Nashville Travel Guides

Super useful & totally free travel guides, written by locals who love Nashville

Aerial view of the capitol of Nashville
Nashville’s Capitol and Downtown Skyline

Why We Love CITY: Nashville, AKA Music City, is best known for its legendary music scene. There’s more than just country music happening here, though! Fans of all genres will find their favorite artists stopping through.

What you may not know is that Nashville also has a top-tier culinary scene and is full of cultural attractions. Nashville is home to an increasing number of breweries, bars, shops, and outdoor spaces. Everyone will find something to love in this big city with a small-town charm.

Best of Nashville

Things to Do

The colorful Japanese Garden in Cheekwood
Japanese Garden at Cheekwood

Everyone knows Nashville has an incredible music scene. There’s no shortage of other awesome attractions here, too.

  • Country Music Hall of Fame – The “Smithsonian of Country Music,” museum houses millions of pieces of country music history
  • Cheekwood – A spectacular estate and botanical gardens worth visiting every season
  • The Johnny Cash Museum – A classic must-visit attraction in Nashville for all music lovers
  • Nashville Zoo – Visit the red pandas, leopards, kangaroos, and other animals at one of the top zoos in the region
  • Nashville Parthenon – A full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, including a 42-foot statue of Athena

👉 Read all best things to do in Nashville.

🗺️ Where to Stay

No matter which neighborhood you choose to stay in, you’ll enjoy your time in Nashville. Here are the best locations for first-time visitors.

  • Downtown Nashville – The heart of Nashville, is filled with music venues, bars, museums, and historic sites
  • Midtown – An area known for its nightlife and music scene. Popular with both visitors and locals.
  • The Gulch – A small, trendy neighborhood with upscale dining, boutique shopping, and artsy museums

👉 Read the complete guide to where to stay in Nashville.

View of rental scooters in Downtown Nashville
Downtown Nashville (Photo: Steve Heap / Shutterstock)

🛎️ Best Hotels

View from the inside of Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville
Gaylord Opryland Resort (Photo: Hendrickson Photograph / Shutterstock)

Nashville has plenty of hotels for every budget and location. Some hotels are a destination in themselves.

  • Graduate Nashville – A themed hotel with a playful attitude and one of the best rooftop bars in Nashville.
  • Thompson Nashville – A luxury hotel in the Gulch, located just a short walk from major Nashville attractions
  • Gaylord Opryland Resort – This larger-than-life resort is perfect for families or couples
  • The Hermitage Hotel – Right in the middle of Downtown, an upscale hotel housed in a gorgeous 1910 beaux art building

🛎️ For more, see my full list of the best hotels in Nashville.

🍽️ Restaurants

Nashville has a rich food scene that is constantly growing. Here are just a few of the can’t-miss restaurants in the city.

  • Folk – A fine-dining restaurant with seasonal menus from locally sourced ingredients
  • Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack – No visit to Nashville is complete without hot chicken and delicious Southern sides
  • Biscuit Love – One of the best brunch spots in Nashville, featuring brunch staples as well as specialties you won’t find anywhere else
  • The Optimist – An oyster and seafood restaurant with a cool, cozy atmosphere
  • Husk – Located right in Downtown, Southern food elevated into an upscale experience

👉 Read the full list of 19 top restaurants in Nashville.

View of the Prince's Hot Chicken sign on the entrance
Prince’s Hot Chicken (Photo: Josiah True / Shutterstock)

🚗 Day Trips

View of the colorful Pedestrian Bridge in Chattanooga and the neighborhood around it
The Pedestrian Bridge in Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Mammoth Cave National Park – Spend an afternoon exploring the largest cave system in the world
  • Franklin, TN – A town a short drive south with historic neighborhoods and a charming downtown area 
  • Knoxville, TN – Adventurous travelers will love this outdoorsy city with a hip downtown
  • Memphis, TN – The iconic southern city with legendary barbeque joints and historic music sites
  • Huntsville, AL – Best known for its role in space travel, this city is becoming a hotspot for restaurants and breweries

🏘️ Neighborhoods

View of guitars sculpture on the entrance to Grand Ole Opry
Entrance to the Grand Ole Opry House (Photo: Paul McKinnon / Shutterstock)
  • Downtown Nashville – the heart of Nashville filled with music venues restaurants, honkytonks, and historic sites
  • Midtown – a lively neighborhood that is home to Vanderbilt University and Music Row
  • The Gulch – right next to Downtown, a small, trendy neighborhood filled with upscale dining and shopping
  • Music Valley – home to the Grand Ole Opry House, a popular tourist area with resorts and a huge shopping mall
  • East Nashville – a residential neighborhood with a quirky atmosphere that both tourists and locals love

🏘️ Read the full list of best Nashville neighborhoods.

