Embark on a journey to the heart of the Music City, Nashville, where the rhythms of country and the melodies of rock and roll weave together to create a symphony of Southern charm and vibrant culture. Whether you're planning a weekend getaway or an extended stay, there's an abundance of things to do in Nashville to keep you entertained. Leave the tourist traps behind as we delve into the soul of this eclectic city, where old-world charm meets hipster flair.
1. An Appetite for Adventure at Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden
Credit: The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden
Kick off your Nashville adventure with a hearty appetite, and what better place to satisfy it than at the Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden? This rustic gem serves up mouthwatering burgers, perfectly crispy fries, and thick homemade shakes that will have you questioning your own milkshake-making skills. A word of advice: arrive early or prepare to join the queue. Once seated, don't miss the farm burger, accompanied by a Sprecher Root Beer, and topped with fries drenched in beer gravy. The Pharmacy is not just a meal; it's an experience in culinary delight, making it one of the top attractions in Nashville, TN.
Hotel Recommendation: For a comfortable stay within walking distance of Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden, consider booking a room at the The Germantown Inn. This boutique hotel offers elegant accommodations in Nashville's historic Germantown neighborhood.
2. Robert's Western World: Where Boots and Honky-Tonk Meet
By day, Robert's Western World is a boot shop, but when the sun sets, it transforms into a honky-tonk music mecca. This iconic venue has been the launching pad for some of today's most famous country musicians. Picture this: the thunderous beat of Brazilly, the house band, echoing through the wooden floors, while the crowd, donning their boots and leather jackets, dances the night away. It's a loud, rollicking celebration of everything Nashville holds dear – music, drinks, and good old-fashioned country fun. A true gem among the things to do in Nashville, Tennessee.
Hotel Recommendation: Stay close to the action by booking a room at The Hermitage Hotel, a luxurious and historic hotel located in the heart of downtown Nashville. It's the perfect choice for those looking to immerse themselves in the city's vibrant nightlife.
3. A Night of Laughter at the Doyle & Debbie Show
Credit: Doyle & Debbie Show
Venture into the lesser-known side of Nashville by heading to the Gulch district, where the Station Inn houses one of the world's premier bluegrass music venues. Every Tuesday night, it becomes the uproarious home of the Doyle & Debbie Show, a duo that blends comedy with old-time tunes. With songs like “God Loves America Best,” they fearlessly call out the sexism and jingoism of the country music genre, all while you sip on a cold beer and try not to choke on your laughter. It's a unique slice of Nashville stuff to do.
Hotel Recommendation: Enhance your Nashville experience by staying at The Thompson Nashville, a boutique hotel located in the trendy Gulch neighborhood. It offers stylish accommodations and easy access to the city's cultural attractions.
4. Join the Battle of the Bands
While many locals tend to flee downtown Nashville during college football season, we implore you to stay and soak in the electrifying atmosphere of the Battle of the Bands. Marching bands from across the city converge on Broadway, vying for the crowd's adoration. You'll soon find yourself shouting, clapping, and dancing along with the spirited crowd. Don't miss the Fan Zone, where tailgates, pep rallies, and even hot chicken eating contests abound. It may not be on the typical tourist checklist, but it's an unforgettable Nashville stuff to do.
Hotel Recommendation: For a convenient stay near the downtown action, consider Holston House Nashville, a modern hotel that offers comfortable rooms and easy access to Broadway and the Battle of the Bands festivities.
5. Paradise Park Trailer Resort: A Burger Oasis
You might raise an eyebrow at the idea of a trailer-themed bar, but Max and Ben Goldberg's Paradise Park Trailer Resort is a stroke of genius. This hotspot is a testament to Nashville's burgeoning dining and drinking scene. The Doublewide burger, featuring two third-pound patties nestled in a toasted bun, oozing with cheese and accompanied by tater tots, is an absolute must-try. And when those late-night munchies strike at 2:30 AM, Paradise Park will be your gastronomic savior, a hidden gem among the attractions in Nashville, TN.
Hotel Recommendation: Stay just steps away from the lively Lower Broadway area by booking a room at The Bobby Hotel, a trendy boutique hotel known for its unique decor and rooftop bar with stunning views of the city.
6. Backstage Pass at Ryman Auditorium
A trip to Nashville wouldn't be complete without a taste of its musical history. Ryman Auditorium, a 126-year-old building, was initially constructed by Thomas Ryman as a Gospel Tabernacle. Intriguingly, he built it to atone for his profits from selling booze. Behind-the-scenes tours offer you a chance to explore dressing rooms where stars once prepared for legendary performances. It's a glimpse into the lives of music icons, including the legendary Aretha Franklin, who graced its stage, making it one of the top things to do in Nashville.
Hotel Recommendation: Experience historic charm by staying at Union Station Hotel Nashville, a beautifully restored railway station turned luxury hotel. It's conveniently located near Ryman Auditorium and other downtown attractions.
7. Savor the Heat at Prince's Hot Chicken
Hot chicken is practically a religion in Nashville, and Prince's Hot Chicken Shack is a pilgrimage site. Legend has it that Thornton Prince's girlfriend, angered by his infidelity, concocted a spicy revenge by dousing his chicken with hot peppers. The result? A fiery, mouthwatering dish that has become a beloved local delicacy. Whether you're a spice enthusiast or seeking a culinary adventure, this is a Nashville must-visit, ranking high on the list of things to do in Nashville, Tennessee.
