18 Best Things to Do in Nashville TN in 2019 - What to Do, See, and Eat

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18 Ideas for Your Next Trip to Nashville

Broadway in Nashville, Tennessee. A visit here is one of the best things to do in Nashville TN.

Music City (aka Nashville) seems to have it all. There is live music basically any hour of the day, fun places to hang out and relax, and history stretching back to the early days of America. And don’t forget the food. There are oh-so-many enticing things to eat in delicious Nashville. We recently spent some time exploring the city and learning about all the top things to do in Nashville, Tennessee.

Best Things to do in Nashville

Trying hot chicken at Hattie B's is one of the most delicious Nashville things to do

Get hooked on hot chicken

Trying hot chicken is a must do in Nashville. The succulent meat gets marinated in a water-based blend of seasoning before being floured and fried. The last couple of steps are what really set it apart from other fried chicken. Right before serving, a cayenne pepper sauce (really more like a paste) is added to the hot chicken before it is neatly positioned between a slice of white bread and pickle chips. Depending on your request, the sauce can vary from mild to sweet-Jesus-this-is-spicy. Add black-eyed peas, baked beans, French fries, or pimento mac-and-cheese, and you’re good to go.

Prince’s Hot Chicken is the original place to try the treat that is Nashville hot chicken. They’ve been making it delicious and down home for over 70 years. Bolton’s also comes highly recommended. My choice on this trip was Hattie B’s, which has quickly become a Nashville staple. On Sundays, they make hot chicken and waffles, served with a fruit compote. I didn’t have the chance to try it this trip, so it’s a guarantee that I’ll have to return.

Wondering where to stay in Nashville?

Historic elegance: The Hermitage Hotel

Music at your doorstep: Omni Nashville

Resort complex near Opryland: Gaylord Opryland

You’ll find more details about where to stay in Nashville at the end of this article.
You could spend all day hanging out at Nashville's Pinewood Social. It's what to do in Nashville TN.

Hang out at Pinewood Social

Pinewood Social is…well, it’s almost impossible to come up with a short phrase to describe this distinctive, genius space. A restaurant, coffee shop, bowling alley, outdoor oasis, and co-working space all rolled into one, Pinewood Social is the place to hang out morning, noon, and night. It’s one of the best places to visit in Nashville. Pinewood Social is a great place to have a cup of coffee and get some work done during the day before visiting the pool and grabbing dinner and a craft cocktail in the evening. And don’t forget the bocce ball.

Visiting the full-scale replica of the Parthenon is one of the best things to do in Nashville TN

Visit the Parthenon (yes, in Nashville)

Nashville’s Centennial Park is home to a full-size replica of the Parthenon, originally built in 1897. Now functioning as an art museum, the Parthenon houses a group of paintings by 19th- and 20th-century American artists and provides space for temporary exhibits. Its centerpiece is an imposing 42-foot-tall statue of Athena covered in gold leaf, as it would have been in the Parthenon in ancient Greece. Not exactly an expected sight in the American South.

See The Parthenon and other Nashville landmarks the easy way on a half-day city tour. If you’re short on time, check out out this 75-minute overview tour. To do it all at your own pace, the hop-on hop-off trolley is a great option.
The memorabilia-filled Robert's Western honky tonk in Nashville. It's one of the top music-related Nashville tourist attractions.

Pull up a stool at Robert’s Western World

On our first day in Nashville, a Nashville native told us that the only honky tonk on Broadway that locals go to is Robert’s Western World. We can’t confirm that, but the recommendation made us change our plans and head for the place with the boot and guitar sign.

Honky tonks don’t have a cover charge, so at Robert’s Western World, you can grab a stool, order the house specialty—fried bologna sandwich—and pay what you wish when the band passes the tip jar (or bucket, as the case may be). Live bands play essentially all day, providing the soundtrack for visitors two-stepping just in front of the stage.

The classic country tunes give the place a laid back but fun atmosphere if you want to have a good time without feeling like you’re in the middle of a rock concert. You can’t have an experience like this just anywhere, which made visiting Robert’s Western World one of our favorite Nashville activities.

America's best restroom at the Hermitage Hotel, one of the favorite Nashville attractions

Visit America’s best bathroom at The Hermitage Hotel

Nashville’s Hermitage Hotel is one of the finest places to stay in Music City. At over 100 years old, the hotel has welcomed just about everybody who’s anybody into its well-appointed rooms.

