Insider tips: Explore Nashville like a local
Megan & Aram is a travel blog that focuses mostly on travel in the Nordics and Eastern Europe with the occasional trip beyond those regions. We love coffee, promoting small businesses, and sports.
What should I do on my first trip to Nashville?
First-time visitors to Nashville will love the many sights of the Tennessee city! One of the best things to do in Nashville is to dive into country music! Whether you're a fan or not, it is a large part of the city's identity and learning more about it will help you gain a better understand to Nashville. You can start your trip by heading to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. With over 150 artists inducted into the large museum, you can learn about everyone from Dolly Parton to Garth Brooks... and even some of country music's pioneers like Hank Williams and Jimmie Rogers. You can continue your day by checking out the Grand Ole Opry before spending the evening exploring the bars and restaurants in the Music Row District. Some other can't-miss Nashville experiences are trying hot chicken, visiting the Parthenon in Centennial Park, and taking a day trip to the historic city of Franklin.
What are some hidden gems to see in Nashville?
Cheekwood Estate and Gardens was once the family home of Mabel and Leslie Cheek and the 1930s estate is one of Nashville's hidden gems that is worth visiting! At the estate, visitors will find an art museum, botanical gardens, as well as a gift shop and cafe. The gardens are the true gem here, spanning over 55 acres and containing 13 distinct gardens. While the Bluebird Cafe is not an unknown place in Nashville, it definitely doesn't garner the attention of all visitors to the city! This cafe, club, and store has been featuring up-and-coming artists throughout the last 40 years and is a great place to check out for music lovers. This is even the spot where Taylor Swift was discovered and signed at age 14!
How much time should I spend in Nashville?
There is plenty to do in Nashville to warrant an extended trip, but you can see most of the city's highlights in a weekend trip! If you have merely a weekend in Nashville, you will need to plan ahead in order to maximize time, however. While a weekend can show you the highlights, a weeklong trip is a far better option. You can enjoy some of Nashville's best day trips and hidden gems without the worry of running out of time.
What food is Nashville known for?
While Memphis is nationally famous for its BBQ, Nashville shines with its hot chicken (and delicious biscuits!). Some of the top spots to enjoy hot chicken are Subculture Urban Cuisine and Cafe, 400 Degrees, and Prince's Hot Chicken. Prince's is the original hot chicken joint in the city and it has been going strong since the Great Depression. The recipe is authentic and the business has been kept in the family over the years - it is an essential place to start your food journey in Nashville!
Biscuits are also all the rage in the Tennessee city - and you'll be able to enjoy them with gravy atop or in sandwich form at many establishments in Nashville. Husk is a renowned restaurant in the city that has mouthwatering biscuits (when they are on the menu) and Biscuit Love is another favorite.
If you're looking for a change but still want to indulge in some delicious Nashville fare, you can search for restaurants focusing on Southern food and opt for some fried catfish, pimento mac 'n cheese, and country ham.
What is the best way to get around Nashville?
Getting around Nashville is fairly easy with a network of fairly efficient public transportation. The city's airport goes by the code BNA and more than 80 cities fly into Music City. Once in Nashville, you can rent a car, take a city bus with WeGo Public Transit, order a taxi, or use the Music City Star Commuter Rail (which has 6 stations in the city).
What are the best months to visit Nashville?
Most people visit from June until August as it is school summer vacation and the most convenient time for many. However, Nashville is extraordinary in December when the holiday mood sets in and you can go visit the many markets and Christmas displays throughout the city. The Dancing Lights of Christmas is a popular thing to do at the Wilson County Fairgrounds near Nashville. There are also special holiday shows at Gaylord Opryland.
If you're not a winter traveler, head to Nashville in May, when Cheekwood Estates is in bloom and the summer sun is still mild enough to enjoy with ease.
What are the best neighborhoods to visit in Nashville?
Nashville has several neighborhoods worth visiting outside of the Downtown area (and Music Row). The Gulch was once an industrial area that has transformed into one of the city's hippest places with trendy restaurants and more! East Nashville has several concept shops, cafes, and a colorful art scene. 12 South is another favorite for coffee shops and bars. The buildings of Germantown are always worth checking out, as well.
