City Guide

18 Things To Do in Nashville

By Landing | May 3, 2024
Nashville skyline

There’s more to Music City than country tunes and cowboy boots. Here are 18 must-do things to do in Nashville to add to your bucket list.

If you have Nashville on your mind, you’re probably thinking about cowboy hats, country ballads, and Southern charm. After all, Music City is the home of country music. But the Tennessee capital is all that and more — which is probably why it’s one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the country

Whether you’re visiting the city with the kids or settling down for a few months, here’s everything you need for your Nashville to-do list. From discovering the city’s best hot chicken to learning what honky-tonking is, these are the best things to do in Nashville.

6 Best Things To Do With Kids in Nashville

What do you do in Nashville with the kids? How about a scenic bike ride, a stop at the zoo, and a late lunch with a plate of hot chicken? Here are some kid-friendly activities for full bellies and early bedtimes:

1. Explore Nashville by Bike

Explore Nashville by bike

The Music City Bikeway stretches across 26 miles of bike trails and greenways. Immerse yourself in scenic rivers and creek trails or pass by iconic city landmarks, like the Country Music Hall of Fame and Pedestrian Bridge. The terrain is mostly flat, making it an ideal outdoor activity for families of all ages. If you don’t have your own bike, don’t worry. You can’t rent bikes from BCycle stations located all over the city. 

2. Eat Hot Chicken

Hot chicken recipe from Nashville
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Music City’s second most important export after country music is hot chicken. Local legend traces the dish back to the 1930s during an act of revenge — served piping hot. One night, a scorned lover added a devilish amount of spices to a plate of fried chicken. Except he liked it so much that it transformed into the Prince family legacy before spreading around the country. 

Try the original at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack or do an impromptu hot chicken crawl, adding stops at Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish and Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. Most spots have mild options for the kiddos.

3. Visit a Meat-n-Three

Meat and Three restaurant in Nashville
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Never heard of a meat-n-three? Bless your heart. You’ll find these cafeteria-style eateries all across the South serving up “plate lunch,” a pick-your-own-adventure made up of one meat and three sides. Local favorites include Wendell Smith, Silver Sands Cafe, and Big Al’s Deli. For vegetarian options, head over to Sunflower Cafe. Finish your meal with a goo goo cluster, a unique Nashville candy made with caramel, nougat, and nuts. The original shop downtown also offers classes and tastings. 

4. Taste International Food

Taste international food in Nashville

There’s more to Nashville food than barbecue and fried chicken. Prominent Latin American, Middle Eastern, and Asian communities call Nashville home and add their flavors to the local food scene, particularly along Nolensville Pike. Try pupusas at Pupuseria Reina La Bendición, shawarma and kebabs at Sulav International Market, or steamed dumplings and tom yum at Degthai

5. Pick Up Local Products at Nashville Farmers’ Market

Farmers Market in Nashville
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The Nashville Farmers’s Market is a daily downtown market open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Depending on the time of day, you can grab fresh produce, take a class, or sample local foods. The market also hosts events, like a hot chicken tour or special theme days at different shops. 

6. Visit the Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo
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The Nashville Zoo is one of Tennessee’s top attractions — and it’s no surprise. More than one million visitors stop by each year to visit 3,700 animals. Get there early or sign up for a workshop or kid-friendly activities to beat the big crowds. 

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4 Romantic Things To Do in Nashville 

Whether your idea of a romantic getaway is a picnic by the lake or a late night of dancing, this city has it all. Here are some unique things to do in Nashville that amp up the romance:

7. Take in the Views

Centennial Park in Nashville
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With Nashville’s year-round mild weather, it’s always a good time to explore its historic estates and gardens. Pack a picnic and head to Centennial Park to see Nashville’s replica of the Parthenon, learn about the history of plantations at Belle Meade, or take in the belle epoque architecture of the Hermitage Hotel. For a longer excursion, explore miles of trails at the Cheekwood Botanical Garden

8. Paddle Out From Cumberland Park

Cumberland Park in Nashville
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The Cumberland River snakes its way through Nashville, providing miles of watersports activities for active couples. From kayaking, fishing, and pedal boating, there are plenty of ways to keep cool and spend quality time with your partner. And if you’re looking for low-key things to do in Nashville, take a BYOB river cruise that lets you soak up the historic sights and city skyline. 

