This post covers the top things to do in Nashville today, tonight, tomorrow, or anytime.
We include nighttime, free, as well as family-friendly activities.
How Many Days to Spend in Nashville?
Nashville combines traditional country vibes with trendsetting modernity. As a result, it’s become a preferred destination for tourists worldwide.
However, deciding how many days to spend in Nashville can be tricky since there’s so much to see and do.
Our top things to do in Nashville below details some of the popular attractions, but here are a few ideas about how long you may need to see them!
Three Days in Nashville
If you’re looking to see Nashville’s highlights without getting too overwhelmed, or you have limited time, three days is plenty of time.
This time frame is perfect for a short weekend break, and you’ll still manage to experience the best of Nashville.
Some of the must-visit attractions in Nashville include the legendary Ryman Auditorium, Country Music Hall of Fame, and Johnny Cash Museum.
You'll also want to stroll down Honky Tonk Highway and take one of our self guided audio tours.
End the night with a show at The Grand Ole Opry, the home of country music, which provides a memorable live performance.
Five Days in Nashville
If you have more time and don't mind spending some extra days, five days in Nashville should give you a comfortable stay.
This option will enable you to take part in more comprehensive tours, soak up the culture, and dive deeper into Nashville's history.
Highlights of your extended stay could include a visit to the Belle Meade Plantation, Parthenon, and Cheekwood Estate and Gardens.
With some more time, you can also savor Nashville's street food or visit its numerous galleries and museums to understand the city's roots.
Head out of the touristy downtown to find some famous Nashville Hot Chicken or unique foodie scenes.
Seven Days in Nashville
Seven days in Nashville will give you enough time to connect with the locals and immerse yourself in the city's culture fully.
You'll have time to explore every corner of the city, including its underrated gems, like the Tennessee State History Museum.
Add on to your tour by visiting the historic Hermitage, home to former President Andrew Jackson.
Take a romantic stroll in the Centennial Park, where you'll see ornate gardens, walking trails, and even a small lake.
Lastly, show some team spirit and attend one of the NFL and NHL games, or even minor league baseball!
TOP 10 THINGS TO DO
There are so many things to see and do - what's worth it?
Here we have listed the top 10 things to do in Nashville to help you narrow down your options.
1) Go on a Sightseeing Tour
One of the best ways for visitors to see Nashville is to go on a sightseeing tour.
One of the most popular ways to get around while learning insider tips is with a bus tour.
There are plenty of walking tours and bike tours led by Music City Experts.
If you’re looking for a more unique way to see downtown, why not try a Segway tour or carriage ride?
You can also take one of our self-guided walking tours of Nashville or our audio tour of Downtown Nashville.
Regardless of which tour you take, chances are you'll see landmarks such as the Parthenon, Centennial Park, Music Row, and many other notable locations.
2) The Hermitage
The Hermitage is a historical mansion once occupied by the 7th US president, Andrew Jackson.
Visitors can tour Andrew Jackson's Hermitage, which has been restored and filled with much of the original furniture and belongings.
The garden and grounds are also a large draw, due to the beautiful landscape and peaceful, 19th-century garden.
You can find farm buildings and the community’s church as well.
Jackson owned approximately 150 slaves when he died, according to plantation documents, census records, and other paperwork.
You can find a list of the enslaved African Americans and learn about their lives on the plantation.
For tickets or further information, click here. The Nashville Sightseeing Pass includes free entrance to Andrew Jackson's Hermitage.
3) Grand Ole Opry House
The Grand Ole Opry is a country and bluegrass radio show that has been running since 1925 and is now synonymous with the best country and gospel music the genre has to offer.
The Grand Ole Opry House itself became the home of the radio show in the mid-1970s as an upgrade from the Ryman Auditorium
Now, you can tour the Grand Ole Opry before and after the weekly shows. Some tours are “led” by country music star Blake Shelton via video recording.
Depending on the venue’s event schedule, visitors can get their picture onstage with the famous Opry microphone.
You can purchase tickets to live performances and listen to the radio show on WSM-AM. Tours are also included with some tourist passes.
4) Country Music Hall of Fame
The Country Music Hall of Fame holds one of the world’s largest collections of music and associated artifacts.
Here you can find the most comprehensive history of the country and bluegrass genre and its roots.
Within the museum are a theatre, event space, and multiple dining options.
Most visitors spend approximately 2 hours roaming the exhibits, with or without an audio guide.
Click here for more information or to get your Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum tickets.
And remember, general admission is included with some tourist passes.
5) Take a Bus Tour
See more and have a convenient mode of transportation with a hop-on-hop-off bus tour.
You’ll save energy and gain some insight from your knowledgeable driver’s steady stream of commentary.
The Old Town Trolley tours have 15 stops in Nashville, many of which are at landmarks like the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Centennial Park, the Parthenon, Music Row, and more.
For a more in-depth comparison of the bus tours on offer, check out our post.
6) See More with a City Pass
Want to see it all in Nashville? A tourist pass will allow you to save 50% or more by bundling your attractions and paying for just one pass.
