Nashville is best known for its incredible music scene, hot chicken, and bachelorette parties—but there’s much more to it than that. This iconic Music City is teeming with eclectic neighborhoods so here are some epic ways to enjoy your first visit.Less
Often referred to as the “Smithsonian of country music,” the Country Music Hall of Fame is one of the world’s largest museums of its kind. You don’t have to be a country music fan to appreciate the monumental impact of honorees like Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and Elvis Presley. Admire priceless artifacts including instruments, stage clothing, and films for a deeper insight into the legends who have shaped country music over the years.
The Grand Ole Opry House has played host to the biggest names in country music for nearly a century. Every year, millions of tourists travel to Nashville for the bucket-list experience of seeing the Grand Ole Opry showcase—the show that made country music famous. Start the day with a backstage tour to see where the magic happens and learn stories about your favorite country stars, then stick around to catch the world-famous show.
As the birthplace of hot chicken, it’s no secret that Nashville has plenty of restaurants to choose from, including the well-known Hattie B's. However, hot chicken aside, the rise of chef-driven restaurants and James Beard award winners have been instrumental in putting Nashville’s culinary scene on the map. You can find everything from classic Southern eats to Spanish tapas and traditional Japanese food. Consider a walking food tour to get your fill of all Nashville has to offer.
No first visit to Nashville would be complete without a trip to Honky Tonk Central, where neon lights are flashing and live music is pumping all day, every day. One of the coolest things about this Music City staple? It’s totally free of charge. You can jam out to world-class performances in the venues where the likes of Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline got their start without ever paying a cover fee for the privilege.
Over 60 years ago, Nashville’s citizens played a huge role in the courageous fight for racial equality. Today, you can journey back in time to learn about Nashville’s contributions to the Civil Rights Movement by embarking on a guided walking tour of the significant local landmarks on the Civil Rights Trail. You’ll visit historic sites with powerful stories like the National Museum of African American Music, Fisk University, and Woolworth Theatre.
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of Music City by visiting the 132-acre (53-hectare) Centennial Park, a tranquil oasis of lush greenery, water features, and walking trails. Enjoy a waterfront picnic by Lake Watauga, watch one of the many free performances offered year-round, or check out the impressive wartime memorabilia displays found throughout. And don’t leave without making a beeline for one of Nashville’s most famous architectural features: a full-scale replica of the Parthenon.
If you’re looking to escape the crowds for a bit, head to the water for a breezy cruise. You can admire the scenery aboard the General Jackson Showboat on a lunch or dinner cruise on the Cumberland River—complete with live entertainment in true Nashville fashion. Or, keep the party going with a pedal pontoon boat cruise for a private ride down Old Hickory Lake while you blast music and sip on BYOB drinks with your travel crew.
The Belle Meade Historic Site dates back to the 1840s, during which time it was one of the most extravagant estates in Nashville. Today, Belle Meade is a beautifully preserved historical landmark dedicated to telling the stories of the families and enslaved people who lived here over the span of a century. Take a guided tour of the Greek Revival–style mansion, plus its on-site winery and thoroughbred horse farm, then end your visit with a wine or bourbon tasting.
Nashville is home to over 100 colorful murals created by local artists and more are popping up every year. Not only are they fascinating to admire, but they make for spectacular backdrops. Go mural-hunting on your own by exploring neighborhoods like 12 South and East Nashville, where the bulk of the city’s most popular artworks can be found. Or make things easier on yourself by opting for a Nashville mural tour with stops that include Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and Downtown Nashville.
If you’re a whiskey lover, you may already know that Jack Daniel’s is the world’s best-selling individual whiskey brand. However, a day trip to Lynchburg allows you to witness the magic in action at the Jack Daniel’s Distillery, where you can walk through 150 years of history and sample some of Tennessee’s finest. You can also plan a stop at the Jack Daniel's General Store where you'll find a large selection of memorabilia.