East Coast

From Mile-High Biscuits to Historic Honky Tonks: The Best Nashville Weekend Itinerary

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

Nashville is Music City, U.S.A., and for music fans of all genres, it’s a must. Travelers can dive deep into their interests and see artist’s original instruments, costumes and memorabilia. Best of all, live music plays all day and night long. Here is the perfect Nashville Weekend Itinerary that pairs legendary music and down-home cooking with a bit of culture thrown in.

The Best Nashville Weekend Itinerary 

  • Gray Line Of Tennessee Nashville City Tour
  • Ryman’s Auditorium
  • Robert’s Western World
  • Honky Tonk Highway
  • John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge
  • Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
  • Historic RCA Studio B
  • Johnny Cash Museum and Patsy Cline Museum
  • National Museum of African American Music
  • Grand Ole Opry
  • Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage
  • Lane Motor Museum
  • Frist Art Museum 
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The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville
The Ryman Auditorium is a bucket list venue. credit: Catherine Parker

Friday 

Explore the country and western music hotspots, even with kids. Make it easy by walking to the downtown destinations from your hotel. Downtown Nashville is easy to walk, and there are murals and street performers along the way.

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 as you learn about the history and the hitmakers.

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.

Ryman Auditorium 

I recommend seeing a show at the Ryman. The acoustics are amazing, and it is a bucket list venue. Tickets will have to be secured before your arrival since shows sell out.

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.

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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 

Grab the kids and head to an iconic Honky Tonk destination with live music all day. And it’s even a restaurant where fried bologna sandwiches are the go-to. It started as a western wear store with a band and grew from there.

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. 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.

Broadway and free to enjoy.

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.

Located off 3rd Ave. Free to enjoy. 

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

Saturday

Get up early and enjoy a plate of biscuits for breakfast. Then dig in deeper and learn about the famed artists of Nashville. Touring the music museums in Nashville is like taking a music appreciation class in college.

Younger people get a backstory for artists they might have heard of but don’t really know. For me, I learned more about artists that I admire.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

First, I recommend visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum for an overview of Country Music’s talent and history. 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.

Historic RCA Studio B

As an add-on t our to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Historic RCA Studio B is on Music Row, away from Lower Broadway. The tour includes transportation from the front of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

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.

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. 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.

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 artists’ 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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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

This is another iconic venue to enjoy during your getaway to Nashville. The auditorium holds over 4,000 people so the tickets are easier to get.

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 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.

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

Sunday

Nashville offers more than the music. It is also home to one of the top U.S. President’s home tours. This beautifully landscaped estate offers a peak into living in the 1800s.

Afterward, I recommend visiting the Lane Motor Museum for its quirky collection of vintage cars from Europe. Finally, as you make your way back into TK.

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

Visit the home of Andrew Jackson, one of the largest presidential homes. East of Nashville, it’s one of the top presidential sites in the U.S. As the seventh U.S. President, his estate is 1,120 acres in size and is preserved as 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.

Located at 4580 Rachel’s Lane. Open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily from March 1 to October 31, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the rest of the year. Specialized guided tours are available. General’s Tour is a guided tour of the mansion, and adult admission (18+) is $24, youth (13 to 18) is $19, and kids (5 to 12) are $12. Ground passes are $15 for adults (18+) and youth (13 to 18) are $8 and kids under 12 are free. 

Lane Motor Museum
The Lane Motor Museum offers the largest collection of European cars in the U.S. credit: Catherine Parker

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.

Frist Museum in Nashville at night
The Frist 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.

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

Where to Eat In Nashville

Breakfast and Brunch

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.

Sweetmilk

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.

Biscuit Love

Biscuits are a Southern tradition, and this is one of the top places in town. Get buttermilk biscuits with jam, breakfast meats and a whole lot more.

Located 316 11th Ave. S. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Assembly Food Hall
The Assembly Food Hall offers 30 different outlets. credit: Catherine Parker

Lunch and Treats

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).

Peg Leg Porker BBQ

A local favorite and family-owned, try some low-and-slow pork BBQ and chicken. Find a patio for outdoor seating. 

Located at 903 Gleaves St. Open Monday and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Wednesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Puckett’s Restaurant 

From breakfast through dinner, Puckett’s is a crowd-pleaser. From its mile-high biscuits and fluffy pancakes to the pulled pork and hot chicken, there is a lot to love.

Located at 500 Church St. Serving breakfast daily from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Goo Goo Shop

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.

Dinner

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.

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.

Disclosure: 

This article was produced after a press trip.

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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