Nashville Bucket List: Must-See Attractions and Experiences

Disclosure notice

So, you are headed to Nashville, or at least thinking about it. Explore this Nashville Bucket List of some of the best things to do during your visit.

Exploring Nashville, affectionately known as Music City, presents a unique adventure of music and history. Grab this 2-Day Nashville Itinerary for a starting point for your travel plans!

This city is not only the hallowed ground of the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium, often referred to as the Mother Church of Country Music, but it also pulses with the beats of live performances, honky tonks, and the soulful echoes of legendary artists like Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift, and Brad Paisley.

As you walk down the buzzing streets of downtown Nashville, the vibrant atmosphere of live music from local musicians fills the air.

Beyond the music, Nashville is full of culinary delights, outdoor activities, and history.

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.

Taste the mouthwatering heat of Nashville's famous hot chicken, or savor the offerings of food trucks and local coffee shops spread across East Nashville and the Nashville Farmers' Market

For a touch of history, head to the interactive exhibits at the National Museum of African American Music or relive the stories at the historic mansion of Belmont

Love nature? Head to Percy Warner Park and Radnor Lake.

Sports fans? If the seasons match your travels, you can cheer for the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena or catch a Nashville Sounds game at First Horizon Park.

Nashville has plenty of fun places that are perfect for family fun or a solo adventure.

Check out the Opryland Hotel, which offers an indoor escape and a nice reprieve from the weather if you need to wait for your Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour or Concert.

For an authentic Nashville experience, the Honky Tonk Highway on Lower Broadway guarantees a fun time with its endless stream of music bars, and L&L Market delivers a shopping experience rich with home decor and local goods.

Whether it's sipping cocktails at Pinewood Social's splash pad, taking in the skyline view from a Cumberland River bridge, or soaking in the rich melodies at an open mic night, Nashville has a fun atmosphere for all sorts of travelers.

If you are overwhelmed with the options, here are some Nashville historical places reviews.

Need some pointers on how to craft your own bucket list? I've got you covered, check out this Ultimate Guide to Creating a Bucket List!

Banner promoting '75+ Themed Road Trip Ideas' with a clickable link, depicted on an olive green background with white and yellow text and directional arrow graphics, suggesting a resource for travelers to plan their next adventure with unique themes.

Historic Landmarks

Nashville is surrounded by historic landmarks that tell the stories of its musical and cultural past. Each site offers a unique glimpse into the eras that shaped this vibrant city.

Ryman Auditorium

Initially opened in 1892, Ryman Auditorium is a must-visit for music enthusiasts. It was home to the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 until 1974 and is renowned for its exceptional acoustics.

Plan to get tour tickets in advance. Tours are typically offered between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily. I opted for the self-guided tour, which became one of my favorite things during my last Nashville adventure.

Address: 116 Fifth Avenue North, 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.

The Hermitage

The Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson's plantation home, was built in 1821 and offers a detailed look at early American history and the Antebellum South.

Plan to take the guided tour to understand the historical context. The historic site also includes beautiful gardens and a museum.

Address: 4580 Rachel's Lane, Hermitage, TN 37076

The Andrew Jackson Hermitage, located in Nashville, Tennessee, is a historic plantation home surrounded by lush trees and a wide grassy lawn, highlighting its classical architecture and serene setting.

Fort Nashborough

Visit the reconstructed Fort Nashborough to learn about the frontier life of the settlers who founded Nashville. The original fort was built in 1779.

The site is free to visit, and plenty of interactive exhibits allow you to experience pioneer life.

Address: 170 1st Ave N, Nashville, TN 37201

Cultural Attractions

Nashville's cultural landscape is marked by iconic institutions that celebrate its rich history and artistry. These attractions provide a deep insight into the city's artistic soul.

Country Music Hall of Fame

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum offers a comprehensive look at the history and evolution of country music.

You'll find a vast collection of memorabilia, photographs, and recordings that tell the genre's story. Notable artifacts include instruments played by country music legends and the famous Hall of Fame Rotunda.

Book your tour tickets in advance, especially during the summer and on weekends.

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

A distant view of the Country Music Hall of Fame, showcasing its unique architecture with a spire and curved façade. The surrounding area includes a grassy lawn and a few trees, giving it an open and inviting atmosphere.
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum” by afagen is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Frist Art Museum

Enjoy the Frist Art Museum's visual arts from local, state, and international artists. The museum's ever-changing exhibitions ensure that each visit offers something new and intriguing.

Discover different cultures and historical periods through a diverse collection of artworks showcased within this historic art deco building.

Address: 919 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203

Grand Ole Opry

The Grand Ole Opry, a must-visit for any music fan, is a vibrant testament to Nashville's musical prestige.

