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Music, Food, and Fun: 16 Exciting Things to Do in Nashville

Well renowned as the Music City of the United States, Nashville is one of the most charismatic destinations in the world. It’s star-studded with concert halls, clubs, music studios, and bars.

But it’s not just that; Nashville is also famous worldwide for the natural landscape it owns, full of ravines and forests. That is a complete feast for the eyes. It’s also native to music celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Dolly Parton. So, there’s a lot of history connected to the land as well.

It is one of the most culturally exciting places in America. It is home to country music, Honky Tonk Row, the lush backdrop of Tennessee’s rivers and prairies, and tons of quality family fun. The city is full of musical geniuses and fandom.

Downtown Nashville, the most popular destination, offers a brimming adventure to its visitors.  Nashville has also become a popular destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties.

If you’re looking for a fun-packed, adventurous, and educational trip, Nashville is just the right match. Here are a few suggestions to add to your list:

1. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Things to Do in Nashville
By Mathew LeJune on Unsplash. Copyright 2018

Explore the best of country music’s past and present with this Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum ticket. The beautiful modern facility, known as the “Smithsonian of Country Music,” is in downtown Nashville’s heart.

As the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has one of the largest musical collections worldwide, it is a distinctive hallmark in Nashville. The museum is all about having a good time with the music playing along.

You can also stop to browse the two-story wall plastered with gold and platinum country records and then head to Studio B, one of the world’s most influential recording studios and a Music Row Landmark.

Studio B produced over 35,000 songs by country music legends like Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, and Roy Orbison. You will be dazzled by the views of the Nashville skyline.

2. Grand Ole Opry House

On the map, the Grand Ole Opry is the “Country Music Capital of the World.” It began in 1925 as a radio show. The Grand Ole Opry has called several places home (including the Ryman Auditorium) but has always hosted country performers from legends like Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton to people’s favorites like Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, and Keith Urban.

A trip isn’t ever complete without stopping by the Grand Ole Opry House for a tour to look back through the ages. You can also get a behind-the-scenes look with either a daytime backstage tour or a post-show tour.

Your guide will share stories of music legends who have walked the venue’s hallowed halls, show you photos from the Opry’s venerated history, and bring you onto the iconic stage during a daytime tour.

According to the recent visitors, the guides were very knowledgeable, gave them a glimpse of the dressing rooms, and offered many fun facts about the institution. They added that the live music performances here are a can’t-miss.

3. The Johnny Cash Museum

A visit to the Johnny Cash Museum uncovers the enigma behind The Men in Black. The museum showcases the world’s most extensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts, including films, handwritten notes and letters penned by Cash, and famous costumes during the music legend’s career.

The Johnny Cash Museum exhibits the different periods of Cash’s life, including his years in the Air Force, his marriage to June Carter, and his famous prison concert tour.

As the Cash family officially endorses the Johnny Cash Museum, there is a high possibility that you might stumble across other personal mementos not available to the public anywhere else, for example, a stone wall excavated from Johnny and June’s Hendersonville Lake House that’s been repurposed into one of the exhibits.

Johnny Cash fans love the wealth of information on display at this museum, but even if you are not much of a Cash devotee, you should still make time to see the museum, as some of the recent visitors said. However, some visitors complained that the small museum’s admission fees were too high.

4. Frist Art Museum

Located in a gorgeous historic 1930s art deco building, Frist Art Museum, which was once the City’s main post office, offers an ever-changing set of exhibitions that covers everything from paintings to sculptures to photography.

Past exhibits include “Albrecht Dürer: The Age of Reformation and Renaissance” and “Picasso. Figures.”

The First Art Museum also runs programs, talks, and activities to supplement the exhibits. Families should visit the Martin ArtQuest Gallery, which offers interactive stations and creative hands-on learning. Recent visitors say seeing the building alone is worth visiting, even if you are not a big art lover.

The art museum, located downtown, is just a few blocks away from the Country Music Hall of Fame. The museum welcomes visitors Thursday from 10 am to 8 pm, Friday, Saturday, and Monday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Admission fees are $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and college students. Those who are 18 and younger can enter the museum for free. Parking in the museum’s lot costs $2 per hour.

5. Radnor Lake State Park

Grab your binoculars and head out to Radnor Lake to experience another breathtaking place you can only find in Tennessee Radnor Lake. Radnor Lake State Park, located about 10 miles south of downtown, is a peaceful and serene getaway for those looking to walk and observe nature.

