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


Nashville Tennessee, Nashville Travel Guide, Best Things to Do in Nashville, Music City

The ULTIMATE Nashville Travel Guide:

Best Things to Do in Nashville, Tennessee


Nashville, Tennessee! There’s really no other place like it on the planet. For decades it’s been known as Music City USA and the Country Music Capital of the World, but in recent years, it’s become a hot spot for more than just its music, drawing in millions of visitors each year with its professional sports, delicious food scene, and how can we forget… bachelorette parties. Needless to say, if you come to Nashville and don’t have a good time, you probably didn’t do it right, because this place is a good time just waiting to happen!


We’ve lived in Nashville for nearly a decade now, and we're excited to share with you the 10 best things to do in Music City, and be sure to read to the end for a bonus! Also, watch our “Nashville Travel Guide” video for a closer look at the best things to do in Nashville! Now, let’s get to it!


Check out our “Nashville Travel Guide” video for a closer look at some of our recommendations!


And if you’re looking for the best places to stay during your visit to Nashville, check out some of our recommendations below!


Or find the perfect stay for you below!



Nashville Tennessee, Nashville Travel Guide, Best Things to Do in Nashville, Music City, Music History

1. Music History

Nashville’s history with music can be dated back to the late 1700s when the earliest settlers celebrated their safe disembarkation on the shores of the Cumberland River with fiddle tunes and buck dancing after. Afterall, Nashville’s first “celebrity,” the noted frontiersman and Congressman Davy Crockett was known far and wide for his colorful stories and fiddle playing. As time rolled on, and the city became more established, so did Nashville's relationship with music. Through the 1800s Nashville grew to become a national center for music publishing. The first around-the-world tour by a musical act was performed by none other than the Fisk Jubilee Singers from Nashville’s Fisk University. Their efforts helped fund the school’s mission of educating people who were formerly enslaved after the Civil War – and also put Nashville on the map as a global music center. In fact, Nashville’s most notable nickname “Music City” can be accredited to this around-the-world-tour! After playing for the Queen of England, the queen stated the Fisk Jubilee Singers must come from a "City of Music”, and the rest is history!


Music History Tours & Experiences:


The number of ways to explore Nashville’s music history can be overwhelming. For that reason, we've put together a list of some of the most popular options for you to figure out which ones interest you the most!


The Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum first opened its doors in 1967 at its original location and after more than 30 years, it moved to its current location in 2001 and expanded in 2014 making it what it is today… A 350,000-square-foot museum dedicated to all things country music! The Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum is home to the world’s largest collection of country music artifacts including 98 percent of all pre-ww2 commercially released country recordings, so it’s no surprise that it has earned the nickname, “The Smithsonian of country music”. Exhibits change regularly, so even if you’ve been in the past, chances are, there’s something new to see at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum!


Built in 1957 and located on Nashville's Music Row, RCA Studio B became known as the birthplace for the "Nashville Sound," a style characterized by background vocals and strings that helped establish Nashville as an international recording center. As Nashville’s oldest surviving recording studio, this is an experience that can’t be missed. Visitors get to stand right where Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, and other greats recorded hits, and hear stories and songs born in this iconic studio.


As one of America’s oldest working letterpress print shops, Hatch Show Print has played a significant role in shaping the visual language of Music City since 1879. For much of the twentieth century, Hatch Show Print’s posters served as a leading advertising medium for Southern entertainment and music, with posters rolling out for members of the Grand Ole Opry such as Bill Monroe, Minnie Pearl, and Ernest Tubb, as well as for rock & roll heroes such as Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, and more. Today, the shop continues that handmade tradition by designing and printing posters for hundreds of artists, performers, and businesses annually, and creating and producing posters, prints, t-shirts, and more among other unique gifts available for purchase in the gift shop or online. Located inside the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, the historic print shop carries on the organization’s mission of education, offering tours and other hands-on experiences too.


It’s been referred to as the Carnegie Hall of the South but more commonly known as the Mother Church which has hosted acts such as Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Johnny Cash, Charley Pride, Dolly Parton, Bruce Springsteen, Garth Brooks, Paul Simon, The Foo Fighters, Aretha Franklin, Jack White, James Brown, Neil Diamond, Diana Ross, and SO MANY others.


