Finding things to do in Nashville, TN, is an easy task for visitors as there’s such a range of attractions, places to eat and drink, and events and festivals. Nashville is the capital city of the state of Tennessee in the southern United States. It is named for Francis Nash, a General in the Army during the American Revolution. Nashville has a population of around 669,000 people. The city is famous for its legendary country music scene and has launched the careers of the genre’s biggest household names. Nashville’s nickname is Music City, and it’s been the hub for country music for decades.
So, let’s take a look at all city a little closer and explore all the great things to do in Nashville, TN, during your visit.
Country Music Hall of Fame
Located on 5th Avenue in Eastern Downtown, the Country Music Hall of Fame has been open since 1967. A massive refurbishment program was also completed in 2001. The museum houses a vast permanent collection and various temporary exhibitions. The permanent collection leads you through the beginnings of the genre, right to the present day. The Hall of Fame introduces you to the biggest characters in the business, as well as celebrating those that defined the origins of country music. Even if you’re not a massive fan of country, some of the priceless collection pieces are incredible. Elvis’ car, Patsy Cline’s dress, and Dolly’s handwritten lyrics for ‘Jolene’ will delight any music fan.
Tickets required, available online or at the ticket office, $15.95-$25.95
The Grand Ole Opry
The Grand Ole Opry is Nashville’s number one attraction, and the music show has been taking place since the 1920s. All the biggest stars in country music have played at the Opry. For some, it’s the pinnacle of their careers. The Opry previously took place at the beautiful Ryman Auditorium (another great thing to do in Nashville, TN) but is now in a tailor-made venue of its own. The show is a weekly radio concert and is the longest-running radio music show in the United States. Elvis Presley made his debut at The Opry in 1954, but his reception was largely underwhelming. It was suggested to him that he should return home to Memphis. He did just that, and the rest is history.
Tennessee State Capitol
The Tennessee State Capitol building is home to the Governor of Tennessee and the general assembly. It was built in a Greek revival style and dates back to 1859. It’s a slightly unusual state capitol in that it’s one of very few that does not have a dome. This, however, doesn’t make it any less impressive. Within the grounds of the capitol, there are two statues and one tomb. These are for the three men from the state who served as US President. They are Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, and James K Polk. The grounds also have various other memorials and statues to other notable people from Tennessee. The capitol building is constructed almost entirely from Tennessee limestone, and you can take a tour of the building and grounds on your visit. It’s a great free thing to do in Nashville, TN.
The Hermitage is the former home of President Andrew Jackson and a top Nashville attraction. President Jackson lives at the Plantation House from 1804 until he died there in 1845. The entire site spans an area of 1,120 acres of land, and this includes the original working Plantation, which was primarily used for growing cotton. Clearly, this also means that the Plantation utilized slaves, and this was done under the ownership of the 6th President. The remains of the slave houses can still be seen today. The tomb of both President Jackson and his wife, Rachel, is located in the Hermitage Gardens. Taking a day out to spend at the former President’s home is an excellent thing to do in Nashville, TN.
Tickets required, available online or at the entrance, $12-$22
The Nashville Parthenon & Centennial Park
Centennial Park is a large public park, spanning 132 acres to the west of downtown Nashville. It’s a popular place to walk dogs, go jogging, and see a range of events. It also has volleyball courts, an exercise trail, and the Centennial Arts Center and Sportsplex. The Sunken Garden is a popular place for chilling out due to the colorful array of plants and flowers on display. The highlight of the park is probably the Pantheon. The structure is a full-scale replica of the Pantheon in Athens, Greece, which was built for the Centennial Exhibition. As Nashville is known as ‘The Athens of the South,’ this had an influence on the choice of building design. These days, the Parthenon houses Nashville’s main art gallery. A visit to Centennial Park is a great free thing to do in Nashville with kids.
There are plenty of Confederate statues dotted around the south, but none are quite as odd as the statue of General Nathan Bedford Forrest in Nashville. Many of the sculptures have been removed because of the controversy that surrounds them, but this one stands on private land and cannot be taken down by authorities. The point of visiting isn’t to celebrate a man who believed in slavery and was KK member; it’s to laugh in amazement at the terrible statue. The sculptor was clearly inept, and the results are quite comical. If you like odd figures; this is a great thing to do in Nashville, TN.
Frequently Asked Questions by Travelers About Nashville
We’ve compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the city and all the excellent things to do in Nashville. These will help your research, planning, and general education about all the sultry southern city has to offer.
What is there to do in Nashville in two days?
The top things to do in Nashville in two days would include The Country Music Hall of Fame, The Grand Ole Opry, Music Row, and downtown bars and clubs. Nashville Zoo has long been a top attraction and a great thing to do in Nashville with kids.
What cheap things are there to do in Nashville?
You can head down to Broadway in the evenings and check out the live music on offer. The music is free, and all you’re required to pay for is drinks. Given Nashville’s reputation for discovering new country talent, there’s always the chance of being in the audience for a showing from the next big superstar. For a small fee, you can always take a tour of the Jack Daniel’s distillery and see where all the magic happens. The visit is an ideal and cheap thing to do in Nashville.
Is downtown Nashville safe?
In general, downtown Nashville is a pretty safe area to be. It’s a busy place, night and day, and there are usually plenty of people milling around the bars and clubs. However, just like any other city, there are areas less desirable than others. Keep your wits about you, don’t wander outside the area on your own late and night and, generally, be sensible.
Is Music Row in Nashville safe?
As with the downtown area, Music Row is a busy neighborhood with lots of people milling around. Music Row borders Vanderbilt University and students are naturally drawn to it, as well as residents and visitors. It’s as safe a place as many other neighborhoods in the city, but keep your wits about you and your possessions safely hidden.
What is the best time of year to visit Nashville?
Although there are many cool things to do in Nashville year-round, there’s no denying that summer can get hot and busy. Taking a trip just before or after the summer rush allows you to visit all the top sights without dealing with all the crowds.
Nashville is a vibrant and lively city, which is proud of its connection to country music. The live music scene throughout the city is a real draw for visitors and residents. There’s always a new sound to hear in the bars and clubs of downtown and Music Row. The city has a passion for sports and has two top-flight teams; the Nashville Predators (ice hockey) and the Tennessee Titans (NFL). It has lots of open space to walk around and an excellent year-round climate. Nashville International Airport serves the city. There are so many great things to do in Nashville on your trip that it can be hard to know quite where to start.