With countless fun, exciting and fascinating things to do, Tennessee’s capital city is a fantastic place for an unforgettable vacation. Whether you’re on a family break, looking for cultural immersions, or aching to check out the city’s iconic musical heritage, our list of the best things to do in Nashville will give you plenty of inspiration.
Best things to do in Nashville for music lovers
If there is one thing that Nashville is known for, it’s undoubtedly music. Its nickname is, in fact, ‘Music City’. Tennessee’s capital has been celebrated for its contribution to musical history dating all the way back to the 1700s. With such a storied past, it’s no surprise that there are many fantastic attractions in Nashville for music lovers.
Country Music Hall Of Fame and Museum
Country Music is to Nashville what the Statue Of Liberty is to New York. You simply cannot have one without the other. At the Country Music Hall Of Fame, visitors can discover exhibits, collections, photographs, and more laying out the city’s country music story. Even if you’re not a country music superfan, the museum is a must-visit to get an insight into the cultural importance of the genre both in the past and the present day.
Grand Ole Opry
The Grand Ole Opry is considered to be “the show that made country music famous”. It is a stalwart of the scene that has connected fans to the artists and music that they love for decades. More than that, the Grand Ole Opry is also the world’s longest-running radio show. It showcases the very best of country, western and bluegrass music. You can visit the Grand Ole Opry venue, either to attend the weekly live show featuring up-and-coming artists or to embark on a tour of the backstage area, where you will uncover secrets of the Opry’s long and vibrant history.
The Johnny Cash Museum
Even to the most casual music listener, Johnny Cash needs no introduction. The iconic singer lived in Tennessee, and the museum features the largest collection of Johnny Cash memorabilia in the world. This includes a section of the wall taken from his Hendersonville home. The Johnny Cash Museum and its collection are officially authorized by Cash’s estate, and it is one of the few Nashville attractions to be awarded the coveted AA Gem Rating. It has also been named the best music museum in the world by several top travel publications, so even if you’re not a Johnny Cash expert, it’s well worth a visit.
This one’s a bit different, in that it’s not a specific venue, but rather an entire street. Music Row is, to country and western fans at least, the equivalent of Broadway in New York or Hollywood Boulevard in LA. Music Row is the heart of Nashville’s music industry and is centered on 16th and 17th Avenues South. It is the home of the head offices of several top records labels, recording houses, and radio studios. A walk through Music Row is a walk through Nashville’s history, and a chance to see the very soul of the city.
Nashville attractions for kids
Nashville might be more known for concerts and nightlife, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty for families with kids to do, too. Along with great music venues and museums, there are several places aimed at kids and family days out. Here are a few of our favorites.
Adventure Science Center
The whole family can get hands-on at Adventure Science Center, one of Nashville’s top attractions for all ages. With interactive exhibits on diverse subjects including space, the human body, and states of matter, there are plenty of opportunities to learn and discover. The fun and accessible way that the exhibits are presented means that they are suitable for kids of all ages. Adventure Science Center is located just minutes from Downtown Nashville in Wedgewood-Houston and is easy to find; look for the opalescent pyramid shimmering against the Tennessee sky.
Honeysuckle Hill Farm
Perfect for kids to let off some steam, Honeysuckle Hill Farm is wholesome family fun at its best. The farm features attractions such as a pumpkin patch, a corn maze, tractor rides, duck racing, and an adventure park with zip lines and a rock wall. It is a fantastic place if you want to get away from the bright lights of the city and enjoy some fresh country air, somewhere where there are plenty of fun things to keep kids of all ages entertained. Honeysuckle Hill Farm is about 30 minutes drive northwest of central Nashville.
Top museums in Nashville
It’s not all about music history in Nashville. There are countless places that tell the story of the city and Tennessee. From art to cars and everything in between, Nashville has got an incredible range of museums showcasing awesome exhibits.
Frist Art Museum
Housed in Nashville’s historic post office building, the Frist Art Museum is as impressive outside as it is inside. Housing exhibitions on fine art, photography, contemporary works, and a temporary room honoring the work of art teachers during the pandemic, the museum is great for a quiet day in Nashville. It’s also perfect for chilly or rainy days, as you can easily spend leisurely hours perusing the work on display.