Officially authorized by the estate of Johnny Cash, the museum features the most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia in the world.The museum chronicles Cash's life, from his early years and Air Force career to his personal life and music career, including memorabilia from his famous prison concerts. Exhibits are arranged in chronological order, with more than 1,000 artifacts on display, consisting of personal items, memorabilia, and interactive exhibits.


Located on the second floor of the Johnny Cash Museum, the Patsy Cline Museum is home to an extensive collection of Patsy Cline memorabilia as well as real-life artifacts once owned by the country singer, who tragically died in a plane crash in 1963 at the age of 30.


The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) is the only museum of its kind dedicated to preserving and celebrating the history of Black music in America. The museum’s expertly-curated collections share the story of the American soundtrack by integrating history and interactive technology to bring the musical heroes of the past into the present. NMAAM is the premier global destination for music lovers of all generations and inspires, educates, and transforms your appreciation of American music. The museum's mission is to educate the world, preserve the legacy, and celebrate the central role African Americans play in creating the American soundtrack.


The Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum honors all musicians regardless of genre or instrument. The MHOF timeline starts with the beginning of recorded music and inductees are nominated by current members of the American Federation of Musicians and by other music industry professionals. From classic country to rock 'n' roll, you can find it all at the Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum. Their music museum exhibits offer guests a once in a lifetime experience to see instruments, studio booths, and more used on recordings of some of the biggest hit songs of all time.


The Gallery of Iconic Guitars (The GIG) at Belmont is Music City’s premier venue designed to celebrate some of the most rare and iconic guitars and stringed instruments ever known offering an intimate experience for visitors to view these prized instruments up-close, along with historically and technically in-depth information on each.


The Mission of the Jefferson Street Sound Museum (JSSM) is to preserve the history, honor, and educate people about the music and entertainment legacy of Jefferson Street in Nashville while bridging that legacy with education, grassroots programming, and cultural interest through exhibits. The Purpose of JSSM is to connect to local tours, media outlets, local colleges/universities and organizations to bring awareness of the impact of African Americans on the music and entertainment culture of Nashville, as well as create experiences that appeal to the diversity and multiplicity of entertainment for locals and tourist visiting Nashville.


The Glen Campbell Museum features more than four thousand square feet of never-before-seen artifacts from his early years on the farm in Arkansas through his climb to super-stardom, including many of Glen’s legendary guitars and instruments, his extensive collection of golf paraphernalia, and intimate family photos as well as stage worn clothing and much more.



Nashville Tennessee, Nashville Travel Guide, Best Things to Do in Nashville, Music City, Food Scene

2. Food Scene

There’s no doubt about it, Nashville’s food scene is Southern to the core, but when you dig a little deeper, you'll discover a tapestry of flavors from farm-to-table restaurants, modern gastropubs, international eateries, bakeries, and sweet shops! But whether you're indulging in fluffy biscuits and jam for breakfast, enjoying a leisurely brunch with inventive twists, or delving into the ever-growing array of globally inspired eateries, Nashville's food scene doesn’t disappoint.


Food Tours & Experiences:


There’s no way that I can include ALL of our favorite Nashville in this one blog, but I’ve done my best to narrow it down to some of our favorites across 12 different categories.


Hot Chicken:

  • Hattie B’s Hot Chicken

  • Prince’s Hot Chicken

  • Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish

  • Slow Burn Hot Chicken

  • Party Fowl


Classic Southern:

  • Monelle’s

  • Loveless Cafe

  • Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant

  • Bishop's

  • Big Al's Deli


Casual Southern:

  • MacDougal’s Chicken

  • Waldo's Chicken & Beer

  • Edley’s BBQ

  • Martin’s BBQ

  • Biscuit Love


Best Brunch:

  • Husk

  • Sinema

  • Pinewood Social

  • The Hampton Social

  • Urban Grub

  • Stateside Kitchen

  • The Chef and I

  • The Mockingbird Nashville

  • Earnest Bar & Hideaway

  • STK


Elevated/Fine Dining:

  • Audrey (Southern)

  • The Catbird Seat (Seasonal)

  • The Southern Steak & Oyster (Southern & Seafood)

  • Husk (Southern)

  • Noko (Asian)

  • Urban Grub (Southern & Seafood)

  • Etch (Eclectic)

