Road Trips

From Cash to Cars: 16 Super Fun Things to Do in Nashville

Visit the vibrant downtown Nashville for a weekend getaway. Credit: Pixabay

Home to hits and more hits, Nashville is a music lover’s nirvana. It offers more music museums than you can see over a weekend. The music starts at 10 a.m. and tumbles out of the clubs until nearly dawn. The venues in Nashville are legendary, and even the biggest stars get choked up playing on. them. Not just for Country, Nashville caters to musicians of all genres, and it is possible to see legends just walking down the street. In between catching a band to touring a museum, be sure and get some hot chicken. Here are the top things to do in Nashville.

16 Super Fun Things to Do in Nashville

  • Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
  • Grand Ole Opry
  • Historic RCA Studio B
  • Musician’s Hall of Fame and Museum
  • National Museum of African American Music
  • Johnny Cash Museum and Patsy Cline Museum
  • Ryman Auditorium 
  • Robert’s Western World
  • Honky Tonk Highway
  • The Listening Room 
  • Frist Art Museum 
  • Gray Line Of Tennessee Nashville City Tour
  • Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage
  • Parthenon at Centennial Park
  • John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge
  • Lane Motor Museum

Why Visit Nashville 

If you are a country music fan, it is a must. Nashville offers those iconic sites you’ve heard about and always wanted to visit, like the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium.

I am a music fan, and not just a country fan, and I loved visiting Nashville. It offers more than just Country and I found it supports musicians of all genres. It is also a music industry hub, so there is where the songwriters, studio musicians and even costume designers live.

During my visit, I saw Tanya Tucker walk down Lower Broadway for a promotional photo shoot. It seemed everyone in the travel and hospitality industry was a budding singer or songwriter.

Country Music Hall of Fall and Museum
The Country Music Hall of Fall and Museum is a must for your visit. credit: Catherine Parker

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

With more than 2.5 million artifacts and family programming, including the Taylor Swift Education Center, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a must for your first visit to Nashville. The Museum launched in 1967, but this location opened in 2001.

This is a must for music lovers, and visitors will get an overview of Country Music from the beginning. During my visit, I saw lots of memorabilia, especially costumes.

Located at 222 5th Ave. S. Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Adult (13+) admission is $29.95, and kids (6 to 12) are $19.95. Advance purchase is necessary, and tickets are for a timed entry.

 induction of T. Graham Brown at the Grand Ole Opry
The induction of T. Graham Brown at the Grand Ole Opry. credit: Catherine Parker

Grand Ole Opry

Founded on November 28, 1925, the Grand Ole Opry is the longest-running radio broadcast in U.S. history. It showcases a mix of artists from country, bluegrass, Americana, gospel and folk music.

The Grand Ole Opry features a number of artist performances each night, and each artist usually performs a few songs. The show is fast-moving and a favorite with all age groups.

During my visit, T. Graham Brown was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry as a member. Members are chart-toppers and continue to play for years after their inductions, like Vince Gill, who played when I visited. Receiving Opry membership is considered an honor that is similar to a Hall of Fame induction.

Located at 600 Opry Mills Dr, Nashville. The Grand Ole Opry runs from two to five days a week. Shows start at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $53 per person. The auditorium holds over 4,000 people.

The post-show backstage tour is a popular option, and I got to see Pam Tillis as she left. It is $45 per person. A VIP backstage with onstage seating during the show starts at $750 per person.

The Best Weekend Itinerary for Nashville
the Studio RCA 2A recording studio
Inside the Studio RCA 2A recording studio where Dolly Parton recorded. credit: Catherine Parker

Historic RCA Studio B

Built in 1957, this unassuming building is where the hits were recorded, like Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You in 1973. Inside, visitors get to see how music is made and how this studio became the “Home of a 1,000 hits”.

During my tour, the guide was an avid music fan and really made the tour. I learned about the details from iconic recording sessions that took place in RCA Studio B, like Elvis Presley and Waylon Jennings.

Located at 1611 Roy Acuff Place. Open for daily tours, and reservations are required. Bus transportation from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is included. Adult (13+) admission is $51.95, and kids (6 to 12) are $41.95.