As the world's longest-running live radio show, it has launched countless careers and continues to host some of the biggest names in music. The behind-the-scenes tour is an exciting experience that connects you with country music's soul.

Book your tour tickets in advance, especially during the summer and on weekends. Book in advance if you plan to attend a concert, as it's a popular bucket list activity!

Address: 2804 Opryland Drive, Nashville, TN 37214

The stage of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, featuring musical instruments and equipment with the iconic Grand Ole Opry sign and logo illuminated in the background.

Outdoor Adventures

Nashville isn't just a haven for music lovers; it also offers lush parks and scenic greenways perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. You'll find plenty of activities to appreciate the city's natural beauty.

Centennial Park

Home to the iconic Parthenon replica, Centennial Park is a 132-acre urban oasis in the heart of Nashville. Enjoy walking paths, picturesque landscaping, and the tranquil Lake Watauga.

Activities at the park include Walking/Hiking, Picnicking, and Bird watching.

Head inside the Parthenon to explore its impressive art gallery, which features a variety of exhibits, including a permanent collection of 19th and 20th-century American art.

Take advantage of the awe-inspiring full-scale replica of Athena, standing 42 feet tall – well, thinking about it, it would be hard to miss Athena! 

The park is free, but there is an admission fee inside the Parthenon.

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.

Cheekwood Botanical Garden

Cheekwood is more than a botanical garden. It's home to an estate constructed in the 1930s. The estate's gardens bloom year-round, offering stunning flora spread over 55 acres.

Some of the most famous gardens include the Japanese Garden and Color Garden. The perfect time to visit is in spring or summer.

Address: 1200 Forrest Park Dr, Nashville, TN 37205

A starburst wooden art installation at Cheekwood Botanical Garden, with long wooden planks radiating out from a central point over a reflective water surface.
‘Reflection' by David Wood — Cheekwood Botanical Garden Nashville (TN) July 2011” by Ron Cogswell is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Shelby Bottoms Greenway

Spanning over 960 acres and 9.7 miles of Cumberland River frontage, the Shelby Bottoms Greenway is a haven for casual strolls and biking.

The greenway has paved multi-use paths, nature trails, and connections to other park systems. The area is also great for birdwatching and deer sightings.

Address: 1900 Davidson St, Nashville, TN 37206

Dining Experiences

Nashville's culinary scene offers incredible food options: signature hot chicken, authentic Southern barbecue, and fresh farm-to-table offerings.

Hot Chicken Specialties

Your visit to Nashville would only be complete with trying the city's iconic hot chicken.

Head to Prince's Hot Chicken Shack (multiple locations), the original creator of the Nashville hot chicken, and choose your heat level wisely.

Another must-visit is Hattie B's Hot Chicken (numerous locations), where you can indulge in various spice levels ranging from “Southern” (no heat) to “Shut the Cluck Up” (burning hot).

A serving of Hattie B's hot chicken with pickles, accompanied by sides of coleslaw, collard greens, and other dishes, placed on a checkered paper-lined tray.
Hattie B's Hot Chicken” by revrev is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Southern Barbecue Favorites

For an authentic taste of Southern barbecue, visit Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint (multiple locations). The place well-known for its whole hog BBQ, cooked slow and low over hickory wood. 

Peg Leg Porker (903 Gleaves St) in The Gulch neighborhood offers a simple yet delicious menu, with their dry-rubbed ribs being a crowd favorite.

Farm-to-Table Restaurants

Savor Nashville's freshest flavors at farm-to-table restaurants that emphasize local ingredients. 

The Farm House (210 Almond St) combines Southern classics with innovative twists, and their commitment to local farmers is evident in every dish.

At Husk (37 Rutledge St), located in a beautifully restored historic home, you'll discover a menu that changes daily, reflecting the freshest produce available.

Live Music Venues

When visiting Nashville, experiencing live music is a must. The city's vibrant scene is renowned, and these venues are at the heart of it all.

Bluebird Cafe

You'll find a cozy and intimate setting at the Bluebird Cafe for a live performance. This legendary spot is known for its “In the Round” performances, where songwriters share songs and stories in the center of the room.

Fun fact: Garth Brooks got his start at the Bluebird Cafe!

Address: 4104 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville, TN 37215

Musicians performing at Bluebird Cafe, with one person playing the guitar and singing into a microphone, while others accompany him, creating an intimate live music setting.
Front Row at the Blue Bird Cafe 39/366” by Paul Chenoweth is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Music Row

Music Row is the epicenter of Nashville's music industry. Strolling down this storied street, you can visit iconic recording studios and possibly catch an emerging artist at a showcase in one of the many venues.

Music Row is located primarily along 16th and 17th Avenues South.