The 1,368-acre park features a unique ecosystem of plants and animals, including owls, waterfowl, and herons. The park also has numerous jogging, hiking, and biking trails, which provide impressive lake views.

It is considered a Class II Natural Area because of its beautiful, rugged scenery protected from commercial development. The place mesmerizes with sparkling waters that lap sandy shores and jagged rocks.

Radnor Lake offers activities that are mostly centered around sightseeing. The abundant wildlife is a treat for those who love observing animals in their natural habitats. You can always see turtles waddling in the dirt, red-tailed hawks soaring in the sky, and deer darting through the trees.

Swimming in the lake is not allowed because of its protected status, but you can still arrange some unique, supervised canoe trips in the springtime. All you need is advanced permission.

6. Adventure Science Center

The Adventure Science Center is like a break from history and country music to treat your kids to hands-on educational entertainment. The interactive displays allow children to learn a lot about science, from how beekeepers do their jobs to what goes on thousands of light-years above our heads.

Kids learn what it takes to become an astronaut and use an augmented reality mirror to see what their muscles and bones look like. Day-to-day demonstrations and lectures help children learn from the center’s interactive elements, and shows in the planetarium are entertaining for the whole family.

Recent visitors marked the adventure science center as a must-see for kids, with lots to interest them, and appreciated the friendly staff.

Adults’ admission fees are $22, youths aged 2 to 12 enter for $18, and children younger than two get in for free. Admission to the planetarium and certain simulation activities might cost extra. You can visit the Adventure Science Center website for more information about the exhibits and upcoming events.

7. Tennessee State Museum

The New Tennessee State Museum | Tennessee Crossroads | Episode 3227.1

The Tennessee State Museum, located in downtown Nashville next to the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and the Nashville Farmers’ Market, preserves the unique and storied history of the Volunteer State.

The vast museum showcases permanent exhibits that display the heritage of Tennessee’s natural history, Native American history, military and sporting history, and Civil War history.

Various attractions at this museum are specifically catered to children, and many events and educational programs are on-site throughout the year.

In addition, there are rotating temporary cultural and art exhibits on display. The recent visitors said the place is beautiful and informative, and they appreciated the free admission.

The museum is located around multiple shops and restaurants and is within walking distance of attractions like the Tennessee State Capitol and the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.

8. Nashville Farmers Market

The Nashville Farmers’ Market traces its roots back to the 1800s, stretching from Jackson Street to Harrison Street along Rosa Parks Boulevard adjacent to the Bicentennial State Park Mall.

Ranked as one of the best in the country, covering about 16 acres of Music City’s urban landscape, the market is home to farmers, artisans, other merchants, eateries, a weekend flea market, and various special events.

The North and South Farm Sheds house stalls dedicated to fresh produce and other local goods and can accommodate 100 vendors selling produce, meat, and dairy products.

At the same time, the Market House hosts various retail shops and eateries. Open year-round, the market is busiest during the May to November growing season.

9. The Parthenon

It deserves a visit, even if you aren’t the type to wear a toga and philosophize about the stars because of their uniqueness. Nashville has many nicknames, most of which have something to do with it.

However, thanks to the numerous higher education institutions established here, the city is known as the “Athens of the South.”

This identity was reinforced with the Parthenon, a full-scale replica of the one found in Athens. Nashville’s Parthenon was meant to be temporary and was built for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in 1897.

Since then, it has become a beloved attraction, housing models of the statues and full-scale replicas found in the original structure and an impressive art collection.

According to recent visitors, the place has well-kept grounds, a peaceful atmosphere, and a magnificent building. They recommended an evening visit to see it illuminated. Some also raved about the fascinating exhibits and loved the giant statue of Athena.

Especially for patrons of the arts, significant points of interest. Theatre troupes performing Greek plays on the front steps can also be seen.

10. Cumberland Park

In Nashville, things to do have some beautiful views of the Cumberland River, a 700-mile waterway that winds through Tennessee and Kentucky.

One of the best places to travel to and see it is Cumberland Park.

Cumberland Park, officially called a “riverfront play space,” is a stomping ground for families who want fun in and out of the water. Its top attraction is a gigantic splash pad where people can cool off on hot summer days, along with which there are bike paths, climbing structures, and butterfly gardens.

