Nashville, Tennessee is home and epicenter of country music. Walking through the neon light studded downtown district it will come as no surprise as live country tunes float out from bars and restaurants. As the capital of Tennessee, Nashville has so much more to offer than just its honky-tonks and cowboy boots.
Making your way through the historic streets or along the Cumberland River, you will find yourself met with smiling faces, a relaxed atmosphere and plenty of opportunities to sit back and enjoy the people walking by.
The best part about Nashville is the longer you stay, the more you realize there is to see. Our first visit to Nashville only lasted a day and we quickly realized there is too much to experience. Coming back a second time for four days we still found our days packed with adventure.
Walking map of things to see in Nashville
Top things to do in Downtown Nashville:
John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge
Start by making your way into the city center on foot. Cross over the Cumberland River on the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge for the best skyline views. During the warmer months this area will be full of tourists and locals enjoying a sunny day.
Country Music Hall of Fame
Your visit does not count in Nashville without a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Make your way through history with its extensive collections ranging from the roots of country to its pop star status of today. Learn everything along the way about your favorite country music star, with an interactive section allowing you to record your first hit!
Johnny Cash Museum
Walk the line on over to the Johnny Cash Museum. Here you can explore the largest collection of memorabilia from the late and great Johnny Cash. See all the stages of his life and career of The Man in Black including his time in the Air Force.
The museum is open daily from 9AM to 6PM. Tickets are $20 per adult.
Patsy Cline Museum
Right above the Johnny Cash Museum is the Patsy Cline Museum. This is one of the newest museums in the city, about pop-country voice Patsy Cline. Follow the short lived career of this country music star who tragically died in a plane crash at 30. Some of the highlights include the handwritten lyrics to her hit song “I Fall to Pieces” and Don Helms’ “Ol Red” steel guitar used for Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight.”
The museum is open daily from 9AM to 6PM. Tickets are $19 per adult.
George Jones Museum
Next it is time to immerse yourself in the life and music of George Jones. Learn all about the country music legend with more chart topping hits than anyone else in the genre. See his one of a kind suits, memorabilia awards, and our favorite, the big rocking chair!
The George Jones Museum is located on the middle floor with a restaurant below and rooftop bar, so plan to visit around lunch or dinner time. Tickets are $17 per adult.
Once the longtime home of the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium remains a staple in country music to this day. If you have the chance to catch a show at this downtown Mother Church of Country Music, do not miss out. For those without enough time for a concert, take a guided or self guided backstage tour to get up close with the musical magic and the building’s deep history.
Tours are available daily from 9AM to 4:30 PM, but hours can vary depending on the concert schedule.
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
There is no limit of green space in Nashville and one of the best spots is the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. This 19-acre park takes you on a quick tour of Tennessee’s history and many natural climates. There is also plenty of space to sit and relax in the sun.
Every 15 minutes the WWII memorial topped with a 95-Bell Carillon plays a portion of the Tennessee Waltz. On the top of the hour an entire song plays.
Nashville Farmers’ Market
When visiting Nashville anytime from the spring through the fall, makes sure to stop by the Nashville Farmers’ Market. You can find local and fresh produce throughout the week, but most vendors are only in attendance on Saturday. No matter when you visit, there is always the neighboring Market House with 20 locally owned shops and restaurants.
Tennessee State Capitol
At the top Bicentennial Park sits the majestic Tennessee State Capitol building atop a hill. Completed in 1859, this Greek Revival architecture building stands almost exactly the same as the day it was built. There are guided tours of the capitol, home of the General Assembly of Tennessee and Governor’s office. Tours are offered Monday through Friday 9AM to 3PM leaving hourly.
Frist Center for the Visual Arts
Nashville is more than its rich history and center of country museum. It is also home to an expanding visual arts scene, with no better example than the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. Tickets are $12 per adult and the opening hours vary by day.
The coolest part about this museum is that it houses no permanent collections, exhibits rotate every few months. No matter when you come or how many times you visit Nashville, there will always be something new to see at the Frist Center.
The Gulch is a high end neighborhood at the edge of downtown known for its plentiful boutiques, chic hotels and new restaurant concepts. It is a great place to visit in the end of the day to browse through the boutiques before heading out for a tasty drink.
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