)
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