What Are Nashville’s Best Tourist Attractions?

If a trip to Nashville is on your bucket list (and why wouldn’t it be?) you’re in luck. Music City is full of all sorts of things to do, with attractions and unique experiences for all interests. There’s so much going on, it can be harder to choose what to leave out than what to do on your trip! This post will help you decide where to go and what to do for the ultimate visit to Nashville.

Musical Attractions

Whether you’re into live music, music history, or musicians themselves, Nashville is the place for musical experiences. It’s Music City, after all. Take a tour or see a show at one of the city’s iconic musical landmarks for a true Nashville experience.

  • Ryman Auditorium – Known as the Mother Church of Country Music, Ryman Auditorium may be best recognized as the former home of the Grand Ole Opry, the show that made country music famous. Today, the Ryman hosts concerts of all genres and daily tours that give you exclusive access to this iconic Nashville landmark.
  • Grand Ole Opry – If you’re a country music fan, you’ve already got the Opry on your list of tourist attractions to visit. Plan a trip to see the Grand Ole Opry, the longest-running live radio broadcast in the world, or see shows from other amazing headliners on the schedule.
  • Schermerhorn Symphony Center – Located right downtown, the Nashville Symphony welcomes guests of all ages. Check out their summer music series to hear the soundtracks of your favorite movies performed live while you watch the big screen.

Art & Cultural Activities

Frist Art Museum

If you’re a fan of art, Nashville has plenty to offer. Whether it’s a day spent at a museum or a walking tour of the city’s murals, there’s plenty of beauty to see around Music City.

  • Frist Art Museum – See works from world-famous artists, like Picasso and Frida Kahlo, in the Frists’ many rotating exhibits. The museum offers fun for everyone in the family, including an art studio where tourists can make and take home their own works of art. 
  • Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum – Take in country music history at this fun and interactive museum featuring rotating exhibits from country’s biggest superstars. Be sure to visit Hatch Show Print in the lobby to see their famous hand-printed concert posters from throughout the decades.
  • Johnny Cash Museum – Fans of the Man in Black can’t miss the Johnny Cash Museum, located just off Broadway. See exclusive artifacts and photos from the country music legend’s career and life, and take home a souvenir or two.
  • Tennessee State Museum – Learn about the history of Tennessee and the US at the Tennessee State Museum. With a variety of rotating, permanent, and children’s exhibitions, there’s something for every age and interest.
  • Murals & Street Art – For an activity that’s so Nashville, take a tour of the many murals located all around the city, like the famous “What Lifts You–Wings”. Walking and bus tours are available for a guided experience.

Historic Things to See

  • Ryman Auditorium – Did you know the Ryman was first a church when it opened in 1889? Or that it narrowly escaped demolition in the 1970s? Learn about the history of Ryman Auditorium, country music, and Music City herself on a self-guided tour.
  • Grand Ole Opry – Experience country music history and its role in making Nashville one of the nation’s top tourist destinations. On a tour of the Opry, you’ll hear insider stories, get a peek backstage, and even stand in the famous circle on the Opry stage.
  • The Parthenon – Get to know the Athens of the South by visiting The Parthenon, a full-scale replica of the ancient Greek structure, complete with a 42-foot statue of Athena. The Parthenon is located in Nashville’s Centennial Park and is open for daily tours.
  • Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage – With more than 30 historic buildings, a museum, and reenactments, this former home and final resting place of President Andrew Jackson is a wonderful place to learn about Nashville’s history.
  • Belmont Mansion – The Belmont Mansion is one of the most well-kept historic homes in the US. See the ornate details of this beautiful home, restored with original decor, and tour its elaborate gardens. The mansion is open for tours five days a week.

Outdoor Adventures

  • Hiking – Check out the numerous hiking trails around the greater Nashville area, like Radnor Lake State Park with six trails or Percy Warner Park on the city’s southwest side.
  • Treetop Adventure Park – Spend a day high above the ground at Nashville Shores’ Treetop Adventure Park. Fly across a zipline and take on other challenging obstacles.
  • Old Hickory Lake – Visit Old Hickory Lake, located just northeast of Nashville, for a day of boating, skiing, fishing, hiking, and swimming.