What are the best neighborhoods for food?
You will find scrumptious food all over the city of Nashville so it is hard to pinpoint one area for food specifically. If you're keen to try Prince's Hot Chicken (the original hot chicken place!), you will need to head to the Downtown area. Be sure to also check out the Nashville Farmers' Market there.
12South has an abundance of food options - and you will find one of the most walkable strips with restaurants in the city. You will find everything from Mediterranean food to BBQ and more.
Germantown has traditionally been one of the best neighborhoods for food in the city and many of the dining experiences are in historic and beautiful buildings. Head to Germantown Cafe for a true taste of the district as it has been there for quite some time.
The Gulch is also a favorite spot for tasty food and innovative restaurants.
What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?
Nashville has an abudance of good shopping to satisfy every buyer! The Fatherland District offers a hip collection of local shops and artisanal products - from specialty foods to clothing and beyond. Looking to buy musical instruments? Check out 8th Avenue & Melrose. Locals and college students love Belmont / Hillsboro Village and East Nashville offers an eclectic array of shops offering everything from vintage clothing to candle bars where you can create your own candle.
What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Nashville?
If you have never visited Nashville before, it is most convenient to stay in the Downtown area of the city. Just ensure that your hotel has ample parking spots if you're driving in or renting a car! Music Row is also another favorite for those looking to hit up the bars and enjoy the live music scene the city has to offer. If you're looking to escape this, however, opt to stay in The Gulch or East Nashville.
What's are 4 best tips for a person traveling to Nashville?
1) Explore the city beyond just its music. Sure, Nashville has a wonderful music scene, but there are so many sides to the city beyond just that. Enjoy the food scene, learn about its history, and take some of the natural day trips that are in close proximity to the city.
2) Summers are hot! While it can be managable for those coming from other hot places, if you're a northerner, it may not be the most ideal time to visit! Opt for the shoulder season and enjoy Nashville in the spring or fall.
3) Parking can be a nightmare. Be sure to book your stay somewhere that you feel comfortable walking to and from the sights or in a place where you feel comfortable taking public transportation. This is also a great opportunity to take a tour so you can leave the car behind!
4) Nashville sits in an centralized area that is surrounded by a lot of state parks and natural things to do! You can head to Radnor Lake State Park and enjoy its 6 trails or to Harpeth River State Park where you can see Newsom's Mill (one of the oldest grist mills in the county).
What should people avoid doing in Nashville?
Before traveling to Nashville, research the areas that are currently not the safest places to visit. Be sure to also do this before booking a hotel in the city. Also, avoid going into the names of the bars you may recognize as chains throughout the city. There are far better options and you can find some cool spots on Lower Broad that are more authentic and have better music.
What are your top 5 favourite GetYourGuide experiences in Nashville?
1) Nashville: Grand Ole Opry Show Ticket
2) Nashville: Homes of the Stars Narrated Bus Tour
3) Nashville: Double-Decker City Tour
4) Nashville: Downtown Helicopter Tour
5) Nashville: Street Art & Instagram Golf Cart Tour
What is one thing that surprised you about Nashville?
I was pleasantly surprised at how much there was to do in Nashville outside of live music and country music history! I was not expecting a rich culinary scene and was happy when I was greeted with one! I also was surprised at how many cool concepts existed - I visited some of the most innovative concept shops, cafes, and boutiques in Nashville!
What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Nashville?
If you're heading to Nashville with kids, there is plenty to do! The Adventure Science Center is an interactive science museum that also has a planetarium and many interesting exhibits. The Frist Art Museum also has family-friendly activities and spaces for kids to enjoy. For those visiting in the summertime, Wave Country Water Park is a great place to unwind and cool off!
What are the best annual events in Nashville?
Nashville always has something happening and it often involves music! Bonnaroo Music Festival is in nearby Manchester and is a great event to attend! The CMA Music Festival is held each June and the Nashville Film Festival is held in the fall. Other large events in the city are the Country Christmas at Gaylord Opryland and the Music City Food + Wine Festival (held in September usually).