31 BEST Things to do in Nashville [December 2019]

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Maybe you’re a music fan, or perhaps you’re on a road trip across the United States. Whether it’s your final destination or a fun pit stop on a longer trip, Nashville is a city of unique character and plenty of fun activities!

You might be a bit surprised by the variety of things to do in Nashville on a vacation, which is why we’ve put together this list of both mainstream and alternative attractions in and around the city.

Whether you need to keep fussy kids occupied or are simply hoping to spend some time relaxing by yourself, it’s helpful to plan ahead on where to stay and what to do in order to make the most of your time in the cultural heart of Tennessee.

Table of Contents

Our Favorite Places to Stay in Nashville!

From convenient budget options to high-class style, here are a few of the best places to stay in Nashville for every type of traveler!

Hilton Nashville Airport

A great convenient hotel in Nashville

Hilton Nashville Airport

A great convenient hotel in Nashville is Hilton Nashville Airport

  • Airport shuttle!
  • Great onsite facilities

With easy access to both downtown and the airport, the Hilton Nashville Airport hotel is the best option for travelers who want both comfort and accessibility for a decent price.

Enjoy amenities such as a swimming pool, gym, and onsite restaurant during your stay!

 

Hayes Street Hotel Nashville

The best option in Broadway Nashville

Hayes Street Hotel Nashville

Hayes Street Hotel Nashville is our pick for the best option in Broadway Nashville

  • Close to top attractions!
  • Shops and dining nearby

Enjoy easy access to top city attractions such as the Country Music Hall of Fame, then come back and relax in your room equipped with cable channels, refrigerator, microwave, and coffee maker!

You can’t beat the great location and great amenities of the Hayes Street Hotel!

Let’s simplify this! We’ve put together our favorite places to stay in Nashville so you don’t have to stress!

Dream Nashville

The best luxury option in Nashville

Dream Nashville

Dream Nashville is our pick for the best luxury option in Nashville

  • Historic building!
  • High-class comfort and style

Right in the heart of downtown, Dream Nashville is the choice for you if you’re hoping for style, quality, and comfort.

You’ll be walking distance to numerous attractions, have access to free Wi-fi, dine at onsite restaurants, and relax in a luxuriant art-deco themed room!

 

The 31 Best Things to do in Nashville

 

#1 – Sightsee on a Double Decker Bus

Sightsee on a Double Decker Bus

A great way to begin your trip to Nashville

  • See a lot in little time!
  • Great summer activity
  • All the top sites!

Don’t have much time in Nashville? Don’t worry! The double-decker bus tour is the perfect relaxing way to see all the major attractions of the city.

From the Country Music Hall of Fame to Vanderbilt University, you’ll pass by over 100 interest points on this fun tour!

Let’s make this simple. These are the best hotels in Nashville!

#2 – Make a Slash at Soundwaves

Great thing to do in Nashville with kids

  • Indoor and outdoor waterpark
  • Rides for all ages
  • Awesome family fun

Adults can enjoy classy onsite bars while kids splash and play on the lazy river and slides.

The Soundwaves waterpark is a fun option year-round to kick back and have fun while visiting Nashville!

 

#3 – Tour the Historic Mansions

Tour the Historic Mansions

The perfect way to see the history of Nashville (Photo Credit – vfmleonardo.com)

  • Beautiful properties
  • Amazing photo opportunities!
  • Unique look at history

The beautiful mansions and estates of Nashville all have interesting backstories which you can hear from a local guide when you tour these lavish properties!

From the Belle Meade Plantation to the Cheekwood Estate, check out the stunning botanic gardens, art displays, and wineries of the most elegant properties in the city!

Don’t have much time? Take a look at these great hotels in Downtown Nashville to save you doing all the searching yourself.

#4 – Old-school Printing Methods at Hatch Show Print

  • Classic letterpress posters!
  • Great place for souvenirs
  • Unique Nashville attraction

Right next to the Country Music Hall of Fame, you can have a unique historic perspective on the process of poster printing.

Open since 1879, the Hatch Show Print is now more a tourist attraction, but it’s still making posters to this day!

 

#5 – See a Show at the Grand Ole Opry

See a Show at the Grand Ole Opry

Things to do in Nashville this weekend

  • Best country music venue!
  • Oldest live radio show in the US
  • Must-visit for everyone!

By many accounts, the crowning jewel of Nashville, the Grand Ole Opry live concert and radio show venue is practically mandatory for every traveler coming to the city.

Anyone who wants to succeed in the country music genre dreams of being featured on the show, and you’ll have a chance to hear some of the best!

Tennessee is amazing! You can see more of it with these great day trips from Nashville!

#6 – Take a Walk in the Bicentennial

Take a Walk in the Bicentennial

A great outdoor activity in Nashville (Photo Credit – TripAdvisor)

  • State park within the city!
  • Fun year-round
  • History and nature combined

The Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is the green lung of Nashville. Located right in the center of the city, it’s an easy way to escape traffic and get some time out in nature!

Make a day out of a trip to the park and have lunch at the local Farmers’ Market and stroll around to admire the tall trees the park is known for.

