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Nashville, Tennessee is one of the best cities to visit in the United States. From vibrant nightlife and an unbeatable country music scene to festivals and southern cuisine, the eclectic metropolis has a little bit of everything.
If you're considering making a trip to Music City, we recommend planning ahead with at least a penciled-in itinerary. With so many incredible things to do, this will help you make the most of your time there. So, what are the best places to visit in Nashville? Zeus Living has you covered. Find a rundown of the top 12 destinations below.
Nashville's Belmont University is known as one of the best colleges for the music business in the U.S. We're not suggesting you enroll in any classes, but if you head over to the Belmont campus, you can scope out the GIG (Gallery of Iconic Guitars). The small museum displays a collection of guitars and other instruments once played by famous artists. Take a tour of the exhibits and absorb some music history you'll only find in Nashville. If you're interested in the history of rock n' roll, this is one of the best places to go.
Belcourt Theater is the city's oldest cinema and one of its most famed historic places. It opened in 1925 and housed the Grand Ole Opry for a few years in the 30s. The movie theater was recently renovated with modern finishes and high-def screens. Now it's a favorite movie spot among both locals and visitors. You can catch new releases, documentaries, remastered black-and-white movies, and art house films at Belcourt Theater.
Farmers’ markets are excellent places to visit in Nashville. You can pick up produce, baked goods, ice cream, and specialty foods from local artisans and taste the city like a local. There are multiple markets in the metro area, but the Downtown Nashville Farmers Market is open every day of the week, year-round. There's also a Night Market every third Friday evening of the week.
If you're a country music fan, you're sure to love this piece of the itinerary. Nicknamed "the Mother Church of Country Music," Ryman Auditorium is one of the must-see places in Nashville. Like the Belcourt Theater, it was once home of the Grand Ole Opry House, when iconic artists like Elvis and Johnny Cash graced its stage. Now, the 2,362-seat auditorium is Nashville's premier venue for live music. It hosts some of the top performers of country, rock, blues, and bluegrass music, so be sure to add this music history destination to your Nashville itinerary.
If you like spicy food and fried chicken, you should definitely hit up some hot chicken restaurants when you visit Nashville. The city's hometown specialty all began at Prince's Hot Chicken, where the delicious fried dish quickly caught fire. Prince's is a must-eat, but there are lots of other hot chicken spots throughout Nashville. Bolton's, Hattie B's, 400 Degrees, and Party Fowl are all worth tasting and well-known in the Nashville area.
Dubbed "the Honky Tonk Highway," Lower Broadway is a bar-lined thoroughfare in historic Downtown Nashville, right next to Music Row. While larger music venues are worth scoping out, some of the city's best live country music can be heard at the bars, pubs, taverns, and lounges on Lower Broadway. Plus, unlike a ticketed country music hall, you usually don't have to pay a cover charge. If you are a country music fan, the bars on broadway are a must-see!
Tennessee State Museum recently moved to Nashville's trendy Germantown neighborhood. You can take a tour to see both permanent galleries showcasing historical artifacts from the state as well as temporary exhibits. Some of the mainstays include Tennessee Time Tunnel, Natural History, First Peoples, and Forging a Nation. The museum also has a children's gallery with interactive exhibits.
SoundWaves at Gaylord Opryland is a gigantic waterpark with both indoor and outdoor attractions. Inside, you can ride the mega raft, go down the huge tube slides, float down the lazy river, or zip down the rapid river. Outside, you can plunge down water rides, body surf in the wave pool, or relax in the adults-only flatwater pool. If you're visiting Nashville during the hot, humid summer, heading to SoundWaves can be a perfect way to cool off.
If you're into cars, you'll love the Lane Motor Museum. Located in an industrial neighborhood south of Nashville's Cumberland River, the gallery houses the largest collection of European cars and motorcycles in the country. You'll get to see 150 truly unique vehicles, all owned by Jeff Lane, who began restoring cars as a teenager.
If you have kids (and even if you don't), we recommend spending a day at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. Located just a few miles southeast of downtown, the zoological garden and historic plantation is Middle Tennessee's top tourist attraction. The zoo spans across 188 acres of land and has almost 3,000 exotic animals from 365 species. If you don't have the whole day free, you can get half-price admission after 1:00 pm.
Cheekwood Estate and Gardens is a 55-acre botanical spectacle and historic estate in Nashville. It has gardens, galleries, art installations, glass sculptures, gorgeous views, and seasonal exhibits. The Cheekwood Botanical Garden is also home to multiple wedding venues and hosts seasonal festivals. Most weekends, you can stop by for crafts, live music, a guided tour, and other activities. If you're looking for something to do in the evening, check out Cheekwood's Chihuly Nights, when the glass sculptures are illuminated under the stars.
Madame Tussauds Nashville is a truly epic wax art museum that first opened over 250 years ago. If you have an appreciation for music, history, and art, this is one of the best Nashville places to visit. The lifelike wax sculptures resemble iconic artists from all eras and genres. We're talking Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Rihanna, Jimmy Hendrix, Katy Perry, and Justin Timberlake—among many, many others.
While we thoroughly researched this list of places to go in Nashville, bear in mind that many attractions have closed temporarily or adjusted their hours in light of the coronavirus pandemic. We suggest checking the website or calling ahead before finalizing your Nashville itinerary, or visiting any of these locations.
With so much to do and see in Music City, it’s worth checking out for longer than a weekend. At Zeus Living, we offer clean and comfortable temporary housing in Nashville for 30 days or more. Our fully furnished rentals are equipped with kitchen essentials, super-fast WiFi, smart TVs with cable, top-rated beds, deluxe linens, and cleaning supplies.
If you have questions about our rental homes or where to stay in the Nashville area, please contact us anytime. We'd love to hear from you.