  • House of Cards (American)

  • Valentino's Ristorante (Italian)

  • Skull's Rainbow Room (American)


International Eateries:

  • Chauhan Ale and Masala House (Indian)

  • International Market (Southeast Asian)

  • McNamara's Irish Pub & Restaurant (Irish)

  • Epice (Lebanese)

  • Vui's Kitchen (Vietnamese)

  • Bombay Palace (Indian)

  • The Smiling Elephant (Thai)

  • OSH Restaurant & Grill (Uzbek)

  • JamaicaWay (Caribbean)

  • Gojo Ethiopian Cafe and Restaurant (Ethiopian)

  • Lyra (Middle Eastern)

  • King Tut's (Egyptian)


Coffee:

  • Barista Parlor

  • 8th & Roast

  • Honest Coffee Roasters

  • Steadfast Coffee

  • Slow Hand Coffee + Bakeshop


Sweets:

  • Five Daughters Bakery

  • NoBaked Cookie Dough

  • Goo Goo Chocolate Company

  • ​​Donut Distillery

  • Fox's Donut Den

  • Baked on 8th

  • The Cupcake Collection

  • Hattie Jane's Creamery

  • Legendairy Milkshake Bar

  • Las Paletas

Others:


Burgers & Dogs:

  • Joyland

  • M.L. Rose

  • The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden

  • Dino’s Bar & Grill

  • Burger & Company

  • Hugh Baby’s

  • Daddy’s Dog’s

  • Cori's DogHouse

  • I Dream Of Weenie

  • Nash Dogs


Pizza/Pasta:

  • Five Points Pizza

  • DeSano Pizzeria

  • Nicky's Coal Fired

  • Nicoletto's Italian Kitchen

  • Slim & Husky’s


Tacos/Mexican

  • Mas Tacos Por Favor

  • Baja Burrito

  • Rosepepper Cantina

  • Bar Taco

  • Pancho & Lefty’s Cantina


Nashville Staples:

  • Varallo's Restaurant

  • Bobbie’s Dairy Dip

  • The Pancake Pantry

  • Elliston Place Soda Shop

  • Brown's Diner

  • Wendell Smith’s

  • Swett's


Nashville Tennessee, Nashville Travel Guide, Best Things to Do in Nashville, Music City, Live Music

3. Live Music

You can’t come to Nashville without experiencing live music! I mean… Literally, I don’t know if it’s even possible. It is EVERYWHERE! And it’s not just country music! Nashville has become a hub for many genres of music and has been rated the #1 Music Scene in the US by countless publications year after year. With world-class and iconic venues like The Ryman Auditorium, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, The Grand Ole Opry, The Bluebird Cafe, The Exit/In, and SO MANY more, whether you’re looking for an intimate night of music or a stadium show with 70 thousand of your closest friends… or anything in between… Nashville has you covered!


I’ve put together a comprehensive list of the venues that we think offer the best live music experiences in Nashville:


The Bluebird Cafe is one of the world's preeminent listening rooms. Over the last 40+ years, The Bluebird has gained worldwide recognition as a songwriter performance space where the “heroes behind the hits” perform their own songs.


At the Listening Room, you experience the hits you hear on the radio in a way you've never heard them before. The songs are portrayed by the writers themselves.


Immensely popular with locals and visitors alike, Robert’s Western World is known as Nashville’s Home of Traditional Country Music and has been voted Nashville Scene's Local Favorite Honky Tonk for the last 8 years in a row! Robert’s Western World features LIVE music 7 days per week, a wide range of beer and beverages, and great food from the grill, including $2.50 PBR, Busch & MHL beer and their famous Recession Special — a fried bologna sandwich, chips, a Moon Pie, and a PBR for just $6!


The Station Inn hosts the greatest bluegrass, blues, roots and Americana in the world. The Station Inn is the last true music venue in the Gulch area who has held true to the Nashville classic music scene. All are welcome. Good food. Great music. All Nashville.


Within Nashville's deep musical history, few venues have had as rich a legacy as Exit/In. Over its 50+ years, it has played host to a staggering array of talent, from rising local acts to international superstars. Some of the legendary musicians who have graced the stage at Exit/In include The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Etta James, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Linda Ronstadt, Muddy Waters, R.E.M. and many many more. Now recognized as an official Nashville Historical Landmark, Exit/In's legacy is preserved for the next generation of music lovers to come enjoy icons, troubadours, misfits and nearly everything in between.