The lobby is spectacular and the food is delicious, but one off the quirkiest reasons to visit the Hermitage Hotel is its bathroom. The Art Deco men’s bathroom located just off the hotel lobby has consistently been noted as the best bathroom in America. The large loo is decorated with bright green and black glass tiles and green fixtures. If you’re in the mood, you can stop a moment in the two-seat shoeshine station that greets you when you pass through the door. At this point, it’s so famous that the bathroom is also open for women. And photos. A visit here is one of the best free things to do in Nashville.

Why not stay in the historic five-star Hermitage Hotel?
Red brick exterior of Marathon Village, a former factory in Nashville

Shop at Marathon Village

At Marathon Village, a former automobile plant has been repurposed–after decades of sitting empty–into a cool shopping center and creative community in the North Gulch neighborhood. There are art studios, galleries, and home decor and gift shops. You’ll even find Antique Archaeology, the shop owned by the guys in the History Channel’s American Pickers show.

The building renovation has been a decades-long labor of love resulting in a space with unique architecture that’s full of history. In open spaces throughout the building, there is old equipment from the original factory and panels describing the building’s illustrious past.

Loveless Cafe's famous biscuits in Nashville, Tennessee. Eating here is one of the best things to do near Nashville TN

Get down home southern at Loveless Cafe

Loveless Cafe in southwest Nashville, Tennessee, is the place to go for Southern cooking. It’s known for all things heavenly, from country ham to red-eye gravy and especially its all-day breakfast. But what people line up for just about every day of the week are the biscuits at Loveless Cafe.

The flaky pillows of love—served with homemade preserves, of course—come alongside almost everything on the menu. That’s because they’re delicious and rival the cooking of any Southern grandma. Made from scratch every day, the biscuits are worth the 25-minute trip outside of town.

Belle Meade mansion in Nashville, Tennessee. Visiting here is one of the historical and fun things to do in Nashville TN.

See how the other half lived at Belle Meade Plantation

Once home to the wealthiest family in Nashville, Belle Meade plantation spanned over 5400 acres in the late 19th century. The estate’s owners, the Harding family, welcomed celebrities, presidents, and countless southern gentlemen, to their home, which included the largest thoroughbred horse farm in the country.

Now just 24 acres, a tour of Belle Meade plantation offers a glimpse into the life of the moneyed class around the time of the Civil War and beyond. Take a walk around the grounds to see the carriage house, the slaves’ quarters, the old dairy, and the smokehouse. Then take a guided tour through the old mansion for a brief peek into the Old South at one of the top places to go in Nashville, Tennessee.

Visiting the Ryman Auditorium is one of the top things to do in downtown Nashville for country music fans

Take the stage at the Ryman Auditorium

For lovers of country music, the Ryman Auditorium is the home of the greats. Opened in 1892 as the Union Gospel Tabernacle, the Ryman began as a place to hold indoor revivals. It quickly evolved into an entertainment venue hosting major entertainers such as Will Rogers, Bob Hope, and Harry Houdini, earning it the nickname, “The Carnegie Hall of the South.” In 1943, it became the home of The Grand Ole Opry, which was broadcast from the stage every week for 30 years.

In many ways, the Ryman Auditorium made Nashville the capital of country music. Today, visitors can tour the hallowed auditorium and hear Trisha Yearwood, Nicole Kidman, Robin Roberts, and others talk about the history of the building and its performers.

You can take a photo on the Ryman’s famous stage and even make a record–one of the must do things in Nashville. The self-guided tour is at your own pace and is probably best reserved for avid country music fans. If a tour isn’t quite your speed, you can grab a ticket to one of the performances (country and beyond) that still happen here almost every night of the week.

Country music buffs will appreciate the discounted pass to visit the Ryman and three other top music sites in Nashville.
Visiting the Hatch Show Print is one of the top 10 things to do in Nashville TN

Visit Hatch Show Print

Hatch Show Print’s unique letterpress printing style is known throughout the South. Its images of Americana—especially those related to music and art—and its distinctive vintage lettering have made it sought after by entertainers and businesses. One of the oldest working letterpress print shops in America, Hatch Show Print is open for tours, and you can even make your own poster.

One of the displays at Jack Daniels distillery. A visit here is a great day trip from Nashville and one of the best Nashville Tennessee points of interest

Try your favorite spirit at a local distillery

Distilleries are always on the top of our list any time we visit a new destination. About 90 minutes from Nashville in Lynchburg, you’ll find the home of the top-selling American whiskey in the world—Jack Daniel’s. A tour of the Jack Daniel’s distillery demonstrates the care and craftsmanship that goes into this line of incredibly popular beverages.

