Nashville, the capital of Tennessee, lies on the Cumberland River in the north-central part of the state. The city is home to many universities and colleges, along with a magnificent reproduction of the Parthenon—hence it is fondly called “Athens of the South.”
Nashville is a city of music, history, and lovely parks, so naturally, there are a lot of things to see and do. If you are here for the music, there are loads of attractions to meet your needs. Like the legendary Country Music Hall of Fame, Grand Ole Opry, and Ryman Auditorium. Visitors of all ages can explore the city and enjoy its historical roots.
Narrowing down the list of attractions to only 10 was challenging for a city that’s dedicated to preserving and showcasing its historic treasures and landmarks. So, no matter your tastes and interests, below are the top 10 Nashville attractions for singles or groups, families, and even business people. Have fun!
Top 10 Nashville Attractions You Must See!
For Music Fans
- Ryman Auditorium
This is the first place to begin exploring Nashville’s musical heritage. The auditorium hosts contemporary acts like Hunter Hayes and Earth, Wind and, Fire. While touring the Ryman Auditorium, you’ll see historic dressing rooms that are still being used today, as well as rare pictures and videos from Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, and Louis Armstrong. Sit back and experience the “Soul of Nashville” screening for a multi-dimensional view of archived photos and footage of performers who impacted the history of music. You can also discover more about the auditorium’s backstory with its latest ‘Workin on a Building” exhibit, which presents artifacts from the Auditorium’s construction. For those who like to sing, enjoy the thrill of recording your own voice in the studio and record a CD as a take-home souvenir.
- The Grand Ole Opry
In the 1920s the Grand Ole Opry began broadcasting and earned Nashville the title “Country Music Capital of the World.” Even though the venue of the Grand Ole Opry has changed through the years, the station continues to host top performers like Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, and Keith Urban. A trip to Nashville is not complete without visiting the Grand Ole Opry House for a tour of Nashville’s musical history. Get the first-hand experience on a daytime tour, a post-show tour, or a VIP tour. You will be regaled with stories of music legends who have also walked the hallowed halls.
For History Buffs
- The Parthenon
Located in Centennial Park, brief walk west of the city center is the popular reproduction of Athens’ Parthenon. It was built in 1897 to honor the state’s centenary and is an impressively detailed, replica of the original Greek temple. Inside the Parthenon is an art collection that consists of 63 artworks from 19th and 20th-century American painters. Also prominently on display is a 42-feet-high replica statue of the goddess Athena Parthenos. If you are a fan of Greek mythology, then you’ll have a lot of fun exploring and viewing replicas of the famous 5th century BC Parthenon Marbles.
- Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is located in a charming building in the center of downtown Nashville, with tall windows look like piano keys and the museum has a multi-media display of classical costumes, performances, gold records, instruments, and memorabilia. If you are a fan of Elvis Presley, you’ll love seeing a Cadillac that once belonged to him, a tour bus, a massive 40-foot guitar, and a recording booth.
- The Johnny Cash Museum
If you visit The Johnny Cash Museum, you’ll uncover the enigma behind The Man in Black. The museum boasts of the world’s biggest collection of Johnny Cash memorabilia and artifacts, including movies, handwritten notes, and letters written by Cash himself. There are also over 25 costumes that were made famous during his career. The displays are of different periods in Cash’s life, including his time in the Air Force, his famous prison concert tour, and his marriage to June Carter. The museum is officially supported by the Cash family, so expect to come across some personal mementos not publicly available anywhere else.
- Belle Meade Plantation
If you have a history buff seeking entertainment, head straight to the Belle Meade Plantation. Renovated in 1853 into a beautiful Greek Revival-style mansion by General William Giles, the Belle Meade Plantation is viewed as the “Queen of the Tennessee Plantations:. In the middle of the plantation is a mansion with columns and bullet holes from the Civil War. You will find guides dressed in period costumes available to take you on a tour of the mansion. Feel free to explore the plantation, which was renowned to be one of America’s best, thoroughbred farms. During the summer and fall, the Belle Meade Plantation caters to many events, including the Easter egg hunt and various antique auctions.