Did you know? Some months are better to visit Nashville than others. Rad our EPIC guide for when to visit Nashville!

#7 – Take a Cruise on the General Jackson Showboat

 Take a Cruise on the General Jackson Showboat

A very cool thing to do in Nashville

  • On board entertainment!
  • Iconic paddlewheel riverboat
  • Beautiful city skyline

Enjoy the ambiance of Nashville on an evening river cruise aboard the General Jackson Showboat!

Listening to classic tunes of Tennessee while eating a delicious evening meal, your cruise is guaranteed to be a night to remember!

 

#8 – Stop by the Nashville Public Library

Stop by the Nashville Public Library

It’s not your typical library experience! (Photo Credit – skyscanner.com)

  • See the Civil Rights Room
  • Amazing historic displays
  • Landmark of Nashville

A library might not be the first place you think about visiting when going on vacation, but the Nashville Public Library might be the exception!

The powerful displays in the Civil Rights Room will give you a new perspective into the history of the city.

 

#9 – Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame

Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame

  • History of country music
  • Unique recordings!
  • Awards to top musicians

Nashville is famous for its country music scene, which is commemorated at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

From one-of-a-kind records to photographs of country performers through the ages, it’s a spot you won’t want to miss in Nashville!

 

#10 – Play Board games at GamePoint

One of the best cheap things to do in Nashville

  • Amazing game collection!
  • Fun for all ages
  • Have an expert teach you

If you enjoy playing board games, you’ll love the Bongo East coffee shop in Nashville with owns over 400 different games!

Stop by for a snack or meal and play one of your old-time favorites or learn a completely new game with the help of a staff member!

 

#11 – Iconic City Street Art

Iconic City Street Art

One of the best things to do in downtown Nashville

  • Amazing street murals!
  • Fun golf cart tours
  • Perfect photo opportunities

Nashville is simply overflowing with art, whether it’s in the form of popular country music or the incredible downtown street murals!

Taking a golf cart tour allows you to see all the best pieces with a local guide in a fun and unique way.

 

#12 – Stop by the 21c Museum Hotel

Stop by the 21c Museum Hotel

One of the best free things to do in Nashville (Photo Credit – Agoda)

  • Open 24/7
  • Unique and local art!
  • Great activity for art fans

Both a hotel and a public contemporary art museum, the 21c Museum Hotel is a great place to stop by in downtown Nashville for a look at the latest and greatest local artwork.

If you’re impressed by the displays, check out the regular events and discussions also hosted at the museum!

 

#13 – Visit a Rural Farm

Visit a Rural Farm

One of the more unique things to do in Nashville

  • Experience traditional farming!
  • Great local activity
  • See a new side to Nashville

Want to get out of the city? A farm tour is the perfect way to learn about local business and take a break from city traffic!

Discover something new about farming through the ages and enjoy some of the locally produced items in a delicious meal!

 

#14 – Try Axe-Throwing at the Downtown Sporting Club

Try something new in Nashville!

  • Restaurant, bar, and hotel!
  • Top attraction of Broadway
  • Locals and tourists

One of the more unique venues on Broadway, the Downtown Sporting Club doesn’t settle for second-best in anything.

The restaurant is 4-stories, on top, there’s a sporting area where you can try axe-throwing, and signature drinks are served at the bar!

 

#15 – Learn About Civil War History

Learn About Civil War History

Learn About Civil War History

  • Battle of Franklin
  • Amazing historic perspective!
  • Important event in Nashville’s past

Take a step back in time by visiting the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War-the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee.

See historic monuments, walk the battlegrounds, and even view cannonball indentations left as remnants of the battle!

 

#16 – See a Show at the Ryman Auditorium

One of the best fun things to do in Nashville

  • Famous Nashville venue
  • Take a backstage tour!
  • “Mother church of country music”

The Ryman Auditorium is one of the top performance venues of Nashville, and anyone who wants to do anything in country music dreams of performing there!

Check the upcoming events during your time in Nashville to see either a seasoned musician or a budding star during your trip.

 

#17 – Take a Day Trip to Memphis

Take a Day Trip to Memphis

  • Hear of Rock ‘n’ Roll!
  • Visit Elvis Presley’s Graceland
  • Interesting history

If you’ve made it to all the top sites in Nashville, expand your horizon by taking a tour to Memphis!

Visit top attractions of this hub for Rock ‘n’ Roll musicians and enjoy a famous Tennessee BBQ for a fun day outside of Nashville!

 

#18 – Experience Music in the Making

Something you can only do in Nashville

  • Numerous ‘listening rooms’
  • Meet the songwriters!
  • Unique experience in Nashville

Around the downtown area of the city, you can witness the process of making music by visiting a listening room to hear new songs.

Top venues include the Bluebird Café and the Listening Room Café for a chill way to soak up the best of Nashville!

 

#19 – Visit Madame Tussauds Museum

Visit Madame Tussauds Museum

The next-best thing to seeing celebrities in person

  • Popular attraction of Nashville!
  • Get some great photos!
  • Life-like celebrity figures

It’s every performer’s dream to be commemorated with a wax statue in Madame Tussauds Museum!

