People associate Nashville with energy and vibrance.
Nashville is not only that, but it is also famous for its music.
It is famous for being a significant contributor to the music industry, hence the nickname “Music City.”
Walking the streets of Nashville, you can find a wide array of bars, clubs, and concert halls. There are music studios, and recording stations left and right.
However, besides the city teeming with music, Nashville is famous for other things.
Its landscapes, for instance, are famous everywhere. Nashville has forests and ravines that could take your breath away by their sheer beauty.
Aside from its beautiful landscape, the city is also the birthplace of several famous personalities. When in the city, there will always be history to learn through the many landmarks and memorials you can find here.
Visiting Nashville will give you a well-rounded vacation. You can take advantage of the many attractions in the city as they are near each other.
If you crave a fantastic trip, go to Nashville.
Here are my favorite spots in this beautiful city.
1. Honky Tonk Highway
You cannot leave Nashville without listening to its music.
And so, enjoying its music is a must. Live music is in every corner of Music City.
To experience the city’s incredible music scene, head over to the Upper Broadway (or you can also go to the Lower Broadway). The street is what people call the Honky Tonk Highway.
Here, you can find live music everywhere.
It doesn’t matter.
It can be a restaurant, a bar, or a saloon equipped with a dance floor. And yes, you can visit this part of the city any time of the day, any day of the week.
Head over to the Honky Tonk Central or the Ole Red Nashville for the beautiful music. Other great options are Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and the Whiskey Bent Saloon.
There is more free music in several parts of the city. But visiting the Honky Tonk Highway seems like a pretty good start.
2. Bootleggers Inn
Slightly hidden away near many buildings in the downtown area of Nashville is a quiet and dimly-lit bar. You might find this at first glance. But stroll. You will find the Bootleggers Inn.
The bar does not come with flashing neon lights, nor is it painted in some eye-catching color. You have to even go round the block before locating it.
However, once you are inside, the bar will give you that atmosphere that screams underground music.
There are vintage chandeliers. There are wooden tables.
The crowd is usually casual. The live music is in the form of a guitar accompanied by indie crooners.
I like the bar because it is one of the few that sells moonshine.
You will have a lot of options when it comes to bars and clubs in Nashville. But if you are on the lookout for something unique, vintage, and fun, the Bootlegger’s Inn is the place to be.
The bar is a must-see when in downtown Nashville.
3. Hop On Hop Off Bus
I agree; the Hop On Hop Off Bus may sound too touristy.
But I believe taking this bus is the best way to start exploring the city. A bus tour is a prologue to a beautiful trip.
I know some may cringe at bus tours. But listen.
You already have a guide who will point out places that you can easily miss on a bus tour. The guide will provide you with a quick overview of the city. They can even provide you with recommendations on where to go.
It is the most accessible guided tour of the city. And it is a great way to start your vacation.
Plus, you get to take a look at the city’s lay.
You can take the Gray Line Hop On Hop Off Bus tour in Nashville. It is a great way to get an overview of the city.
You will see some parts of the city that you can easily miss when not doing the tour through this. There are recording studios in hidden neighborhoods and music halls where you cannot imagine music halls stand-in.
One reminder, however, is always to check the bus schedules. It is usually a double-decker bus, and so I recommend that you take a seat on the upper level.
During my tour, I brought food with me. You can also get on the bus at any stop. But you cannot buy tickets at all the stops. You have to check their website to get more information on schedules and stops.
4. Tennessee State Museum
When you want to have a comprehensive glance at Tennessee’s rich history, you must visit The Tennessee State Museum.
The museum has impressive displays that revolve around documenting the lives of the first people of Tennessee. Here, you will also read information about the construction of the Time Tunnel.
The museum has many exhibits that provide a deep dive into how modern Tennessee came to be.
There are temporary and permanent exhibits.
The permanent exhibits cover displays on The Civil War and Reconstruction. There is also an area that looks into Natural History. And finally, another area of the museum is Change and Challenge, which covers 1870 until 1945.
I find the medals of honor and the nurse uniforms from the Second World War remarkable. There are also displays related to the fashion of the late 1800s.
The highlight for me is the automobile that was first manufactured in Tennessee.
The museum is also perfect for children. If you have kids aged three to eight, they will, for sure, enjoy the Children’s Gallery, which, I think, is very interactive.
There are also storytimes for children aged three to six every Thursday and Saturday. This activity is when you will find a museum staff reading to children.
There are also free crafts for your kids. The activity should keep your children occupied for many hours.
Before becoming famous as the haven for country music, Nashville used to retain a reputation for high-quality education.
The reputation is specific to higher learning, as evident in Tennessee’s number of colleges and universities.
It was common to hear people call Nashville the Athens of the South.
The year was 1897. And because of the nickname, builders decided to play along.
And so, a full-scale replica of the Parthenon appeared right in the middle of Nashville.
These days, the Parthenon is an art museum and a cultural center. It houses several paintings, texts, statues, and sculptures, all of which are from the classical era.
If you love the arts, you should not miss this place when in Nashville. You can also find theater troupes that perform Greek plays on the front steps of the Parthenon.
