48 Things To Do In Nashville
As you might expect, many visitors come to Nashville for musical events and performances. It is nicknamed Music City, after all, but music is just the start of the wonderful things to see and do in Nashville. From a life-size Greek replica to the most famous distillery in the world, Nashville has a little bit of everything.
How did Nashville get its nickname “Music City”? While many attribute it to the explosive popularity of the Grand Ole Opry in the 1920s, it was actually 50 years earlier. In 1871, Fisk University formed a choral group called the Fisk Jubilee Singers which began touring the country and performing in an effort to raise money for the university. The group’s popularity quickly grew, and they began performing for many famous audiences like President Ulysses S. Grant and Mark Twain. The Fisk Jubilee Singers performed old slave songs passed down from their ancestors, an act that not only put Nashville on the map musically but also helped to break down racial boundaries after the Civil War. It is said that Queen Victoria heard tell of the group of singers and traveled across the Big Pond to see them perform. She was so impressed with the group, she said they must be from a ‘city of music.’
Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or need to spend an extended amount of time in Music City, you are sure to stay entertained. Nashville’s rich history comes to life through art, museums and music, and the vibrant culture of the city is found in its people and places. To be sure you and your family discover the fun stuffed into every crack and crevice of the city, we’ve broken down the best of Nashville. From exploring the Musical Mile to cheering on the Tennessee Titans and running the Rock ‘N Roll marathon, here are the top 48 things to do in Nashville.
Most popular city destinations can really empty out your wallet with overpriced souvenirs, steep ticket costs and ridiculous parking fees. If you’re looking to explore Nashville on a budget, we’ve got you covered! We’ve put together a list of our favorite FREE things to do in Nashville.
1| Tennessee State Museum
1000 Rosa L Parks Boulevard
History buffs will love a visit to the Tennessee State Museum. Permanent and temporary exhibits take visitors through Tennessee’s evolving history using artifacts like artwork, furniture, photographs, weapons, documents and textiles. Admission into the museum is always FREE and grants visitors full access to the 137,000-square-foot facility. The Tennessee State Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
2| Music City Walk of Fame
Demonbreun Street (between 4th & 5th Avenues)
Music lovers will adore Nashville’s Walk of Fame as it marks famous and legendary artists and prominent industry professionals with stars on its path. A variety of genres are represented with musicians like Keith Urban, Jack White, Jimi Hendrix and Dolly Parton. Each block along the path represents an individual with a strong connection to Music City. The Walk of Fame is located at the base of the Music Mile, across from the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum in downtown Nashville. The park is always open and always FREE. Induction ceremonies are also FREE and open to the public.
3| Picnic or Hike A Park
There is nothing like getting outside to enjoy the fresh crisp air, especially when you’re visiting Nashville. There are a number of beautiful parks in Nashville, some adorned with art and others perfect for hiking, but these are three of our favorites. All are FREE!
Fannie Mae Dees Park | 2400 Blakemore Avenue
Fannie Mae Dees Park is a beautiful park with plenty of shade and decked out in local installation art. One of its most popular pieces of art ー and a great spot for a photo op ー is the mosaic dragon, titled “Sea Serpent,” that weaves in and out of the ground. It was created by Pedro Silva in 1980 with the help of over 1,000 local artists and volunteers. Fannie Mae Dees Park is FREE to the public, open from sunrise until 11 PM and features playgrounds for all abilities, picnicking areas, tennis courts and soccer fields.
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park | 600 James Robertson Parkway
Another FREE park to visit in Nashville is the Bicentennial Capitol Mall Park, located across the street from the Tennessee State Museum. The 11-acre park houses several monuments and walkways depicting the history and heritage of Tennessee, plus a 2,000-seat amphitheater, visitor center and gift shop. Bicentennial Capitol Mall Park is open from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. The visitor center and gift shop are open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Centennial Park | 2500 West End Avenue
Centennial Park is 132-acres of lush foliage and green spaces, housing two art museums, a sports complex, walking and exercise trails, a dog park, sports fields and more. Festivals and events are held at the park annually, and there’s a stunning sunken garden that can be explored year-round. The Centennial Art Center Gallery, located in the park, offers FREE tours to the public Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. The park is open from dawn until 11:00 p.m. daily and is always FREE to the public for exploration.