Get photos next to these life-like representations of American music legends that will make all your friends jealous!

 

#20 – Enjoy a Bike Ride

Exercise and sightsee at the same time!

  • Bike friendly city!
  • 90 plus miles of trails
  • Easy bike rentals

Whether you’re hoping to see the downtown area or just looking for a good exercise activity, Nashville is a great city to rent a bike and ride around!

The BCycle stations are located all around town making it easy to rent and drop off bikes without any hassle!

 

#21 – Take a Hop-on Hop-off Trolley around the City

Take a Hop-on Hop-off Trolley around the City

  • Fun way to sightsee!
  • Numerous great stops
  • No need to worry about parking!

See all the top attractions of Nashville at your own pace and leisure with the hop-on hop-off trolley tour!

Not only will you get a chance to visit all the highlights of Nashville, but the trolley also has a great historic charm.

 

#22 – Visit Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

One of the most important historic sites of Nashville

  • Impressive historic building
  • Beautiful gardens
  • A look back in time!

The former residence of the 7th president of the United States, The Hermitage is one of Nashville’s most famous historic sites.

Tour the house to see some of the original decorations before heading outside to enjoy the beautifully landscaped gardens!

 

#23 – Enjoy the Culinary Delights

Enjoy the Culinary Delights

Authentic southern comfort food

  • Great foodie experience!
  • Historic downtown eateries
  • Learn about local stories!

Make sure you come with an empty stomach to a food tasting tour around Nashville!

All around the downtown area, there are numerous local restaurants selling everything from signature drinks to delicious entrées to mouthwatering deserts!

 

#24 – Pretend like You went to Greece

Take a photo to trick your friends!

  • Scale model of the Parthenon!
  • Amazing photo opportunity
  • Great art museum

Ever dreamed of seeing the Parthenon? Well, Nashville has the next best thing!

The scale replica of the famous Athenian Parthenon is one of the top photo sites in the city and also houses a spectacular art museum.

 

#25 – Have Fun on a Tractor Party Tour

Have Fun on a Tractor Party Tour

  • Great local activity
  • Unique to Nashville!
  • Listen to famous tunes

Looking for how to have fun in Nashville style? Look no further than the city’s tractor ride!

Jam out to top hits on the stereo while you tour the town and make a stop at the famous Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery of Nashville!

 

#26 – Check out the First Center for the Visual Arts

One of the best art galleries of Nashville

  • Top art gallery
  • Over 24,000 square feet of displays!
  • Open 7 days a week

If you’re an art fan, then the First Center for the Visual Arts needs to be top of your list for places to visit in Nashville.

Featuring artists from the local level to the international, this top venue will open your eyes to whole new dimensions of art!

 

#27 – Take a Night Tour

Take a Night Tour

  • A new side to Nashville
  • Fun evening music!
  • Enjoy the city’s charm

Maybe you’ve already done some sightseeing during the day, but you’ll discover that after dark Nashville takes on a new and magical quality!

The musical-themed night trolley will bring you past interesting historic sites as well as local venues for an evening of fun.

 

#28 – Get active at the Centennial Sportsplex

A ‘cool’ thing to do in Nashville in winter

  • Swimming, tennis, skating, and more!
  • Perfect for poor weather
  • Activities for everyone

Hoping to get in some exercise in Nashville? The Centennial Sportsplex has everything you’re looking for!

Go ice skating as a family, get your laps in at the large pool, or simply get a workout using the gym equipment.

 

#29 – Visit Local Breweries

Visit Local Breweries

Great way to enjoy the local scene of Nashville

  • Try signature drinks!
  • Explore the downtown area
  • Discover local businesses

On a brewery tour of Nashville, you can visit both the historic and the trendy modern venues in the city.

It’s a great way to enjoy your time in downtown Nashville and learn about the local’s business stories too!

 

#30 – Explore the Adventure Science Center

  • Fun for all ages!
  • Nearly 175 exhibits
  • Cool way to learn something new

Who said science couldn’t be fun? The Adventure Science Center of Nashville proves that learning something new can go right along with having a blast.

With great hands-on activities and various workshops and performances, the Science Center might end up being a highlight of your trip to Nashville1

 

#31 – Visit Celebrity Homes

Visit Celebrity Homes

  • Taylor Swift, Ronnie Dunn and more!
  • Beautiful properties
  • Fun musical tour

Ever wondered where celebrities live? Well, Nashville is the answer to many!

Come and see these beautiful properties for yourself on a unique sightseeing and music-themed tour of the city where you might end up seeing a star yourself!

 

Conclusion

A city of music, fun, and excitement, Nashville is bound to surprise you by the diversity of activities and attractions. Start planning ahead today to make sure that you hit all the top sites during your vacation!

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About the Author Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson lives to travel! Born in Washington D.C., Emma is a hotel connoisseur and a staff writer at Hotel Jules. An army brat, Emma got the travel bug early and has never been able to stop. Now, she has proudly visited 70+ countries and plans to visit every country in the world! Passionate about her ukelele (obviously) and her family, Emma eventually wants to retire in Thailand and write a book about all of her travel experiences.