🍸 Bars

View of the lounge area in White Limozeen in Nashville
Lounge at the White Limozeen
  • White Limozeen – Make reservations for a seat at this Dolly Parton-themed bar in advance. It’s perfect for planning a Nashville bachelorette.
  • Lipstick Lounge – An LGBTQ-friendly spot for anyone looking to enjoy karaoke, dancing, and good vibes
  • Pearl Diver – Enjoy a tropical drink and relax in the laid-back island atmosphere
  • Fable Lounge – Stop by for a classic cocktail at this West End piano bar
  • Rebar Midtown – Try the Bushwacker and enjoy a few rounds of darts or play one of the patio games

🤠 Honky Tonks

View of neon store signs along the Broadway Honky Tonks
Broadway Honky Tonks (Photo: Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock)
  • Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge – Don’t skip a visit to one of the original Nashville honky tonks
  • Robert’s Western World – Locals and visitors alike head here for live music, dancing, and fried bologna sandwiches
  • Rippy’s – Sit down for barbecue and enjoy live music at one of Nashville’s few family-friendly honky tonks
  • The Stage – A popular 3-story honky tonk with a huge dancefloor, live country bands, and a rooftop patio 
  • Layla’s – Head to Layla’s for a more laid-back and less crowded honky tonk experience

🎵 Music Venues

View of the Ryman Auditorium From the outside
Enjoy musical acts at Ryman Auditorium
  • Ryman Auditorium – This converted tabernacle has amazing acoustics and is one of the most unique music venues in Nashville
  • Station Inn – Head to the Station Inn to hear the best bluegrass music in the world
  • Bluebird Cafe – A tiny venue where you can watch up-and-coming Nashville talent and catch an occasional star appearance
  • Grand Ole Opry House – Tours are available at this legendary country music venue, but seeing a live show is the best experience
  • Basement East – An intimate venue that regularly hosts artists from all genres, watch for last minute pop-up concerts

🎸 Read the full list of best Nashville music venues.

🥾 Nearby Hikes

People enjoying their swim in Cummins Falls
Swimmers at Cummins Falls
  • Radnor Lake – Located just a short drive out of Nashville, everyone can enjoy this short, easy hike around the lake
  • Shelby Bottoms Greenway – For adventure in the city, check out the 5 miles of paved paths that run along the Cumberland River
  • Cummins Falls – Travel an hour and a half out of the city for an adventurous hike with terrain changes and stream crossings
  • Narrows of the Harpeth – An easy hike with a great view of a tunnel waterfall in the Harpeth River State Park
  • Edwin Warner Park – For some of the most popular trails within Nashville, check out this city park

👉 Read the full list of best hikes near Nashville.

🆓 Free Activities

View of a black historic carriage in Tennessee State Museum
Tennessee State Museum (Photo: Roman Korotkov / Shutterstock)
  • Live on the Green – Don’t miss the artists during this live music festival that takes place during the end of the summer
  • Tennessee State Museum – Take a walk through Tennessee’s history 
  • Fannie Mae Dees Park – Known as the dragon park thanks to the gigantic mosaic serpent sculpture on display
  • First Saturday Art Crawl – Art galleries in Downtown Nashville open for this event and offer free cocktails 
  • Big Band Dances – On Saturday evenings in the summer, head to Centennial Park for free dance lessons and music

Nashville Travel Advice

🗓️ Best Time to Visit

Spring and fall offer visitors pleasant weather and fewer crowds. However, Nashville is fun in all four seasons.

  • 🍂 Fall – Temperatures begin to drop during September making fall a great time to visit Nashville.
  • 🌞 Summer – Nashville is busiest in the summer. It gets hot, but the city comes alive on long summer evenings.
  • ❄️ Winter – Except for Christmas and New Year’s, crowds thin out during the cold winter season.
  • 🌼 Spring – With cool mornings and warmer afternoons, spring is my favorite time in Nashville.

👉 Read the full guide to when to visit Nashville.

🚌 Getting Around

It’s possible to visit Nashville for a weekend without a car. For more extended stays, you’ll probably need a car to get everywhere.

