Nashville Things To Do | Everything You Could Possibly Want in Music City

Posted: Monday, Jul 26 2021

Nashville is an iconic city full of amazing eats, even better drinks, music venues galore, and plenty of Southern charm. We’ve got all the city staples, plus a few local hidden gems listed here, so you’ll definitely find something that piques your interest!

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Landmarks — The “Must-See” Sights

Every destination has a few spots that are “must-see,” meaning there’s no way you can visit that city without someone asking, “Oh did you see ___?” In Paris, it’s the Eiffel Tower. In Rome, there’s the Colosseum. Well Nashville has a few must-see spots of its own!

Grand Ole Opry

First up is The Grand Ole Opry, the most famous stage in Nashville, and one of the most well-known and historical venues in the world!

Here you can immerse yourself in the world of music, catch an epic performance, or take a backstage tour!

The Opry has been historically influential and is largely responsible for modern FM radio broadcasting. Hey, it’s called Music City for a reason!

The Grand Ole Opry stage was previously in the Ryman Auditorium, but is now located on the Opryland Hotel and Opry Mills Mall campus.

Whether you’re a tourist or a local, go ahead and take a stroll to look at the guitars on the front lawn, do some shopping, grab a bite, and then enjoy an unforgettable show!

The Parthenon In Centennial Park

Just because you’re stateside, doesn’t mean you can’t convince your friends that you took a trip to Greece! Well maybe not, but you can get a little taste of Europe right here in Nashville! An exact replica of the Athenian architecture, Nashville’s Parthenon matches Greece’s inch for inch. The molds for the sculptural casings were even taken from the original!

We know what you’re thinking. Why build a Greek look-alike in Tennessee? Well, before it was known as Music City, 1800s Nashville was called the Athens of the South because it has so many universities! For a period of time, the USA Parthenon also served as Nashville’s only real art museum, housing original 19th and 20th century paintings.

Whether you take a look around inside, or just enjoy the view from the rest of Centennial Park, this area of Nashville is a picture-perfect place to visit!

The Walking Bridge

How about a view of Nashville from the water? The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, or what’s commonly called the walking bridge, crosses the Cumberland River in downtown Nashville. You can enter on either side from Broadway or the Titans stadium to easily cross back and forth, get some exercise, or snap a pic of the sunset across the Nashville skyline.

Gaylord Opryland Hotel

If you can swing a booking here, do it! More than just a collection of overnight rooms, this iconic hotel looks like a picturesque indoor European village of sorts.

The Gaylord is also an arboretum. Inside you’ll find enchanting gardens, waterfalls, and even boat rides! The surrounding area has an aesthetic collections village of shops and restaurants to enjoy.

For a truly magical sight, visit during the holiday season and marvel at the winter wonderland the Gaylord creates! That is a definite must-see!

If you want to experience a bit of this luxury hotel without actually staying overnight, that’s okay! The Gaylord is conveniently open to the public for walking around and enjoying the space during the day.

Third Man Records

Part record shop and part recording studio, Third Man Records is a Nashville landmark owned and operated by music legend, Jack White (yes, of The White Stripes and The Raconteurs!). Stop by to grab some rare vinyls, talk music with the seasoned staff, or even book a recording session! If you’re in luck, maybe the illusive rock star owner will make an appearance!


Entertainment — Nashville Style Fun

Nashville things to do skyline

Between the bars, bowling alleys, and the sports games downtown, you will never run out of fun options or things to do in Nashville!

The Escape Game Nashville

At The Escape Game Nashville, each game opens a new world packed with exciting adventure. To complete your mission and escape in 60 minutes, you’ll need to team up, think fast, and expect the unexpected!

With three locations in the city, there really is adventure around every corner. Better yet, Nashville is where The Escape Game first started! What better place to play than in the OG city?

Pinewood Social

When’s the last time you went to a restaurant that had premium coffee, craft cocktails, a bowling alley, and a swimming pool? Oh, never?

Well that can be taken care of in Nashville at Pinewood Social!

In this magical formula of fun and food, guests can spend an entertaining and unforgettable time together. But don’t restrict yourself to just one part of the day! Pinewood Social is the kind of place that offers endless entertainment at any hour.

We know it sounds too good to be true, but it’s not! Stop in for a drink or book a table/lane and enjoy!