A local favorite, 3rd & Lindsley hosts local, regional, and national acts as well as the Sunday night WRLT-100.1 FM broadcast, a first-rate live radio show from the club featuring national touring acts.


The Basement East has a reputation for must-see shows in Nashville. As the largest music venue on the East Side, ‘The Beast’ has played host to nationally touring acts: Kris Kristofferson, John Prine, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, The Struts, Maggie Rogers, Dashboard Confessional, Cage the Elephant, MuteMath, The Mavericks, Jenny Lewis, Dawes, to name a few.


The newly renovated and reopened Cannery Hall (formerly Cannery Row) is a music complex consisting of three separate music venues. The smallest venue space (formerly known as The High Watt) is called Row 1 Stage and has a capacity of up to 325. The next-size-up space (formerly known as Mercy Lounge), called The Mil, can accommodate 625, while the largest space (formerly known as Cannery Ballroom), called The Mainstage, has a capacity of 1,200. Through the years, these three venues hosted thousands of acts including household names like John Fogerty, Katy Perry, Snoop Dogg and The White Stripes. In addition, they have introduced the city to countless breaking artists making it one of the best live music venues in Nashville.


The Grand Ole Opry is the live performance showcase that features today's country music stars, superstars, and rising stars all on one stage, every week in Music City, USA. Their world-famous show is where aspiring stars dream of playing and where music lovers connect with their favorite artists up close at the Opry House. For nearly 100 years, the Opry has been home for country music's greatest talent and today remains enormously influential in the genre's growth and change across the world. From the radio show that made country music famous in 1925 to the cultural landmark and global music phenomenon it is today, the Opry is the biggest stage in country music and a must-experience for any music fan.


Originally built as the Union Gospel Tabernacle over 130 years ago, the Ryman was designed as a beacon for evangelicals in downtown Nashville. But it became country music's main stage in hosting the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974. Now, as the birthplace of over a century of modern music's defining moments, it's one of the most celebrated venues in the world. The Ryman Auditorium is the "Mother Church" bringing artists and fans together for unforgettable music moments. This beloved Nashville landmark isn't just another nightly music venue or daytime tourist stop. This is hallowed ground. From Elvis and Johnny Cash to B.B. King, Lizzo to Harry Styles, Foo Fighters to Joan Jett, the Ryman draws artists from all genres and styles of music. Top comedians, authors, political figures, and entertainers from all walks of life have made history inside these storied walls, and continue to do so night after night.


Located downtown, across from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center hosts a wide range of musical events, including classical, pops, jazz, and world music. One of our favorite series is “Movies at the Schermerhorn'' where the Nashville Symphony performs movie scores live in real time to the movie resulting in a unique marriage of art creating a completely unique movie experience.


Built in 1925, the War Memorial Auditorium is a 2,000-seat performance hall that served as home of the Grand Ole Opry between 1939 and 1943. War Memorial Auditorium’s role in Nashville’s music scene has expanded over time. In the 1950s, it served as a frequent stop on the African American Theater Circuit and brought artists such as Ray Charles, The Five Satins, and Bo Diddley to Nashville audiences. Since then, hundreds of celebrity artists have performed at War Memorial Auditorium including KISS, Willie Nelson, Barry Manilow + Bette Midler, Them Crooked Vultures, R.E.M., Elton John, The Avett Brothers, Frank Zappa, Mumford & Sons, Jason Mraz, David Bowie performing as Ziggy Stardust, Ryan Adams, The Eagles, Arctic Monkeys, Billy Joel, Modest Mouse, and many more.


Ascend Amphitheater is an open-air music venue that is located along the Cumberland River inside the Metro Riverfront Park. It seats 2,300 in fixed seating, and 4,500 on the lawn, for a total capacity of 6,800. The Nashville high rises tower over the stage creating an electric scene during the summer night shows. There is plenty of lawn area to sprawl out and relax while also jamming out with your favorite band. It is a fantastic alternative to indoor arena rockin.


With seating for up to 19,395 guests, the Bridgestone Arena is Nashville’s multipurpose indoor entertainment venue serving as the home arena for the NHL's Nashville Predators as well as hosting concerts and other sporting events.