Hotel Recommendation: Stay at The Joseph, a Luxury Collection Hotel, for a touch of elegance and comfort. Located in the bustling Gulch district, it offers easy access to Prince's Hot Chicken Shack and other hotspots in the city.
8. Bushwacker Bliss at Broadway Brewhouse
Originating in the Caribbean, the Bushwacker, a delightful concoction of ice cream, Kahlua, and various rums, found its forever home in Nashville. Broadway Brewhouse's rendition of this frozen delight elevates it to another level. After a day of exploration, sink into a comfy seat and enjoy this sweet and creamy treat while taking in the city views. It's a refreshing and indulgent way to unwind, a perfect choice among the stuff to do in Nashville.
Hotel Recommendation: Make your stay memorable at The Noelle, Nashville, a boutique hotel with a vibrant rooftop bar that's ideal for sipping Bushwackers and enjoying the Nashville skyline.
9. The Quest for Jack White at Third Man Records
Credit: Third Man Records
For those with a taste for rock ‘n' roll, Third Man Records is a hidden gem worth discovering. Tucked away from the downtown bustle, this quirky record shop and studio is where you might just stumble upon Jack White, a member of The White Stripes, working on his latest creation. Dive into the world of vinyl, browse merchandise, and even create your mini soundtrack at a recording booth for just $20. It's a unique Nashville experience to share with fellow music enthusiasts.
Hotel Recommendation: Stay close to the creative heart of Nashville at The Fairlane Hotel, a chic boutique hotel with a vintage-inspired design, just a short drive from Third Man Records.
10. Immerse in Art at Hatch Show Print
Credit: Undressed Design
Nestled between the Omni Nashville and the Country Music Hall of Fame, Hatch Show Print is an institution that has been producing captivating marketing materials for over a century. What began as printing flyers for church revivals and local shows has evolved into a hub of creativity. Take a tour to admire the historic artwork, delve into its rich history, and even craft your own posters. The best souvenirs are the ones you create yourself, making this a standout among the attractions in Nashville, TN.
Hotel Recommendation: Enjoy a stay at The Renaissance Nashville Hotel, situated in the heart of downtown and within walking distance of Hatch Show Print and other cultural landmarks.
11. Belt Out Your Favorite Tunes at WannaB's
While many aspire to grace the big stage in Nashville, WannaB's offers the chance to take the spotlight without the pressure of being pitch-perfect. At this emporium of musical revelry, nobody takes themselves too seriously. It's the ideal spot for group outings or a playful couple's challenge. Sing your heart out to classics like Journey and be assured that the audience will cheer you on, celebrating your bravery on the stage. It's a lighthearted experience in the world of things to do in Nashville.
Hotel Recommendation: Stay conveniently close to WannaB's by booking a room at The Kimpton Aertson Hotel, a modern and stylish hotel located in the popular Midtown neighborhood.
12. Barista Parlor: A Caffeine Lover's Paradise
Are you a coffee connoisseur or simply addicted to caffeine? Either way, Barista Parlor is the ultimate destination for java enthusiasts in East Nashville. With a range of delicious coffee concoctions and a selection of light and bold roasts, it's a hipster haven for coffee lovers. Don't forget to pair your brew with an indulgent breakfast sandwich, like the savory sausage with sage. It's a caffeinated delight amid the array of stuff to do in Nashville.
Hotel Recommendation: Stay in the trendy East Nashville neighborhood at The FieldHouse Jones Hotel, where you can explore local coffee shops, including Barista Parlor, with ease.
13. Snap a Pic at the Parthenon
While it may be a tad touristy, the Parthenon in Centennial Park is a must-visit. Snap a photo and have some fun trying to convince your friends it's the real Parthenon. This full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece houses a breathtaking 42-foot gilded sculpture of the goddess Athena. Beyond the visual spectacle, the Parthenon hosts a permanent display of American paintings from the renowned Cownan Collection. It's a place where history and art converge, worth braving the fast-forming lines for this unique among the stuff to do in Nashville, Tennessee.
14. Belle Meade Plantation: History and Reflection
The Belle Meade Plantation is a place where history and reflection intertwine. Start by wandering around the Greek Revival mansion, which tells the story of its transformation from a humble log cabin to a grand estate set on 250 acres. Beyond the mansion, explore a deer park, train station, and rock quarry. Today, it serves as an educational resource dedicated to preserving Tennessee's Victorian architecture and equestrian history. However, it also stands as a poignant reminder of a dark chapter in American history, a plantation where enslaved workers toiled. It's essential to acknowledge this inequality and remember how far we've come and how far we have yet to go.
15. Serenity at Centennial Park
Just a short drive from the city's lively heart, Centennial Park beckons with tranquility. This 132-acre park, once farmland, now offers a serene escape from the urban bustle. Take a leisurely stroll along the one-mile walking trail or relax by the picturesque Lake Watauga, perfect for a leisurely picnic with your four-legged companion. The park also boasts an art activity center and museum, providing an artistic touch to your outdoor retreat among the many Nashville stuff to do.
In a city where music is the heartbeat and history is the backdrop, Nashville offers a captivating blend of Southern traditions and contemporary culture. With an array of highly-rated hotels, each as unique as the city itself, you can enjoy the comfort and charm of Music City during your adventure. As you explore the many attractions and things to do in Nashville, Tennessee, you'll discover that this vibrant city has a melody and rhythm all its own.