  • 🚶‍♀️ Walking – Downtown Nashville, Midtown, and the Gulch are walkable and great choices for visitors.
  • 🚗 Driving – Driving is the best way to get from one neighborhood to another. Plan to pay for parking.
  • 🚇 Public Transit – Public transit exists, but it’s not set up well for visitors.
  • 📲 Ride Share – Readily available in Nashville. Can be expensive, but you won’t have to pay for parking.
  • 🚴‍♀️ Biking – Bike lanes are expanding in Nashville, but still don’t connect enough places yet.
  • 🛴 Scooters – Rentable scooters are great for getting around within neighborhoods.

👉 Read the full guide to getting around Nashville.

👉 Tips & Things to Know

  • 🌡️ – Check the weather daily. – It’s not uncommon to have highs that differ by 30 degrees in the same week.
  • 🚗 – Plan for parking. – Parking is limited in some areas. You may have to pay for parking. Sometimes it’s easy to Uber even if you have a car.
  • 🍴 – Make restaurant reservations in advance. – Popular Nashville restaurants are busy. Make reservations for brunch and dinner to avoid a wait.
  • 💰 – Take advantage of free activities. – There’s always something free happening in Nashville. Check for festivals and live music.
  • 🌲 – Get outdoors. – The city has amazing parks and greenways. If you enjoy hiking, biking, or paddling, you find something nearby.

👉 Read our full list of Nashville tips.

🧳 What to Pack

  • 🧴 – Sunscreen – Sunscreen is a must for visitors during the summer months.
  • 👟- Walking shoes – Even if you plan on driving to locations, you’ll still do a lot of walking at different attractions.
  • 👚 – Appropriate clothes – Nashville experiences all four seasons, but the weather is up and down. Check the weather forecast before packing.
  • 🧥- Jacket – The temperature can change dramatically. Sometimes, it gets chilly when the sun goes down even on a warm day.
  • 👜 – Clear bag – Most stadiums in Nashville only allow clear bags. If you’re headed to a game or stadium concert, plan ahead.

👉 Read our full Nashville packing list.

🤓 Facts & Info

  • Census Population (2020) – 689447 (city), 1,989,519 (metro area)
  • Time Zone –  Central Time (UTC -06:00 / UTC -05:00 during daylight savings)
  • Area Codes – 615 and 629
  • Airports – Nashville International Airport (BNA)
  • Nickname – Music City
  • Demonynm – Nashvillian
  • StateTennessee
  • CountryUnited States of America

🤓 See the full list of Nashville facts.

💵 Costs & Budgeting

  • 3 Star Hotel Room – $150-250/night
  • 1 Bedroom Apartment Rental – $150/night
  • Rental Car – $40/day
  • Public Transit Ticket – ~$4 day passes ($2 to airport from center)
  • Ride Share from Downtown to Airport – $15-30
  • Take Out Meal for Two – $20-30
  • Sit Down Dinner for Two – $50-150
  • Draft Beer – $4-10

FAQs About Visiting Nashville

Is Nashville safe for tourists?

Nashville is generally considered safe for tourists. Like with any city, you should be aware of your surroundings, but the overall risk for visitors to Nashville is low. Read our full guide to safety in Nashville for more information and safety tips.

What part of Nashville is best to stay?

Downtown Nashville is one of the best places for visitors to stay. Midtown and the Gulch are also popular neighborhoods for travelers to stay. See our full guide to staying in Nashville for a more detailed breakdown.

What is the best month to visit Nashville?

Summer is the most popular time to visit Nashville. The city comes alive during the summer months, and there are always events going on. For fewer crowds, visit Nashville in the spring or fall. See our full guide to when to visit Nashville for more details.

How many days do you need in Nashville?

To visit a few of the most popular attractions, you will need to stay in Nashville for 2-3 days. That being said, there’s plenty to keep visitors busy during longer stays in Nashville.

Is Nashville worth visiting?

Nashville is worth visiting if you enjoy live music, dining, shopping, bars, and museums. The city is constantly opening new cultural attractions and unique experiences.

📰 Nashville Travel Guides

Nashville is a popular travel destination, but Tennessee has a wealth of other sites to explore. From unique cities to charming small towns, there’s plenty more to see, not to mention Tennessee’s natural attractions like the Smoky Mountains. No matter what your ideal vacation looks like, you’ll find something to love in Nashville.

Meet Our Nashville Travel Expert

Elizabeth Demolat

Elizabeth Demolat is a travel and lifestyle writer in Nashville, Tennessee. Elizabeth loves exploring new destinations. Her favorite travel destinations are France, Italy, and the United States. Right now, Elizabeth is focused on finding cool local spots and taking trips through the southeastern United States.

👉 Read Elizabeth’s Articles

🗺️ Nashville Map