Whether you’ve lived here for years, just moved to town, or are visiting for the weekend, there’s no excuse for being bored in Music City. From must-see museums to iconic music venues, consider this your Nashville bucket list.
The 20 Best Attractions and Sights in Nashville
The home of Andrew Jackson, located on the outskirts of town, is one of the most popular attractions in the state. Open as a museum since 1889, The Hermitage sits on more than 1,000 acres and comprises the seventh U.S. president’s stately mansion, its surrounding gardens and grounds, and the Jackson family tomb. A new million-dollar exhibit, Andrew Jackson: Born for a Storm, features interactive displays and a deep dive into his multifaceted life.
Soundwaves + Gaylord Opryland
SoundWaves, the upscale indoor-outdoor water attraction at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, offers over four acres of entertainment, including 11 slides, a wave pool, FlowRider wave simulator, rapid and lazy rivers, activity pool, restaurant, adults-only pools and bar, private cabanas, and kids areas. This attraction is open year-round.
Kids of all ages can enjoy a field trip to the Nashville Zoo, which has grown leaps and bounds since taking over the Grassmere property in 1996. Interactive exhibits like Critter Encounters and Lorikeet Landing as well as exhibits dedicated to African elephants, flamingos, and meerkats keep local animal lovers intrigued.
Cheekwood Estate & Gardens
Perhaps the most gorgeous 55-acres in the greater Nashville area, Cheekwood is a hit with locals and visitors year-round. From the Cheekwood Mansion art gallery to the estate’s 12 sprawling gardens to special exhibits from world-renowned artists, you could spend hours taking in all kinds of stunning visuals.
GEODIS Park, situated in the heart of Wedgewood-Houston, is home to the Nashville Soccer Club. This 30,000-seat stadium is the largest soccer-specific stadium in the United States and Canada. Looking to catch a soccer game? See the Nashville SC’s home game schedule here.
Frist Art Museum
With exhibits that rotate every six to eight weeks, no visit to the Frist Art Museum (formerly Frist Center for the Visual Arts) is ever the same—but you’re always guaranteed to leave inspired. Housed in an art deco building, Nashville’s hub for visual arts displays works from local, state, and regional artists as well as national and international exhibitions.
Fifth + Broadway
Fifth + Broadway is the new mixed-use development located conveniently on Broadway in Downtown Nashville. The building combines restaurants, shops, office space, a museum, and residential units. Restaurants in this new destination include local favorites Slim + Husky’s and Hattie B’s as well as nationally-known eateries like Shake Shack and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. On the retail side, visitors can purchase Nashville-centric apparel at The Nash Collection or shop at one of the only brick-and-mortar Ariat stores in the world. Guests can explore the 55,000-square-foot National Museum of African American Music, or stay indefinitely at The Place.
Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum
It’s known as “the Smithsonian of country music” for good reason, The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum spans 350,000-square-feet of prime downtown real estate, which it packs with thousands of artifacts, two performance theaters, and countless rotating special exhibitions. The museum’s permanent installation, Sing Me Back Home, takes visitors through the evolution of country music from its roots in the nineteenth century to today’s biggest hitmakers.
The world-famous and incredibly intimate Bluebird Cafe is where you go to hear your favorite songs—and their backstories—straight from the people who wrote them. (Yes, just like on TV.) Nearly every night, this tiny cafe hosts a group of songwriters who play and banter their way through acoustic rounds, captivating those who got lucky enough to score a seat.
Grand Ole Opry
An essential Nashville music experience is a trip to the historic Grand Ole Opry—it’s the only place where country music stars of past, present, and future have shared the same stage. Spring for the backstage tour, where you can see the Opry’s 18-themed dressing rooms, learn behind-the-scenes secrets, and, if you’re lucky, step foot in “The Circle” yourself.
John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge
The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, completed in 1909, is a steel-trussed bridge that connects East Nashville with the hustle and bustle of downtown. Runners, commuters, and sightseers alike can be found crisscrossing this skyline landmark at all hours of the day, often pausing to admire the picturesque Cumberland views.
Your first show at the prestigious Mother Church—famed for its acoustics and pew seating—will be a turning point in your concert-going experience. Formerly the home of the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman now shines on its own as a hallowed performance hall for all genres of musicians as well as comedians and authors. Self-guided tours are available daily, tickets are $27 for adults and $17 for children (4-11).
Though they might complain about it, even locals have a hard time staying away from Nashville’s glittering main strip—it’s that much of a good time. Lined with perennial honky-tonks like Robert’s Western World and Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Lower Broadway has seen a revitalization with trendier establishments like Acme Feed and Seed, Miranda Lambert’s Casa Rosa, and Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row.
Radnor Lake State Park
Offering 1,300-acres of serene forests, trails, and wildlife, the Radnor Lake area is a literal breath of fresh air for cooped-up Nashvillians. And this natural treasure offers even more than just exercise and a break from daily stressors—the new aviary and education center can turn your visit into a full-on learning experience.
Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery
Stop at Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery for a part history lesson and part good old-fashioned whiskey tasting. Brothers Andy and Charlie Nelson revived their great-great-great-grandfather’s family business in 2009. The tour guides here will take you back to the start over a century ago and its subsequent shutting down during Prohibition—cheers to the Nelsons’ happy ending!
The Parthenon, originally constructed as a temporary exhibit for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition, is a full-scale replica of the iconic Athens structure that became so popular it is now a permanent Nashville fixture. Updates over the years have included the creation of the surrounding Centennial Park, a complete overhaul of the structure’s exterior, and the installation of a 42-foot-tall Athena statue. When you visit, don’t miss the fine art museum on the lower level.
Goo Goo Shop and Dessert Bar
The Goo Goo Cluster isn’t just your ordinary sweet treat—it’s the world’s first-ever “combination candy,” a swirl of caramel, marshmallow nougat, peanuts, and chocolate. Fittingly, the Goo Goo Shop and Dessert Bar’s headquarters isn’t just a shop—it’s a decadent destination, featuring Goo Goo’s rich history, a dessert and coffee bar, and a clear view of the confectionary kitchen’s skilled candy makers.
“I Believe in Nashville” Murals
You won’t find a more “Nashville” photo-op than the “I Believe in Nashville” murals. Music City native Adrien Saporiti has created two of them across town—one each in 12 South and Marathon Village. Want some “I Believe in Nashville” merch? Shop here.
Johnny Cash Museum
Whether you’re a casual listener or a die-hard fan of the Man in Black, it’s hard not to be emotionally moved as you walk through the Johnny Cash Museum. From his humble beginnings in Arkansas to his groundbreaking Folsom Prison performance to his love affair with June Carter, this is a fully encompassing journey of Cash and his legacy. A tip, bring tissues for the very last segment of the self-guided tour.
First Horizon Park
First Horizon Park (formerly First Tennessee Park), is home to The Nashville Sounds, a Minor League Baseball team of the International League. This massive ballpark situated in Germantown, boasts an unrivaled view of the field, a guitar-shaped scoreboard, and limitless concessions. The stadium also hosts occasional concerts, events, and festivals.