I quickly became obsessed with Nashville during my short stay there. Prior to going to Nashville, my friend told me it was one of his favorite places to visit. Unfortunately I was not able to stay longer, but wish I extended it! If you can, I recommend staying a few days there. If not, Nashville can be done within a day. It’ll just make you want to come back for more!
When I was researching what to do in Nashville, I came across a lot of places to see live music and a lot of places to eat at. I think Nashville is similar to New Orleans in the sense of a lot of “top” things to do are places to eat. If you’re wanting to go to the top places to visit in Nashville in a short amount of time, continue reading!
Where to stay in Nashville:
I stayed at the Hilton Homewood Suites in downtown Nashville. It was very nice… probably one of the most comfiest beds I’ve ever slept on. I was really tempted to take a pillow… supposedly you can buy their pillows since they’re THAT comfy! Hilton Homewood Suites is a great location! It’s walking distance to Ryman Auditorium, Broadway, and a lot of other places. There’s complimentary breakfast and dinner there as well. There’s a mini-kitchen inside the room so you can cook your own meals if you want to save money.
How to get around:
I didn’t realize how spread out Nashville was. Uber and Lyft are readily available and reasonably priced. Lyft sometimes has the option to share rides/carpool which makes your ride cheaper. If you don’t have a Lyft account, you can sign up with my referral link and get a free ride! You can also use my referral promotion code: KIMBERLY614857. If you don’t have an Uber account, you can also sign up with my promotion code: kimberlyp471 or my referral link and get a free ride!
I typically open both apps and see whichever one is cheaper. Sometimes Lyft was significantly cheaper than Uber.
Visiting Nashville in half a day:
I was able to visit the top places in Nashville within 4 hours. From Hilton, I went to Broadway St, Parthenon, Grand Ole Opry, and Opryhouse. I took a Lyft to get to each location which wasn’t the cheapest. It’s definitely doable though!
Visit the original, Ryman Auditorium.
The Ryman Auditorium is known as the mother church of country music. It is located in downtown Nashville. Depending on where you’re staying, you might be able to walk there. If you stay at the hotel I stayed at, it’s walking distance from the hotel. There are several different tours you can do such as self-guided tours, backstage tours, group tours and so on. For some reason, the backstage tour wasn’t available when I was there and I am not a fan of self-guided tours so I decided to opt out of visiting the Ryman Auditorium and visit the Grand Ole Opry instead. If you’re crunched on time, I would definitely do either Ryman Auditorium or Grand Ole Opry. You do not need to see both on this short trip. Save one of them for next time!
Bar hop or stop in to places on Broadway St.
Broadway Street has various bars/restaurants throughout the street. Each bar/restaurant has multiple stories. And to my surprise, ALL FREE! I was completely shocked that none of the bars had a cover fee. I loved it!! Free entrance and free live music?! There’s SO many good places to stop in. I recommend walking up and down and stopping in to whichever place catches your attention. They’re all great! Make sure to go on every floor and check out the roof top!
Pretend you’re in Greece at the Parthenon.
The Parthenon in Nashville is a replica of the Parthenon in Athens. Inside the Parthenon, there’s a 42 foot sculpture of Athena. It’s beautiful and something I wasn’t expecting when visiting Nashville. For a small fee, you can visit Athena, learn about the history of the Parthenon, and look at other art pieces. I highly recommend going to the Parthenon and going inside.
Walk around Centennial Park.
Centennial Park is beautiful. The Parthenon is located inside the park and there’s a lot of walking paths, places to sit down and enjoy life, statutes, and a lake to walk around. Since I was limited on time, I didn’t walk throughout the park. I walked around the vicinity of the Parthenon.
Take a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry.
Depending if it’s high or low season, I recommend buying your tickets in advance. Since I was not sure what time I’d get there and it was low season, I bought my ticket at the entrance. I went on a week day though so my chances of having availability were greater.
The backstage tour was great! I’ll admit, I’m not a huge country fan, but it was so interesting to learn about the history of country, the story behind the Grand Ole Opry, and tour the exact stage thousands of performers have stepped on. It’s a great tour and I highly recommend it. If you don’t do the backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry, I recommend doing the backstage tour of the Ryman Auditorium.
Go to a non-traditional hotel called Opryland.