Nissan Stadium is Nashville's premier sports arena. Located on the east bank of the Cumberland River across from downtown Nashville, Nissan Stadium hosts a variety of sporting events, including home games for the Tennessee Titans football team. When it’s not serving as a home base for the Titan’s it hosts a number of other events including the famous CMA Fest as well as concerts for the world's biggest artists like Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Luke Combs, Beyonce, and many more!



Nashville Tennessee, Nashville Travel Guide, Best Things to Do in Nashville, Music City, Tennessee Whiskey

4. Tennessee Whiskey

The words “Tennessee'' and “Whiskey” seem to be synonymous and as we’ve traveled the world over the last decade and met so many wonderful people along the way, that truth has become even more apparent. No matter the country we’re in, when the conversation leads to us saying that we’re from Tennessee, the response is always an exuberant, “Whiskey!”. There are more than 15 whiskey distilleries in Middle Tennessee alone and at least 8 of those are in Nashville, so if you’re itchin’ to wet your whistle with a little Tennessee Nectar during your visit, then you’ve come to the right place!


Whiskey Tours & Tastings:


And here’s a list of the Middle Tennessee distilleries worth visiting if you’re in Music City:

  • Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery (Nashville)

  • Corsair Distillery (Nashville)

  • Nashville Barrel Company (Nashville)

  • Nashville Craft Distillery (Nashville)

  • Pennington Distilling Co. (Nashville)

  • Southern Collective Spirit Company (Nashville)

  • Standard Proof Whiskey Co (Nashville)

  • Big Machine Distillery ​​(Nashville)

  • Leiper's Fork Distillery (Franklin, TN - 30 miles from Nashville)

  • Company Distilling (Thompson Station, TN - 30 miles from Nashville)

  • Old Glory Distilling Co. (Clarksville, TN - 50 miles from Nashville)

  • Nearest Green Distillery (Shelbyville, TN - 55 miles from Nashville)

  • Short Mountain Distillery (Woodbury, TN - 70 miles from Nashville)

  • Cascade Hollow Distilling Co. (Tullahoma, TN - 70 miles from Nashville)

  • Jack Daniel’s Distillery (Lynchburg, TN - 75 miles from Nashville)

  • Prichard’s Distillery (Kelso, TN - 100 miles from Nashville)


Nashville Tennessee, Nashville Travel Guide, Best Things to Do in Nashville, Music City, Entertainment Transportation, Party Buses

5. Entertainment Transportation

From tractors with trailers in tow, to open-air stretch limousines, to party pontoons, to themed buses, to pedal taverns on land and water, Nashville’s entertainment transportation is second to none! But if partying on the go isn’t your speed, no need to worry because there are plenty of more relaxed options as well. Check the list below for some of the more popular options!


Entertainment Transportation Tours & Experiences:


Nashville Tennessee, Nashville Travel Guide, Best Things to Do in Nashville, Music City, Nashville History

6. Nashville History

Nashville’s history dates all the way back to 1779 when the frontier post of Fort Nashborough was built along the banks of the Cumberland River. Since then Nashville has had a colorful past and many of the sites involved in the historical events have been preserved for our remembrance and education so that we can make better decisions about our present and future.


Nashville Historic Site Tours & Experiences:


We’ve listed some of our favorite and most popular Historical Sites down below to give you a better idea of where you would like to visit during your stay.


Fate and circumstance placed Franklin in the path of two great armies in late November 1864. The battle began at 4 pm with roughly 20,000 Confederate soldiers moving forward toward a similar number of Federal troops. The two armies came into close contact shortly before 4:30 pm and the fighting soon became brutal and fiendishly savage. The sun set soon after the battle reached its apex and it was completely dark, except for the flashing of the guns. Around midnight the Federal army withdrew from the battlefield. Left behind was a small town and a battered Confederate army.


Altogether, some 10,000 American soldiers became casualties at Franklin and about three-fourths of that number were Confederates. About 2,300 men died, some 7,000 were wounded, and roughly 1,000 were taken prisoner. When recollecting the battle years later one man said simply, “It was as if the devil had full possession of the earth.”