A gaze at the Cumberland River during a romantic date is the best you could get. As the park sits on the riverfront, you can also stroll down the famous pedestrian bridge stretching across the water. There is a theatre for outdoor concerts held in Nashville, too.

11. Nashville Zoo

The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere is an excellent spot for all animal lovers and a family outing.

Nashville Zoo - 104 Animals in 104 Seconds

The zoo has over 350 animal species and almost 3,000 animals, including clouded leopards, giraffes, meerkats, red pandas, white rhinoceroses, alligators, and anacondas. Fish and bird exhibits showcase both local wildlife and exotic creatures.

It also features historic sites and gardens, a zip line over animals, and a Wilderness Express Train.

Several hands-on exhibits here are popular among kids, including the Critter Encounters (where you can get up close with various animals), Kangaroo Kickabout (where you can pet kangaroos), and Lorikeet Landing (where you can see parrots and feed them for a small fee).

The zoo has sponsored camps and classes, including fun activities for your kids to do on the weekend. Some examples of the activities are “Night Owls,” an overnight sleepaway adventure, and “Zoo Tots,” games and lessons for little zookeepers.

The zoo has everything from a rich history to a delightful menagerie of animals and is, therefore, one of the top places to visit in Nashville.

12. Music Row

Nashville Tennessee. Walking down Broadway Street Music Row.

A trip to Nashville is never complete without a visit to Music Row, home to the country music industry, with a slew of record labels, radio stations, and recording studios working side-by-side, offering a top-to-bottom look at the thriving music venues of the city.

It is the single most famous street in Nashville. There are live music venues on and near Music Row to check out established artists and up-and-comers looking to break through.

Several tours are available for recording booths and radio towers, with plenty of local landmarks for sightseeing, including the statue of a famous producer in front of a grand piano.

With many avenues named after country singers, “Spot the Star” with street names will be a fun game to play here. Music Row is so centrally located that many stores and restaurants are within walking distance if you’re willing to venture a little outside of the neighborhood.

Music Row is one of the most iconic places in Nashville, Tennessee, so consider it a destination you’ll want to check out at least once.

13. Gaylord Opryland Resort

This wealthy hotel not only offers luxury suites in the most hopping and bopping parts of downtown Nashville, but it’s also home to activities and amenities that make it a vacation destination.

The resort is filled with pools, plants, gardens, fountains, and waterfalls in a glass atrium. Boat tours are available to drift along the water and enjoy all nine acres of the indoor jungle.

It boasts a spa, gym, golf course, and several different ballrooms for banquets and other special events. Over a dozen bars and restaurants line the corridors if you have an appetite.

Briefly, the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center isn’t just a usual hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, but more like an adventure you can take during your trip. This weekend, book a room at Opryland.

14. Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

One of the most valuable sights in the states is The Hermitage, regarding the history and heritage of the American South.

Being the home of former president Andrew Jackson, it’s a fantastic example of exquisite, plantation-style architecture. It has been carefully preserved as a testament to the way that wealthy Nashville residents used to live.

But it is also uncomfortable to look at how the slave trade was normalized in the South in the 1800s. Andrew Jackson owned dozens of enslaved people housed in log cabins behind the estate.

It’s considered one of the best tourist spots in Nashville because of its dual nature. The place is beautiful and culturally significant, but it doesn’t let you forget about its dark past. Put it on your visiting lists now if you’re wondering where to go in the city.

15. National Museum of African American Music

Nashville embodies more than just country music; nowhere is this more apparent than at the National Museum of African-American Music.

The museum opened in 2020 and aimed to educate visitors on the influence of African-American people on more than 50 genres of popular music, including jazz, gospel, and hip-hop.

16. Nashville Flea Market

Check out the New Nashville Flea Market

Around 800 to 1200 vendors from 30 states set up at the market monthly to sell almost everything you can imagine: antiques, dishware, clothes, jewelry, leather goods, Tennessee sports hall, and any other bits or bobs you could think of.

It’s best to get in early before some of the premium items are sold, and remember to bring cash and haggle!

Closing Thoughts

The city promises wonderful country music, famous tours, experiences, and some of the most amusing things in the United States. Whether you are a local or new town, you can always discover country music history and tons of fun things to do in east Nashville attractions.

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