Skip to content

Discovering Nashville: Top 10 Must-Do Activities in Music City

Photo things to do in nashville tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee, is a city known for its vibrant music scene, rich history, and southern charm. It has become a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world. In this blog post, we will explore some of the top attractions that Nashville has to offer. From the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to the historic Ryman Auditorium, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Music City.

Key Takeaways

  • The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a must-visit for music lovers, with exhibits showcasing the history of country music.
  • The Ryman Auditorium is a historic venue that has hosted some of the biggest names in music, and offers tours and live performances.
  • Broadway is the heart of Nashville’s live music scene, with countless bars and venues offering a variety of genres and styles.
  • The Johnny Cash Museum and Cafe is a great spot for fans of the Man in Black, with exhibits and memorabilia celebrating his life and career.
  • Nashville’s hot chicken is a unique and delicious local specialty that should not be missed.

Explore the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a must-visit attraction for any music lover. Located in downtown Nashville, this museum showcases the history and evolution of country music through its exhibits and collections. Visitors can explore artifacts from legendary artists such as Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and Hank Williams.

The museum features interactive exhibits that allow visitors to learn about the different genres of country music, the instruments used by musicians, and the impact of country music on American culture. It also hosts live performances and educational programs throughout the year.

Country music has played a significant role in Nashville’s culture and history. The city is often referred to as the “Music City” because of its deep roots in country music. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a testament to the city’s love for this genre and its contribution to the music industry.

Visit the historic Ryman Auditorium

The Ryman Auditorium is another iconic attraction in Nashville that should not be missed. Known as the “Mother Church of Country Music,” it was originally built as a tabernacle in 1892 and later became the home of the Grand Ole Opry.

The venue’s architecture is stunning, with its red brick exterior and intricate stained glass windows. Inside, the auditorium boasts excellent acoustics, making it a favorite among musicians and performers. Many legendary artists have graced its stage, including Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Cash.

Today, the Ryman Auditorium continues to host concerts and events, attracting both locals and tourists. Visitors can take a guided tour of the venue to learn about its history and significance in Nashville’s music scene.

Take a stroll down Broadway and experience live music

Location Genre Number of Performances Duration of Performances
Broadway and 7th Ave Jazz 5 1 hour each
Broadway and 49th St Rock 3 45 minutes each
Broadway and 34th St Blues 4 30 minutes each

Broadway is the heart of Nashville’s music scene. This vibrant street is lined with honky-tonks, bars, and live music venues, where talented musicians perform day and night. Walking down Broadway, you can hear the sounds of country, rock, and blues pouring out of every establishment.

Some of the best bars and venues to visit on Broadway include Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Robert’s Western World, and The Stage. These venues have hosted countless famous musicians and continue to showcase up-and-coming talent.

Whether you’re a fan of country music or not, experiencing live music on Broadway is a must-do when visiting Nashville. The energy and talent found on this street are unparalleled, making it an unforgettable experience for music lovers.

Tour the Johnny Cash Museum and Cafe

Johnny Cash is one of the most iconic figures in country music history, and his legacy lives on in Nashville at the Johnny Cash Museum and Cafe. This museum is dedicated to preserving the life and career of “The Man in Black.”

Visitors can explore exhibits that showcase Cash’s personal belongings, stage costumes, handwritten lyrics, and awards. The museum also features interactive displays that allow visitors to listen to his music and learn about his impact on the music industry.

The Johnny Cash Museum and Cafe is a must-visit for any fan of the legendary musician. It offers a unique opportunity to learn about Cash’s life and his contribution to Nashville’s music history.

Discover the unique flavors of Nashville’s hot chicken

When it comes to food, Nashville is famous for its hot chicken. This spicy dish consists of fried chicken coated in a cayenne pepper-based sauce, giving it a fiery kick. It is typically served with pickles and white bread to help cool down the heat.

There are several restaurants in Nashville that specialize in hot chicken, each with its own unique recipe and spice level. Some of the best places to try this iconic dish include Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, and Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish.

Whether you like your food mild or extra spicy, Nashville’s hot chicken is a must-try culinary experience. It is a true representation of the city’s bold and flavorful cuisine.

Experience the beauty of the Cheekwood Estate and Gardens

For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown Nashville, the Cheekwood Estate and Gardens offers a peaceful retreat. This historic estate was once the home of the Cheek family, who made their fortune in the Maxwell House coffee business.