Lane Motor Museum
This collection of mostly European automobiles is a fantastic place for petrolheads in Nashville. This isn’t your typical auto museum where velvet ropes and screens keep the vehicles at arm’s length from the visitors. At the Lane Motor Museum guests can walk among the cars, peek inside, and get close enough to appreciate all of the details. Every day at 11 am there are free vehicle demonstrations. There are also many special events throughout the year, including the Concours D’Elegance, cars and coffee mornings, and microcar rides for kids.
Tennessee State Museum
If you want to get under the skin of The Volunteer State, then this beautiful museum is the place to visit. Featuring permanent exhibitions on First Peoples, the Civil War, the area’s natural history, and much more, as well as oft-changing temporary exhibitions, Tennessee State Museum is a potted history of not only the local area, but the wider United States too. Admission to the museum is free. It is handily located right in the center of Nashville, making it ideal for a day out in the city.
Tennessee Sports Hall Of Fame and Museum
For sports fans, the Tennessee Sports Hall Of Fame is a must-visit attraction in Nashville. From Olympic legacies to legendary athletes, the venue houses many family-friendly exhibits with interactive activities. The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is located right in the middle of Nashville on Broadway. Visitors can take part in an informative and comprehensive tour of the venue, getting up close and personal with memorabilia and relics of sporting triumphs through the ages.
Outdoor attractions in Nashville
Nashville is a city famous for urban attractions, but that doesn’t mean that nature lovers won’t find things to enjoy. The city has a surprising number of green spaces. If you venture outside, you’ll find many beautiful places where you can explore the green side of Tennessee.
Radnor Lake State Park
To the south of Nashville city center, there is a breathtaking area of protected natural beauty. Radnor Lake State Park is a haven for wildlife watchers with opportunities to see a diverse range of species. Look out for owls, herons, mink, otters, and numerous reptiles and amphibians. There are trails and hikes throughout the park, as well as educational programs where visitors can learn about the landscape and wildlife. The park is open year-round from 06:00 am until sunset.
One of the city’s newest attractions is Cumberland Park, which boasts one of the best views of downtown Nashville from its position right on the riverfront. The park encourages families to enjoy the great outdoors, with plenty of places to play. Kids can get stuck into the Explore Trail, The Gorge climbing wall, and The Hollow play area.
Historic attractions and things to do in Nashville
Take a leaf through Nashville’s storybook at these fascinating sites, displaying the long and often tumultuous history of Tennessee. Nashville has got a plethora of historic attractions where you can learn and explore the stories of the state.
When you hear ‘Parthenon’, your first thought might well be the famous hilltop temple in Athens. But you don’t need to travel all the way to Greece, as Nashville has its very own Parthenon, too. It is an exact replica of the famous Athenian temple. It even features a statue of the goddess Athena, just as the original does. Located in Centennial Park, the Parthenon also houses an art museum. It is probably not what you expect to see when you visit Nashville, but the Parthenon is an unmissable attraction that is a beloved part of the city.
Belle Meade Historic Site and Winery
Belle Meade is a beautiful and historic site in southwest Nashville. The imposing home is certainly impressive to look at, from both the outside and on a tour of the opulent interior. There are several tours available, focusing both on the families that have lived in the house, and the darker side of the home’s history at the height of the slave trade. Belle Meade is an important historic site in Nashville, not just for its grandeur and architectural magnificence, but also because it is a reminder of one of the bleakest periods in Tennessee’s history.
Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage was the home of the 7th president of the United States. This grand building is a fantastic place to get to know more about his history and legacy. Visitors can take tours of the home and grounds. You can also see the plantations where enslaved workers toiled on the land. While the home might be beautiful and important in Tennessee’s history, it was still a part of one of the most awful periods in America’s history. The Hermitage is just outside of Nashville, to the northeast. There is a restaurant and winery onsite if you want to make a full day out of it.
Book a beautiful vacation rental in Nashville for your Tennessee trip
Enjoy the myriad attractions of Nashville from the comfort of your own beautiful vacation rental. With city center homes perfect for families, couples, or groups with awesome facilities such as games rooms, you’ll be spoilt for choice on your Tennessee vacation.