While summer brings those perfect pool days, river outings and outdoor exploring, it also has its fair share of rainy days (Have you seen the forecast for this weekend?!). But why dread the rain when there are plenty of indoor activities to do in and around Nashville? A wet weekday or showery Saturday may be tempting for lounging on the couch but if cabin fever has set in, get out and explore — from arts and culture to dining and drinking, check out this long list of things to do on a rainy day in Nashville.
SB note: many of these businesses are found in our SB Guide, an online guide to Nashville’s best local businesses, which can also be accessed via our free app, which also lists local events, sales and more!
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Rain calls for the chance to see Nashville’s best museums and art galleries. Embrace your artistic and imaginative side by viewing the works on display. The Frist Center for the Visual Arts has several exhibitions running this summer, all of which are worthy of a visit. Perhaps the most popular option at the moment is Bellissima! If art tickles your fancy, make your way from The Frist to 5th Avenue of the Arts and pay a visit to The Rymer Gallery, Tinney Contemporary and The Arts Company. (Of course if it’s a first Saturday of the month that’s raining on your parade, there are even more art stops to check out — see the First Saturday map here.) This is only the beginning of the list of art galleries around town. Other notable options to add to your list include David Lusk Gallery, LeQuire Gallery, Bennett Galleries and OZ Arts Nashville.
Music (City) Museums
Whether you’ve lived here forever or are new to town, a few of the places that may seem like tourist destinations really do deserve a visit from locals, as well. The Country Music Hall of Fame is a must, as it will shed light on the rich music history that put Nashville on the map for both tourists and celebs looking for a beautiful, laid-back place to call home (we’re looking at you, Sheryl! Oh, and you too, Keith and Nicole). Another impressive option is the Johnny Cash Museum, which showcases tons of items from the extent of the artist’s 48-year music career, as well as personal items from his time in Arkansas and the U.S. Air Force. For the true music aficionado, definitely line up a tour of the “Mother Church of Country Music,” more commonly known as The Ryman. Self-guided and backstage guided tours are both available and will send chills down your spine when you consider the amazing list of performers who have graced that stage. Lastly, check out the Musicians Hall of Fame where you can get up close and personal with every aspect of some of history’s most famous artists and musicians from all genres. It’s a treasure trove!
History Buffs Unite!
Historians will appreciate the way our history has been preserved in intriguing stops like the Tennessee State Museum, the Belle Meade Plantation, The Hermitage and the Belmont Mansion (click here for even more historical sites you can visit). For the child inside you who might still marvel at trains both real and model, a visit to the Tennessee Central Railway Museum should be on the agenda. The museum is small but impressive; even more impressive are the offered train rides, which provide an authentic experience as one would have had back in the mid-20th Century. And while not necessarily historic in the truest sense, all ages will enjoy a tour of the Lane Motor Museum, which features the largest collection of European cars and motorcycles in the United States, new and old.
Need something more hands-on? Skip the trip to Michael’s and, instead, rally the troops and head to Dabble Studio, Sips n Strokes or Paint Along — all places where you can paint, sip a little wine and leave with a masterpiece.
Brushfire Pottery Studio in Green Hills is great for all ages. Select a piece of pottery from more than 400 available pieces, paint it using the amazingly large supply of colors. Brushfire fires it — and your work of art is ready for pickup within a week.
Located in the heart of 12South, Craft South is another option for getting crafty. The shop is geared toward providing fabrics, yarns, embroidery supplies, tools and more. They also open the space for classes, workshops, lectures, kids’ camps and events. Keep an eye on their calendar for something that piques your interest. Located in the Franklin area, Craft Love is a DIY workshop that allows you to test your hand at personalizing signs and wooden pieces. Lastly, The Clay Lady has classes of all kinds! Check the calendar and get signed up for a pottery class or workshop.
The Big Screen
Beloved Nashville theater The Belcourt is now open after undergoing major renovations and remodeling. Upgrades include a new concession stand, a third theater, larger (and ADA-compliant) bathrooms, new education and outreach space upstairs and much more. Stop by the Belcourt at 2102 Belcourt Ave., Nashville, TN 37212, and get a lineup of current shows at (615) 383-9140 or online at belcourt.org.
Another historic cinema is about 20 minutes south on I-65. The Franklin Theatre has an impressive lineup of not only good movies but also live music and theater. Check out the complete lineup here. And parents, if you’re counting the days till school goes back, put these next two options in your back pocket for the rainy days. Regal Cinemas features $1 movies at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the summer months (and they’re good movies, too!). And after exploring the inner workings of the human body or the new “Wolf to Woof” exhibit at the Adventure Science Center, grab tickets to a show at the center’s Sudekum Planetarium.
Live Music Options
Hit one of Nashville’s many live music venues (Marathon Music Works, Exit/In, Ryman Auditorium, The Basement, Acme Feed & Seed, Mercy Lounge, Station Inn and 3rd and Lindsley to name a few), and see up-and-coming, as well as established artists, making their way through Nashville! For a full listing of local shows, download Nashville Live Music Guide. Heck, you can even shop and listen to live music at Two Old Hippies in the Gulch!