The Station Inn

Famed for its bluegrass and roots music, The Station Inn offers a no-frills atmosphere that focuses purely on the music. Here, you'll listen to some of the best live bluegrass acts.

Address: 402 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

Nashville Bucket List: Shopping Destinations

Nashville offers an eclectic mix of shopping experiences, from the trendy boutiques of 12 South to the upscale shops in The Gulch and the unique finds in East Nashville.

12 South

In 12 South, you'll find a vibrant stretch of locally owned shops. 

White's Mercantile is a one-stop shop for a curated selection of goods, from home decor to gourmet foods. Don't miss out on Draper James, Reese Witherspoon's boutique, which offers classic Southern style with a modern twist.

The Gulch

The Gulch is known for its chic boutiques and high-end retail. 

e.Allen boasts a fine selection of designer clothing and accessories. For those interested in contemporary fashion, Two Old Hippies provides a mix of clothing, guitars, and gifts, reflecting Nashville's music heritage.

Storefront of "Two Old Hippies" in the Gulch area of Nashville, featuring large windows and a rustic brick exterior, with a sign displaying the store's name in bold blue letters.
Two Old Hippies, in The Gulch, Nashville” by The Wide Wide World is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

East Nashville Boutiques

Experience the creative heart of Nashville's retail scene in East Nashville. 

Welcome Home delivers a wide array of home goods with Southern charm. For unique clothing and accessories crafted by local designers, Goodbuy Girls is an essential destination that embodies the area's laid-back, artistic vibe.

Nashville Bucket List: Neighborhood Exploration

Exploring Nashville's diverse neighborhoods should be on your bucket list when visiting. Each area offers unique experiences and a glimpse into the local culture and history.

Germantown

Germantown, situated just north of downtown, is one of Nashville's oldest neighborhoods. You can find a mix of Victorian architecture and trendy eateries. Make sure to visit the Nashville Farmers' Market in the area.

  • Restaurants: Rolf and Daughters, City House
  • Attractions: Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, The Germantown Inn
Historic sign describing the history of Germantown.
Germantown Historic District” by crazysanman.history is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The Nations

The Nations has transformed into a hub of nightlife and dining. This up-and-coming area is best known for its large-scale murals and the walkable streets filled with unique shops and bars.

  • Shops: Project 615, ABLE
  • Food & Drink: Frothy Monkey, Nicky's Coal Fired

Belmont/Hillsboro

Belmont/Hillsboro emanates a cozy, college-town vibe, thanks to Belmont University. The historic homes, boutique shopping, and quaint cafes define the neighborhood's character.

  • Shopping: White's Mercantile, Planet Cowboy
  • Dining: Fido, Pancake Pantry

Sporting Events

Nashville offers a compelling array of sporting events across iconic venues. Experience the thrill of live sports in the city known for its vibrant atmosphere and die-hard fans.

Nissan Stadium

Home to the Tennessee Titans, Nissan Stadium offers exhilarating NFL football action. With a seating capacity of over 69,000, it's a hive of energy on game days.

  • Address: One Titans Way, Nashville, TN 37213
  • Events: Tennessee Titans home games, soccer matches, concerts
Nissan Stadium in Nashville, home of the Tennessee Titans, viewed from across the river with green trees and clear blue skies in the background.

Bridgestone Arena

Bridgestone Arena is the heart of Nashville's hockey scene, featuring the Nashville Predators. As a multipurpose venue, it also hosts a variety of other sporting events.

  • Address: 501 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203
  • Events: Nashville Predators home games, basketball tournaments, ice skating competitions

First Horizon Park

Catch a baseball game at First Horizon Park, the home of the Nashville Sounds, the city's Minor League Baseball team. It's a perfect spot for a family outing or to enjoy America's pastime on a summer evening.

  • Address: 19 Junior Gilliam Way, Nashville, TN 37219
  • Events: Nashville Sounds home games, special events

Festivals and Events

Nashville hosts various festivals and events catering to music lovers, film enthusiasts, and cultural traditions. Throughout the year, ensure you experience these not-to-be-missed highlights.

Below are just a couple of options. Click here for a complete list of Nashville events.

CMA Fest

The CMA Fest, held annually in June, is a four-day celebration of country music that you won't want to miss. It features music performances by top country artists, autograph signings, and fan interactions.

Tickets often sell out quickly, so plan in advance. This celebration is so big that you can catch a night live on air—check your local TV stations.

Crowd gathered at the CMA Music Festival in Nashville, with tents and a stage set up along the river and a backdrop of city buildings.
Opening Day at the 2008 CMA Music Festival” by mdave is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Nashville Film Festival

Celebrating the art of motion pictures, the Nashville Film Festival in September is your gateway to viewing critically acclaimed documentaries, short films, and feature films.