You can find preset packages, choose-your-favorites, and all-inclusive tickets, depending on what you want to see.
Here are some of the more notable attractions included with one or more of these services:
- Nashville Zoo
- Frist Art Museum
- Belmont Mansion
- Johnny Cash Museum
- Belle Meade Mansion
- Historic RCA Studio B
- Musicians Hall of Fame
- Andrew Jackson's Hermitage
- And more!
See our Nashville City Pass comparison here.
7) Concert Venues
Nashville is the perfect place to find little-known or up-and-coming artists. But what if you want to see chart-toppers?
There are great venues for the big-time tours as well.
8) Find Live Music Every Day of the Week
There is no reason to go more than a day without enjoying some live music in Nashville, even if you aren’t a country music fan.
The Honky Tonk Highway is the famous stretch of the Upper and Lower Broadway streets lined with pubs, saloons, and other music venues.
Music is such a Nashville staple that even smaller venues have become must-see spots in their own right.
Check out the Bluebird Cafe, B.B. King’s, or the Station Inn - all of their live music is worth hearing.
Festivals, both free and paid, are happening every month in Nashville.
You can find events dedicated to everything from blues and indie rock to singer-songwriter nights.
9) Food Scene
Southern food should be comfort food, and Nashville’s food scene delivers.
One staple food in Nashville is hot chicken.
Get your fix of deep-fried and spicy chicken at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack - the original - or at any one of the other long-standing Nashville institutions like Hattie B’s or Helen’s.
The perfect biscuit is another Southern mainstay that Nashville is proud of.
From biscuit bars at brunch to restaurants that make them fresh around the clock, there are enough biscuits in town that you have to at least try one.
We suggest the Nashville Biscuit House or Loveless Cafe.
A few more restaurants worth mentioning:
- Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant
- The Diner
If you want help finding the most delicious dishes and the best restaurants, consider taking the Nashville Secret Food Tour. This outing includes hot chicken, pulled pork tacos, and much more!
Many of these places are great for family time or for entertainment at night.
10) Find Your Nashville Team Spirit
There is a wide range of sports teams available to cheer on in Nashville so you’ll never be without a game or match to watch.
Hockey (October - April)
Football (September - January)
Baseball (March - September)
Soccer (March - October)
Basketball (October - May)
Keep in mind that both the Nashville Predators and the Tennessee Titans have practices and a training camp that are free and open to the public.
FREE THINGS TO DO
Entertaining yourself in Nashville doesn’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of free or cheap things to do in Music City.
Here’s a few of our top free things to do.
Visit the Tennessee State Museum
The Tennessee State Museum is a large museum which depicts the history of the state.
This huge structure houses a Tennessee Time Tunnel that guides guests through the museum's permanent collection while tracing the history of the state.
Significant historical items from the state are on display in exhibitions along with works of art, furniture, textiles, and photography taken by Tennesseans.
The museum's collection of Civil War items includes uniforms, battle flags, and firearms.
See the Parthenon at Centennial Park
A full scale model of the original Parthenon in Athens can be seen in Centennial Park in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Parthenon, a vast public park just west of downtown Nashville that serves as an art museum, is the park's focal point.
This replica of the Parthenon serves as a tribute to what is thought to be the finest example of ancient architecture, because the structure is complete and its embellishments were colored as closely to the presumptive original as possible.
Nashville Farmer's Market
Founded in the early 1800s, the Nashville Farmers' Market is situated in the heart of downtown Nashville, close to the Tennessee State Museum and Bicentennial Mall State Park.
Farmers, artists, and small companies manage shop spaces at the market throughout the year.
Two covered open-air sheds, a 24,000 square foot garden canter, a culinary incubator center, and an international food hall with about 20 restaurants and shops are all popular spots at this local farmer's market.
Between Third and Fourth Avenues and extending from Union Street to Commerce Street, Printer's Alley is a renowned alley in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee.
The publishing sector flourished in Printer's Alley around the start of the 20th century.
The alley provided a platform for the talents of artists like Boots Randolph, Chet Atkins, Waylon Jennings, Dottie West, The Supremes, Hank Williams, Barbara Mandrell, and Jimi Hendrix after nightclubs sprang up here in the 1940s.
The saloons, speakeasies, and clubs that grew into the entertainment zone still known as Printers Alley are the ancestors of the nightclubs of today.
Additional Free Things to Do
Our free things to do in Nashville post has even more detail and even more ideas for the budget-conscious traveler.
That said, here are several other fun activities you can enjoy without paying a dime.
- Find free music on the Honky Tonk Highway.
- Take a self-guided walking tour of Fort Negley.
- Play with the dragons at Fannie Mae Dees Park.
- Attend the Midnite Jamboree radio show taping.
- Get free samples at Savannah’s Candy Kitchen.
- Explore the SoBro and Germantown neighborhoods.
- See a Bluebird Cafe show.
- Take your picnic to a winery for a free show.