For Nature Lovers
- John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge
Closed to vehicle traffic in 1998, the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge is a scenic view and provides pedestrians a picturesque stretch of the Nashville skyline and Cumberland River. The bridge is connected to downtown Nashville, to the suburb of East Nashville, and is a safe way to cross the river. Go armed with a camera, because the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge will bring out the inner photographer in you Walking on the bridge, you can capture Nashville from different angles.
- Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art
Nashville has a lot to offer and this includes a botanical garden that you will simply adore. Art aficionados and nature lovers will both love this museum with its sculpture trail, greenhouses, and chromatic flower display. The 55-acre garden is a relaxing retreat from the bustle of downtown Nashville. and the art museum is just as impressive. Housed in a period Georgian-style family mansion, the museum possesses an extraordinary collection of 19th and 20th-century American art, including antique furniture and artifacts from around the world.
Nashville Restaurants For Foodies
- The Catbird Seat
The Catbird Seat restaurant sets a new standard for classy food. This small Nashville restaurant serves familiar foods in unfamiliar ways. The simplicity of the food and presentation is what makes this a must-eat for any foodie visiting Nashville. No other restaurant in Middle Tennessee has earned as much national publicity as The Catbird Seat. With chairs surrounding a U-shaped kitchen, patrons have the opportunity to interact with the chefs while their meals are being prepared.
- Bar N. 308
If you love a refreshing cocktail after a long day of exploring, then Nashville will do you proud. There are several cocktail bars highly talked about this year. One of these bars is called Bar No. 308′. This is a bartender’s bar from home-made sodas, to some very inventive cocktail mixes all put together by one of Nashville’s renowned barmen, Ben Clemons, Bar N. 308 is the place to relax and unwind.
Places To Stay
There’s so much to do, see, taste, and hear in Nashville. And we’re guessing you would rather not spend your time in Music City stuck in traffic, driving from one attraction to another. Stay where the action is and where you’re no more than a short walk away from the city’s best spots. Here are a couple of places we recommend calling your home when in Music City.
- The Capitol Hotel:
Only a block away from the Tennessee State Capitol, you’ll find yourself a short 8-minute walk away from the Ryman Auditorium and a 13-minute walk away from the Country Music Hall of Fame. The Capitol’s no-frills rooms are equipped with Wi-Fi, cable tv, and coffeemakers.
- The Westin Downtown Nashville:
You’ll find this high-rise Westin right across the street from the Music City Center, where a number of conventions and events are held. The Westin is about a 5-minute walk from the honky-tonks of Broadway and an 11-minute walk away from the Ryman.
- Hilton Downtown Nashville:
If you’re looking for a centrally located hotel with friendly staff then the Hilton won’t disappoint. If your travel plans include an event at the Bridgestone Arena, you’ll be interested to know that the Hilton is only a 3-minute walk away and is a 4-minute walk away from the Country Music Hall of Fame. And last but not least, it’s also only a 4-minute walk away from the Ryman.
Not feeling like a hotel? We get that. As frequent travelers, the cramped box-o-bed style of a hotel can wear on you. That’s why we love looking at alternative accommodations like vacation rentals. Our go-to Nashville favorite is Stay Alfred. They have a class A properties in neighborhoods ranging from Broadway/Downtown to the Gulch to Vanderbilt.
- Stay Alfred Church Street Stay:
With one and two-bedroom units, or “Alfreds” as they call them, you’ll find yourself perfectly situated to explore the city with a great place to come home to at the end of the day. With a full kitchen, living room, and conveniences like a washer and dryer, you’ll feel like a hip Nashville native rather than a tourist. Their Church Street Stay is 2 blocks away from the Tennessee Performing Arts Center and the Nashville Convention Center. It’s half a mile away from the Country Music Hall of Fame and a 4-minute walk from the Ryman. You can view their one and two bedrooms units, along with all their Nashville properties.