Musician’s Hall of Fame and Museum

This museum is dedicated to the top recording musicians of all time from all genres of music. During my visit, I was amazed at the iconic musical instruments the Musician’s Hall of Fame and Museum displayed.

This museum is a hidden gem facility and a must for true audiophiles. I saw the drum set from Staxx Records. It also tells the story of studio musicians.

Located at 401 Gay St. It is open from Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult (13+) admission is $28, and kids (6 to 17) are $15.

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National Museum of African American Music
The National Museum of African American Music is located near the Assembly Food Hall. credit: Catherine Parker

National Museum of African American Music

This is one of Nashville’s newest museums. The National Museum of African American Music preserves and celebrates the music created, influenced and inspired by African Americans.

It is laid out chronologically so visitors learn about the cultural influences. Then visitors get an in-depth look at the genres created by  African Americans, like the blues and soul. ‘

It is an interactive museum, so visitors can create music during their visit and download their favorite tracks to a wristband. I really enjoyed seeing the artist’s costumes.

Located at 510 Broadway, under the Assembly Food Hall. It is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday and Monday from noon to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $26.95, and youth (5 to 17) are $22.95.

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Johnny Cash Museum
The Johnny Cash Museum is a must for fans like myself. credit: Catherine Parker

Johnny Cash Museum and Patsy Cline Museum

I am a Johnny Cash fan, so this was a must for me. Johnny Cash was a pivotal and prolific performer of classics like Folsom Prison Blues and Ring of Fire. He and his wife, June Carter-Cash, lived outside of Nashville, and their estate contributed much of the memorabilia.

Visitors will see instruments and costumes. Other items include gold records and album covers. I particularly like the antiques, including china from June’s collection. According to the Johnny Cash Museum historian, she had about 200 sets of china.

Upstairs, be sure and visit the Patsy Cline Museum. She was a 30-year-old powerhouse singer-songwriter who died too soon. Known for Crazy, written by Willie Nelson, she died in a plane crash in 1963.

The Patsy Cline Museum features personal mementos from her tours. There is even furnishings from her home.

Both museums are located at 119 3rd Ave S. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Johnny Cash Museum adult admission is $25.95 and youth (6 to 15) enter for $21.95. The Patsy Cline Museum is adult admission is $21.95 and youth (6 to 15) enter for $17.95. Kids 5 and younger enter for free with adult admission.

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The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville
The Ryman Auditorium is a bucket list venue. credit: Catherine Parker

Ryman Auditorium 

As the original home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974, take a self-guided tour before its shows. It’s a National Historic Landmark for its role in Country Music.

The historic  2,362-seat auditorium opened in 1892 and has hosted legends from Johnny Cash to Elvis Presley to Dolly Parton. It is still a live music venue. During my visit, they were loading in a band for a performance that evening.

The tour includes a video explaining the Ryman Auditorium’s history.

Located at 116 5th Avenue N. Self-guided tours run from 9 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Adult admission (12+) is $27.34, and kids (4 to 11) are $18.22, with online service fees additional.

Robert's Western Wear sign
Robert’s Western Wear is one of the most authentic places to listen to live music. credit: Catherine Parker

Robert’s Western World

Nashville is an iconic Honky Tonk destination, and live music is tumbling out of venues all day. For the place musicians and locals go, head to Robert’s Western World.

It started as a western wear store with a band and grew from there. Robert’s Western World is packed most of the time but worth it. I loved the vibe since its walls are covered in memorabilia. I recommend you head upstairs for a better view.

Located at 416 B Broadway. Opens at 11 a.m., and kids are welcome until 6 p.m. No Cover.

Honky Tonk Highway

Take in the neon signs and listen to the live music as it spills into the street. The Honky Tonk Highway is actually called Lower Broadway.

During my latest visit, I saw Country music legend Tanya Tucker walking down the street with a magnificent horse. Bars and live music venues stand shoulder-to-shoulder here. However, word of caution: there is traffic on this street, so watch the kids and where you step.

