Also referred to as Music City U.S.A., Nashvegas, and Athens of the South (due to its high number of educational institutions) Nashville, Tennessee is a hotspot for both era-defining culture as well as irresistible local charms.
Our Nashville travel guide covers the best time to visit, where to stay, things to do, where to eat and more. All of which can easily be done in a weekend!
Known for its world-class live music, eclectic eateries, lush parks, educational museums, and southern hospitality in spades, Nashville is a vibrant, energetic city sure to delight all types of travelers.
The Complete Travel Guide to Nashville in a Weekend
The Best Time to Visit Nashville
While Nashville’s tourist high season is from April through October, there is a case to be made for visiting the city year round.
If you visit Nashville in the summer months, you can expect an energetic, vibrant city full of outdoorsy things to do. The weather tends to be hot and humid in the summer months so keep that in mind if you don’t like the heat.
Visiting in the off season will inevitably give you lower flight and hotel costs, a cozy and charming atmosphere, and cooler temps (but still fairly moderate compared to other cities in the United States).
How To Get To Nashville
Delighting both Americans and international visitors, Nashville is home to its very own international airport. Nashville International Airport, about eight miles from downtown, services major airlines such as Southwest, Delta, Westjet, Alaska, American, Air Canada, and British Airways.
To get from the airport to downtown, we personally recommend using Lyft, which cost us about $15. Other options include taking the $2 hourly express bus service that takes around 20 minutes, or taxis for roughly $25.
Read more: 12 Best U.S. Cities for Weekend Getaways
How To Get Around Nashville
In addition to the airport ride, Lyft is one of the best ways to get around Nashville. While rental cars are available, going this route can be stressful and parking can get expensive.
Additionally, Nashville is home to a FREE bus system called the Music City Circuit that will take you to many of the key destinations. For other buses throughout the city, you can purchase an unlimited all-day bus pass for just a little over $5.
Things To Do in Nashville
Instagram Photo Tour
Between the great art, neon lights, and cute buildings, Nashville is one extremely photogenic place. The city is home to a bunch of funky murals, cute picture-perfect shops (like Amelia’s Flower Shop), lush parks, and a pedestrian bridge (John Seigenthaler bridge) that is great for photo shoots. Research your favorite photo spots beforehand and plan your own Instagram photo tour!
Visit The Museums
- Country Music Hall of Fame: One of the world’s largest museums, the Country Music Hall of Fame is home to a vast array of exhibits, artifacts, and interpretations detailing the history and significance of country music.
- Ryman Auditorium: The Ryman Auditorium is a magical 2,362-seat venue that was the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974. Opened in 1892, the building has played host to many music greats, and is open for backstage and self-guided tours.
- Johnny Cash Museum: The Johnny Cash Museum is an unrivaled collection of Johnny cash artifacts and memorabilia. Located right downtown in Nashville, this museum has been officially authorized by Johnny Cash’s estate.
- Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum: A must-visit for all music-lovers, the Musicians Hall of Fame pays ode to well-known acts and session musicians regardless of genre or instrument. The museum hosts exhibits dedicated to topics such as Motown, L.A. music, Muscle Shoals, and the GRAMMY’s.
- Hermitage Museum: Not only is Nashville’s Hermitage known to be the once home of 7th President Andrew Jackson, but it is also a great place to study up on the history of the early 19th century. Plus, for the more primal-minded, there is a whole exhibit dedicated to the art of duelling.
Watch a Live Show at Grand Ole Opry
Catching a live show at the Grand Ole Opry is a bucket list item for many, and for good reason. This 4,400 seat venue has been a stage for many music greats, and is also considered to be the largest broadcasting studio in the world.
Visit Opryland Hotel
Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center is an incredible complex featuring lush gardens, a spa, delicious food options, swimming pools, live entertainment, and so much more. The resort is less than a mile away from the Grand Ole Opry, and is a must-see for all tastes.
Spend a Day/Evening on Broadway
For awesome live music and shopping, there is no better place to go than Broadway. A major thoroughfare running from 21st Ave S to First Ave, the street goes right through the heart of downtown.
For a night out on the town, head to Lower Broadway where you’ll find plenty of honky-tonk bars and restaurants.
Visit Centennial Park
Just two miles west from downtown Nashville, Centennial Park is a lush getaway from the excitement of downtown. The park covers 132 acres and is home to a replica of the Parthenon, a sunken garden for meditation, walking and biking trails, and even wartime memorabilia.
Must-Visit Restaurants & Bars in Nashville
For excellent drinks and appetizers, head over to Walden Bar in East Nashville. This place is not only great for tasty drinks and snacks, but the interior is perfect for photos!
Woolworth on 5th
For a fun dinner option as well as a great history lesson, head over to Woolworth on 5th. Located in downtown Nashville, this spot was one of the original “five and dime” stores that hosted some of the early lunch counter sit-ins of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s.
Today, Woolworth on 5th is a great spot offering top-notch food, music, and dancing.
The Southern Steak & Oyster
Located in Nashville’s SoBro district, The Southern Steak & Oyster is the perfect spot to grab brunch. Offering up an “authentically southern experience with a twist”, this hotspot features a shuck-to-order oyster bar, sustainable seafood options, locally grown produce, and a wood-fired grill.
Known for their Nashville Hot Chicken, Party Fowl is a vibrant spot offering up live music, a great selection of over 20 craft beers, and mouth-watering food.
Another great brunch option, Biscuit Love serves up traditional southern biscuits, as well as other locally sourced eats. A Tennessee staple, part of Biscuit Love’s mission statement is to “serve food that feels like home” and to “provide service that welcomes all.”
Where to Stay in Nashville
SoBro Guest House
The SoBro Guest House is a downtown Nashville boutique hotel that blends just the right amount of kitsch and class. Its amenities include free parking, a kitchen grocery stocking service, as well as mobile-phone check in.
Kimpton Aertson Hotel
Located in Nashville’s Music Row district, the Kimpton Aertson Hotel offers a more upscale stay with all the amenities. Guests can expect a pool, a full bar, and a complimentary evening wine reception.
Nashville Packing Essentials
Winter Attire: While wintertime in Nashville can be unexpectedly cold, snow doesn’t usually stick around for long. Winter is the perfect time to bring out your jeans, light sweaters, and favorite jacket.
Cowgirl Boots: Would a Nashville outfit be complete without a pair of stylish cowgirl boots? A tip on this item is to buy your boots ahead of time and break them in a little before hitting the town; save your feet!