A group of people listening to a band at a country bar in Nashville, Tennessee.

City Guide / Nashville

5 Fun Things to Do in Nashville

By Bri Hand | Sep 17, 2021

In just 20 years, Nashville, Tennessee, has transformed from America’s yee-haw capital to a bonafide cosmopolitan city. Sure, you’ll still find plenty of good tunes in this country-singing mecca. But a robust food scene, neighborhoods, and plenty of outdoor activities also await you.

Ready to pull up in your cowboy boots and move to Nashville? Start with our guide to the top fun things to do in Nashville, TN, including:

  • Sing along to Nashville’s song
  • Get your green on
  • Delight in local delicacies
  • Dive into the arts scene
  • Travel back in time with historic Nashville

1. Sing along to Nashville’s song

Are you a music lover? Music is the beating heart of Nashville culture. Since the early 20th century, this city has cultivated dozens of famous music artists, such as Johnny Cash, Martina McBride, and Taylor Swift, just to name a few. To join the band, stomp your feet through Nashville’s top rhythmic attractions:

Honky Tonk Highway

A honky tonk is basically a lively bar with even livelier music. And in Nashville, they’re an essential part of the city’s nightlife. 

Travel downtown, and you’ll find the Honky Tonk Highway, a lineup of Nashville’s best music bars that blast their tunes into the streets. Grab a cold beverage and listen to some killer local acts at any of these neighboring venues: 

Music Row

For a taste of history and melody, travel to Music Row in Southwest downtown Nashville. This historic district holds the city’s closed and active recording studios, as well as some live music-related attractions. And for newcomers, there’s plenty of delicious dog-friendly restaurants in Nashville and shopping to add to your Nashville itinerary.

The best way to see Music Row? Trolley. Hop onto one of the city’s popular trolley tours to see the district’s best sites, such as:

  • RCA Studio B: A building listed on the National Register of Historic Places, RCA Studio B was home to country legends like Elvis and Dolly Parton. 
  • Columbia’s Quonset Hut Studio: Technically the first studio on Music Row, Quonset Hut was the chosen record stop for Patsy Cline, Bob Dylan, and Simon and Garfunkel. 
  • Curb Records: A modern addition to Music Row, Curb Records continues to work with country artists like Tim McGraw, Roy Orbison, and Leann Rimes.

One-hit wonders

Nashville’s country music culture truly permeates the entire city—not just a few districts. From Green Hills to Donelson, the city’s other neighborhoods also have some beloved music locales that you must see:

  • Grand Ole Opry House: Perhaps no live music show is more Nashville than the Grand Ole Opry. For almost 100 years, this live radio show has dazzled both locals and visitors alike with legendary country stars. From its beginnings in the National Life Building to its current home in the Grand Ole Opry House, this spectacle can’t be missed. 
  • The Bluebird Cafe: Far off in suburban Green Hills, you’ll find the modest Bluebird Cafe in a strip mall—but don’t underestimate this coffee shop and music venue. Stars like Taylor Swift and Maren Morris have gotten their start in Bluebird’s listening room, where artists often collaborate and share personal tales. Sit back and enjoy the genius at hand.
  • Musician’s Corner: For an alternative setting, Musician’s Corner is Nashville’s premier outdoor music event. Located right in Centennial Park, this summer series brings hundreds of artists right to the city’s West End. Listen to everything from classic rock to jazz at this diverse festival.

2. Get your green on

Even as the 25th largest U.S. city, Nashville is no concrete palace. From riverside parks to its unique greenways, this city makes nature accessible for all of its residents. And if you’re here, it’s only right to appreciate the fresh air. 

Grab your bike, roller skates, or running shoes, and hit some of Nashville’s best outdoor attractions:

  • Greenways: Implemented across the city, Nashville’s Greenways are part urban path, part walking trail, part park. They preserve ecological space and provide residents a more nature-friendly way to commute or explore the city. Check out the scenic Greenways located along waterfronts like the Harpeth River or Mills Creek.
  • Centennial Park: Expansive and grand, Centennial Park is a gem of Nashville’s West End neighborhood. This 132-acre plot contains a lake, historic statues, a sunken garden, a dog park, and more. Don’t forget to stop by the Nashville Art Museum inside the park’s iconic Parthenon replica, built in 1897.
  • Percy Priest Lake: Want to break out of the city limits? Drive just 20 minutes out to Percy Priest Lake. This gorgeous man-made lake has enough activities to fill an entire summer, with boating, jet skiing, fishing, and sailing opportunities. It’s the perfect mini-getaway for Nashville residents. 

