Nashville is an energetic Southern city with an iconic music scene, a fascinating history, a vibrant food culture, and plenty of attractions. From honky-tonks to hot chicken, here are some of the top fun things to do in Nashville, the Music City.
1. See Live Music
You can’t visit Nashville without experiencing live music. Head to the legendary Grand Ole Opry for a country music revue that’s been running since 1925. Catch rising stars at the Bluebird Cafe, an intimate venue where songwriters like Taylor Swift got their start. Downtown, wander through the neon-lit Honky Tonk Highway on Broadway, where you’ll find boot-stomping bands playing into the night. Stop by Roberts Western World for some old-school honky-tonk.
2. Tour the Country Music Hall of Fame
Immerse yourself in country music history at this massive museum filled with memorabilia and artifacts. See Taylor Swift’s sparkly dress, Elvis’ gold Cadillac, Johnny Cash’s guitar, and much more. Don’t miss the Letterman Theater, where you can watch historic performances. Guided tours give insight into iconic musicians.
3. Explore the Ryman Auditorium
Speaking of the Ryman, the former home of the Grand Ole Opry is a must-see for music lovers. Now a concert venue and museum, this National Historic Landmark lets you stand where Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, and others performed. Self-guided audio tours tell the story of the hallowed “Mother Church of Country Music.”
4. Party on Lower Broadway
The neon-lit honky-tonks of Lower Broadway pump out live country music day and night. Grab some BBQ and beers and wander between the boot-stomping bars. Popular spots include Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Robert’s Western World, and The Stage. Don’t miss a photo op at the iconic Things to Do in Nashville mural at 5th + Broadway.
5. Visit Studio B
Take a guided tour through RCA Studio B, where Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, and many other legends record hits. Stand in the studio and listen to the iconic songs that were made here come alive. Reservations required.
First opened in 1965, Historic RCA Studio A hosted sessions by music greats ranging from Dolly Parton to Beyonce. After a complete renovation, it now offers tours showcasing vintage recording technology and rock n’ roll memorabilia.
6. Stroll Through Centennial Park
This 132-acre green space contains a gorgeous full-scale replica of the ancient Parthenon, complete with a 42-foot statue of Athena. Wander through the park, have a picnic, and visit the art museum inside the Parthenon. Also, this is one of the famous things to do in Nashville with kids.
7. Shop on Music Row
The heart of Nashville’s entertainment industry is home to record labels, recording studios, and more. Browse the iconic Guitar Town of larger-than-life playable guitars painted by local artists. See the stars on the Music City Walk of Fame and check out the Historic RCA Studio B.
8. Sample Hot Chicken
Nashville’s claim to spicy fame, hot chicken will set your tastebuds ablaze. Try Prince’s Hot Chicken or Hattie B’s to experience this fiery fried favorite firsthand. Come hungry!
9. Visit The Johnny Cash Museum
This museum showcases the life and music of the Man in Black through interactive exhibits and an extensive collection of artifacts and memorabilia. From his handwritten songs to his famous black coat, this in-depth showcase lets you walk in Johnny’s footsteps.
10. Take in the City Views from the Pedestrian Bridge
Extending 680 feet over the Cumberland River, the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge connects downtown to East Nashville. Take a stroll along this suspension bridge to enjoy stellar views of the Nashville skyline.
Free Things to Do in Nashville
- Watch a sunrise at Radnor Lake State Park
- Hike through Percy Warner Park
- Visit the replica of the Athenian Parthenon in Centennial Park
- Snap an iconic photo at the Nashville Wings Mural
- Spot street art and murals in The Gulch neighborhood
- Stroll along the Cumberland Riverfront Park
- Stop by the Belcourt Theatre to see the French Medieval-style night sky ceiling
- Catch live music any night of the week on Lower Broadway
- Visit historic landmarks like the Tennessee State Capitol building
- Enjoy the extensive collections at the First Art Museum (free on Thursday and Friday nights)