Remember, for more inspiration, you can check out our free things to do post.
THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT
Spend the night beneath the lights of Nashville’s neon signs!
There are plenty of things to do in Music City at night, and this section covers some of our favorite activities.
Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center
The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, located in the center of Nashville, welcomes visitors to a breathtaking, one-of-a-kind resort experience.
There is something for the whole family to enjoy, from SoundWaves, the city's top aquatic attraction, to an exciting programme of family-friendly activities and entertainment.
Visitors can explore 9 acres of open, indoor garden atriums, a variety of restaurants and bars that have won awards, the renowned Relâche Spa, and a cutting-edge fitness facility.
Tootsie's Orchid Lounge
Behind the Ryman Auditorium, which has occasionally hosted The Grand Ole Opry on stage and radio in recent years, is a honky-tonk saloon called Tootsie's Orchid Lounge.
Tootsie's offers three stages where local entertainers play live each night, covering both original material and contemporary country music acts like Jason Aldean, Taylor Swift, and others.
Photos and mementos of those who have inspired country music in the past and today are displayed all around the place.
Cumberland River Cruises
Discover history and natural beauty as the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers meander amid towering bluffs, golden horizons, and more.
Visitors witness the calm of river life as the Great Smoky Mountains, gorges, and the lulling paddlewheel churn by small-town America.
Additional Things to Do at Night
For more things to do after dark in Nashville, take a look at our things to do at night post. Here's a list covering some of our favorite nighttime activities!
- See a concert or tour the Grand Ole Opry.
- Visit The George Jones museum and connected rooftop bar, which celebrates the singer’s life and has a collection of memorabilia from his performances.
- Catch a sporting event.
- Take a dinner cruise on the General Jackson Showboat.
- Find live music in the SoBro neighborhood.
- Find some of Nashville’s local breweries.
- Take an Old Town Trolley night tour.
- See a film showing at the historic Belcourt Theatre.
- Go on a spooky Nashville Ghost Tour.
- See one of the Adventure Science Center’s open-late events.
- Try to escape The Escape Game
To see everything there is to do at night, check out our full post.
FAMILY-FRIENDLY THINGS TO DO
Nashville is the perfect place for a family vacation. Here are a few of our favorite things to do with kids in the Music City.
RCA Studio B
RCA Victor erected Studio B in 1956 in Nashville, Tennessee as a place to record music.
RCA Studios gained notoriety in the 1960s for playing a crucial role in the evolution of the Nashville Sound, a musical production style and approach to sound engineering.
60% of the Country chart hits for the Billboard magazine were created at RCA Studio B during the studio's two decades of operation.
Elvis Presley recorded the song Heartbreak Hotel here that became his first gold record and the biggest-selling single of 1956.
Dolly Parton recalled in a biography how, in an effort to be at Studio B in time for her first recording session in October 1967, she drove her car right through the side wall of the building.
She mentioned that the area where her car collided with the building is still clearly visible.
Radnor Lake State Park
Spread in an area of 1368 acres, the Radnor Lake State Park offers a multitude of options for wildlife observation, environmental education programs, and hiking opportunities.
Only day visitors are permitted in the park, and the 7.75 miles of trails are utilized only for hiking, wildlife viewing, and photography.
The Otter Creek Road route is the only place where pets, jogging, and cycling are permitted.
All-terrain wheelchair users can access the Lake Trail.
Cheekwood Estates and Botanical Gardens
The 30,000 square foot Georgian-style palace, which was once the home of the Cheek family of Nashville, opened as a botanical garden and art gallery in 1960.
There are 600 paintings and 5,000 prints, sketches, and photographs in Cheekwood's collection of American art.
Broad collections of American art, American and British decorative arts, and modern art, particularly outdoor sculpture purchased for the Woodland Sculpture Trail, are among the core holdings of this museum.
Belle Meade Plantation
Belle Meade Historic Site and Winery is a historic mansion that is currently used as an attraction, museum, winery, and onsite restaurant on its 30 acres of property.
The Mansion Tour narrates Belle Meade's century-long history through the tales and experiences of the Harding and Jackson families, as well as the enslaved people who were held in bondage here.
The Journey to Jubilee Tour promotes dialogue and examines the lives of the African-Americans who were born and brought to Belle Meade as slaves between 1807 and the years immediately after Emancipation.
Additional Things to Do with Kids
For even more ideas, check out our full post on family-friendly things to do in Nashville. Here are just a few more of our favorite options.
- Explore all the free parks.
- Go on a horse-drawn carriage tour of downtown.
- Find exotic animals at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere.
- See a show at the Nashville Children’s Theatre.
- Learn to line dance at Wildhorse Saloon.
- Attend a sporting event.
- Explore Nashville’s food scene.
- See celebrities of the music industry at Madame Tussauds.
- Hear the music on Upper and Lower Broadway.
- Make your own art at the Frist Art Museum.
Find even more things to do with your kids in Music City on our full family-friendly post.
THINGS TO DO IN NASHVILLE BY MONTH