12 Things to See and Do in Nashville

Nashville, Tennessee is a popular city to visit for everything from bachelorette parties to family vacations. Just ask the 15 million tourists who visit each year! Boasting about 700,000 residents, Nashville is famously known as the capital of country music and the capital of Tennessee. With many fun attractions and interesting places, an abundance of delicious restaurants and cafes, and warm southern hospitality, it’s easy to find favorite things to do. To help you plan your trip, here are the top 12 things to see and do while in Nashville.

12. Grand Ole Opry

Ranked as one of the top things to do in Nashville from February through October, the three live weekly shows of a dozen performers at the Grand Ole Opry each feature performances of new stars and legends. During the winter months, the show relocates to the Ryman Auditorium, originally built as a tabernacle in the heart of downtown. You can tour the building and hear stories about musical legends such as Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, and Elvis. It’s important to plan ahead and book tickets for shows featuring country, gospel, bluegrass, folk music, comedy routines, and skits – otherwise you may not get in.

11. Adventure Science Center

Evening events at the Adventure Science Center are targeted toward adults and include Yoga Under the Stars, a Science of Beer festival, and music-themed laser shows. Check out “The Way Late Play Date” evenings that offer food and drink along with entertainment around pop culture or science-related shows. If you’re traveling with kids, then the hands-on interactive museum is the place to be during the day with everything from building stations to painting classes and even a planetarium.

Source: Adventure Science Center

10. Tennessee State Museum

Tennessee’s official state museum is one of the largest museums in the country and highlights the state’s history through special events and various exhibitions. With free admission, you’ll learn about the earliest settlers who lived in the area, WWI and how the city transformed, and the area plants and animals. The temporary exhibits are worth checking out. You can ask about the field trips that the museum hosts to learn about Nashville and special events for the public as well.

9. Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree

The Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree, a long-running radio show, offers broadcasts for free! Different artists are taped on Saturday nights at 10 p.m. Just drop by the Texas Troubadour Theater at Ernest Tubbs’ Record Shop. This is a must for music lovers!

8. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum showcases the impact of country music on other music genres and why Nashville is the country music capital of the world! Visitors can enjoy archived performance and interview videos and photos, musical instruments, plaques, and assorted memorabilia. Additionally, the famous historic RCA Studio B building is housed here with The Music City Walk of Fame across the street, applauding musical artists from all genres of music who are connected to Nashville and have made a significant contribution to the industry.

7. The Parthenon

Nearby, at Centennial Park, you’ll find The Parthenon, a full-scale replica of the Greek Parthenon, and discover why Nashville was once known as “Athens of the South.” This building functions as an art museum and cultural center home to sculptures, statues, paintings, texts, etc. from the classical era. At certain times of the year, theater troupes perform Greek plays in front of the steps. While visiting, enjoy the 132-acre park complete with the one-mile walking trail, volleyball courts, Lake Watauga, historical monuments, and dog park. There may even be a band concert or festival to enjoy!

6. Belle Meade Plantation

Just outside of Nashville and built in the 1840s, The Belle Meade Plantation is a Greek Revival-style plantation house and grounds totaling 30 acres. Besides learning about the history of slaves with the various educational exhibits on-site, there’s architecture and hallmarks like slave quarters, carriage houses, cabins, and stables. An outdoor game court features games of corn hole, bocce ball, horseshoes, croquet, and even a putting green.

5. Broadway

Broadway is viewed as the life and heart of the downtown region of Nashville and a popular tourist attraction. Covering several blocks long, the neighborhood is filled with bars and clubs to restaurants and shops. Climb on an old-fashioned tram or trolley to take you around the area while enjoying this experience. Live music plays on the streets, and people have fun dancing, singing, eating and drinking, or even riding a mechanical bull!

4. So Bro

Known as South of Broadway, So Bro is set in Nashville’s City Center. Just a short walk from downtown, the neighborhood is famous for its neon lights and honky-tonks, lively bars, top-notch restaurants and cafes, and exciting sights. The Honky Tonk Highway is a group of honky-tonks on Lower Broadway that offer live music every day (10 a.m. to 3 a.m.) at no cover charge.

3. Nashville Zoo

Another popular attraction is the Nashville Zoo, located a few miles away from downtown. It began in the 1800s as a farmhouse and grew into one of the top 10 largest zoos in the U.S. You’ll find over 3,000 animals that represent 350+ different species. Depending on visitation times, there are feeding opportunities and a chance for picture-taking. The zoo also offers classes, camps, and tours.

2. Johnny Cash Museum and Cafe

As one of the most famous musicians in the history of the U.S., it’s no wonder that Johnny Cash has a place dedicated to him. At Johnny Cash Museum and Cafe (complete with a gift shop), there are hundreds of items on display and listening stations to sample his famous songs and demos. A live band sings Cash’s greatest hits in the museum café next to the museum.

1. Music Row

One of the most famous streets in Nashville, Music Row houses radio stations, recording studios, and record labels/music production companies. Landmarks feature statues of famous musicians and producers with street signs named after famous singers. There are tours available to show you around the various recording booths and radio towers. With a number of different restaurants and shops, there is certainly plenty of food and drinks to go around.

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