Answers from Our Experts (4)
Nashville is vibrant city that boasts a burgeoning cultural scene. No matter your interests, this Southern city is packed with things to do. Here is our list of the best five:
1. Dive into the music scene. Country music junkies will love the Nashville Homes of the Stars tour that shows you where to today’s stars live. And you can’t miss the chance to enjoy a night of concerts by old and new country artists at the historic Grand Ole Opry.
2. Go back in time. Civil War buffs can tour the sites connected with the Battle of Nashville and Battle of Franklin or take in Nashville’s beautiful antebellum homes, such as Belle Meade Plantation and Belmont Mansion.
3. See the parks. If, instead, you are a nature lover, you’ll enjoy spending time in Nashville’s urban parks — Centennial Park is a local favorite — or hitting the hiking trails at spots like Radnor Lake State Natural Area or at the Warner Parks.
4. Shop. If shopping is your forte, then Nashville offers everything from high end shopping at Green Hills Mall to boutique shops in eclectic shopping districts like Hillsboro Village and 12South.
5. Frist Center for the Visual Arts. Art lovers will adore Nashville’s increasingly vibrant art scene, anchored by the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and given energy by art districts like Fifth Avenue of the Arts, where numerous galleries are clustered around downtown Nashville’s Fifth Avenue, and by events like the First Saturday Art Crawl, which introduces locals and visitors to new artists.
1. First, take a bike tour, whether it’s with Thomas [Solinsky] from Sound Forest or someone else. It’s a great way to see the whole city in just half a day — don’t forget to see the capitol building and walk up the steps.
2. Go see the Nashville Symphony. I went there recently with my son and there’s just something about getting dressed up, walking down the corridor, seeing the violinists’ fingers move so quickly. It was spectacular. I felt so proud of our town that I immediately went home and made a donation.
3. See live music at The Basement, Ryman Auditorium or Station Inn. They are all icons, but completely different.
4. I love to see things in contrast. I think it would be cool to drive down Charlotte Avenue to see the diversity and busyness, and then cut over to Belle Meade Boulevard to see the hoity-toity-est part of town. Then get out of your car at Percy Warner Park, walk up the stairs and take a moment to think about what you’ve seen. It’s such a dichotomy, just within a couple of miles of each other.
5. And then, I would say it’s important to go downtown during the day. See Broadway. You can still go into Tootsie’s [Orchid Lounge], even in the middle of the day.
1. You have experience the honky-tonks on Broadway.
2. Go to a Nashville Predators game. I never thought Nashville would be a big hockey town but people love it. Nashville always supports its own and hockey is really fun to watch.
3. Sitting down or standing on a corner of Broadway and people watching is really awesome. It’s fascinating to see all the different kinds of people, styles — or lack of style. I just love seeing it all.
4. Take a drive out into the country away from downtown. Nashville is a big city but it has a small-town vibe, so it’s not far from the country.
5. And then I’d say visit Belcourt Theatre. It’s one of the really great gems of Nashville that you may not know of if you’re a tourist. Belcourt is a really cool, old independent theater.
If you're making your first trip to Nashville, boy are you in for a treat! After growing up and moving every two or three years, I've lived in more states than you can shake a stick at, and I've decided to call Nashville home because it's such a friendly, welcoming, and exciting town. Here are some of my favorite things to do when friends come to town:
1. Go hear some music. You're missing out if you miss the music. Every night there's something different available in Nashville, from free concerts to expensive headliners—my favorite concert hall is The Ryman. The acoustics are perfect, the lineups are always top-notch, and there isn't a bad seat in the house.
2. Make friends with local artisans (i.e. shop local). Take a tour of Nashville's new "maker" culture. From Imogene + Willie's denim emporium to Otis James' sewing rooms, there are young people in Nashville using their hands to make something one of a kind that you can only find in Nashville. There's also great local shopping in East Nashville.
3. Get a good meal. Nashville's restaurant scene is in the midst of a major renaissance. More local restaurants have popped up in the last few years than I can keep up with—and the food just keeps getting better. Check out these restaurants, or the five best food experiences in Nashville. Or, if you're looking for brunch, here are the five best places to find it.
4. Enjoy the great outdoors. Nashville is full of nature—from hiking trails to the river front, there are plenty of ways to get outside (and most of them are free). From stand-up paddleboard to movies in the park, a picnic in Centennial Park, or a trip to the farmers' market, you'll miss too much of Nashville if you stay inside!
5. Check out the city's best bars. Nothing screams vacation like a good martini. And no one makes a martini like The Patterson House. If you're looking for a patio try Pub5, Three Crow, or Edley's BBQ. If you're wanting to hole-up, you'll like Holland House, Bar No. 308, or Rumours.