What is there to do in Nashville? After living in Nashville for 12 years, I’ve been to just about all the must-see places. A lot of people associate Nashville with the honky-tonks of Broadway. While it’s worth a stroll down Broadway, that is not the scene everyone is into (unless you prefer nonstop bachelorette parties?!). My list is pretty standard but does have a couple of oddballs.
There are some places of interest below that are near or right off Broadway. I’ve labeled attractions near Broadway as downtown so you can hit all those at the same time.
I’ve divided up the sights into categories to make it easier to find what interests you.
Parthenon – Replica built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition with an art museum housed inside. Bonus is that it’s located in beautiful Centennial Park.
The Hermitage – Beautiful property with lots of Presidential history. Having grown up in Tennessee I’ve heard enough about Andrew Jackson but understand others interest in it.
Tennessee State Museum – Old museum, formerly housed in a basement, now located in a beautiful new building. Variety of exhibits covering the history of the state, music, and civil rights. Bonus is that it’s adjacent to Bicentennial Capital Mall park and the farmers market.
Nashville IS known as the Music City due to its strong country roots.
Ryman (downtown)- See a show here! Many different types of acts perform here. I am not crazy about live concerts but the Ryman makes live shows incredible. The acoustics along with the intimacy of the small venue makes each performance special. While I’ve never taken the tour, watching a performance here demonstrates why the Ryman is called the Mother Church of Country Music.
Country Music Museum (downtown) – Many exhibits often including some of the newer country acts. The current special exhibit includes Emmylou Harris and the Judds. Who doesn’t want to see lots of sparkly Dolly Parton outfits!? Wait, why doesn’t Dolly have a museum?
Johnny Cash Museum (downtown) – All things Johnny Cash including an ATM machine. Some really fascinating items on show here.
Cheekwood – A mansion on 55 acres that have amazing gardens. There is also an art gallery but I think its true uniqueness is the gardens.
Centennial Park – Urban park where the Parthenon is located. There are often festivals and shows going on during the weekends.
Percy & Edwin Warner Parks – Full on hiking or mountain biking
Gaslight Antique – Huge mall with antiques but also many newer shabby chic type items. There can be some great finds here.
Nashville Flea Market – I grew up going to flea markets so this is one of my favorite things to do in Nashville. There is lots of junk but occasionally you can find a gem! Held the third weekend of every month.
Pre to Post – Funky shop with clothes and home décor in nostalgic funky patterns
While we do have the Titans and the Predators, here are a couple of less known sports teams in town.
Sounds Baseball – Minor league team of Texas Rangers with a beautiful new stadium. Though I do miss the old guitar-shaped scoreboard at the old stadium.
Roller Derby – I am prejudiced. I played with Nashville Roller Derby for 7 seasons. Though it’s been a few seasons, I still find the atmosphere of bouts at the fairgrounds exciting.
Lane Motor Museum – Largest European collection of cars and motorcycles in the United States.
Frist Museum (downtown) – Art gallery with current in house exhibitions that include Frida Kahlo, Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso.
Love Circle – Tiny park on top of a hill that’s perfect for a picnic while enjoying great views of downtown Nashville.
My picks if you have limited time in Nashville
- Ryman!! You can easily walk to/from broadway.
- State Museum along with Bicentennial mall and farmers market
- Country music Hall of Fame also close to Broadway.
Nashville is a nice city with limited city transportation. So if you don’t have a car, stay downtown or in the Gulch. I recommend visiting Nashville in the spring or fall, summers in the south are very HUMID. All of these attractions can be done in the winter as well since winters are usually rather mild.
So start planning your getaway to Nashville now. Now that you know what to do in Nashville, go have a great adventure!
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