2 days in Nashville: First Timers Weekend Itinerary

Disclosure notice

Two days in Nashville, Tennessee, a.k.a. “Music City,” is the perfect place to spend the weekend! This vibrant and dynamic destination is known for its rich musical heritage.

The city is a paradise for music lovers, especially country music lovers.

Whether you're exploring the honky tonks of Lower Broadway, visiting legendary venues like the Ryman Auditorium, or taking a self-guided tour through the historic streets, Nashville offers a unique blend of culture and entertainment.

This two-day Nashville itinerary will guide you through the best things to do in the downtown area and beyond. You'll visit iconic music venues, enjoy live performances, and dine at some of the city's best restaurants.

From the Country Music Hall of Fame to the vibrant street art of Music Row and from the full-scale replica of the Parthenon to the Cumberland River, this itinerary was designed to ensure you have a great time.

Whether you're visiting Nashville for the first time or are a seasoned visitor, this guide will help you experience the heart of the city in just 48 hours.

One of my favorite things to do in Nashville is to check out the mural art throughout the city. Bonus – it's free! 

Let's dive into Nashville – the perfect place for a weekend getaway!

Tip: Consider taking a road trip to Louisville from Nashville – it's only a few hours and also a super fun destination!

Nashville Mural - red heart with angle wings coming out of back of heart. Crown on top of heart and the script reading "Nashville" across the heart.

Day 1: Exploring Downtown and Music Scene

Morning

Breakfast at Biscuit Love

Start your day with a hearty Southern breakfast at Biscuit Love, known for its delicious biscuits and Southern specialties.

Address: 316 11th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame

Discover the rich history of country music through interactive exhibits and legendary memorabilia. Key exhibits include the Hall of Fame Rotunda and the Sing Me Back Home exhibit.

Opening hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Ticket prices are around: Adults $30, Youth $20

Address: 222 Rep. John Lewis Way S, Nashville, TN 37203

Mid-Morning

Tour the Ryman Auditorium

Explore the historic “Mother Church of Country Music,” where legends have performed. Guided tours provide a deep dive into the venue's storied past.

Self-guided tours are also available (that's the option I did when visiting and enjoyed it). I'm not a country music fan, but this place has fantastic energy.

Tour details: Available daily, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Prices are around: Adults $36, Youth $24

Address: 116 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37219

Interior of the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, showcasing the wooden stage, rows of seating, and the iconic backdrop featuring the "Ryman Auditorium" sign with images of famous musicians. The stage lights and sound equipment are visible, ready for the next performance in this legendary venue.

Lunch

Eat at Hattie B's Hot Chicken

Indulge in Nashville's famous hot chicken. Menu highlights include the classic hot chicken sandwich and southern sides like pimento mac & cheese.

Best dishes to try: Hot Chicken (choose your heat level), Pimento Mac & Cheese

Address: 112 19th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

Afternoon

Walk along Broadway (Honky Tonk Highway)

Experience the heart of Nashville's nightlife with iconic honky-tonks and live music at every corner. Must-visit bars include Tootsie's Orchid Lounge and Robert's Western World.

Address: Lower Broadway, Nashville, TN

Mid-Afternoon

Stop by Johnny Cash Museum

This museum is dedicated to Johnny Cash's life and music and features a vast collection of artifacts and memorabilia.

Entry fees will be around: Adults $26, Youth $22

Hours: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Address: 119 3rd Ave S, Nashville, TN 37201

black and brown concrete building with CASH light up in yellow in the evening
Photo by NATHAN MULLET on Unsplash

Evening

Dinner at The Loveless Cafe

Enjoy famous Southern dishes like fried chicken and biscuits at this Nashville institution. Reservations are recommended, especially on weekends.

Address: 8400 TN-100, Nashville, TN 37221

Night

Catch a live show at The Bluebird Cafe

Experience Nashville's singer-songwriter scene in an intimate setting. Tickets sell out quickly, so book in advance to catch a live performance.

Performance schedule: Varies, check online for details

Address: 4104 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville, TN 37215

OR return to the bars and music venues along the Honky Tonk Highway, where you can find live music playing until late at night, seven days a week.

