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Made famous for its celebrated music scene, endless honky-tonk bars, and family-friendly fun, Nashville is a true Southern gem. While attractions like the Musicians Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry draw in music lovers from around the world, the Parthenon and the Adventure Science Center are family-friendly attractions that appeal to all types of travelers. In a city that breeds American music and Southern hospitality amongst a long list of historical landmarks, discover the top things to do in Nashville, Tennessee.
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What Is It? A radio show that put Nashville on the map, the Grand Ole Opry helped facilitate the world’s perception of the “Country Capital of the World.”
Why Do It? Boasting some of the top performers in the world including Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, and Brad Paisley, a trip to the city isn’t complete without a glimpse into the history of this iconic landmark.
Good to Know: Visitors can hear stories about musical legends, see photos of past performers, and walk across one of the most famous stages in the world.
What Is It? Considered the mecca of Nashville’s musical heritage, the Ryman Auditorium is nicknamed the “Mother Church of Country Music.”
Why Do It? A long list of award-winning artists has performed on its legendary stage since 1892.
Good to Know: Visitors are able to tour the premises and see pictures of Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and Louis Armstrong and record their own song as a souvenir in the world-renown studio.
What Is It? Newly expanded and located in the heart of Nashville, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a must-see.
Why Do It? Boasting the title as the world’s largest popular music museum, here visitors will be able to explore rotating exhibits featuring both today and yesterday’s country music legends.
Good to Know: Both music and history lovers will appreciate the plaques and artifacts in this museum, including Elvis Presley’s gold Cadillac limo.
What Is It? Once the recording home of classical music icons Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Chet Adkins, Roy Orbison and much more.
Why Do It? Touring through the RCA Studio B is the highlight of any music lover’s Nashville itinerary. Playing an influential role in establishing the city as the international mecca for recording, dozens of country and pop stars have recorded their music here.
Good to Know: Touring the studio has become a cultural attraction for visitors around the world for those who want to learn about the science of sound and the history of recording technology.
What Is It? Located on 3rd Avenue, music lovers flock to The Johnny Cash Museum to pay homage to the famous Man in Black.
Why Do It? Featuring the most extensive and comprehensive collections of Johnny Cash, visitors can explore artifacts and memorabilia not seen anywhere else in the world.
Good to Know: Considered the place to be if you’re a fan of Cash, there are exhibits displaying films, handwritten notes, and costumes made famous during his career.
What Is It? Ideal for both art and nature enthusiasts, the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens & Museum of Art has a sculpture trail, flower display, and 55 acres of botanical gardens.
Why Do It? A peaceful oasis in the midst of the downtown bustle, here visitors can explore a Georgian-style Cheek family mansion in addition to a collection of 19th and 20th-century American art.
Good to Know: Soak in the colorful sights of horticultural diversity and natural landscapes while appreciating notable paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts.
What Is It? Perfect for taking a break from country music and the history of Nashville, the Adventure Science Center is a family-friendly attraction that offers entertainment and education.
Why Do It? With interactive displays, kids can explore a flight simulator, learn about becoming an astronaut, and discover what goes on inside the human body.
Good to Know: Catch a show in the planetarium or watch one of the regular demonstrations as an added bonus.
What Is It? More than just the face of the $20 bill, former President Andrew Jackson inspired, shaped, and became an icon of a New America.
Why Do It? Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage offers bold visuals and a handful of interactive displays focusing on Jackson’s origins, military presence, and leadership as the President.
Good to Know: Here visitors can get an up-close and personal look on guided tours of this National Historic Landmark and Jackson’s home life.
What Is It? Robert’s Western World is an iconic stop on any Nashville itinerary, a popular honky-tonk found on Broadway.
Why Do It? Grab a stool and order the specialty fried bologna sandwich for an eventful night of live music. You can watch as locals two-step it in front of the stage and enjoy the classic country tunes that create a fun atmosphere. If you’re feeling brave, get out on the dance floor and kick up your heels for a good time.
Good to Know: Nashville’s Lower Broadway area is lined with various honky-tonks, including all-night watering holes and dance halls. However, Robert’s Western World has steadily remained as one of the best honky-tonks in Nashville throughout the years.
What Is It? Set in a stately Art Deco building, Nashville’s Frist Art Museum is an art museum with no permanent collection.
Why Do It? Housed in the city’s former main post office, this art museum offers a new experience with every visit. You never know what’s on display with its ever-changing exhibits, which range from vintage automobiles to Japanese art. You’ll find art from the region and around the world on display, including works from Nashville-born artists and anything from Roman art to Australian Aboriginal art. It’s an experimental art space designed to inspire art lovers of all ages and backgrounds.
Good to Know: After you browse the artwork, head to the on-site Frist Cafe for food and drinks. You can also pick up unique souvenirs like handcrafted jewelry, ceramics, and decorative arts in the museum gift shop.
What Is It? Set in downtown Nashville, the Tennessee State Museum highlights the rich history of Tennessee.
Why Do It? Step inside the large museum to discover fascinating permanent exhibits that tell the story of Tennessee’s history. History buffs will be overwhelmed in a good way, as you and learn about its natural history, Native American history, military and sporting history, and Civil War history. You can even bring the little ones, as the museum boasts a Children’s Gallery where they can explore, play, and discover Tennesee’s history in a hands-on way, like walking on a giant map of the state.
Good to Know: This top attraction in Nashville is conveniently located near other popular sites, including the Tennessee State Capital and Musicians Hall of Fame. You’ll also find many shops and restaurants to explore nearby after your museum visit.
What Is It? Marathon Village is a former automobile plant that has been repurposed into a shopping destination in Nashville.
Why Do It? This unique attraction in Nashville is set in a contemporary space with art studios, galleries, and gift shops. It’s a cool shopping center in the North Gulch neighborhood, where you can still see old equipment from the original factory on display. The thriving creative community has a first-floor retail experience that includes flagship stores from the History Channels’ American Pickers to legendary whiskey makers, Jack Daniel’s. It also features five of the remaining Marathon vehicles in the original MMW showroom.
Good to Know: The shopping center is housed in the former Marathon Motor Works, which was the first factory to totally manufacture automobiles in the southern United States.
What Is It? A popular year-round attraction in Nashville, the Nashville Farmers Market features a wide variety of local foods, produce, and crafts.
Why Do It? Dating back to the 1800s, this market is a staple city attraction where you can browse local vendors and their goods. Hosting up to 150 farmers depending on the season, you can pick up farm-direct products like honey, jams, and jellies. The open-air Farm Sheds feature ranchers, dairy farmers, cheese-makers, bakers, and crafters, while there’s also a 24,000-square foot garden center and international food hall. Throughout the year, you’ll find events that include chef-led cooking demonstrations and community workshops.
Good to Know: The Nashville Farmers Market is located in downtown Nashville, adjacent to the Tennessee State Museum and Bicentennial Mall State Park.
What Is It? Outdoor lovers looking for a day out in nature can head to Radnor Lake State Park, a 1,300-acre park just outside of Nashville.
Why Do It? Less than 10 miles south of downtown, this park is a tranquil getaway from the city’s hustle and bustle. It offers an abundance of wildlife viewing opportunities and scenic hiking trails, where you can keep your eyes peeled for owls, herons, and waterfowl. With 7.75 miles of trails, there are plenty of hiking and biking routes throughout the park, many of which provide beautiful lake views. The Lake Trail is also accessible to people with all-terrain wheelchairs.
Good to Know: There are also several ranger-led programs available throughout the year, including wildflower walks, astronomy night hikes, and canoe floats.
What Is It? Trying hot chicken is considered a must when visiting Nashville if you’re a food lover, and one of the best places to do it is at Hattie B’s.
Why Do It? Foodie fans put this restaurant at the top of their bucket list. You’ll want to come hungry to this local staple, which is beloved for its top-rated Nashville hot chicken. While its menu is full of delicious eats, make sure to try the local specialty, which is fresh, fried chicken coated with a variety of flavorful spices. You can choose your heat preference (which ranges from No Heat to Burn Notice), then pair your meal with sides like crinkle-cut fries, baked beans, and Pimento mac & cheese.
Good to Know: Hattie B’s is so popular that you’ll find it in other corners of the country now. It’s currently expanded to cities like Memphis, Birmingham, Atlanta, and Las Vegas, but the best place to try it is in Nashville.
What Is It? Only a half-hour drive from downtown Nashville, Arrington Vineyards is the perfect place for a wine tasting excursion.
Why Do It? Located 25 miles south of Nashville, this beautiful 95-acre property includes 16 acres of vineyards. In addition to gorgeous views, it offers five tasting rooms, shaded picnic areas, and live music on weekends from April to November. Sample some of the 21 award-winning wines they bottle on-site with a wine tasting flight, with includes four different wines. On a warm day, nothing beats a glass of their frose, which is a frozen wine drink with flavors of strawberry featuring the Scarlet, Riesling, and Raspberry wines.
Good to Know: Other tasting experiences are on offer, including a Premier Tasting Experience with food and wine pairing. If you have a bigger group, sign up for the Signature Group Tasting available on weekends.
What Is It? A trip to the Music City would not be complete without experiencing the sounds of the city’s music first-hand.
Why Do It? Tootsie’s World Famous Orchid Lounge, one of the top honky-tonk bars, is an expert at serving up an authentic atmosphere and top performances in its world-famous lounge.
Good to Know: This charming downtown bar has seen the likes of both up and coming artists and world-renowned music icons, where visitors love to let loose and stomp their boots on the dance floor.
What Is It? History aficionados will appreciate the Belmont Mansion, the largest house museum in Nashville.
Why Do It? A gorgeous Italian-style villa built in 1850, Belmont was originally constructed as a summer home for Adelicia Acklen, one of the richest women in the country at the time.
Good to Know: Tour the 10,000 square foot mansion to find lavish gardens, ornately decorated 19th-century antiques and extravagant artwork.
What Is It? Standing as the centerpiece of Centennial Park, the Parthenon includes a 42-foot Athena statue and accompanying building replica, a re-creation from ancient Greece.
Why Do It? Originally built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition, this representation of classical architecture now serves as Nashville’s art museum.
Good to Know: Due to popular demand, Nashville, or the “Athens of the South,” left the structure and has since become a beloved attraction housing an impressive art collection and a popular photo backdrop.
What Is It? Built in 1853, the 30-acre historical Greek Revival Belle Meade Plantation is nicknamed the “Queen of Tennessee Plantations”.
Why Do It? With columns showing signs of bullet holes from the Civil War, visitors will find guides dressed in period costumes detailing the Plantation’s history at the center of the mansion’s antebellum-style interior.
Good to Know: The Belle Meade Plantation was home to 5 generations of the Harding-Jackson family.