3. Delight in local delicacies

Yes, the BBQ is a must-try. But there’s more than (absolutely delicious) ribs and brisket across Nashville’s food scene. To test the city’s innovative New American cuisine, check out these hotspots in three fork-centric neighborhoods:

Germantown

A tiny area north of downtown, Germantown has fast become a foodie haven. For a modern yet refined dinner, travel to these kitchens: 

  • Rolf & Daughters: Innovative twists like seaweed butter and koji beurre blanc sauce elevate Rolf & Daughters from average mid-brow fare to truly special. 
  • City House: You wouldn’t think to blend American southern and Italian cuisine—but City House does. Nosh on their delicious buttermilk cheddar pizza or pork sausage with peaches.
  • Tailor: Founder Vivek Surti loves taking local and seasonal ingredients at Tailor and mixing them with their South Asian heritage—the result is magnificent creations like a tomato salad with peanut chutney.

The Gulch

Midway between downtown Nashville and West End, the Gulch is a popular and chic residential area. And lately, the food has garnered just as much favor, with delights from:

  • Biscuit Love: Grab some of the freshest, flakiest biscuits of your life at Biscuit Love. Or, for a full meal, upgrade it to a sausage gravy-filled breakfast sandwich.  
  • 404 Kitchen: Looking for that perfect patio meal? 404 Kitchen has the show-stopping cavatelli and steak au poivre to luxuriate in your dinner without feeling stuffy.
  • Chauhan: Indian cuisine meets southern staples on Chauhan’s eclectic menu. Nowhere else in the city can you get delicious garam masala pork belly or perfectly crisp artichoke pakoras.

12 South

Small but sensational, 12 South is Nashville’s chicest neighborhood. Once you’re done shopping at all the local boutiques, refuel at one of the area’s best restaurants:

  • Josephine: A Germanic touch infuses Josephine’s New American menu, with elevated pork schnitzel and cheesesteak that delight the taste buds. 
  • Locust: Beat the heat with Chinese street food staples at Locust. A simple menu with steamed dumplings and shaved ice put this spot a cut above the rest.
  • bartaco: A regional chain, bartaco is a completely modern eating experience. Reserve your spot through the restaurant’s app, and then enjoy a tasty taco pack with housemade corn tortillas.

4. Dive into the arts scene

Underneath its musical spell, Nashville hides a secretly impressive arts scene. From fascinating museum collections to live performances, your inner creative will feel nourished by these cultural landmarks.

  • Frist Art Museum: Housed in a U.S. Post Office building, the Frist Museum is the city’s premier art collection. Rotating exhibits include pieces across time, from centuries-old Scottish paintings to Mary Sibande’s surreal contemporary sculpture.
  • Art Crawls: To really see Nashville’s artistic underbelly, attend one of the city’s many art crawls. Community-supporting events like the 5th Avenue Art Crawl, East Nashville Art Stumble, and WeHo Art Crawl are one of the most fun things to do in Nashville.
  • Belcourt Theatre: Not many know of Nashville’s indie film scene, but at the Belcourt Theatre, you can even support it. This nonprofit film center hosts regular talkbacks and community events to support the city’s motion picture artists.

5. Travel back in time with historic Nashville

Thanks to a proactive city government (and some saving graces), Nashville has preserved many of its treasured historic sites. Now, residents can soak in the city’s deep cultural roots via guided tour of these windows to the past:

  • Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage: This Nashville attraction owned by the former president for 41 years (and now his final resting place), this large estate packs a historic punch across its plantations, mansion, and gardens.
  • Belle Meade Historic Site & Winery: Take a historic, wine and food, or bourbon tasting guided tour at this Tennessee treasure. Antebellum architecture and excellent upkeep make this past plantation an important gateway to a dark period of the past.
  • Belmont Mansion: For a taste of southern luxury, you can’t beat the Belmont Mansion.  Once owned by the richest family in Nashville, this estate is some of the best Palladian architecture in the country.

Fall in love with Nashville with Landing

With its legendary country music, top-tier food, plenty of outdoor recreation, we guarantee you’ll never run out of cool things to do in Nashville. Whether you’re a country star in the making or love a spacious urban plan, anyone can enjoy this city’s unique southern charm. Take a look at the best neighborhoods in Nashville and see what would be a good fit for you. 

Are you ready to test Nashville’s vibe for yourself? Landing has you covered. With no security deposits or lease signings, our housing deals make city living a breeze. Start your move by browsing our fully furnished apartments in Nashville today.

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About the author

Bri Hand

Bri Hand is Landing's Content Marketing Manager. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with her partner and dog, Arlo, but relishes any opportunity she can to travel so she can try new foods, see gorgeous sights, and daydream about living somewhere new after visiting there for less than 24 hours.