Famous honky tonks like Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, Robert's Western World, and The Stage offer the perfect scene for a music lover. Bonus – cover charge! 

red and yellow led signage Nashville at night
Photo by mana5280 on Unsplash

Day 2: Culture and Outdoor Activities

Morning

Breakfast at Pancake Pantry

There are 23 varieties of pancakes to choose from – from traditional buttermilk to sweet potato. Arrive early to avoid long lines.

Busy hours to avoid: 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM

Address: 1796 21st Ave S, Nashville, TN 37212

Mid-Morning

Visit The Parthenon in Centennial Park

Explore this full-scale replica of the ancient Greek Parthenon, featuring an art museum and a statue of Athena. You can explore the exterior of the building for free, but a fee is required to get into the museum and see the statue.

Ticket information: prices should be around: Adults $10, Youth $8

Address: 2500 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203

A full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Nashville's Centennial Park, featuring its classical Greek architecture with tall columns, ornate pediments, and intricate sculptures. The building is reflected in a calm pond, surrounded by lush green lawns and trees under a partly cloudy sky.

Lunch

Brunch at Pinewood Social

Enjoy a unique dining experience inside a historic Trolley Barn. The venue features bowling and splash pools. Bonus: If you have a rental car, they provide parking validation!

Best times to go: Late morning to early afternoon

Address: 33 Peabody St, Nashville, TN 37210

Afternoon

Explore the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere

Discover a variety of animal exhibits and attractions like the Jungle Gym and the Grassmere Historic Home.

The best time to visit is early afternoon.

Ticket prices vary depending on the day. Expect Adult tickets to be around $25 and youth tickets to be $20. There is also a parking fee.

Address: 3777 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, TN 37211

A giraffe stands in an outdoor enclosure, reaching up to feed from a container attached to a tall wooden pole. The enclosure is surrounded by a rocky barrier and leafless trees.

Mid-Afternoon

Walk along the Music City Walk of Fame Park

See stars dedicated to famous musicians who have contributed to the music industry. Notable stars include Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton.

Address: Demonbreun St between 4th and 5th Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203

Evening

Dinner at Husk Restaurant

Savor a farm-to-table dining experience with a menu that changes daily based on local ingredients.

Reservation details: Highly recommended; book online

Address: 37 Rutledge St, Nashville, TN 37210

Night

Enjoy live music at a local bar

For a more relaxed vibe, check out low-key spots like The Station Inn or The 5 Spot, where you can enjoy live music in a cozy setting.

What to expect: Intimate performances, local talent

Address: The Station Inn – 402 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

The 5 Spot – 1006 Forrest Ave, Nashville, TN 37206

How to Get Around Nashville

Now that you have a Nashville Itinerary, you will know how to get around! Navigating Downtown Nashville is quite convenient, with various transportation options.

Walking: Many of Nashville's top attractions, especially in the downtown area, are within walking distance of each other. Walking is a great way to explore the city's neighborhoods and street art up close.

Ride-sharing: Services like Uber and Lyft are readily available and provide a hassle-free way to travel between different city areas. Ride-sharing is also helpful for getting to and from Nashville International Airport or for late-night trips.

Public Transit: WeGo Public Transit offers bus services throughout Nashville. The bus service is a cheap way to get around town.

Biking: Nashville's B-cycle program allows you to rent bicycles at various stations around the city. It's an eco-friendly and enjoyable way to get around, especially for short trips in the downtown and midtown areas.

Scooters: Electric scooters from companies like Lime and Bird can be found throughout the city. They're a fun and quick option for short distances.

Car Rentals: Renting a car is a good option if you plan to explore areas outside of downtown or take day trips. Nashville has several car rental agencies, and driving can be the best way to visit attractions like Belle Meade Plantation or the Gaylord Opryland Resort.

Pedicabs: For a unique and leisurely ride, consider taking a pedicab. These bicycle-powered rickshaws are popular in the downtown area and offer a scenic way to travel between honky-tonks and other local spots.

Combining these options will help you quickly and efficiently navigate Nashville, allowing you to enjoy everything this lively city offers.

Where to Stay in Nashville

You will also need to consider what part of Nashville you want to stay in! It is no surprise that Nashville offers a variety of accommodations to suit every budget and preference. Here are some great places to consider for your stay:

Downtown Nashville:

Omni Nashville Hotel

Located in the heart of downtown, this hotel is next to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. It offers luxury accommodations and is within walking distance to major attractions like Bridgestone Arena and the Ryman Auditorium.