4| The Nashville Flea Market
401 Wingrove Street (next to The Fairgrounds)
If you enjoy bargain shopping, you’ll love the outdoor Nashville Flea Market. Explore hundreds of vendors selling everything from antiques and hand-crafted goods to artisan foods and yard art! For more than a century, dealers and vendors from over 30 states have gathered monthly for the event, welcoming nearly half a million visitors annually. The Nashville Flea Market is open the fourth weekend of every month (except for December, when the event is moved to the third weekend). The market is always FREE to visitors.
5| Self-Guided Tour of Downtown Nashville
Explore downtown Nashville without having to pay a dime for a guide! This FREE self-guided tour takes explorers to 18 historical and legendary locations around downtown. Another fun way to explore the city is by downloading the GPSMyCity app (available for iPhones and iPads). The app is FREE to download and contains thousands of self-guided tours and travel articles to make planning your activities and exploring the city as simple as 1-2-3.
6| Nashville Farmers Market
900 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard
The establishment of the Nashville Farmers Market dates back to the early 1800s. Today, the market is a part of daily life in downtown Nashville, housed in two covered open-air sheds. Visitors to the market will discover local produce, a garden center, dozens of food vendors, handmade crafts and locally-baked sweets. There are also monthly workshops and cooking demonstrations. The Nashville Farmers Market offers FREE parking and is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
7| FREE Music on Honky Tonk Highway
Lower Broadway (from the Bridgestone Arena to 1st Avenue)
For 17 hours a day, FREE live music can be found on Honky Tonk Highway. A honky tonk, by definition, is an establishment that contains at least one stage, serves cold drinks and hosts an all-day party every day. Nashville’s Honky Tonk Highway is lined with hundreds of these bars and clubs. It’s a music lover’s paradise! There is no cover charge at these establishments, but we do recommend that you leave a tip for the musician ー that’s how they make their money. A few tips for making the most of your time on Honky Tonk Highway:
- Check the side streets. Most of the honky tonks are found on the main strip, but there are a few notable spots just off Broadway.
- Use the back entrance. If the front door is too crowded, check to see if the bar has an alley entrance.
- Don’t forget the second floor. If the first floor is too crowded, try the second floor. Many honky tonks have two floors of live music.
- Be aware of the Barnes Dance. All of the intersections on Honky Tonk Highway have diagonal crossings meaning when vehicular traffic is stopped, pedestrians have the freedom to cross the intersection in any direction.
- Visit during the day. Honky tonks start jamming at 10:00 a.m., and the crowds are much thinner during the daytime.
- Pace yourself. Remember, honky tonks are open until 3:00 a.m. Take your time having a good time.
8| John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge
Parking at 2 Victory Avenue or 134 2nd Avenue S
While the bridge has had many names and held many functions over the years, it has survived the test of time due to its unique structure and historical significance. The bridge originally opened in 1909 as the Sparkman Street Bridge and served as a highway connecting Sparkman Street and Shelby Avenue. Spanning 3,150 feet, the bridge was the first in North America to feature concrete arched trusses. Over the years, the bridge became known as the Shelby Street Bridge and went through several rounds of repairs.
In 1998 the bridge was closed to vehicular traffic and originally planned to be demolished, but due to its architectural, aesthetic and historical significance, the Shelby Street Bridge was saved. That same year, the bridge was admitted to the National Register of Historic Places and refurbished into a pedestrian bridge, one of the longest in the world. Renovations to the bridge included adding an elevator, ramps, and stairways. There is a 15-foot bike lane running through the middle with a 10-foot raised walkway on either side for pedestrians. At night, the bridge’s arches are dramatically lit. In 2014, the bridge was renamed the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge in honor of journalist and civil rights advocate John Seigenthaler. Visitors are welcome to enjoy the bridge for strolling, exercising and photo-taking every day for FREE.