The estate features a stunning Georgian-style mansion surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens. Visitors can explore the various gardens, including a Japanese garden, a wildflower garden, and a sculpture trail. The estate also hosts art exhibits and events throughout the year.

The Cheekwood Estate and Gardens is a hidden gem in Nashville, offering visitors a chance to relax and appreciate the beauty of nature. It is a perfect destination for art enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Take a paddleboat ride on the Cumberland River

The Cumberland River is an important part of Nashville’s history and culture. It played a significant role in the city’s early development as a trading post and transportation hub. Today, visitors can take paddleboat tours on the river to experience its beauty and learn about its history.

There are several companies that offer paddleboat tours in Nashville, including the General Jackson Showboat and the Cumberland River Cruises. These tours provide a unique perspective of the city’s skyline and offer a relaxing way to explore the river.

Whether you’re interested in history or simply want to enjoy a scenic ride, a paddleboat tour on the Cumberland River is a must-do activity in Nashville.

Learn about the Civil Rights Movement at the Nashville Public Library

Nashville played a significant role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. The city was a center for sit-ins, protests, and other nonviolent demonstrations that aimed to end racial segregation. The Nashville Public Library pays tribute to this important chapter in American history with its Civil Rights Room exhibit.

The Civil Rights Room features photographs, documents, and artifacts that tell the story of Nashville’s involvement in the movement. Visitors can learn about the brave individuals who fought for equality and justice during this tumultuous time.

The Nashville Public Library’s Civil Rights Room is a powerful reminder of the struggles and triumphs of the Civil Rights Movement. It is an educational and thought-provoking experience for visitors of all ages.

Catch a show at the Grand Ole Opry

No visit to Nashville would be complete without attending a show at the Grand Ole Opry. Known as the “Home of Country Music,” this iconic venue has been showcasing the best in country music since 1925.

The Grand Ole Opry has hosted legendary artists such as Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, and Dolly Parton. It continues to attract both established musicians and up-and-coming talent. Attending a show at this historic venue is a unique experience that should not be missed.

There are several shows to choose from at the Grand Ole Opry, including traditional country music performances, bluegrass shows, and special events. Check the schedule in advance to see which show aligns with your musical preferences.

Visit the Parthenon in Centennial Park

Centennial Park is a beautiful urban park located in downtown Nashville. One of its main attractions is the Parthenon, a full-scale replica of the ancient Greek temple in Athens. The Parthenon was built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition and has since become a symbol of Nashville.

Inside the Parthenon, visitors can admire a 42-foot statue of the Greek goddess Athena, as well as various art exhibits. The park itself offers walking trails, picnic areas, and a lake, making it a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.

Centennial Park and the Parthenon are a testament to Nashville’s appreciation for art and culture. It is a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city, perfect for relaxation and exploration.

Nashville is a city that offers a unique blend of music, history, and southern hospitality. From the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to the Grand Ole Opry, there are countless attractions that showcase Nashville’s rich cultural heritage.

Whether you’re a music lover, history buff, or food enthusiast, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Music City. So pack your bags and head to Nashville to experience its unique culture and history firsthand. You won’t be disappointed!


What are some popular tourist attractions in Nashville?

Some popular tourist attractions in Nashville include the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, and the Johnny Cash Museum.

What outdoor activities can I do in Nashville?

There are several outdoor activities you can do in Nashville, such as hiking at Radnor Lake State Park, visiting the Cheekwood Estate and Gardens, and exploring the Belle Meade Plantation.

What are some family-friendly activities in Nashville?

Some family-friendly activities in Nashville include visiting the Adventure Science Center, the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, and the Lane Motor Museum.

What is the best time of year to visit Nashville?

The best time of year to visit Nashville is during the spring (March to May) or fall (September to November) when the weather is mild and there are several festivals and events happening.

What is the food scene like in Nashville?

Nashville has a thriving food scene with a variety of options ranging from traditional Southern cuisine to international flavors. Some popular dishes include hot chicken, barbecue, and meat and three.

What is the nightlife like in Nashville?

Nashville has a vibrant nightlife with several bars, clubs, and live music venues. The Broadway area is particularly popular for its honky-tonks and live music scene.

What is the transportation system like in Nashville?

Nashville has a bus system called the Nashville MTA, as well as ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. There is also a bike-sharing program called Nashville B-cycle.