Whether you’re a Jack drinker or not, we couldn’t recommend the tour here more highly. And, if you are a Jack drinker, definitely take the tasting tour. It’s one of the best things to do in Tennessee!

If you’d like to visit Jack Daniel’s but don’t want to drive yourself, check out this convenient transportation option.
Nelson's Green Brier distillery is one of several great Nashville distilleries you can visit. It's one of the best things to do in Nashville TN.

If craft spirits are your thing but you want to stick a little closer to Music City, there are several great Nashville distilleries to visit. Two of our favorites were Corsair Distillery and Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery.

We visited Corsair’s location on Merritt Ave. where the drinks were flowing freely at the bar while a tour went on behind-the-scenes. Stop in to try some absinthe, whiskey, gin, or any of the other spirits on offer.

Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery is another great option in the city. Pre-Prohibition, Charles Nelson’s distillery was one of the biggest in the South. Today, his great-great-great grandsons are working to recreate the magic with their white whiskey, bourbon, and sherry cask-finished bourbon. They offer tours and tastings at their warehouse and distillery on Clinton Street.

The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge in Nashville provides great views of the Cumberland River and downtown Nashville, Tennessee. Add it to your Nashville to do list.

Stroll the pedestrian bridge

The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, formerly the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge, spans the Cumberland River and connects downtown Nashville to the football stadium. There is no automobile traffic, so cyclists and walkers move at their own pace, often stopping to take photos of the river and downtown.

Signs advertising clubs and restaurants in Printers Alley

Hang out in Printers Alley

Once the center of Nashville’s printing industry (hence the name), Printers Alley is a National Historic District. But, more importantly, for visitors to Nashville, it’s a center of nightlife in the heart of downtown.

With nightclubs, karaoke joints, bars, and places for live music, Printers Alley is a fun place for a night out. Come at night, and check out Bourbon Street Blues & Boogie Bar for blues music or grab a bit to eat at Skull’s Rainbow Room.

Music displays in the Johnny Cash Museum, one of the top Nashville sightseeing spots

Pay homage to the Man in Black at the Johnny Cash Museum

As you might expect, the Johnny Cash Museum is dedicated to the life and music career of the country legend. In this small space, you can listen to a retrospective of Cash’s music through the years and see exhibits like his costumes, instruments, photos, and handwritten lyrics. Personal items like his high school yearbook and his marriage certificate with June Carter Cash are also one display.

One of the more unexpected items is a stone wall that was part of his home before it burned down in 2007. The museum is well-done and interesting, but with an $20 admission fee, the smallish Johnny Cash Museum may be best reserved for Cash’s most enthusiastic fans.

One of the restaurants at the Nashville Farmers Market. A visit here is one of the top activities in Nashville TN.

Browse or eat at the Nashville Farmers Market

Open year-round, Nashville Farmers Market is home to a variety of not only farmers but artisans, restaurateurs, crafters, and more. Since it began in the early 1800s, the market has been a bustling place and a must see in Nashville.

The Farmers Market covered farm sheds host up to 100 farmers, depending on the season, along with dairies, cheese-makers, and other selling their products. Inside the market are 16 restaurants and shops. Whether you’re looking for gourmet pizza, Jamaican specialties, or anything in between, you’re likely to find it here.

Whiskey cocktail at the Patterson House, one of the best places to visit in Nashville for cocktail lovers

See what’s behind the curtain at the Patterson House

At this speakeasy on Division Street, a floor-length, gray velvet curtain separates the entryway from the main bar. It’s the first sign that the Patterson House is a kind of cool you don’t experience many places. To get in, there must be a seat for you. No seat, no drink. It all contributes to the upscale but relaxed environment where the bartenders will engage with you at length before recommending one of their custom-crafted cocktails.

In addition to the drinks, you’ll also find a menu featuring delicious bites like shrimp corn dogs, fried brie, and fried chicken po boy sliders. It gets busy here, so show up near opening or closing time if you don’t want to wait. It’s worth it to check out this institution when you visit Nashville.

Andrew Jackson's Hermitage mansion, one of the historical sites to see in Nashville, Tennessee

Visit Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

The Hermitage plantation was the home of Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States, and his family from 1804 until his death in 1845. The 1100-acre property includes the mansion and garden (including a tomb), former cotton fields, and several 19th century cabins that housed Jackson’s many slaves.

