Love great food and live music? Then put a visit to Nashville on your list of travel destinations. Exploring a new city can be a lot of fun. There’s always something unique to discover, and Nashville is no different. From downtown Honky Tonks, to great barbecue, the best things to do in Nashville offer a new adventure around every corner.
You don’t have to wait for a milestone like a birthday or anniversary to book your next trip. Although many of us like to tie vacations to these happy moments. Actually, those who travel to celebrate special occasions are happier and more successful than those who don’t, according to new research. A survey of 2,000 American adults looked at their thoughts on a milestone trip and found that while 48 percent save travel for special occasions, another 40 percent think you should travel as much as you can.
Nashville is also one of the best places in the country to see live music, especially country music. Live shows are more than fun and exciting. A recent study says that going to a concert may be better for your mental health than doing yoga.
Don’t forget your cowboy boots! (opens in new tab) StudyFinds compiled a list of the top five things to do in Nashville the next time you visit based on reviews from ten expert websites. As always, we’d love to see your recommendations in the comments below!
List: The best things that Do it in Nashville, Per Travel Experts
1. The Grand Ole Opry
One of Nashville’s top attractions, the Grand Ole Opry is a musical treasure. NOMADasaurus notes, “it’s a musician’s dream to be invited (yes, invited) to play on the hallowed stage. In Nashville, playing here is the definition of ‘making it.’”
“The Grand Ole Opry is radio’s longest-running show, dating back to 1925, attracting some of the most talented singer-songwriters of all time,” according to Upgraded Points.
Visitors come from all over the world to be in the audience of this radio program. “You can get tickets to see a taping of the Grand Ole Opry, a country music fan’s dream. If you’re not a country fan, check out the upcoming shows. Artists from all genres of music play at the Opry House,” adds Travel Lemming.
“In addition to seeing the show, you can also sign up for a tour of the Opry. There are daily backstage tours as well as backstage tours after the show,” Goats On The Road points out.
2. Museum tours
Nashville is also home to some great museums. One of them is the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, which contains about 2.5 million artifacts.
“Music and history buffs can mingle and mingle with the exhibits housed in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Peruse plaques dedicated to the best of country music—from Patsy Cline to Reba McEntire to Alan Jackson—and stroll among artifacts like Johnny Cash’s guitar and Elvis Presley’s ‘solid gold’ Cadillac limousine,” according to US News & World Report.
Travel Addicts points out that the museum “strives to honor the musical heritage of the county while also focusing on contemporary and even cross-over artists. While there is a permanent collection, some of the exhibits rotate.”
The Johnny Cash Museum is another fantastic stop for music lovers. The Vacationer notes that it is “one of the best music museums in the world and filled with the largest and most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia.” Johnny Cash’s handwritten letters, instruments, clothing and other personal items are on display. “The museum has a small theater that plays clips of movies and TV shows that Cash has appeared in, and there is an interactive exhibit that shows his music in different formats. Be sure to reserve your tickets online to avoid lines as the museum can get busy,” according to Upgraded Points.
3. Visit Broadway
This vibrant downtown Nashville area features bars, clubs and honky tonks. Music fills the air as you walk the streets. Awnings sparkle with fancy neon signs. Many of today’s top country artists own bars and restaurants in this part of town.
Affectionately known as the Honky Tonk Highway, the bars and clubs here are defined by the presence of live music, long hours and a lack of cover. With a music culture that encourages big stars and unknown acts to take to the stage, no matter how small, that means bar hopping is the way to go,” suggests Expedia.
Be sure to stop by Tootsies Orchid Lounge, Nashville’s oldest honky tonk. Travelers Worldwide notes that it is “a top-rated destination for tourists. Many famous musicians have passed through the saloon’s doors, including Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline. Due to its popularity, there is always a long wait in the evening to get inside. However, once you get in, you will have a fantastic time with live music and plenty of drinks.”
Day or night, Broadway is an experience like no other. Plus, you can find some great stores where you can buy a cowboy hat and a pair of boots.
4. Ryman Auditorium
Known as the Mother Church of Country Music, this historic music venue is located in downtown Nashville. “Founded in 1892 as the Union Gospel Tabernacle Church, this 2,362-seat venue was once the home of the Grand Ole Opry,” according to the Family Destination Guide.
The Ryman has amazing acoustics, beautiful architecture, stained glass windows and church pew seating. “Self-guided tours are available daily that allow you to explore the auditorium and exhibits. You can even have your photo taken on stage. For an additional fee, you can take a guided tour that also allows you to go backstage,” notes Travel Lemming.
“If touring isn’t quite your speed, you can grab a ticket to one of the shows (domestic and beyond) that are still held here almost every night of the week,” added Travel Addicts.
5. Parthenon in Centennial Park
No, you’re not in Greece, but you want to check out this cool replica of the Parthenon located in Nashville’s Centennial Park. Structure “it was only temporary—it was built for Tennessee’s centennial in 1897—and has since become a beloved attraction, featuring models of statues found in the original structure as well as an impressive art collection. Travelers praise the well-kept grounds, peaceful atmosphere and magnificent building, recommending an evening visit to see it lit up,” according to US News & World Report.
“Enter the main hall upstairs to see a huge statue of the goddess Athena. Go on a tour and walk through four art galleries. Fun fact: The statue of Athena is the tallest indoor statue in the Western Hemisphere,” adds The Vacationer.
Honorable Mention: Food
Nashville is known for its amazing food. Get a piece of hot chicken from Hattie B’s. “There are several Hattie B’s locations in Nashville, including one near Music Row. Provided you don’t go overboard with the spice level, eating hot chicken is definitely one of the tastiest things to do in Nashville,” Goats On The Road points out.
If you’re still hungry, one of my favorite places for good old barbecue is Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint. Their pork is a mouth-watering delight. As for the ribs? They fall right off the bone.
Do you want breakfast? The Pancake Pantry has some of the best flapjacks in Tennessee, with endless flavor combinations. Another must try is Biscuit Love. You can make breakfast around their specialty biscuits and add some hot chicken to it.
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