Address: 250 Rep. John Lewis Way S, Nashville, TN 37203

The Westin Nashville

This modern hotel features stylish rooms and a rooftop bar with stunning city views. It's a great spot for those looking to enjoy Nashville's nightlife and is just a short walk from Lower Broadway.

Address: 807 Clark Pl, Nashville, TN 37203

Noelle, Nashville, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel

This boutique hotel combines historic charm with modern amenities. Located near the Nashville Public Library and the Tennessee State Capitol, it's perfect for travelers who want a unique experience.

Address: 200 4th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37219

Midtown/Vanderbilt:

Kimpton Aertson Hotel

This stylish hotel in the Midtown area offers a rooftop pool and is close to Vanderbilt University and Music Row. It's a good choice for those looking to explore beyond the downtown core.

Address: 2021 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203

Graduate Nashville

This hotel is a favorite among younger travelers because of its quirky and vibrant decor. It is near Vanderbilt University and various trendy shops and eateries.

Address: 101 20th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37203

East Nashville:

Urban Cowboy Nashville

This bed-and-breakfast in a historic Victorian mansion offers uniquely decorated suites and a lively on-site bar, making it ideal for an intimate and eclectic stay.

Address: 1603 Woodland St, Nashville, TN 37206

The Russell

A boutique hotel in a renovated church, The Russell offers a unique stay in the vibrant East Nashville neighborhood, known for its artistic vibe and diverse dining options.

Address: 819 Russell St, Nashville, TN 37206

Music Valley/Opryland:

Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center

I love this place! It's a sprawling resort with indoor gardens, waterfalls, and dining and entertainment options. It's a destination in itself and located near the Grand Ole Opry.

Address: 2800 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN 37214

An indoor tropical garden at the Opryland Hotel, featuring lush greenery, tall palm trees, vibrant flowers, and whimsical musical note decorations. The glass roof overhead lets in natural light, illuminating the verdant space and creating a serene, inviting atmosphere.

Choosing the right area and accommodation will enhance your Nashville experience, whether you're looking for luxury, boutique charm, or a budget-friendly option.

FAQs: 2 Days in Nashville

What is the best time of year to visit Nashville?

Spring and fall offer mild weather and numerous festivals.

Are there any free attractions in Nashville?

Yes, options include Centennial Park, the Tennessee State Museum, and various live music performances.

How do you get around Nashville without a car?

Ride-sharing services, bike rentals, and public transit (WeGo Public Transit) are all convenient options.

What are some kid-friendly activities in Nashville?

The Nashville Zoo, Adventure Science Center, and the Cheekwood Estate & Gardens are great for families.

What are the must-try foods in Nashville?

Hot chicken, biscuits, barbecue, and meat & three (a meal of meat and three sides).

Mural on a brick wall featuring the words "I BELIEVE IN NASHVILLE" in bold white letters, set against a background of red, white, and blue stripes with three white stars in a blue circle, representing the Tennessee state flag. The mural includes the hashtag #ibelieveinnashville and the copyright symbol © 2012 at the bottom.

Final Thoughts: 2 Days in Nashville

This 2-day itinerary offers a well-rounded experience of Nashville, from its vibrant music scene to its rich cultural heritage.

Whether you're a first-time visitor or a returning traveler, Nashville's charm and hospitality will make your weekend unforgettable. 

What places will be on your Nashville bucket list?

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A mural featuring a golden crown and heart with the word "Nashville" written in script, with a text overlay that reads "Two Day Itinerary: Nashville, TN" and the website "anacreinthecity.com" at the bottom.
Collage image promoting a 2-day itinerary in Nashville, Tennessee. The top left shows a red-brick building, the top right features a silhouette of a musician on stage, and the bottom image captures a lively street with neon signs, including one for "The Valentine." The text overlay reads, "2-Days in Nashville Itinerary" with the website "anacreinthecity.com" at the bottom.
A busy night scene of downtown Nashville, Tennessee, with brightly lit buildings, neon signs, and heavy traffic. The text overlay reads "2 Epic Days in Nashville, Tennessee" with the website "anacreinthecity.com" at the bottom

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