One of Nashville's premiere historic sites, The Hermitage, was home to our 7th U.S. President, Andrew Jackson, from 1804 until his death in 1845. Remodeled by Jackson after a fire destroyed much of it in 1837. Located just 10 miles east of Downtown, the mansion sits on 1,100+ acres and is a National Historic Landmark maintained to look just as it did when President Jackson lived there. It also serves as President Andrew Jackson’s final resting place.


During the 1800's Belle Meade was a thoroughbred horse farm that established the racing lineage of today's Kentucky Derby. In addition to several different historical tours, Belle Meade Historic Site features an on site winery: Belle Meade Winery, and a lunch only restaurant: Belle Meade Meat & Three. With over 30 acres to explore, there is a range of ticketed experiences for everyone. Historical Tours include that of a Greek Revival Mansion, Journey to Jubilee, and a guided outbuildings tour. Other ticketed experiences range from wine and food pairings to bourbon tastings


Discover the largest house built in Tennessee prior to the Civil War. Constructed between 1849 and 1860, Belmont Mansion was the home of Adelicia and Joseph Acklen. Visiting here is an opportunity to explore one of the few 1850s era homes still standing in Nashville while learning about the place and the people -- both free and enslaved -- who make this site worth understanding. A majority of rooms in Belmont Mansion have been meticulously restored, complete with original and period furniture, artwork and statuary.


Situated in Nashville’s Riverfront Park, Fort Nashborough was where James Robertson and his band of settlers founded the city back in 1779. While the original fort—built to defend the first families from Native American attacks—is long gone, a small replica of the fort, located several hundred meters from the original site, has been built to honor those men who laid the groundwork for Nashville to become what it is today.


Fort Negley was a fortification built by Union troops after the capture of Nashville, Tennessee during the American Civil War, located approximately 2 miles south of the city center. It was the largest fortification built by the occupying Union Army in Nashville and the largest inland stone fort built during the Civil War. Measuring 600 feet by 300 feet, Negley covered four acres and was constructed from October to December 1862.



Nashville Tennessee, Nashville Travel Guide, Best Things to Do in Nashville, Music City, Nashville Professional Sports

7. Professional Sports

Nashville is home to four professional sports teams and hosts multiple professional motorsports events throughout the year making it an excellent city for sports lovers as a whole. And while Nashville is a fairly young professional sports city, the culture and team allegiance is ingrained deeply into the city’s DNA. So, whether you plan to cheer on the Titans at Nissan Stadium, the Preds at Bridgestone Arena, the Sounds at First Horizon Park, or the Nashville Soccer Club at Geodis park, be sure to bring your team spirit and be prepared for a good time!


Nashville’s Professional Sports:


Nashville Tennessee, Nashville Travel Guide, Best Things to Do in Nashville, Music City, Nashville Outdoors

8. Get Outside

Whether you’re into hiking, biking, kayaking, or any number of outdoor activities, Nashville has something for you! From the abundance of water activities offered on Percy Priest Lake and the many rivers and streams nearby to hiking in the numerous nature centers & state parks to walking, running, and biking on the nearly 100 miles of paved, multi-use greenways to pinicing in one of the many urban parks, there are many ways to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors.


Outdoor Tours & Experiences:

Check out these awesome ways to explores the outdoors in and around Nashville:

The Nashville Greenway System offers 99+ miles of paved off-street multi-use greenway trails, 42 miles of unpaved trails for hiking, 17 miles of unpaved trails for horseback riding, 26 miles of unpaved trails for mountain biking, and 87 miles of blueway water trails for paddling. Be sure to check out their website for more details and maps!


Percy Priest Lake is a 42 mile long 14,000 acre lake created by the J. Percy Priest Dam. From fishing to boating to camping to kayaking and so much more, Percy Priest Lake offers countless ways to get out and enjoy the outdoors!


From kayaking to fishing to paddleboat cruises and more, there's a little something for everyone to enjoy on the river in Nashville.


Nashville’s version of Hollywood’s “Walk of Fame” this star-studded pavement is a landmark tribute to those from all genres of music who have contributed to the world through song or other industry collaboration and made a significant contribution to the music industry with connection to Music City.


This extraordinary 1930s estate, with its 30,000 square foot Mansion and 55 acres of cultivated gardens, today serves the public as a botanical garden, arboretum, and museum with period rooms and art galleries, showcasing works from its permanent collection as well as traveling exhibitions. The property includes 13 distinct gardens, as well as a 1.5-mile woodland trail featuring monumental outdoor sculpture.