It is located along Broadway and is free to enjoy.

The Listening Room 

Located in the historic International Harvester Building, this is a gem in Nashville. As a writer, it was a pleasure to listen to professional songwriters sing their songs and share their backstories.

The night I visited, the songwriters shared their professional stories of hard work and perseverance. It took years to pen a chart-topping hit. They shared their successful songs, and I was excited for them.

Located at 618 4th Ave S, Nashville. Open Monday to Saturday with shows at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Tickets start at $10 with a $15 per person food and beverage minimum per person.

Frist Museum in Nashville at night
The Frist Art Museum in Nashville at night. credit: Catherine Parker

Frist Art Museum 

Located in the original Art Deco Main Post Office for Nashville, explore the large facility dedicated to showcasing local and regional artists and national and international shows.

Located at 919 Broadway. Open Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Monday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Adult admission is $15, and kids 18 and under are free.

Gray Line Of Tennessee Nashville City Tour

If this is your first visit, I recommend hopping on one of the Gray Line tours. They provide a great overview of the city and drive by over 100 sites.

During my tour, our guide was personable and loved Nashville. He shared not only the top sites, like the Parthenon in Centennial Park but also where residents go and take their friends and family.

The Gray Line Of Tennessee Nashville City Tour uses double-decker open-air buses. Each tour is one hour long and is offered multiple times daily. Prices start at $32.95 per person, depending on day and age.

The Hermitage
The Hermitage was U.S. President Andrew Jackson’s home. credit: Catherine Parker

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

This is the home of Andrew Jackson, the seventh U.S. President. His estate, which is 1,120 acres in size, has been preserved intact and is a National Historic Landmark.

The land was purchased in 1804, and Andrew and his wife Rachel lived in a log cabin on the site. Between 1819 and 1821, a two-story Federal-style home was built with bricks made on-site.

While Jackson was in the White House, he had the home remodeled. At this time, one-story additions were added to both sides, and the front portico received 10 columns. The property includes 30 outbuildings, including cabins and smokehouses.

Andrew Jackson is buried on the property in a landscaped garden next to his wife and faithful groundskeeper.

Located at 4580 Rachel’s Lane, Nashville, about 15 miles from downtown. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Adult admission is $27 for the mansion tour, kids (5 to 12) enter for $17.

Parthenon at Centennial Park

It is hard to believe, but it is true: there is a full-scale replica of Athens’ Parthenon, including a 42-foot-tall Statue of Athena. It was built in 1897.

Inside, visitors will see the James M. Cowan Collection of American Art. There is also the Parthenon Marbles Casts, from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Located at 2500 West End Ave., Nashville. It is open Monday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday to Thursday from a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Adult admission is $10 and kids (4 to 17) enter for $7.

John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge

Take in the city lights and the Cumberland River while walking across the truss bridge from 1909. Spanning 3,150 feet, it is one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world.

Find it at 1st Ave. South and the Korean Veterans Boulevard.

Lane Motor Museum

The Lane Motor Museum is located in the renovated Sunbeam Bread Bakery. This automotive collection offers 150 cars displayed at any given time. Of the 500 cars in the collection, 75% are in driving condition.

During my visit, the Lane Motor Museum featured a display of British microcars. It offers the largest collection of European cars in the U.S.

Located at 702 Murfreesboro Pike, Nashville. It is open Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $15, and kids (6 to 17) enter for $3.

breakfast from Sweetmilk
The Southern Breakfast Bowl from Sweetmilk. credit: Catherine Parker

Where to Eat in Nashville 


Nashville loves brunch any day of the week. Sweetmilk serves up tender biscuits with butter and a bright and tart berry jam on the side.

I started with a barista-made coffee and then sampled the biscuits. For brunch, I choose the Southern Breakfast Bowl with hot chicken over grits with pimento cheese.

Located at 329 Donelson Pike #201, Nashville. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Finch

This new American eatery serves brunch featuring a menu stacked with everything from fusion cuisine to Southern classics. During my visit, I started with the trio of donut holes, then enjoyed the Bruleed Bananas French Toast.

