From a local’s point of view, we know the fun things to do in Nashville. And believe us that our friends and family are coming out of the woodwork to visit us, so we all need a handy guide.
This is a list of StyleBlueprint’s favorite things to do when we are hosting visitors looking for fun things to do in Nashville. Most things are concentrated near downtown as that’s typically where our visitors want to be. But, we’ve provided a few reasons to explore beyond Lower Broad (which means the lower section of Nashville’s most prominent downtown street, Broadway.) But, no, we don’t mention peddle taverns or party buses …
And, if you are looking for a full itinerary for a special event, from corporate to personal, we highly suggest Host & Toast as your go-to source.
SB TIP: Do NOT rent a car. Just take a Lyft or Uber wherever you go. Parking is costly and you’ll likely be drinking — two reasons not to drive.
Fun Things to Do in Nashville
Looking for fun experiences? Here’s a few thing to try:
Experiences that are very “Nashville” include:
- Hit the oil bar at Lemon Laine and make your own unique oil combination for your skin.
- Have you ever watching curling during the Olympics? Well, Nashville has three curling lanes at Tee-Line in Charlotte Park, the up-and-coming neighborhood in West Nashville. There are also four standard bowling lanes, 26 TVs, corn hole, and yummy eats.
- Book a chocolate-making class with libations at Nashville original Goo Goo Cluster.
- Bowl at Pinewood Social and while you are there, try their fried broccoli. Weird, we know, but trust us.
- Test your skills in foosball, pinball, duckpin, ping pong and bocce at Pins Mechanical.
- See if you have what it takes to solve the mental puzzle and escape your room at The Escape Game.
- Or, combine drinking and eating with golf at Top Golf.
- You’ve GOT to go to Hatch Show Print for a tour. Located in the Country Music Hall of Fame, it’s hands down incredible!
- Step into amazing immersive settings with over 60 of your favorite musical icons, from Johnny Cash to Taylor Swift at Madame Tussaud’s.
- The Kitchen Nashville offers cooking classes and private event classes, and you can BYOB. A cooking class for your whole group is ideal to get out of downtown and chill a bit. See details HERE.
- Martini & caviar pairing at the Vesper Club, located in The Grand Hyatt. For $100, you will try five caviar-paired tasting-size martinis.
- House of Cards offers a magic show with a meal for a ton of fun.
Nashville has plenty. From the Tennessee Titans for football, to the Nashville Predators for Hockey, to the Nashville Sounds for minor league baseball (and fireworks every Friday night!), to the newest addition: the Nashville Soccer Club, Nashville has knows how to cheer on the hometown team like no other city.
Is it pouring rain or super hot?
Head to Opryland Hotel. This hotel/convention center is like a small town under a glass roof. With waterfalls, rivers, forests, restaurants, a spa and more, you will stay dry and happy here. And, if it’s really hot, their Soundwaves outdoor water park will cool you down.
- Kayak or canoe the Harpeth River. It’s about a 30-minute ride from downtown, but kayaking the Harpeth is great for all experience levels as it’s a slow river that is not very deep. There are plenty of rental companies to choose from, including Foggy Bottom, Canoe Music City and Sunshine’s Adventures.
- Or, you could stay closer to town and kayak our biggest river, the Cumberland. The view of downtown Nashville from the water is worth seeing. Contact River Queen Voyages.
- Cheekwood is our beautiful botanical garden and museum. From tulips in the spring, to summer installations, fall mums and pumpkins, to an amazing holiday light display, Cheekwood makes it easy to be outside and entertained.
- The only exact replica of Greece’s Parthenon exists right here and is the center of Nashville’s Centennial Park. With 132 acres of ponds, gardens, vast lawns and pathways, this is a great place to wonder.
- Nashville’s Farmer’s Market is so fun to stroll through and filled with great places to eat. It is also adjacent to Bicentennial Park, which is a lovely 11-acre city park for a stroll or jog.
- Nashville is known for great parks. See our whole list of them here if you are looking to embrace nature more fully.
Music (before the late-night music):
You are in Music City, so listening to some live music before the late-night honky-tonk scene is always a good plan. We suggest:
- If you happen to be visiting during May or June, visit the aforementioned Centennial Park on Fridays and Saturdays for Musician’s Corner, a popular and free concert series.
- Listening Room Cafe, with dinner
- The Bluebird Cafe
- Brooklyn Bowl: for food, drinks, bowling, AND a concert hall!