9. Honky-Tonk at Robert’s, Layla’s, or Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge

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Loretta Lynn, George Strait, and Hank Williams are just a few country artists who sang the gospel of honky-tonks. Honky-tonks are bars found all over the American South that promise three things: country music, dancing, and drinking. Spots like Robert’s Western World, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, or Layla’s Honky Tonk are open from late morning well past midnight — a big pro for living in Nashville if an afternoon Western swing is more enticing than a coffee date. Honky-tonks don’t charge covers, so be sure to leave a tip for the music performances. 

10. Go for a Hike at Radnor Lake

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The Radnor Lake State Park covers more than 1,300 acres with miles of trails just south of Nashville. Radnor Lake has six miles of hiking trails, which offer beautiful views of the changing leaves in the fall or spring bloom of gorgeous wildflowers. 

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4 Cheap Things To Do in Nashville

What can you do in Nashville on a budget? Enjoy its diverse arts and history, and then some. Here are four popular cheap thrills:

11. Listen to Writers in the Round

Songwriters in Nashville
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You don’t have to admire this city’s singer-songwriters from a distance. Low-key acoustic shows called “in the round” are a Nashville tradition that brings together artists to talk about the stories behind their lyrics. It’s a quieter plan than a typical honky-tonk with a decidedly down-home, family-friendly vibe. Check out regular events at spots like Bluebird Cafe, The Listening Room, and Jane’s Hideaway.

12. Get Context on Nashville’s Music Scene

National Museum of African American Music in Nashville
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One of the most fun things to do in Nashville is immerse yourself in its unique music history. The National Museum of African American Music is the only museum dedicated to preserving music created and inspired by African Americans, including interactive exhibits, film nights, and weekend musical events. 

13. Appreciate American Art 

First Art Museum in Nashville
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There are lots of things to do in downtown Nashville beyond honky-tonks and hot chicken. One of the best activities is viewing American art at the Frist Art Museum, Fisk University’s Carl Van Vechten Gallery, or the Parthenon, which all house extensive collections of American art. 

14. Visit the Civil Rights Room at the Nashville Public Library

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The Nashville Student Movement and historic sit-ins made Nashville the first Southern city to desegregate public spaces. The Civil Rights Room at the Nashville Public Library celebrates this legacy alongside an exhibit about Martin Luther King, Jr. and an extensive collection of civil rights materials. 

4 More of the Best Things To Do in Nashville 

Your Nashville visit isn’t complete without souvenirs and a little more music. Here are the best spots to shop and listen: 

15. Buy Some Boots

Buy boots in Nashville

Nashville’s low cost of living means a bigger boot budget. There are several bootmakers in The Gulch, a popular neighborhood full of shops, bars, and restaurants near downtown. Check out Lucchese, a local bootmaker in operation since 1883, or a variety of high-end brands at Nashville Boot Co.

16. Shop for Hats

Buy cowboy hats in Nashville

Now that you have a pair of boots, top off the outfit with a matching cowboy hat. East Nashville’s Three Horses Hat Co. makes fully hand-crafted, custom hats for Nashville’s serious fashionistas. If you don’t have time for a fitting, Planet Cowboy sells handmade western hats to hit the town in style. 

17. Tune In at the Grand Ole Opry

Grand Ole Opry in Nashville
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If you time your trip right, you can listen to the Grand Ole Opry on the radio as you arrive in Nashville. The live radio broadcast has been showcasing the best of country music since 1925 and is a rite of passage for the country’s best acts. You can attend live tapings, tour backstage, and build up your country music record collection, too. 

18. Take a Listen at a Music Museum

Music Museum in Nashville
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Country music museums are great places to explore pop culture artifacts and sparkly costumes — but they’re so much more than that. Nashville’s diverse set of music museums also offer interactive listening stations and live music events.

Start at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum with the add-on tour of the RCA Studio B recording studio on Music Row to learn about Elvis Presley’s time in Nashville. For more in-depth museums, check out the Johnny Cash Museum and Patsy Cline Museum. Finish off at the Hatch Show Print, a design shop that’s made letterpress posters for the best of country music. 

Thinking About Moving To Nashville?

Book that banjo class and let us worry about where you’ll hang your cowboy hat after a long night of honky-tonking. Moving to Nashville with Landing gives you access to fully furnished apartments with flexible leases all over Music City. Whether you’re looking for a flexible, short-term lease or a longer stay, become a member today.