9| Cooter’s Place
2613 McGavock Pike
If you love The Dukes of Hazzard, be sure to plan a visit to Cooter’s Place during your time in Nashville. This FREE museum and gift shop was created by Ben Jones, the actor who played Cooter in the long-running American television series, and features memorabilia, pictures, props and costumes from the show. You’ll see several cars including Cooter’s tow truck, Daisy’s Jeep and Rosco’s patrol car. You can even have your photo taken in the driver seat of General Lee, the iconic 1969 Dodge Charger from the show.
Need help getting around Music City now that we’ve given you so many great FREE things to do? Check out Nashville’s Public Transportation. Some routes are FREE, but the others cost just a few dollars for a day pass.
If you plan on visiting Nashville with the kids, you may be looking for more family-oriented attractions to enjoy. Don’t worry. We’ve roamed the city and found the most fun family things to do in Nashville. From hands-on learning to museums and live music, you and your family are sure to enjoy your time in the Country Music Capital of the World.
1| Learn and Play at Adventure Science Center
800 Fort Negley Boulevard | 615-862-5160
The Adventure Science Center is fun for all ages and combines hands-on learning with almost every branch of science you can think of! This family-friendly adventure totals over 44,000-square-feet and features over 175 exhibits including a full-motion simulator, a magical mirror that reveals your very own skeletal system, a plasma globe and a large-scale tsunami simulator that puts you in control of the wave. Guests to the science center can also enjoy the Sudekum Planetarium (a 63-foot, state-of-the-art dome theater) and special events throughout the year. General Admission is $14 for children ages 2-12 and $18 for adults.
2| Nashville Zoo at Grassmere is the best – and we’re not lion!
3777 Nolensville Pike | 615-833-1534
The Nashville Zoo is home to nearly 3,000 animals representing over 350 different species. Commonly known creatures include kangaroos, porcupines, cougars, seahorses, stingrays, tortoises, snakes, flamingos and tarantulas. A few lesser-known animals found at the Nashville Zoo include tapirs, cotton-top tamarins, southern pudus, bluehead wrasses, galliwasps, maleos and hellbenders. While there are hundreds of animal exhibits to enjoy, the Nashville Zoo has even more family fun to offer. There’s a 66,000 square feet playground, zipline, historic home and even a train on the property! So shake a tail feather and make Nashville Zoo a must-stop while on vacation.
3| Travel back in time at The Hermitage.
4580 Rachel’s Lane | 615-889-2941
The Hermitage is the historic home of Andrew Jackson, a beautifully preserved mansion located on more than 1,000 acres. Using exhibits, informative panels and archaeological artifacts, the museum gives visitors a chance to experience what it was like in the 1800s. You’ll see the original belongings of the Jackson family and have a chance to explore the mansion and the grounds where President Jackson lived, worked and entertained. Guests have several options for experiencing this piece of history, from a basic Grounds Pass ($18 for adults and $11 for kids ages 5-12) to the ultimate VIP Tour ($50 per person). Read more about the history of The Hermitage and the tours available.
If you are looking for even more history fun, check out the Historic Travellers Rest, home of Judge John Overton, located at 636 Farrell Parkway in Nashville.
4| Your kids’ joy will be music to your ears!
While not every venue in Nashville is family-friendly, many of them are depending on the age of your kids. From country and rock to classical and blues, Nashville offers a little bit of every style of music. Here are a few places to check out live entertainment with the family:
- Schermerhorn Symphony Center: home of the Nashville Symphony, check the event calendar for which kid-friendly performances are scheduled during your stay
- Ryman Auditorium: known as the “Carnegie of the South” and former home of the Grand Ole Opry, historical music hall whose past performers include Charlie Chaplin, Bob Hope, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, B.B. King, Bruce Springsteen, Willi Nelson and thousands more
- Wildhorse Saloon: offers live music and line dancing lessons 4 days a week (Wednesday – Saturday)
- The Bluebird Cafe: famous singer-songwriter venue with live music 7 days a week, reservations must be made 1 week prior
- The Grand Ole Opry: longest-running live radio performance in America with eight or more artists performing at each show
5| Take a trip to Greece without leaving Nashville
2500 West End Avenue | 615-862-8431
Located in the famous Centennial Park in downtown Nashville, The Parthenon is a life-size replica of the original found in Greece and serves as Nashville’s Museum of Art. Visitors have the chance to see Athena Parthenos, another full-scale replica created to mimic the one found in Greece, along with a huge collection of contemporary and historical art and artifacts depicting the rich culture of Nashville. General Admissions is $10 for adults and $8 for kids and seniors. Guided tours are also available. You and your family may visit the museum and gift shop Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m.to 4:30 p.m. or Sunday from 12:30 – 4:30 p.m.
