Tips on What To Do in Nashville
Nashville mainly caters to music lovers. The city is packed with renowned musical attractions including the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry. However, Nashville also offers visitors a handful of interesting museums and historic homes.
Many travelers agree that one of the best ways to see the city is by tour. Some of the more popular tours include the NashTrash Tour -- known for its wry humor.
- Sure, you can attend the Grand Ole Opry, linger over displays at the Country Music Hall of Fame, take a tour past the homes of the country legends, and hear the stars of the future at any number of clubs. However, the state capital of Tennessee also has plenty of museums and other attractions that have nothing to do with country music." -- Frommer's
- To get a more complete feeling for the city, you'll want to explore the area beyond downtown, too. Among the offerings are historic plantations, a variety of museums covering everything from toys to science, and some great places for kids, including the Nashville Zoo -- not to mention the Grand Ole Opry." -- Fodor's
Country music lovers must make time for the Country Music Hall of Fame, located in the District, or the Grand Ole Opry in Opryland, northeast of the city's center. Recent visitors also recommend the Musicians Hall of Fame, which showcases Nashville's influence on genres other than country music.
Nashville is also filled with top-notch music stores, such as downtown's Ernest Tubb Record Shop, and the District's live-music venues showcase everything from rock and roll groups to gospel choirs, and of course, country music bands. If you have spare time, test out the acoustics at the Gibson Guitar Company's flagship store in Opryland.
- The Nashville Visitors Center has made it fun and easy to get the most out of a trip to Music City with the Total Access Attraction Pass." -- Frommer's
- The Hall of Fame also offers short bus tours that provide the only way to visit RCA's legendary Studio B on Music Row … Recently restored and rewired, it's once again open for business, but only the most dedicated of fans are likely to find walking through the bare rooms worth the time and money." -- Rough Guides
- The Grand Ole Opry tends to sell out, so get tickets far in advance. (Note that the Grand Ole Opry performs at Ryman Auditorium from November through February. Artist lineups are usually not confirmed until the last minute.)" -- Sherman's Travel
If you're looking to experience a unique aspect of Nashville's history in the downtown area, experienced travelers recommend a ride on the General Jackson Showboat, which offers lunch and dinner cruises on the Cumberland River. The District's museums are a must-see for art lovers, especially the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. Belle Meade's Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art is another popular spot. Just a short drive away are the traveler-recommended Belle Meade Plantation, Belmont Mansion and Hermitage -- all of which resurrect antebellum Nashville.
For a look at a different side of Nashville history, stop by Downtown's Hatch Show Print on Broadway, one of the oldest letterpress poster shops in the country. Throughout its lifetime, Hatch Show Print has produced posters for numerous big-name performers, including B.B. King and Bruce Springsteen.
- Nostalgia is one thing, but kitsch is another … Better to make a radical mood shift and tour Belle Meade Plantation, a Greek Revival house called 'the Queen of Tennessee Plantations.' ... Evidence of the slavery this fortune depended on has been stripped away, and only the beauty of the grounds and house remains. And then I would stroll through nearby Cheekwood, the city's best museum." -- Travel and Leisure
- Although the Van Vechten Art Gallery at Fisk University is temporarily closed for renovations, the city has many other enriching cultural attractions, including the impressive Frist Center for the Visual Arts and Cheekwood Botanical Garden -- not to mention Nashville's full-size reproduction of the Parthenon." -- Frommer's
Attractions for Kids
Nashville has several family-friendly activities, but there aren't enough to keep kids and parents occupied for longer than a few days. If you have a rental car, drive south of downtown to the Adventure Science Center -- which travelers praise for its abundance of hands-on exhibits -- or the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere.
- A standout among the country's zoos, the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere is a hub of activity. Projects and programs spring up every day. The newest offering is a red river hogs habitat. That might not sound too sexy but the not-so-little fellas are really kind of cute." -- USA Today
- Nashville Sounds: Our #1 pick for kids entertainment and family fun. Nothing is more American than Baseball. They offer great promotional prices to most of their games, and even offer some free tickets." -- About.com
Sports & Leisure
Remember the Titans? Nashville residents sure do. Football is one of the more popular spectator sports in this southern city, so if you're looking for some Sunday entertainment, catch a game down at LP Field on the Cumberland River. Ice hockey fans should check out the Nasvhille Predators in Downtown's Sommet Center. Auto racing is also a beloved sport, with races taking place from April through November at the Music City Motorplex and the Music City Raceway. Nashville also offers numerous collegiate sporting events, thanks to the large number of universities located in the area.
- Hockey fans will love the bone-crushing action of the Nashville Predators. Joining the NHL in 1998 as an expansion team, the Predators took to the ice and to the hearts of Nashville fans in a serious way. The 'Preds' play in the Nashville Arena." -- Travel Channel
- The Music City Raceway … is the place to catch National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) drag-racing action. The drag strip, known as Nashville's 'Playground of Power,' has races on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and some Sundays between March and October." -- Frommer's
Nashville is known for its abundance of antique shops, most of which are located in the southern suburb of Franklin. If you're looking to shop for clothing, Brentwood, which is home to two shopping centers and a large number of outlet stores.
- Nashville abounds in antique stores, boutiques for fashionable Western wear, and souvenir shops hawking C&W memorabilia. For shopping, downtown is a good place to start, but you'll find plenty of interesting shops along the city's edges too." -- Fodor's
- As in most cities of the South, the shopping scene in Nashville is spread out over the width and breadth of the city. Most of the city's best shopping can be found in the many large new shopping malls scattered around the newer suburbs. However, there are also many interesting and exclusive shops in the West End area." -- Frommer's
It comes as no surprise that the Country Music Capital of the World abounds with nightlife. If you're looking for live music, we recommend heading to 2nd Street in the District, home to such popular nightlife spots as the Wild Horse Saloon and the traveler-recommended Tootsie's Orchid Lounge.
The West End also offers its fair share of nightlife. Located several blocks from Music Row, Elliston Place is home to some of the loudest, liveliest bars and clubs in the city.
- Even before you arrive in the city, you can plan out your nights thanks to the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau … Through a handy feature on the bureau’s website you can check out upcoming concerts a month or more in advance. Many venues will let you buy tickets in advance over the phone or online." -- Moon Travel Guides
- If you're in town for a few nights, however, it's worth making the effort to catch up-and-coming or more specialized acts at places like the Bluebird Café and the Station Inn … Just west of downtown, the hip residential neighborhood Elliston Place boasts a number of rock and alternative music venues. With its string of tacky bars and clubs, Printers Alley, downtown, is best avoided." -- Rough Guides