Broadway

Heading to Broadway is a fun thing to do in Nashville

If you’re planning a trip to Nashville, you’re probably familiar with Broadway – it might even be the reason for your trip! The famed strip has been a hub of the country, nightlife, and entertainment scenes for as long as it’s been around.

Those one of a kind, neon lights are truly a sight to behold — pretty much anywhere you stand looks like a postcard! Here’s a quick guide to get you started – buy some hand-made cowboy boots, hit literally any of the spots on the Honky Tonk Highway (lower Broadway), take in the history of Printer’s Alley, and check out a Preds game if you can.

If you’re here to dance, drink, eat, or just people-watch, you should definitely head to Broadway!

Catch a sports game

Watching a game at The Predators stadium is a thing to in Nashville

Nashville is a great city if you’re a sports fan! From the Tennessee Titans to the Nashville Predators, you can easily catch a game or two in person, rather than on the TV screen. Once the game is over, you can walk over to a bar on Broadway for a drink or to Fifth + B for a bite to eat!

House of Cards

If you have a free evening in Nashville, and are feeling a little whimsical, you should check out House of Cards!

One of the city’s most unique entertainment experiences, House of Cards elegantly combines fine dining, craft cocktails, and magic performed by some of the nation’s top magicians.

Don’t get so dazzled by the illusions that you forget to observe the decor and extensive collection of vintage magic memorabilia!

This place is popular so reservations are highly encouraged. Also, be aware that there is a dress code (a sport coat or cocktail dress) but that only enhances the one-of-a-kind experience!

Game Point Cafe

This hangout spot is unlike any other. We’re talkin wall-to-wall board games and an amazing cafe menu. The brainchild of two board game lovers (one being the founder of the local coffee shop, Bongo Java), Game Point Cafe offers an extensive game collection from classic staples to modern strategy and goofy, get-to-know-you options.

The location is also killer! It’s right in the super hip Five Points section of the ever-trendy East Nashville. Kick back, grab some food, and start playing! We’ve all gotta unplug sometimes!

Madame Tussaud’s Nashville

Your chances of meeting Taylor Swift or Blake Shelton aren’t very high. But that doesn’t mean you  can’t see them up close!

Check out the incredible wax sculptures at Madame Tussaud’s Nashville where you’ll find uncanny depictions of your favorite country stars.

However, country crooners aren’t all Madame Tussaud’s has to offer. Music legends of all genres are available to see!

Plugged right into Music City’s heritage, you’ll find this location next to the round stage inside Opry Mills Mall, on the Opry campus that’s home to both the Opryland Resort and the Grand Ole Opry.


Food — Amazing Eats in Nashville

Let’s face it. Nothing is more important than delicious food in a city! From upscale restaurants to down home cookin’, Nashville offers plenty of options for all kinds of diners. Keep reading for some mouthwatering options.

Fifth + Broadway

Nashville’s newest downtown eatery is a massive cafeteria and fine dining conglomeration. With over 20 delicious food options, there is something for everyone here!

While there are individual, sit-down restaurants, The Assembly Food Hall is the place to go with a group! From tacos and pasta to sushi and burgers, all of your favorite foods and restaurants can be found.

Once you’re finished eating (good luck deciding where, because you’ll want everything) there’s still more to do at Fifth + B!

Grab a latte from Elixr, stroll through a few art galleries, shop in a boutique, and snap an Insta pic with one of the painted murals!

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken

Nashville hot chicken is a Southern staple and one of the true delights of this city. It’s made its way into the trendy American food sphere, however no one else really gets it quite right! Now Hattie B’s isn’t the first to make hot chicken, but they are one of the most popular!

If you want a really scrumptious Southern meal, hit up Hattie B’s for Sunday brunch when they offer hot chicken on fluffy Belgian waffles with a side of southern grits. If you’re dubious about your spice tolerance, fear not! Hattie B’s offers a range of approachable heat to absolutely insane fire.

Edley’s Bar-B-Que

The barbecue options in Nashville can be a bit overwhelming, but one place any BBQ lover should sample is Edley’s Bar-B-Que. As a tribute to all the best elements of Southern cooking, Edley’s combines down South hospitality with the classic Tennessee meat-and-three dining style.

Dining options include high-grade meats, smoked low and slow, and prepared with generational family recipes. The place is named after the founder’s grandfather who inspired the restaurant and kicked off the lineage of family-secret recipes. If you’re in town and looking for BBQ, you can’t go wrong with Edley’s!