6| Cheer for the home team!
Bridgestone Arena: 501 Broadway | 615-770-2000
Nissan Stadium: 1 Titans Way | 615-565-4300
Nashville is home to two major sports teams: the NFL’s Tennessee Titans and the NHL’s Nashville Predators. Join in the excitement of cheering on the home team at the next live sporting event. Whether you attend a Predators game at the Bridgestone Arena or join the Titans community for a football showdown at the Nissan Stadium, you and your family are sure to have a blast!
7| Play a game…or two!
One of the best ways to explore the city, learn about its history and have bucket loads of fun is taking part in a city scavenger hunt by Urban Adventure Request. You’ll start at the Country Music Hall of Fame then head out to discover the most iconic sights and lesser-known landmarks around the city. The hunt includes 17 challenges and takes around 3 hours to complete.
If you’re looking to solve a good mystery but the weather isn’t suitable for outdoor adventures, try one of Nashville’s escape rooms. The Escape Game has three locations in town and offers 8 escape games. Escape Experience is located in downtown Nashville, offers 3 escape games and even has virtual escapes games available.
8| Explore the museums of Nashville.
Nashville is filled with fun and interesting museums. You and your family are sure to find one or two or maybe three that fit your interests. Here’s a list of the most popular museums in and around Nashville:
- Country Music Hall of Fame: tickets are $27.95 for adults and $17.95 for kids; open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; tickets for this museum may be combined with tickets for the Historic RCA Studio B (open daily from 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.) and Hatch Show Print (open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.)
- National Corvette Museum: tickets are $15 for adults, $13 for seniors (62+) and $10 for kids (ages 5-12); active military receives free admission; open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (except Nov 1st – Mar 1st, the museum opens at 10:00 a.m. on weekdays)
- Johnny Cash Museum: tickets are $22.95 for adults and $18.95 for kids (ages 6-15); $1 discount provided to AAA members, active military, seniors and college students; open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- The GIG (Gallery of Iconic Guitars) at Belmont: tickets are $5 for adults and free for kids (ages 12 and younger); Belmont University students and staff also receive free admission; closed until further notice (for safety precautions)
- The George Jones Museum: tickets are $17 for adults, $12 for seniors, college students, AAA and military members and $7 for kids (ages 6-15); open Thursday – Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
- The Glen Campbell Museum: tickets are $19.50 for adults, $18.50 for seniors (61+) and active military and $17 for kids (ages 6-17); open Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame: tickets are $3 for adults and $2 for kids; open Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; located inside the Bridgestone Arena
- The Patsy Cline Museum: tickets are $19.95 for adults and $15.95 for kids (ages 6-15); $1 discount provided to AAA members, active military, seniors and college students; open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- Tennessee Agricultural Museum: admission is free; open Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
9| Enjoy the beautiful Nashville outdoors!
Nashville is filled with green spaces galore, but one of the most beautiful has to be Cheekwood Estate & Gardens. Cheekwood is home to nearly 20 gardens, a historic home and museum, a learning center and a 1.5-mile wooded path filled with unique sculptures. Cheekwood Estate & Gardens is typically open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but during the holiday season, the gardens have extended hours from 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. to view the light displays on the property. Tickets for the botanical gardens start at $20 for adults and $13 for kids (ages 3-17).
While not nearly as large as the gardens at Cheekwood, here are a few other beautiful gardens in Nashville for you and your family to enjoy: Belle Meade Plantation, Belmont Mansion Gardens and the White House Arboretum.
10| Check out the art scene.
Beyond the beautiful music that comes out of Nashville, there is also an extensive amount of incredible art. From galleries to art institutes and performing art studios, Nashville is sure to “wow” you with heaps of creativity. Find inspiration at galleries and studios like these:
- Frist Art Museum: tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (65+) and college students, $8 for active military and free for kids (age 18 and younger); open Thursday–Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and Sunday from 1:00 to 5:30 p.m.