6. Belle Meade Plantation
Ever since I visited the south, I have wanted to see an actual plantation. And so, when I heard about a plantation in Nashville, I took the chance.
Meet the Belle Meade Plantation.
The highlights of your visit would include a tour of the area. The tour covers a visit to the slave quarters, the carriage storage, horse stables, and many more.
You can also get a 45-minute tour of the inside of the plantation house. It is an exciting visit.
But remember that once the tour starts, you can no longer get out. The tour guide locks the doors, and you have to ask permission to get out of the house.
The place used to be a breeding plantation during the day. These days, aside from the tour, the highlight would be the wine tasting toward the end.
Do try the blackberry wine. It is yum!
Remember that you cannot bring a stroller inside the house when visiting with kids. The grounds outside are also rough and might not be ideal for pushing the stroller around.
You cannot bring your food. The staff sells food within the property, but I think the food is expensive.
7. The Midnite Jamboree
The Midnite Jamboree is a popular activity in Nashville. It is one of the longest-running radio shows in the city.
What happens is the producers fill the Troubadour Theater studio with guests who would like to watch the live tapings. The tapings happen at around 10 PM on the weekend.
Usually, guests can be rising superstars or a songwriter. Once in a while, they would have big names in the industry as guests.
You can listen to the show on AM 650 at the midnight radio station.
8. Cumberland Park
The Cumberland River is a waterway that goes through Tennessee and Kentucky.
It is about 700 miles and presents guests with a beautiful view.
One of the ideal places to visit when in Nashville is Cumberland Park.
Locals refer to the place as a riverfront play space.
Cumberland Park is a stomping ground for every family who wants to have fun, in or out of the water.
When visiting, make sure to see the gigantic splash pad. Here, you can come and cool off, an idea perfect during the summer months.
Aside from the splash pad, there are also bike paths, butterfly gardens, and climbing structures.
There is also a theater where artists hold outdoor concerts.
If you wish, you can also take a romantic stroll with a view of the Cumberland River. The park sits right on the riverfront. Your romantic stroll will take you through beautiful views and the pedestrian bridge.
One thing is for sure.
Cumberland Park is one of the best destinations to visit when in Nashville.
9. The Escape Game Nashville
If you want to experience something new, you should try The Escape Game Nashville.
Escape Game Nashville is an indoor activity that you can do with your friends or family.
Up to eight people can participate in this activity. You will stay in a room and try to figure out how to get out in an hour.
There will be clues inside. There will be unique props and setups that will contain these clues.
The clues will then help you and your friends or family get out of the room.
We initially thought this was not an ideal activity for kids. But we were wrong. The kids enjoyed it.
10. Savannah’s Candy Kitchen
Satisfy your sweet cravings by dropping by Savannah’s Candy Kitchen.
Located on Broadway, the store has an impressive collection of caramel apples, chocolates, gourmet popcorn, and even pralines.
I liked my visit here because shop employees were handing out free samples. And this is something that they do even when you are just passing by!
But if Savannah’s Candy Kitchen is not your thing, you can also try visiting other notable candy shops in Nashville.
You can try Leon’s Candy or The Goo Goo Shop and Dessert Bar.
11. Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory
Coming over to visit the Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory is easy.
When in the area, it is easy to spot the large white dome of the observatory.
The observatory is one of the biggest astronomy centers in the state. It also stands on top of a large hill, giving it the best and clearest night sky views.
While visiting, you can take a tour of the observatory. You can also try out their telescopes, especially if you want to take a peek at a few constellations in the sky.
During summer, there are special events here like summer camps. There are also eclipse parties that the observatory holds once in a while.
And if you are lucky enough, you can also watch an outdoor concert outside the observatory grounds.
After the performances, the observatory staff will bring out the telescopes. It should be the perfect way to end your evening by looking at the moon.
12. Frist Art Museum
There is always something about art museums and kids.
The Frist Art Museum is a unique experience in that it offers its guests a hands-on area. Give it a try, and you will find yourself and your kids spending many hours inside.
There will be an art section and a photography collection.
The photography collection, in my opinion, is a brilliant addition to the museum.
It held my attention for several moments.
But after walking through the photography collection comes the kid’s section.
Here, you will see a room filled with a collection of activities specifically for kids. You can try watercolors, painting, and sketching here. You can also try building, stop animation, and learn more about art.
When looking for a museum for kids, this art museum is perfect for you.
One thing to remember when visiting is that the hands-on area is upstairs. You can try to browse through the art displays downstairs first or head upstairs to the hands-on site right away.
I recommend that you and your kids stay for a few hours. You can hang out in the hands-on area and involve yourself in different activities.
I am sure it will not only be the kids who will have fun.
For sure, you will have fun here, too!
There are a lot of fun and cool things to do in Nashville.
The city is more than just a music city.
There are tours, museums, restaurants, and activities that you will never find in any other city in Tennessee.
I can give you days to explore the city, and you will never run out of things to do.
Exploring Nashville is fun.
I am sure it would be hard to find your favorites with many activities to choose from.
How about you?
Is there any activity that you would like to include on our list?
Let me know.