One of the more historical things to do in Nashville, a tour of the Hermitage’s museum and grounds paints a picture of a popular but complicated president with a fiery personality and provides information about the lives of the slaves on the plantation. Guides inside the mansion provide commentary about life in the house and are proud to point out that the Hermitage is the most accurately-preserved of the early Presidents’ homes.

Display at the Country Music Hall of Fame. A visit here is one of the best Nashville TN things to do

See music’s past and present at the Country Music Hall of Fame

You certainly don’t have to be a country music fan to appreciate the Country Music Hall of Fame, but a visit here is one of the quintessential best things to do in Nashville. One of the world’s largest museums, it is home to 2.5 million artifacts, including recordings, photos, instruments, and so many other things. Just the collection and variety of cowboy boots and clothes is kind of mind-blowing. There are also larger, one-of-a-kind items like Elvis’ “Solid Gold” Cadillac painted with crushed diamonds and fish scales.

The Country Music Hall of Fame makes an effort to pay tribute to county music’s heritage while also having a focus on contemporary and even cross-over artists. While there is a permanent collection, some of the exhibits rotate, such as the one we saw about the career of Keith Urban.

There are lots of great places to see and stay in Nashville, Tennessee, like the Hermitage Hotel

Where to Stay in Nashville

The Hermitage Hotel–The elegant Hermitage Hotel provides comfort, class, and top-notch service in downtown Nashville. Don’t miss the bar and the famous bathroom, and keep your eyes open for possible celebrity sightings (See TripAdvisor reviews | Book a room).

Omni Nashville–Just a short walk to the music and activity of Broadway and actually connected to the Country Music Hall of Fame, it’s hard to beat the location of the Omni Nashville. The pool (and its awesome views) are a godsend on a hot Nashville day (See TripAdvisor reviews | Book a room).

Gaylord Opryland Hotel–The Gaylord Opryland Hotel has so many things to do that you may never want to leave. Visit the spa, shop, or indulge in the more than a dozen restaurants and cafes at the hotel. As a bonus, the Grand Old Opry is just next door (See TripAdvisor reviews | Book a room).

Try Husk or another great restaurant on a weekend trip to Nashville TN

Where to Eat in Nashville

Husk–Always voted one of the top restaurants in Nashville, Husk is a celebration of Southern ingredients.

The Southern Steak & Oyster–With a wood-fire grill, oysters, and locally-grown produce, The Southern is a culinary delight. The food is amazing, and the cocktails are even better.

Josephine on 12th–In the 12 South neighborhood, Josephine on 12th features a regularly-changing menu of the best produce and meats available daily. Standout dishes range from steak frites and crab cakes to heriloom tomato salad.

Check out a food tour for some of the best treats Nashville has to offer. Try out this 3-hour walking tour or this option by van.


We received complimentary admission to several attractions thanks to Visit Music City. All opinions of the fun things to do and eat in Nashville are our own. Note: Some links may be affiliate links, which means Travel Addicts may earn a few pennies if you buy something–-at no additional cost to you.

What is your favorite thing to do in Nashville?

From great food and music to historical buildings and speakeasies, there are so many great things to see and do in Nashville, Tennessee.

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What do you think about 18 Ideas for Your Next Trip to Nashville?

  1. Caroline May 30, 2016 at 11:08 pm #

    There sure are a lot of attractions in Nashville … thanks for showing us the breadth of what exists!

  2. Anna July 19, 2016 at 4:49 pm #

    Thanks for the list! I’ll be going to Nashville with my boyfriend and his entire family, and they keep asking me for places to go.

  3. Jonetta Wolfe June 15, 2018 at 11:22 am #

    While in Nashville we ended going to Roberts Western World every night !!!
    Great music, great bar food and great atmosphere! nothing but greatness!!!

    • Laura Longwell July 1, 2018 at 1:40 am #

      We loved it there, too. Lots of fun, down-to-earth people 🙂

      • Jennifer Jarrett February 7, 2019 at 7:50 pm #

        I agree that Roberts is one of the locals favorites but I recommend visiting a few Honky Tonks! A few of my favorites are Legends Corner, Tootsies, and Printers Alley of course. There are so many new bars that have opened recently with rooftop bars. I enjoy Alan Jackson’s AJs, Derks Bentley, and Florida Georgia Line. The Wildhorse Saloon is great if you have younger people in your group. Most of them allow minors until 6:00pm but Wildhorse the limit is 10:30. My girls loved going downtown in the afternoon dancing and listening to music. If you’re in the market for boots check out French’s on 2nd Avenue. Make sure you look downstairs on the “rack”. They have store samples and overstocks at reduced prices.