- Hatch Show Print’s Haley Gallery: tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for kids; open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- OZ Arts: ticket prices and times vary by show, check the website for upcoming presentations
The best way to enjoy Nashville’s art scene, while staying on a budget, is by attending an Art Crawl. Find full details below!
There’s no shortage of fun in Nashville with all the family-friendly attractions and free things to do, but we wanted to know what the locals have to say. Turning to the staff members at our five extended-stay locations in the area, we asked them what they thought were the best attractions in Nashville. Here are their picks:
1| First Saturday Art Crawl
On the first Saturday of every month, art galleries around the city open their doors for the Art Crawl. This event is free to attend, and each gallery offers its own unique presentation. You’ll find light refreshments at most locations plus live music and art demonstrations at select galleries. Be sure to check the website for this month’s participating galleries.
2| St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series Nashville
While you might have run a marathon or 5K race in the past, you have never run a race quite like this one. In true Music City style, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series is filled with live music and iconic Nashville landmarks. Beyond the all-day music you’ll pass on Honky Tonk Highway, the course features 20 stages of live entertainment from starting line to finish line. Participants have the option of a full, half or quarter marathon, a 5K, 1 mile and kids run. The 2021 race will take place November 18th – 20th. The 2022 race is being held April 23rd – 24th. Registration is open for both events!
3| Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival
The Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival is a celebration of Japanese culture and heritage. Located in the Nashville Public Square, the event features food trucks, live entertainment, cosplay costume contests, kids activities and more. The highlight of the event is enjoying the Japanese cherry trees that bloom each spring. You will find over 1,000 of these trees around Nashville, mostly along the Cumberland River Greenway, a 2.5-mile course called The Cherry Blossom Walk. The annual event returns in Spring 2022.
4| Record Store Day
Record Store Day started in 2007 as a way to raise awareness about the nearly 1400 independently owned record stores in the US. Over the years, the event has spread across the country and around the world as a day to celebrate artists, their music and the stores that proudly sell their sounds. The day has become a gathering of sorts, making record stores a place where music-creators and music-lovers can meet and enjoy their favorite pastime. While the official Record Store Day is only once a year, the organization has created other music-focused events that take place throughout the year including RSD Black Friday and Summer Camp. Here’s a list of independently owned record stores that participate in the event in Nashville.
5| Live Music
We couldn’t complete our list of things to do in Nashville without touching on the thousands of live music performances that take place in Nashville each year. From the Grand Ole Opry to small stages in rundown bars, talent is heard on every corner. As large concerts and in-person events are returning, we wanted to peak your excitement for a few big names coming to Nashville in 2022.
- Dwight Yoakam @ Ryman Auditorium – January 19-21
- Kacey Musgraves @ Bridgestone Arena – February 11
- Dierks Bentley @ Bridgestone Arena – February 25
- Billie Eilish @ Bridgestone Arena – March 9
- Tones and I @ Brooklyn Bowl – March 19
- Lorde @ Grand Ole Opry House – March 3
- John Mayer @ Bridgestone Arena – April 13
- Chris Tomlin @ Bridgestone Arena – April 15
- Justin Bieber @ Bridgestone Arena – May 17
- Kenny Chesney @ Nissan Stadium – May 28
- Matchbox Twenty @ Bridgestone Arena – June 26
- 5 Seconds of Summer @ Ascend Amphitheater – June 30
- Rod Stewart @ ®Bridgestone Arena – July 5
- Red Hot Chili Peppers @ Nissan Stadium – August 12
- Goo Goo Dolls @ Ascend Amphitheater – August 27
- The Killers @ Bridgestone Arena – September 17
- Alicia Keys @ Ascend Amphitheater – September 24
- Elton John @ Nissan Stadium – October 2
- Shawn Mendes @ Bridgestone Arena – October 19
No matter when you are planning your next vacation to Nashville and no matter for how long, InTown Suites has a room for you! Our apartment-style suites are fully furnished and feature full in-room kitchens, living and dining areas, plenty of storage and comfort and HDTVs with premium channels including SHOWTIME®. Each property has free on-site parking, guest laundry facilities and high-speed wireless internet.