- City Winery, with dinner
- 3rd and Lindsley
- Rudy’s Jazz Bar
- Plan and see if there are any big concerts in town that you’d like to see. Then, check Ascend Amphitheater, Ryman Auditorium and Bridgestone Arena for the biggest shows.
We have a full article on the details of Lower Broad HERE. Our favorites are well described in this article, but we’d pick Robert’s Western World, Famous Nashville, The Stage, Nudie’s, and Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge for the top five ones.
Rooftop bar recommendations:
Being above the city is always fun. Personal favorites include:
- ACME Feed & Seed (locals call it ACME): the view of the river, the pedestrian walking bridge, the view up Broadway … these are just a few reasons to try to snag a rooftop seat here.
- L27: Atop The Westin Nashville, L27 is home to plenty of comfy couches and a recently renovated look, making it a favorite for tourists and locals alike.
- George Jones: Above the George Jones Museum is a rooftop bar that is cozier than others. Many locals like this place best as it used to be an undiscovered-by-the-tourists gem, but word is definitely out a bit more now.
- L.A. Jackson: The Thompson Hotel has many delicious restaurants, but the rooftop bar is often referenced for the view and vibe.
- The rooftop at Bobby’s is a favorite. You’ve got to see the full size bus up there!
- The view from the rooftop at W Nashville are simply stunning, and the drinks are tasty.
- Pancho and Lefty’s: The Mexican joint overlooks the Bridgestone Arena on Fifth Avenue. And since it’s located just off Broadway, it’s sometimes not as packed as other places can be.
- One of the most instagrammed spots in the rooftop at The Graduate Hotel. The rooftop is called White Limozeen and it’s all Dolly Parton themed!
- See all the rooftop bars in our comprehensive article HERE.
If you have not decided where you are staying and you want a rooftop pool, you can stay at The Westin Nashville, The Omni, Virgin, Graduate, or Bobby Hotel and have exclusive guest access to the rooftop pool at each.
Photos with murals:
In the age of social media, everyone loves a photo with a mural and Nashville has their fair share of famous one. The most photographed murals and definitely “I Believe in Nashville” wall in 12South and the Angel Wings in The Gulch. Please know that lines can be as long as 30 minutes just to have your turn to get your photo. For other murals, check out our article Nashville murals you likely haven’t visited (or snapped!).
If you want to stand in a long line, your best options are Pancake Pantry and Biscuit Love. Otherwise, make reservations at on of these 15 places: The Southern, Pinewood Social, The Farm House, Margot, ACME, Butchertown Hall, Big Bad Breakfast, Lou Nashville, Henrietta Red, Liberty Common, Café Intermezzo, Josephine, Sinema, Anzie Blue, or Skull’s Rainbow Room.
And, do note that Elliston Place Soda Shop serves breakfast all day long, every day, at their modern 50s diner!
If you didn’t go to the music + dinner places already suggested, get some fancier reservations (though jeans are always appropriate in Nashville) at Virago, 404 Kitchen, Etch or Gray & Dudley. For a menu with slightly less expensive options than those just mentioned, head to Henley, Nada, Barcelona Wine Bar or Butcher & Bee. ACME is both a local and tourist favorite with live music and plenty of options for dinner.
Let’s add to these some options our team loves: Optimist for seafood, O-Ku for sushi, Miel for French cuisine in a cozy setting, Hathorne makes some of the best vegetables in town (along with their carnivore offerings!), Boston Commons for fish & chips, Kayne Prime for steak, along with Answer, Lockland Table, Roze Pony, Chahaun Masala House, Drusie & Darr, The Yellow Porch, and Husk.
Drinks not on a rooftop:
- Black Rabbit: This bar has a great vibe. Head across the alley to one of our favorite hotels, 21C Museum Hotel, and grab another drink and stroll their museum exhibit for an unexpected cultural addition to your trip.
- The bar at Drusie & Darr at The Hermitage Hotel is updated new Nashville meets old Nashville at its best. When there, ask to see the men’s bathroom. While the women’s bathroom has been through extensive renovations, the classic men’s bathroom is still one to behold. Trust me.
- The Patterson House brought unique cocktails to Nashville almost a decade ago. It’s still a speakeasy favorite.
- Le Loup, above The Optimist, is a favorite for truly delicious cocktails!
If you are staying in:
Enjoy Nashville’s local healthy grocer with a delivery of groceries, charcuterie, and wine from The Turnip Truck!
If you follow this guide, you are guaranteed to leave exhausted, full, and well-bonded with your besties.
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