The event showcases works from both established and rising filmmakers. This film festival was one of the first in the United States.

Cherry Blossom Festival

Welcome spring at the Cherry Blossom Festival in mid-April. This one-day event honors Japanese culture with a range of activities, from music and dance performances to martial arts demonstrations and a cosplay contest.

Two performers playing traditional Japanese taiko drums at the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival. The drummer on the left is wearing a yellow outfit, while the drummer on the right is in black. They are energetically engaging in their performance on an outdoor stage.
Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival” by christyfrink is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Arts and Theater

Nashville's arts scene thrives with live performances and visually stunning public art. From high-caliber theater productions to iconic street murals, Nashville has a bit of everything.

Tennessee Performing Arts Center

At the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC), you experience some of the best live entertainment in Nashville. TPAC hosts a broad range of events, including:

  • Broadway shows: Catch the latest and greatest traveling Broadway productions.
  • Local theater: Support Nashville's arts community with productions by local companies.

Belcourt Theatre

The Belcourt Theatre is an independent cinema. Here are the reasons to visit:

  • Historic charm: This 1925 theater brings a touch of history to contemporary films. Fun fact: it was once home to the Grand Ole Opry!
  • Diverse programming: Enjoy an eclectic mix of indie, documentary, and foreign films.

Murals and Street Art

Exploring Nashville's Murals and Street Art reveals the city's creative heart. Highlights include:

  • The Gulch: Home to the famous “What Lifts You” wings by Kelsey Montague.
  • East Nashville: This area boasts a collection of murals, adding color and vibrancy to any visit.
A person standing in front of the "What Lifts You" mural in Nashville's Gulch neighborhood, created by artist Kelsey Montague. The mural features intricate white wings on a dark wall, designed for interactive photography.

Family Activities

Experience the best of Nashville through these family-friendly attractions, each offering unique educational and entertaining experiences for visitors of all ages.

Nashville Zoo

You can encounter over 6,000 animals and 300+ species at the Nashville Zoo. If there is a particular animal that you or a travel mate loves, be sure to check out the backstage pass options for a one-on-one experience!

The zoo is open every day (except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day). The zoo is located about 6 miles from Downtown Nashville.

The Adventure Science Center

The Adventure Science Center offers interactive exhibits that make learning fun for kids. Highlights include the Wonders of the Universe exhibit and the Sudekum Planetarium.

Check the schedule for special exhibits and events to plan your visit accordingly.

A glowing blue globe display at the Adventure Science Center in Nashville, Tennessee. The exhibit is surrounded by a circular platform and lighting, creating an immersive viewing experience.
Adventure Science Center” by niseag03 is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Nashville Children's Theater

The Nashville Children's Theater is America's oldest-running children's theater.

They offer a variety of shows suitable for the entire family, with a season that runs through the school year and often includes summer productions.

Final Thoughts: Nashville Bucket List

Nashville is a fun place with cultural, musical, and culinary experiences. As you go through your adventures, here are key highlights:

  • Music Venues: No visit is complete without a night at the Grand Ole Opry. Indulge in live performances that spawn across various genres beyond country.
  • Historical Sites: Pay homage to the past at the Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson. Brush up on your history with a guided tour.
  • Local Cuisine: You can't leave without trying Nashville's signature hot chicken. Hattie B's or Prince's are go-to spots to satiate your cravings.

These experiences form the core of Nashville's identity, reflecting its rich history and vibrant present. 

Louisville, KY to Nashville, TN Road Trip – 3-Day Itinerary

2 days in Nashville: Weekend Itinerary

Nashville Weekend Getaway: Destination Reviews

Ultimate Guide on How to Make a Travel Bucket List

Pin this for later:

Choose the image(s) that resonate with you to pin to your travel board on Pinterest!

A collage image promoting Nashville's bucket list of fun things to do. The collage features a neon-lit sign of "The Valentine" and "Savannah's Candy Kitchen" on a street, a close-up of a Nashville hot chicken sandwich, and Bridgestone Arena illuminated at night. The text reads "Nashville Bucket List: Fun Things to Do!" with the website "anacreinthecity.com" at the bottom.
A poster promoting Nashville's top bucket list attractions. The main image features a giant guitar with names of famous musicians like Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, and Dolly Parton, among others. The text reads "Nashville's Top Bucket List Attractions" and "anacreinthecity.com" at the bottom. The background shows reflections of buildings and a person taking a photo.
A collage image promoting Nashville's bucket list, featuring a vibrant night scene with neon-lit bars and restaurants on Broadway, and the replica of the Parthenon in Centennial Park. The text reads "Nashville Bucket List: Historic, Cultural, Outdoor, Dining, Music, Shopping & More!" with the website "anacreinthecity.com" at the bottom.

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts