What to do in Nashville, TN

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Downtown Nashville featuring a city, a sunset and a river or creek

Nashville Attractions

Nashville is known for its music scene, drawing in country music fans and blues aficionados from around the globe. Still, if your ear for music isn’t strong or you just want a diverse vacation, there are things to do in Nashville beyond square dancing and jazz clubs. Go to the symphony, nom on some good southern comfort food, and explore your creative side on an art crawl. Nashville tours let you see plenty of Tennessee attractions in just one day, though to truly dig your teeth into the city you should stick around for a while.

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Nashville must see attractions

1. Grand Ole Opry

Beginning in 1925 as a "barn dance," the Grand Ole Opry is the longest running radio show in American history. The two-hour program is broadcast live on Friday and Saturday nights, and on Tuesday nights March through December. Each show features a number of artists, from country music legends to budding artists, performing bluegrass, gospel, folk and country.
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Grand Ole Opry featuring autumn leaves

2. Broadway

There’s never a quiet moment on Nashville’s Broadway, whose famous bars and cultural institutions keep the party going all day and all night. Affectionately referred to as the Honky Tonk Highway, the bars and clubs here are defined by the presence of live music, long hours, and a lack of cover charges. With a musical culture that encourages big stars and unknown acts alike to hit the stage, no matter how small, that means that bar-hopping is the way to go. There’s more than parties though, with the Frist Art Museum and other places offering respite from crowds and noise.
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Nashville Broadway showing night scenes, nightlife and street scenes

3. Music City Center

Opened in 2013, the Music City Center aims to be one of the most convenient convention centers in the United States. Created by an Atlanta-based firm, TVS design, in partnership with the Nashville-based Tuck Hinton Architects, the center harkens to the classic Nashville look while being thoroughly modern and definitely eco-friendly. Stop by its central location, in an area that was, until the 1950s, nicknamed Black Bottom for its periodic floods, just to appreciate the sheer size of the building. Spreading out over 2.1 million square feet (195,000 square meters), it is no surprise it has quickly become the city’s biggest spot for conventions and celebrations of all sorts.
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Music City Center showing modern architecture and a city

4. Ryman Auditorium

Delve into over 100 years of entertainment history in Nashville at the Ryman Auditorium. Browse museum exhibits, peak inside the dressing rooms and cut your own record in the recording studio. Watch performances by both emerging and internationally famous artists, ranging from bluegrass and country to hip-hop and soul genres.
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Ryman Auditorium

5. Bridgestone Arena

Bridgestone Arena may just be one of the most convenient urban stadiums in America, sited right near most of Nashville’s biggest attractions. That means it’s easy to slip in a hockey game on a whirlwind tour of the city, or hit the bars of Lower Broad after catching a sold-out stadium concert. Come to see some of the biggest acts in folk and country, like Mumford & Sons or Kasey Musgraves, or get a completely new perspective on the human body with the death-defying feats of Cirque du Soleil.
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Bridgestone Arena showing modern architecture, street scenes and a city

6. Opryland Hotel Gardens

The Opryland Hotel Gardens is an exceptional set of indoor gardens filled with fountains, waterfalls and canals. Beneath a glass ceiling, the leafy gardens stretch across 9 acres (4 hectares) of grounds overlooked by hotel rooms. Enjoy a meal on the elegant terrace of a restaurant near the water on your visit to the beautiful Opryland Hotel Gardens.
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Opryland Hotel Gardens which includes a river or creek, interior views and boating

7. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

This multi-million dollar institution celebrates and preserves every conceivable genre of country music. From bluegrass to swing, from Cajun to contemporary, there’s something for every ear. As you approach the building, pause to look for symbolism within the architecture, including the piano key-styled windows.
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Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum featuring skyline, central business district and a city

What to do in Nashville

Free Things to Do in Nashville

Some say the best things in life are free. Make sure you explore the following around Nashville:

Tennessee State University - Be wowed by the design and originality of this fantastic example of modern architecture.

Tennessee State Capitol - If you want to explore the region's history through its landmarks, add this one to your sightseeing list.

Marathon Village - Stop for a while in this lively area and experience life as a local resident.

Nashville Public Library - If you'd like to explore a few of the more important or unique places in the community, this place is worth visiting.

Upper Room - Stop for some quiet contemplation and discover a few things about this site's religious significance.

Legislative Plaza - Develop your green thumb and enjoy admiring the various plants on display.

Areas & Neighborhoods in Nashville

While the rhythm of the city might be universally musical, nearly any type of traveler can feel right at home in Nashville. The neighborhoods in Music City are more diverse than you might expect, serving up everything from rich history to modern cuisine.

Downtown Nashville — The downtown district marries high-end hotels with laid-back music venues. Anyone headed to Nashville with a tune in their heart will want to make a beeline for this district. You will also find the Tennessee Performing Arts Center downtown, as well as the Tennessee State Museum.

Germantown — History buffs will find Germantown to be one of the best things to see in Nashville, since it’s the oldest neighborhood in town. This area also happens to boast many Victorian homes and other important buildings.

Midtown — Stretching across Broadway and Division Street, Midtown lives up to its name and puts you in the center of many vibrant Nashville hot spots. Grab lunch at a crab shack, dinner at a New York-style pizza joint, or dance the night away at a club with live music.

Music Valley — Don’t forget to make a stop in Music Valley, where some of the most quintessential things to do in Nashville, TN reside. From the Gaylord Opryland Resort to fun dinner theater, this part of the city is hopping.

Things to See in Nashville

Get your camera ready, because there are lots of sights worth a shot or two in Nashville. On the architecture front, the Belle Meade Plantation and Parthenon replica are very eye-catching. You can also see a lion’s share of Johnny Cash memorabilia at the Johnny Cash Museum. Of course, art and culture in Nashville won’t be ignored, so set aside time for local galleries.

Sightseeing in Nashville

Once you have enough pictures to fill out your scrapbook entry, it’s time to think about putting your boots on the ground in Music City. Visit the Grand Ole Opry, grab yourself some sweet tea and biscuits with gravy, and spend a lazy afternoon in the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Visitors also flock to honky tonks and sports bars to unwind. Fun things to do in Nashville also include visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame and Jack Daniel Distillery. You have an eclectic array of attractions and activities at your disposal in this city.

Things to Do in Nashville with Kids

Nashville is a great place for a family break. Bring the little ones along and enjoy these fun family friendly experiences together:


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Frequently asked questions

What to do in Nashville on a sunny day?
If you’re chasing a bit of fun under the sun, check out these outdoor adventures:

What to do in Nashville on a rainy day?
What is Nashville famous for?
Grand Ole Opry lives up to its reputation as an iconic attraction you shouldn’t miss.
What should I not miss in Nashville?
Put these sights high on your to-do list to make the most of your trip:

  • Vanderbilt University
  • Nissan Stadium
  • Ryman Auditorium
  • Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Are there cheap things to do in Nashville?
What can you do in Nashville for free?
Your vacation in Nashville needn’t cost a bundle with free things like these to keep you on the go:

  • Vanderbilt University
  • Tennessee State Capitol
  • Opry Mills
  • Belmont University

Popular places to visit

Areas of Nashville

Day trip destinations from Nashville