Husk

Interested in southern cuisine but fine dining is more your style? Look no further. Husk is a Nashville treasure – exploring and celebrating southern cuisine with a menu curated to utilize strictly local ingredients. That’s to say, even though the menu is evolving and ingredient-driven, if it’s not from the South, it’s not touching your plate.

Seed-saving, heirloom husbandry, in-house pickling and charcuterie programs by Executive Chef Katie Coss and her culinary team are the basis of Husk’s cuisine.

If you want to experience uniquely southern food in the heart of Nashville, we highly recommend checking out Husk.

Arnold’s Country Kitchen

Arnold’s is a mom and pop restaurant, opened almost 30 years ago by the Arnold family, and you’ll still find two or three of them there on any given day! This place is impossible to resist — everything is made from scratch! You’ll come for the signature roast beef and stay for the unbelievable pie.

A favorite dining locale for Nashville natives and visitors alike, Arnold’s is not just legendary, it’s award-winning! Recipient of the 2009 James Beard American Classics Award, and featured in publications like Bon Appetit, and shows like Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, this is a can’t-miss in Nashville. And after you leave, if you just can’t get that pie off your mind, you can have one shipped to anywhere in the US!


Dessert — Nashville’s Sweetest Treats

After sampling some of Nashville’s yummy savory options, why not top of your meal with something sweet? From donuts to cupcakes and everything in between, you’ll want a bite of all these treats.

Legendairy Milkshake Bar

Legendairy (yes that’s spelled correctly) Milkshake Bar has been blessing Nashville with their signature Blue Bell ice cream shakes for a while. It has even been featured on The Cooking Channel’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”!

That may seem like outrageous praise, but once you taste a custom milkshake for yourself, you’ll get it!

Each signature shake comes piled high with an entire dessert on top! That’s right – it’s treats on treats.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that The Escape Game’s downtown location is also right across the street!

Five Daughters Bakery

A sweet local gem with locations scattered throughout greater Nashville, Five Daughters Bakery was founded in Franklin, TN by a third-generation baker, his wife, and their five daughters.

Offering fresh-baked comforts like their famous doughnuts and cookies, Five Daughters is committed to serving only the best ingredients along with a warm smile and welcoming atmosphere.

The trouble though is actually getting a treat before they sell out! But don’t worry. You can reserve your treats in advance, or pop in for some glazed goodness on the go!

The Baked Bear

Can’t decide if you’d rather have ice cream or cookies? At The Baked Bear you don’t have to!

This dessert diner serves up the best ice cream sandwiches available in Nashville.

From classic favorites, like chocolate chip and snickerdoodle, to fun variations, like red velvet and toasted s’mores, there’s and endless array of sweet flavors to choose from. They also have some vegan and gluten free options!

The best part? YOU get to choose and customize exactly what you want on your sandwich!


Museums — A Little Music City History

From musical legends to Civil War battles, Nashville has been home to several significant historical happenings. Check out the museums where you can see how it all unfolded!

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

This 1,120-acre National Historic Landmark was once home to former President Andrew Jackson and his family. Now, it’s one of the most visited presidential homes in the United States!

The former president and his family used the expansive property as a mix of living quarters, office space, and entertainment area. The home has actually been restored with most of Jackson’s original belongings — the mansion is considered the most accurately preserved early presidential home in the country!

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is home to more than 2.5 million priceless artifacts related to country music legends. Through in-person exhibits, digital content, publications, and educational initiatives, the museum teaches the enduring beauty and cultural importance of American country music.

Gallery collections include countless recordings, photographs, stage costumes, musical instruments, and more. This is a must-see for any country music lover, whether you’re a fan of the classic artists or the more modern country crowd!

Adventure Science Center

The iconic glowing pyramid architecture makes the Adventure Science Center unmistakable, even from a distance across the skyline. Even if you don’t actually visit the museum, make sure you try to spot it when driving around Nashville!

Offering educational entertainment for adults and kids alike, the Adventure Science Center is a great excursion for anyone with a curious mind.

The museum also has a domed planetarium with light shows and virtual journeys into the final frontier!

Johnny Cash Museum

Nestled in the heart of Nashville, this massive museum boasts the world’s most complete collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia.