Oh my… everyone told me to go there. I looked at pictures, and it looked beautiful, but I wasn’t sure if I had enough time. It’s walking distance (about a 5 minute walk) from the Grand Ole Opry. The hotel has over 4,000 rooms and is MASSIVE! Definitely wear proper walking shoes and definitely allocate enough time to walk around it. There’s lots of waterfalls, gardens, water park, river, boat ride… you name it.
It’s a great activity to do if it’s raining. It’s beautiful during the day. If you go during the holidays, there’s a light show on the water.
Things I didn’t get to do but I wanted to do:
If you’re in Nashville for longer and have the opportunity to see other things, I included a list of activities I wanted to do, but wasn’t able to do.
Book a show and listen to some country music.
Since I was in Nashville for a bachelorette party, my night time was already booked and planned. If I had the opportunity, I would have booked a show at the Ryman Auditorium or Grand Ole Opry. It’s definitely something different and unique about Nashville.
Fun fact: The performers make the same amount of money as the back up singers. Even if you’re Blake Shelton or Eric Church, it doesn’t matter who you are, you make the same amount as everyone else. I thought that was so cool! They do this so they can keep the ticket prices the same price no matter who is performing. I asked why artists perform there if they don’t make that much money, and it’s simply because it’s always a privilege to perform there.
Eat at some yummy breakfast at the Biscuit Love or Pancake Pantry.
So many people recommended going to Biscuit Love or Pancake Pantry. Both are breakfast places that are extremely popular. I didn’t get the chance to go, but if you have time for breakfast and you’re nearby, I recommend checking it out.
Take a hop on hop off trolley tour.
If I had extra time and money, I probably would have taken the hop on hop off trolley tour. Just a heads up, it does not stop at Opryland or Grand Ole Opry. You’ll have to take an Uber/Lyft there. If you’re by yourself and want to see a lot of Nashville, the trolley tour might be the best option since Uber/Lyft rides can add up. If you take the trolley tour, you get discounted entrance to a lot of museums which is a nice bonus!
Have some delicious chicken at Hattie B’s Hot Chicken.
For my meat eaters (where you at!) I recommend going to Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. I didn’t go there since I’m a vegetarian and I ran out of time, but pretty much EVERYONE recommended going there.
Act fast and book a ticket at the Bluebird Cafe.
Bluebird Cafe is the iconic venue where Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks and several other artists were discovered. Getting tickets can be hard since it’s so high on demand, but if you’re able to score a ticket, I recommend going! You can also order drinks and have dinner there as you watch the performers. I really wish I was able to go there… I definitely should have planned better.
Tickets go on sale one week prior to the show. There are several shows throughout the week so I recommend looking ahead of time and set a notification to buy tickets when they go on sale. They sell out fast! Bluebird Cafe does have pew seats (10-12 seats) that are first come first served, but I heard it’s really hard to get those seats. You’ll have to get in line really early and pray you get in.
Tour the Country Music Hall of Fame.
The Country Music Hall of Fame is a museum that is dedicated to country music and the history behind it all. Like I said, I’m not a huge fan of self-guided tours and I only had less than 4 hours to see everything so I opted out of this museum. I heard great things about it though and have been told it’s a must see.
Treat yourself to delicious donuts at Five Daughters Bakery.
So many people recommended stopping by Five Daughters Bakery. I really wanted to because who doesn’t love donuts? But I didn’t have enough time and it was not located in the direction I was going.
Visit Printer’s Alley.
Printer’s Alley is near Broadway St. It has lots of history, bars and restaurants. It’s a great place to stop by and walk down.
Have a photoshoot in front of beautiful murals.
There’s so many places to take that perfect Instagramable photo. There’s TONS of murals and I’m sure you’ll walk by one randomly as you’re strolling through Nashville. A popular mural that you’ve probably seen on Instagram is the wings. That is located in The Gulch. I believe the address is 302 11th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203 which is near Biscuit Love. You can kill two birds with one stone and eat at Biscuit Love and stop by the mural to take a photo in one activity.
You can take a picture in front of the I Believe in Nashville mural. It’s located on 12th South. I believe the address is 2702 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204. I recommend Googling it to make sure.
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I hope you love Nashville as much as I did! I became obsessed with the beautiful city. There’s so much to do and I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time doing whatever you end up doing! If you’re going for a bachelorette party, read my post about what to do for a bachelorette in Nashville.