9 Attractions You Must See In Nashville, Tennessee

From venues like the Ryman Auditorium and Bluebird Cafe to the vibrant honky-tonks along Broadway, Music City lives up to its name as a mecca for music lovers.

Date Updated: May 12, 2024



The view of downtown Nashville from the Pedestrian Bridge

The view of downtown Nashville from the Pedestrian Bridge

Nashville, Tennessee, offers visitors a blend of Southern charm, musical heritage, and vibrant culture that captivates travelers from around the world. While there is much to offer in Music City from concerts, to museums, art, sports and the list goes on, we did our best to narrow down all the things to do in Nashville to just nine must-see top attractions. If you want to experience Nashville to its fullest and only have a short time in the city, try to get as many of these things in your itinerary as you can. We promise you won't be disappointed.

Broadway in Nashville at night
1. Broadway

Broadway in Nashville isn't just a street; it's an experience. Lined with neon-lit honky-tonks, historic venues, and bustling restaurants, it's the heart of Nashville's entertainment scene. A few of our favorite mainstay bars on Broadway include Tootsies, Layla's and Robert's Western World and also featured on the street are a number of bars affiliated with country music stars. If you're interested check out our complete guide to all the bars on Broadway where we go a little more in depth on each place. If your looking to have a good time in Nashville, listen to some live music and enjoy some of the best people watching you'll ever find, Broadway is must see spot.

The lake at Centennial Park
2. Centennial Park

Centennial Park which occupies 132 acres and is located just a short drive west of downtown is a must see Music City attraction. It hosts the iconic Parthenon, which is a full-scale replica of the original in Athens, Greece as well as walking trails, a small lake, an art center, gardens, volleyball courts and more. Centennial Park is located in Nashville's West End neighborhood which is directly across from Vanderbilt University and conveniently located in the heart of the city. Grab your walking shoes, food for a picnic, a frisbee or whatever else you have in mind and spend some time at this Music City landmark.

A concert at the Ryman
3. Ryman Auditorium

The Ryman Auditorium also known as “The Mother Church of Country Music” is a converted church that was the original venue of the Grand Ole Opry radio show. Open since 1892 and located right in the heart of downtown, the Ryman is one of Nashville's most iconic places. From Hank Williams to Johnny Cash and beyond there's a long list of legends that have at one time or another taken the Ryman's stage. Plan your trip around seeing one of your favorite artists here or take a shot on a band your not familiar with just to get in the door of music history.

The Pedestrian Bridge, downtown Nashville and the Cumberland River
4. The Pedestrian Bridge

Cross the Cumberland river from the East Bank to downtown Nashville on the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge which was constructed between 1907 and 1909. There's no better spot to take a picture of downtown Nashville then on the bridge and located just a couple of blocks from Broadway you can enjoy the river and the view while getting a few steps in before hitting downtown for some fun.

Live music being played at EXIT/IN
5. Live Music

Nashville is of course "Music City" after all and as you might expect, seven nights a week boasts an incredible live music scene. From honky-tonks on Lower Broadway to legendary venues like the Ryman Auditorium, Nashville offers an eclectic array of performances spanning all genres. Whether you're catching a rising star at a local dive or witnessing a legendary act at the Grand Ole Opry, the energy and passion of live music in Nashville is unparalleled.

A garden at Cheekwood
6. Cheekwood Botanical Garden

Cheekwood, which was built in 1929, is a 55-acre botanical garden and art museum located on the historic Cheek estate in Belle Meade. Since being converted into a museum of art and botanical garden in 1960, Cheekwood has presented world-class art exhibitions, and spectacular gardens unlike any other in Nashville. Each year, Cheekwood welcomes over 250,000 annual visitors, making it one of Nashville's top cultural attractions, and it has approximately 13,000 member households. From 150,000 blooming bulbs in the spring to one million holiday lights in the winter, there’s always something to see at Cheekwood.

A hot chicken sandwich with mac and cheese
7. Hot Chicken

Nashville's most famous contribution to the culinary world is hot chicken, a spicy delicacy featuring crispy fried chicken coated in a fiery blend of spices. The dish originated at the famous Prince's Hot Chicken Shack in Nashville and as legend has it, it's rise to fame was all an accident. As the story goes, the dish was originally made to trick a womanizing uncle after a particularly late Saturday night. The dish was served to the man as an attempt at revenge but instead of hating it, he liked it so much that by the mid-1930s, he and his brothers had created their own recipe and opened the BBQ Chicken Shack café.

Inside the Bluebird Cafe
8. Bluebird Cafe

The Bluebird Cafe, open since 1982, is one of Nashville's toughest tickets and also one of Music City's most famous attractions. The Bluebird hosts live music nightly, specializing in songwriter's rounds where Nashville's best storytellers and players entertain the crowd in an intimate setting.

Inside the Country Music Hall of Fame
9. Country Music Hall of Fame

While Nashville has become a hotbed for all genres of music, its reputation is for being “the town” for country music, so what better place exists to host the Country Music Hall of Fame? Built in 1961, the Hall of Fame features rotating exhibits showcasing both former and current stars. Everything from the classic cowboy tunes of the Wild West to Taylor Swift is covered. Get lost checking out the memorabilia and learning from audio tours.

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