While this museum is an awesome tribute to the music history icon, you don’t even have to know much about Johnny Cash to appreciate this shrine of Americana!

Click the button below for even more Nashville museums worth a visit!


Venues — Music City’s Finest

Watching musicians is a common thing to do in Nashville

Catch some tunes at one of the many music venues in Nashville. No matter your preferred genre, there will definitely be a show for you.

The Ryman Auditorium

The Ryman needs no introduction, but we’ll give it one anyway! As the original Grand Ole Opry venue until 1974, Ryman Auditorium is an essential part of Nashville music history.

From this building, FM radio broadcasts reached listeners that traditional AM (the standard at the time) couldn’t. This revolutionary creation established Nashville as Music City because it’s the place people were able to hear music, even from far away!

The tours at The Ryman are worth checking out, but we also recommend catching a concert if you can! The Ryman’s musical significance (and killer acoustics) have been host to countless musicians and entertainers throughout the years. This place is a must-visit stop for any music lover!

Exit/In

Exit/In is a venue, but not just ANY venue. It may not appear on many tourist blogs since it doesn’t offer tours and seems pretty unassuming.

But what Ex/In lacks in frills, it more than makes up for in independent music history. Take a closer look at the black brick wall of fame exterior and you’ll appreciate the significance of this place!

Mercy Lounge/Cannery Ballroom

The Cannery ballroom shows are things to do in Nashville

Nashville’s historic Cannery building, built in 1883 for food manufacturing, was transformed into a live music club in 2003, aka The Mercy Lounge. Its central location, relaxed atmosphere, and uncanny ability to attract heavy-hitting talent makes this a great place to see a show. The more spacious area, called the Cannery Ballroom, accommodates larger concerts, while the more intimate setting for emerging artists is called the High Watt. With almost nightly shows and great drinks, it’s not hard to find a reason to drop in!


Coffee — All the Local Favorites

Nashville is a great coffee city with a fantastic mix of established local shops as well as new spots popping up all the time.

Frothy Monkey

Frothy Monkey has been a Nashville staple since 2004. Voted “Best Coffee Shop,” they know how to serve a good cup of joe. From specialty lattes to a variety of teas, they’ve got you covered!

But Frothy is known for more than just their drinks! They also serve delicious brunch and dinner options, wine and cocktails, and they even host social events like Wine Down Wednesdays!

Some especially yummy menu items include the huevos rolandos, the farm burger, and the Peanut butter brownie cheesecake for dessert! They also feature a seasonal menu, so don’t forget to check that out for a limited time dining experience.

With multiple locations around the city, there’s likely a Frothy Monkey close by you!

The Well Coffeehouse

Going to local coffee shop, The Well, is a great thing to do in Nashville.

If you’re looking for a drink that goes beyond just that one cup, The Well is the place for you. This shop has a mission to make their coffee count — to “love coffee and love people.” First, they ensure the farmers from whom they source their beans earn a living wage. Secondly, they work to bridge the gap between these communities that often struggle with access to safe water by partnering with local organizations to bring clean water.

Kettner Coffee

This java gem in East Nashville serves up delicious coffee in a comfy chic atmosphere.

You can spot this shop by the quirky and one-of-a-kind line sketches they use in their decorating.

Fun fact: The shop is named after one of the owner’s favorite street’s in her hometown, San Diego!

If you go, don’t forget to snap a pic with their signature cup!


Outdoors — Nashville Nature

Just because Nashville is a city doesn’t mean it doesn’t offer some awesome outdoor fun!

Radnor Lake State Park

One thing to do in Nashville is go to Radnor Lake, a huge outdoor recreation area

Take a hike! No, seriously! Even in the city you can catch a breath of fresh air. Radnor Lake State Park is actually one of the most scenic spots in Middle Tennessee.

Radnor offers miles of unpaved hiking trails, with varying difficulty levels, and native wildlife displays. With year-round events, festivals, and even art shows, the 1,300+ acre preserve is both entertaining and refreshing!

Percy Priest Lake

Going to Percy Priest lake is a thing to do in Nashville

About 10 miles east of downtown Nashville lies Percy Priest Lake. Surrounding the water are various recreation areas, state parks, and camping sites! Also, don’t forget to check out Nashville Shores for some splashing in the summertime!


Ready for a Nashville adventure?

Click here to book your epic experience at The Escape Game Nashville!

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