Romantic Experiences

Red bunch of grapes in the vineyard
  • Live Shows at the Ryman – Snuggle on a church pew and see a show with the one you love at Ryman Auditorium. Take in the architecture and history of the venue, as well as the music. Did you know the Ryman even offers proposal packages?
  • Grand Ole Opry – Treat your sweetie to a concert at the iconic Opry. Check out the concert schedule to choose a show you can sway to.
  • Arrington Vineyards – Pack a picnic and plan a day of wine tasting at Arrington Vineyards. A 30-minute drive from downtown, the winery overlooks colorful rolling hills: perfect for an afternoon or evening for two.

Family-Friendly Fun

Nashville, Tennessee; August 24 2019; a mother taking picture of her kids in front of Nashville Zoo
  • Mae Dees Park – At Mae Dees Park, known to locals as Dragon Park, kids can play and climb on multiple structures, including a large dragon.
  • Nashville Shores Waterpark – What’s not to love about a waterpark on a hot day? Slip and slide down Nashville Shores’ many waterslides located on Percy Priest Lake.
  • Nashville Zoo at Grassmere – Animal lovers will enjoy a day at the Nashville Zoo, offering beautiful scenery and incredible rotating attractions. The zoo is one of the largest in the US and one of Tennessee’s top tourist attractions.

Seasonal Experiences

Tourists love visiting Nashville through every season. In the fall, make a trip to Cheekwood Harvest, a fall festival at Cheekwood Gardens with family-friendly activities, fall-themed gardens, and pumpkins everywhere. In the winter, you can’t miss Christmas at Gaylord Opryland, a holiday tradition for locals and tourists alike. With live music and unmatched lights displays, this is a Christmas experience you won’t forget. In the spring and summer, see Nashville from a kayak on the Cumberland River, or visit East Nashville’s annual Tomato Art Festival, with art, food, and activities for the whole family.

If You’ve Only Got a Day…

If you only have one day to spend in Nashville, make sure you hit the city’s most iconic spots. Start the day in The Gulch with brunch at Biscuit Love (be warned: there’s often a line to get in) or the trendy Marsh House at the LA Jackson Hotel. Then, take a walk around The Gulch to see some of Music City’s most popular murals.

Spend the afternoon getting to know two of Nashville’s most famous music spots: The Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium. At the Opry take a backstage tour of the green room and themed dressing rooms and hear stories from country music history. Then, travel to the Ryman to see star-studded exhibits and stand on the stage where your favorite artists perform. Finally, end the day at Broadway’s honky-tonks, like Blake Shelton’s Ole Red, for live music, food, and a drink or two.

If You’ve Got a Whole Weekend…

Make the most of a weekend in Nashville by visiting these favorite attractions.

Day 1: Start your morning with a stroll through the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. Then, head to the Grand Ole Opry for a backstage tour of the Home of Country Music. Drive to 12South for a coffee at Frothy Monkey and some shopping, including a stop at actress Reese Witherspoon’s boutique, Draper James. End the day with dinner at Edley’s Bar-B-Que and top it off with a Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream cone. 

Day 2: Breathe in some fresh air with a hike or bike ride around Percy Warner Park. Then, grab some lunch and head downtown for a day of musical fun. Visit the Music City Walk of Fame honoring music stars you know and love, and stop by the Johnny Cash Museum to learn more about the country music icon. Head to Broadway to check out Nashville’s famed honky-tonks, including local favorites like Ole Red and Robert’s Western World. Stop by Nashville’s newest development, Fifth + Broadway, for shopping and dinner. Then, end the night with a concert at the world-renowned Ryman Auditorium.

Sign Up for Alerts

There’s so much happening every day in Nashville. Stay in the know. Sign up for email alerts from Ryman Auditorium whenever new shows and events are added to the calendar.