Located in East Nashville adjacent to Shelby Park, the 960-acre Shelby Bottoms Greenway and Natural area has approximately three miles of Cumberland River frontage featuring bottomland hardwood forests, open fields, wetlands, and streams, providing excellent habitat for birds, amphibians, deer and more. The greenway offers over 5 miles of paved ADA accessible trail for hiking, biking, running, skating and wildlife watching and over 5 miles of primitive trails for more passive activities of walking, running and exploring nature.


Radnor Lake State Park is a 1,368-acre park and is protected as a Class II Natural Area. It is unique due to the abundance of wildlife viewing opportunities, environmental education programs, hiking opportunities, and its location in an urban area. The park is day-use only and the 7.75-miles of trail are strictly used for hiking, photography, and wildlife observation. Pets, jogging, and bicycles are only allowed on the Otter Creek Road trail. The Lake Trail is accessible to people with all-terrain wheelchairs.


Edwin and Percy Warner Parks, collectively known as “The Warner Parks,” span more than 3,100 acres of forest and field just 9 miles from downtown Nashville. Close to a million people visit the Warner Parks annually to utilize the Nature Center, picnic shelters, dog park, scenic roadways and overlooks, hiking trails, mountain bike trails, equestrian center and horse trails, cross country running courses, golf courses, and athletic fields. Warner Parks is also an important historical community resource listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


Located on West End and 25th Avenue North, the premiere 132-acre Centennial Park features the iconic Parthenon, a one-mile walking trail, Lake Watauga, the Centennial Art Center, historical monuments, an arts activity center, a beautiful sunken garden, a band shell, an events shelter, sand volleyball courts, dog park, and an exercise trail.


Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, commonly known as Bicentennial Mall, is an urban linear landscaped state park in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. The park is located on 19 acres north-northwest of the Tennessee State Capitol, and highlights the state's history, geography, culture, and musical heritage.


Cumberland Park is an innovative play space for children and families incorporating unique play structures and water features. The 6.5 acre park includes an outdoor amphitheater, which accommodates approximately 1,200 people for events. Cumberland Park sits between the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge and the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge and offers direct access to the Shelby Street Bridge by way of a new elevator and staircase.


  • Warner Dog Park (Edwin Warner Park, 50 Vaughn Road)

  • Shelby Dog Park (Shelby Avenue at S. 20th Street)

  • Centennial Dog Park (2500 West End Avenue)

  • Pitts Dog Park (299 Tusculum Road)

  • Two Rivers Dog Park (3150 McGavock Pike)

  • Percy Priest Dam Dog Park (3778 Bell Road)

  • Fair Park Dog Park (300 Raines Ave)

  • Frankie Pierce Dog Park (130 Lifeway Plaza)

  • Riverfront Dog Park at Ascend (200 1st Ave S)



Nashville Tennessee, Nashville Travel Guide, Best Things to Do in Nashville, Music City, Family Friendly Activities in Nashville

9. Family Focused Activities

While many of the activities that we’ve shown throughout this video are family friendly we also want to share some options that are not only family friendly, but family focused because despite Nashville having a healthy party scene, it also has some excellent activities for kids of all ages. Below, you’ll find what we think are some of the best family focused activities in Music City!


Nashville Zoo is a progressive and dynamic zoological park located just 6 miles south of downtown Nashville. With just 90 of 188 acres developed, Nashville Zoo is the 9th largest zoo in the country by landmass and boasts more than 3,000 animals representing more than 325 different species.


For over 75 years, Adventure Science Center has been bringing science to life for students, teachers, and families in Middle Tennessee and across the U.S. The science center offers engaging learning experiences and science fun through hands-on, interactive exhibits, innovative programs, and full-dome productions in the state-of-the-art Sudekum Planetarium.


Cheekwood is a 55-acre botanical garden and art museum located on the historic Cheek estate. Originally built as the home of Leslie and Mabel Cheek in 1929, Cheekwood is one of the finest examples of an American Country Place Era estate. Visitors enjoy family activities, programming for all ages and year-round festivals celebrating the four seasons. From 250,000 blooming bulbs in the spring to one mile of holiday lights in the winter, there’s always something to see at Cheekwood.