        • Laura Longwell February 10, 2019 at 2:42 pm #

          Thanks for the suggestions! We enjoyed Printers Alley and also checked out Tootsies, but it was insane during our visit.

        • Tracy Tellis May 23, 2019 at 11:22 am #

          I am traveling in July with my Dad and children. He is looking forward to the Grand Ol’ Opry and Johnny Cash’s house. Any other suggestions for someone who loves old, traditional country music? Places to eat and listen to that kind of county?

          • D. Olson July 26, 2019 at 2:49 pm #

            We enjoyed our Sunday morning going to Whiskey Bent from 10-noon listening to songwriters perform in Hidden Nashville. Great personal stories behind the music in Nashville.

  4. Rhonda Albom September 14, 2018 at 10:28 am #

    Wow, this is exactly what we are looking for to help plan our last minute visit the music city. We will be in Nashville next week, and now we know what to eat and where to go, although there are too many choices for our limited visit.

  5. KAREN December 6, 2018 at 7:59 pm #

    We really enjoyed the Johnny Cash Museum.
    The food was great at Jack’s Bar-B-Que and Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. We wished we had more time to spend there.

  6. Bill Bailey December 25, 2018 at 9:55 pm #

    I reccomend going to Margaritaville if your in Nashville on a Friday afternoon to see the Music Row Happy Hour show Live on the 2nd floor , Its a SiriusXM channel 56 show thats done live with the Host Buzz Brainard , Its known to have drop in guest like country singers, sports stars, actresses/actors , Never a dull moment and yes they allow kids but yes adult beverages are served…

  7. Tammy March 31, 2019 at 4:07 pm #

    We visit Nashville often, our son lives there, we love Sunday brunch at Adele’s kitchen. Amazing food & atmosphere. Also Martins bar b que.

  8. Kim M. April 8, 2019 at 7:02 pm #

    Thanks, me and a bunch of friends of mine(7 girls) in all are heading to Nashville in a couple weeks. This information helps. We are looking to check out the music scene while down there.


  9. Gregory Browning May 6, 2019 at 3:09 pm #

    Been to Nashville 2 time always pass through because did not know where to go but after seeing the presentation I would love to come back and enjoy it

  10. Ray June 16, 2019 at 1:24 am #

    See you Nashville in 2 weeks…

  11. Jeanette Sims June 29, 2019 at 1:00 pm #

    We’re 2hrs away from Nashville! Hold on were coming!

  12. Marcy July 5, 2019 at 1:06 pm #

    Has anyone gone to Luke Bryan’s new “32 Bridge” Club? Wondering how it is. I’ve never been to Nashville but I have a cousin lives there and her friend so I’m looking to come. Ironically My Son is there right now today is July 5, 2019 I don’t know what festival he’s at because I can’t find it online but he just landed. I’m so jealous!

    • Beth October 1, 2019 at 4:13 pm #

      Went there last summer with a bunch of friends. Had a ball. Different music on each level

  13. Christina Wilking July 6, 2019 at 1:06 am #

    Coming to Nashville for con of thrones at music city. Can not wait to check everything out. Last time I was there was the world’s fair lol

  14. Sherry August 1, 2019 at 11:01 pm #

    Going this weekend to check out some houses. Might be moving to the area.

  15. Dan August 4, 2019 at 5:28 pm #

    I’m coming to Nashville in early October with my girlfriend to see the Wild take on the Predators in their season opener, and making a whole fun extended weekend trip out of it too. My girlfriend took a trip there last year with some of her friends, so I’m looking forward to seeing all of the cool things Music City has to offer!

  16. Alysia August 17, 2019 at 12:49 am #

    I’m coming to nashville next weekend… want my 18 year old daughter and her friend to come with me.. any suggestions on what they can do for fun! They like to dance, just not to country…so are there bars that allow 18 year olds , and don’t just play country? they enjoy , shopping, hiking, murals…

    • Laura Longwell August 18, 2019 at 1:00 am #

      Nashville is well-known for its street art murals. Check out East Nashville, the Gulch, and Germantown neighborhoods for art and shopping. I’m not familiar with 18+ clubs.

  17. Angela I thompson August 21, 2019 at 3:41 pm #

    Hi, traveling to Nashville tomorrow and celebrating my birthday. Looking for places to go.

    • Christina Bettenhausen August 28, 2019 at 5:43 pm #

      Where did you end up going, Angela?

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