If you prefer less seasoned performances, karaoke is always fun and there are plenty of places to get your jam on in this town — start at Printer’s Alley or Broadway.
Good Old-Fashioned Fun
Bowling has been elevated to a whole new (and cool) level thanks to Pinewood Social where you can have coffee, a cocktail or any meal of the day and bowl a few games. Or, head south to the new Kings in Franklin where you can bowl, as well as shoot pool or play a little foosball, air hockey or shuffleboard. Try your luck at ping pong, foosball and shuffleboard while dining at Clyde’s on Church. And for a straight-up bowling experience, there are always the trusty options like Tusculum Strike & Spare, Oak Valley Lanes , Donelson Strike & Spare or Franklin Family Entertainment Center. Games, beer, food and friends make any rainy day a bit brighter.
Bounce, Drive & Escape
Use the rainy day excuse to engage in some friendly competition with friends and family at Music City Indoor Karting, or head downtown and play a game of laser tag at Laser Quest. Get your jump on at any of the area trampoline gyms — Jumpstreet in Cool Springs and Sky High off I-24 offer ample opportunities to bounce around. Meanwhile, for the uber-competitive American Ninja Warrior-type crew, check out AboveAll, where you can climb, bounce, swing, joust and totally annihilate the competition — all in the name of fun, of course! Lastly, grab your crew and put your skills and smarts to the test at the Escape Game or the Breakout Games where you have a set amount of time to figure out how to break out.
If you prefer a more zen-like activity, perhaps a climbing gym is more appealing. Climb Nashville has two locations — one on the East Side and one on the West — where you can get in a solid workout, challenge yourself and, of course, tag the bell at the top. South of town in Cool Springs, you can get your climb on at The Crag.
If you want to just get a straight-up workout, check out the class schedules at the best area fitness facilities. High-intensity workout options can be found at these fitness studios, found in the SB Guide: Orangetheory Fitness, Marathon Fitness, Krank and Iron Tribe (you must be a member at Iron Tribe, but with so many locations, a rainy day may be just the day to find out why!). You can feel the burn at Cardio Barre or Pure Barre. Master the machines at Marathon Pilates and Studio Novo, or challenge your body and mind at Hot Yoga Plus and Sumits Yoga.
Any time of year is great for skating. Head to Centennial Sportsplex for an ice skating outing or head to Brentwood where you can throw it back to your youth with an afternoon on roller skates at Brentwood Skate Center.
For the Clothes Horse
You may get a little damp as you wander in and out of Nashville’s best boutiques but we promise you won’t melt. There are too many fantastic local shopping destinations to list but that’s why you should download the SB App where you can navigate to the best shopping (and restaurants and events), and you can sort by what you’re looking for or where you’re located.
Update Your Vinyl & Book Collections
Are you a vinyl fan? There are ample opportunities to explore the new and used record scene in Nashville. Cool Stuff Weird Things has tons of vinyl (and some of the coolest metal signage in Nashville), as does long-time used media hotspot The Great Escape, both on Charlotte. Closer to Bellevue are megastore McKay and Alison’s Record Shop. Grimey’s on Eighth Avenue is fantastic for “new and pre-loved” music — and definitely check out The Groove in East Nashville.
Prefer reading over records? Then get out and find your next best read. Here are some of Nashville’s best used bookstores. Or you can always pay the Downtown Nashville Public Library a visit and take advantage of their selection of books, as well as an art gallery, civil rights room, conference center and archives. Two places to buy new books we highly recommend are Parnassus and BookmanBookwoman (which sells both used and new books).
If rain has washed out your plans, check out the SB Guide, and find a spa or salon where you can wallow away the day with a facial, massage, skin treatment or hair cut and color; or get your makeup done and hair blown out for a quick pick-me-up!
DINING & DRINKING
Looking for something specifically for adults? There are plenty of distillery tours to check out in town or nearby — Corsair Distillery, Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Prichard’s Distillery at Fontanel and George Dickel Distillery should keep you busy for oh, say, at least an afternoon!
The Motherlode for a Rainy Day: Opryland Hotel
The city under glass. With forests, rivers, a huge spa, restaurants upon restaurants and waterfalls and geysers that dance to music … this place has a frickin’ delta for Pete’s sake. It can be a refuge for a mom pulling her hair out with restless children or someone trying to entertain out-of-town guests and just wants to be someplace, besides a mall, for hours and hours. Heck, rent a room and stay the night!
Grab Dinner & a Drink
Finally, if none of the above grab your attention, well, you have to eat, right? Slip on your Wellies and grab your slicker, because there are SO MANY great restaurants in town to mark off your bucket list. Again, check out the SB App to find your next best meal. Or if you prefer to just drink the rainy day away, check out our Brewery Guide.
And there you have it — tons of ways to respond to cries of boredom or to make up for washed out plans. Get out and explore your hometown — it’s a pretty fabulous place to live!
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And as always, keep up with the best Nashville events, festivals, fundraisers, concerts, store sales and more in the SB App! And keep up with our favorite FINDS on Instagram — we’re @StyleBlueprintNville.