Nashville Shores Water Park features more than 1 million gallons of summer fun including 10 thrilling water slides, a wave pool, lazy river, pools, the Aqua Park on the lake, a beautiful beach, and more family-friendly attractions.


SoundWaves at Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville is a unique indoor/outdoor waterpark that unites extraordinary environments, exclusive amenities and relaxing water features. Discover energetic rides, winding wave pools, immersive music and an extraordinary oasis for visitors of all ages to enjoy.



Nashville Tennessee, Nashville Travel Guide, Best Things to Do in Nashville, Music City, Nashville Neighborhoods

10. Visit Neighborhoods

Nashville has dozens of neighborhoods worthy of experiencing and each one has its own character and personality, so take some time to get out of the city center and find your favorites! Here’s a list with all of the major Nashville neighborhoods with our favorites have an asterisk (*) next to it.


Hillsboro Village*:

An area that’s been popular for years with students and young families offering lots of great dining and entertainment.


Midtown:

A lively neighborhood that’s home to a university and a great local nightlife scene.


SoBro:

One of Nashville’s busiest neighborhoods right in the heart of downtown just South of Broadway with bars, live music, and great dining.


12 South*:

A charming neighborhood known for its bungalow style homes, upscale casual dining, and trendy boutiques.


Green Hills:

An upscale neighborhood with high end shopping and modern eateries.


West End:

Busy, corporate/business district with a mis of college life from the nearby Vanderbilt University.


East Nashville*:

One of Nashville’s rapidly growing neighborhoods, a large area with a little bit of everything unified by a quirky, artsy atmosphere.


The Nations:

A neighborhood with an industrial vibe that’s poised to become the next hot spot.


Wedgewood-Houston:

One of Nashville’s newest hotspots, this neighborhood offers a cool, artsy scene.


Germantown*:

A historic neighborhood that’s easily walkable and has one of the best food scenes in Nashville.


Berry Hill:

A quiet, separately incorporated area with a surprising number of good restaurants.


Demonbreun Hill:

Most people call the area “Demonbreun” (pronounced duh-MUN-bree-uhn) this neighborhood is only about a quarter mile long with big outdoor patios in front of restaurants and bars that are popular “going out” spots for college students and young adults. It’s a nice alternative to Broadway.


Melrose*:

Sits on a main thoroughfare that’s lined with good, local eats and shops


Elliston Place:

More commonly referred to as “The Rock Block”, this area is home to some of Nashville’s top rock clubs, restaurants, bars, and shops. Unfortunately, redevelopment and city growth has taken its toll on this once iconic street. Only time will tell if it can return to its former glory.


Edgehill:

Located parallel to Music Row, this is one of the smaller areas in Nashville but doesn’t lack popular places to eat and drink


The Gulch*:

A highrise, walkable neighborhood with trendy restaurants, upscale boutiques, an art museum, and beautiful murals.


Sylvan Park:

A family-friendly neighborhood with beautiful outdoor spaces and one of the city’s best weekly farmer’s markets.



Nashville Tennessee, Nashville Travel Guide, Best Things to Do in Nashville, Music City, Nashville Day Trips

BONUS: Day Trips

With so many great destinations just a short drive from Nashville, it would be a shame not to explore the greater Nashville area and beyond if you have some extra time in the area. If you want to stay within an hours drive of Nashville, some of our favorites that we recommend are the towns of Franklin and Leipers Fork. Both of these offer a more relaxed experience away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. And right nearby you’ll find the Kix Brooks owned Arrington Vineyards… a beautiful winery with hillside picnicking, wine by the bottle or flight, frosé, snacks, and even live music on occasion.


If you’re willing to drive a bit further, the options really start to open up with destinations like Chattanooga, Memphis, the Great Smoky Mountains, and Louisville, Kentucky all within a 2-3 hour drive. Be sure to check out our other videos on those areas for tips to help plan your visit!


Day Trips & Tours from Nashville (Transportation Included):

Here are some of our top picks for the best day trips to take from Nashville:

 

We hope this blog has helped you make the most of your time in Music City, and if you did find it helpful, please consider subscribing to our YouTube channel and following us on Instagram for more travel content!



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