Located at 111 10th Ave S #310, Nashville. Open for brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday only.

The Assembly Food Hall

Located downtown across from the Ryman Auditorium, the Assembly Food Hall offers 30+ restaurants across three floors. It is home to Nashville legends like Prince’s Hot Chicken.

Located at 5055 Broadway. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. (midnight on Friday and Saturday).

The Southern Steak and Oyster

This SoBro (South Broadway) institution is open for lunch as well as dinner. The Breaux Bros Gumbo is a popular starter and for my visit, I enjoyed the Hot Chicken Salad, a lighter option of the popular Nashville dish.

Located at 150 3rd Ave S #110, Nashville. Open for lunch daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday). Open daily for dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. (10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday).

Goo Goo Shop

Time for dessert! Head to the vintage-inspired candy shop and sample.

Goo-goos were invented in 1912 by the Standard Candy Company. It was the first combination candy. A Goo Goo is a mix of marshmallow nougat with peanut, peanut butter or pecans with caramel and chocolate.

This is their flagship location, and it sells candies. On my visit, we made a custom Goo-Goo with dark chocolate, sea salt, pretzels and rice crispies. We made it via a vending machine and then watched it being made.

Located at 116 3rd. Ave. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Jackalope Brewing Company

If you are in the neighborhood, stop by the brewhouse. If not, you will find Jackalope Brewing Company beer in Nashville bars and restaurants. I even found its beer used in a beer batter at another restaurant.

During my visit, I learned about its brewing process, including its innovations in recycling. Afterward, I sampled, and my favorite was the Bear Walker Maple Brown Ale.

Located at 429B Houston St., Nashville. Open Tuesday to Thursday from 2 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 7 p.m.

The Mockingbird

With a fusion menu for lunch and dinner, diners can satisfy their cravings for classic Southern fare and globally inspired dishes. The Mockingbird’s executive chef, Brian Riggenbach, was the winner of Chopped, Season 24.

During my visit, I sampled the You Oughta Burrata, I Dip, You Dip, We Dip, a spinach and artichoke dip, and the Don’t Worry, Brie Happy. All were well presented and well executed. I saved room for dessert and sampled the Let’s Get Kooky, a pair of chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream and the Strawberry Olive Oil Cake with a cheesecake layer.

Located at 121 12th Ave N, Nashville. Open daily from lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (10:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday). It is open for dinner daily from 4 to 9 p.m. (10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday).

Supper Club on Belcourt

With a flowered wall as a picture-perfect backdrop, this restaurant features fanciful interiors that are perfect for celebrations. Located in the historic Hillsboro neighborhood, the Super Club on Belcourt offers an extensive cocktail menu and wine.

The dinner menu offers classics like Lobster Mac and Cheese, NY Strip along with regional favorites like Cajun Fried Catfish. A vegan pasta is also available.

Located at 2000 Belcourt Ave, Nashville. Open Tuesday to Friday from 5 to 10 p.m. Open from Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., then 5  to 11 p.m. on Saturday and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Pinewood Social

A place to meet, a place to play and a place to eat and drink. Pinewood Social opened in 2015 and offers a bowling alley along with an outdoor pool and patio with an Airstream trailer.

During my visit, I started with an Aperol Rosé Spritz, and the cocktail menu was extensive. Pinewood Social offers a breakfast and brunch, lunch and dinner menu with a separate menu for its outdoor spaces.

Located at 33 Peabody St, Nashville. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Where to Stay in Nashville

Tempo by Hilton Nashville Downtown

This 306-room high-rise hotel is steps away from downtown Nashville’s top attractions and venues, like the Ryman Auditorium, Lower Broadway and Bridgestone Arena. The Tempo by Hilton Nashville Downtown is a new build and just the second Tempo by Hilton to open.

Nestled in the vibrant core of Nashville, the Tempo by Hilton Nashville Downtown is 16 stories and takes its design cues from some of the Art Deco gems. Inside and out, it fuses glamorous design elements, like public art on the street level and striking pieces in the public areas, like the lower lobby and its main lobby on the fifth floor.

It is located at 127 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

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