Explore off the beaten path with Nashville's best hidden gems

Peek at the place Jack Daniel makes his whisky, indulge your tastebuds on a secret food tour, or explore Centennial Park - here are the 10 best hidden gems in Nashville.

Nashville is best known for country music and Southern cuisine, but if you head a little off the beaten path, you’ll find some cool and unique things to do in the city. Whether you party hard on a unique tractor wagon, find out where Jack Daniel makes his whisky, catch an up–and–coming act at the Bluebird Cafe, or learn more about the Civil Rights Movement on a walking tour, you’ll enjoy the hidden places the city has to offer. Read on for 10 of the best hidden gems in Nashville.

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1. Take a walk through Centennial Park

While the mighty Parthenon is the centerpiece of Centennial Park, you'll discover there's much more to see once you arrive. Explore the historical monuments that date back to the park's construction in 1897, as well as lakes, gardens, and art galleries.

Highlights:

Explore the Centennial Park and the Parthenon in more detail on a private city tour with a local singer-songwriter to learn about its musical heritage.

Address and opening hours:

2500 West End Ave., Nashville, TN, 37203. Open 6:00 AM-8:00 PM daily.

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2. Party hard on a tractor-driven wagon

Not exactly 'hidden', but certainly a moving target, the Nashville Tractor is the biggest party wagon in Nashville, driven by a bright red Case IH. Climb aboard and prepare to dance the night away with 25,000 watts of stereo and a light–up dancefloor.

Highlights:

The Nashville Tractor is unique in the city – not least because the drinks on offer include moonshine. Lean into your cowboy roots with this saddle-seated, mobile party location.

Address and opening hours:

Meeting at 160 2nd Ave. N, Nashville, TN, 37201. Tour times vary.

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3. Catch an up-and-coming act at the Bluebird Cafe

First opened in 1982, the Bluebird Café is a small, intimate club that has become a popular location to catch emerging new musicians as well as more established artists. Grab a bite to eat, sit back, and enjoy the music. You might just find your new favorite singer here.

Highlights:

As the Bluebird Cafe is a small music venue, seating can be limited. Check before visiting to see if a reservation is required.

Address and opening hours:

4104 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville, TN, 37215. Open 5:00 AM-11:00 PM daily.

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4. Explore the art world at the Frist Art Museum

Located in a beautiful Art Deco building, the Frist Art Museum is one of the best places to appreciate art in Nashville. The museum has no permanent collection of its own. Instead, it rotates through different exhibitions regularly, which means there is always something different to see.

Highlights:

Entry to the Frist Art Museum is free for all visitors. However, some exhibitions may require a fee to enter.

Address and opening hours:

111 Broadway Suite 200, Nashville, TN, 37201. Open 10:00 AM-5:00 PM Tuesday-Sunday.

5. Learn about the Civil Rights Movement on a walking tour

During the 1950s and 60s, there were many marches and protests in Nashville regarding laws dealing with race and equality. Take a historic Civil Rights tour of Nashville to learn about the events that helped shape this moment in history.

Highlights:

The tour gets off the beaten path, visiting places important to the cause and teaching you about Nashville's role in the movement for equal rights.

Address and opening hours:

Meet at 501 Broadway, Nashville, TN, 37203. Tour times vary.

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6. Take a day trip to Andrew Jackson's Hermitage

Located 20 minutes northeast of central Nashville by car, Andrew Jackson's Hermitage is one of the great hidden places you can find just out of town. Originally the home of former US President Andrew Jackson, the hermitage has been restored to how it looked during his lifetime in 1837. Today it serves as a museum of what life was like in those days.

Highlights:

Explore the hermitage plus its nearby hiking trails and historical landmarks with a Andrew Jackson's Hermitage grounds pass.

Address and opening hours:

4580 Rachels Ln., Hermitage, TN, 37076. Open 9:00 AM-6:00 PM daily.

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7. Learn about the bloody history of the Battle of Franklin

One of the most significant battles in the history of the Civil War was fought at Franklin, south of central Nashville. Explore restored Civil War-era homes, see the evidence left behind by bullets and cannonballs, and hear the stories about the people who lived and died there.

Highlights:

Take a history tour to visit historic attractions like the Carter House.

Address and opening hours:

Meet at 108 1st Ave. S, Nashville, TN. 37201. Tour times vary.

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8. Find out where Jack Daniel makes his whiskey

If you are a whiskey connoisseur, then a trip to Lynchburg is for you. Here you will uncover the secret places where Jack Daniel's famous whiskey is made, learn about its history, and sample some of its stock.

Highlights:

A day trip from Nashville takes you on a tour of the distillery where Jack Daniel's premium whiskey is made. While here, make sure to take a leisurely stroll around the rest of the town.

Address and opening hours:

Meet at 250 Rep. John Lewis Way S, Nashville, TN, 37203. Tour times vary.

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9. Discover musicians past and present at the Musicians Hall of Fame

While not as well-known as the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Musicians Hall of Fame is just as fascinating. Dedicated to artists in multiple genres, including country, rock, pop, jazz, and hip-hop, this museum offers a unique journey into the history of popular music and musicians.

Highlights:

Take some time to explore the collections of musical memorabilia on display, such as Jimi Hendrix's guitars and Elvis Presley's studio. Get discounted admission tickets with a City Pass.

Address and opening hours:

401 Gay St., Nashville, TN, 37219. Open 10:00 AM-5:00 PM Monday-Saturday.

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10. Indulge your taste buds on a secret food tour

Nashville is known for its delicious Southern cuisine, and there is such an overwhelming selection of eateries that it can be hard to choose. With a secret food tour, you can sample delicious flavors from some of Nashville's well-known eateries, plus some places off the beaten path that only locals know about.

Highlights:

The secret food tour offers a culinary journey through Nashville's amazing food scene. Just be sure not to spoil the surprise for others when it's over.

Address and meeting point:

Meet at 974 Main St., Nashville, TN, 37206. Tour times vary.

FAQs

What are some lesser-known attractions in Nashville that are worth visiting?

For music lovers, the Musicians Hall of Fame and the Bluebird Café are must-sees. A walk around Centennial Park will also reveal a few hidden places that are worth visiting.

Are there any hidden or secret gardens in Nashville that I can explore?

Centennial Park and the Bicentennial Capitol Mall both feature secret gardens on their grounds. There are also the gorgeous botanical gardens at Cheekwood Estate, just outside of Nashville.

Can you recommend any hidden or secret viewpoints in Nashville with great views of the city?

Love Circle in Nashville is one of the highest points in the city and has sweeping views of the surrounding area. The bell tower at Belmont University, the rooftop of the Frist Art Museum, and the John Seigenthaler Bridge are also great scenic vantage points.

What are some lesser-known neighborhoods in Nashville that are worth exploring?

Germantown is a less visited neighborhood with a great food scene. There is also Wedgewood-Houston, 12 South, and East Nashville, which all have their own brand of artistic and trendy flavors.

Can you recommend any hidden architectural gems in Nashville that are not as crowded as the famous landmarks?

The Frist Museum and Belle Meade Plantation tend to be less crowded than other landmarks. There is also Centennial Park, with its wide open spaces to explore.