Nashville more than lives up to its moniker of ‘Music City’. There are more than 180 music venues dotted around the city, from 19th-century honky-tonks to massive concert halls. Beyond the music, it’s home to a red-hot culinary scene, burgeoning arts destinations and dozens of world-class museums too. Here are some of the best things to do in Nashville.
Cool stuff to do in Nashville:
- Take a Helicopter Tour of Downtown Nashville
- Grand Ole Opry House Guided Backstage Tour
- Southern Belle: Biscuit and Breakfast Baking Class
- Visit Frist Art Museum
- Tenn South Distillery Guided Tour and Tasting
- Robert’s Western World
- Pub Crawl with Moonshine, Cocktails, and Craft Beer
- Downtown Nashville Walking Food Tour
- Sightseeing, Murals and Brewery Combo Tour
- Plaza Mariachi Music City
Take a Helicopter Tour of Downtown Nashville
Find your bearings by getting sky-high. This private helicopter ride gives visitors a birdseye view of the best of downtown Nashville. It might only last 15-minutes but it packs in all the sights, including the historic Sylvan Park, Centennial Mall, Vanderbilt University and Division Street. You’ll even dip down low to fly alongside the rooftops of some of the city’s most famous honky-tonks.
To round off the tour, you’ll get to pay a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame, AT&T building – also known as The Batman Building – and the State Capitol Building. That’s a lot of ground covered – and you don’t even need to make a dent in your pedometer doing it.
Grand Ole Opry House Guided Backstage Tour
You don’t need to be a local to have heard of the Grand Ole Opry House. This is the venue that thrust Nashville into the global spotlight. It’s where Johnny Cash met June Carter, and where Bill Murray and his band invented a whole new genre of music called Bluegrass. Since then, some of the world’s most famous artists have walked through its doors, from Paul McCartney to Pharrell Williams.
This guided tour takes visitors backstage for a glimpse behind the curtain. There’s a trip to the auditorium, archive footage and fascinating facts and stories from its 90-year history that you’ll be quoting throughout your trip. You can take a tour during the day or post-show.
Southern Belle: Biscuit and Breakfast Baking Class
Have you even been to Nashville if you didn’t eat a biscuit? Biscuits are a breakfast staple in the south, served with everything from crispy bacon and fried eggs to whipped cream. In this class, not only do you get to eat them, you get to bake them too. Marynn Byrd, a self-proclaimed leading biscuit expert, will show you how to make the most buttery, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits you’ve ever tasted.
You’ll get to make a big batch, sample a couple of different varieties and then bring some home with you– the best kind of souvenir.
Visit Frist Art Museum
Nashville is hardly lacking in art galleries but Frist Art Museum is one of the most exciting. Housed in a beautiful Art Deco building that was once the city’s main post office, the gallery hosts an ever-changing schedule of exhibitions.
There isn’t a permanent collection, so you never know what you’re going to get. It could anything from a Monet exhibition to Japanese relics. There’s also ‘Music at the Frist’ every month, a free music show. See, they don’t call it the Music City for nothin’.
Tenn South Distillery Guided Tour and Tasting
No trip to Nashville would be complete without some serious whiskey tasting. Nashville is the capital of whiskey production in Tennessee, home to creative and exciting distilleries that are moving the US state beyond the likes of Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel. Tenn South Distillery is one of those that are shaking up the scene. They specialise in creating small-batch artisan spirits, including Clayton James Tennessee Whiskey.
But if whiskey isn’t your tipple of choice, there’s plenty more to see. They also produce All Might Moonshine, Abernathy Gin and Big Machine Platinum Filtered Vodka, which is made with a one-of-a-kind multi-million dollar platinum filter. The experience includes a 45-minute tour, a four flight tasting and access to the tasting room with cocktails, live music and karaoke.
Robert’s Western World
You don’t need to have mastered your two-step to enjoy Robert’s Western World. The undisputed ‘Home of Traditional Country Music’ has been voted Nashville Scene’s Local Favourite Honky-Tonk for the past eight years in a row. There’s live music seven days a week, good beers and great food straight from the grill.
It’s a bargain too – their classic fried bologna sandwich and PBR will only set you back $6. It’s in a great location, occupying a large building on Broadway. The buildings along here are steeped in history, with some dating all the way back to the American Civil War.
Pub Crawl with Moonshine, Cocktails, and Craft Beer
You’ve probably heard a lot about Nashville’s bar scene (if you haven’t, where have you been?) If you’re stuck on where to start, this pub crawl is perfect. Voted the ‘Best All-Inclusive Pub Crawl in Nashville’, the tour combines two hours of storytelling with a selection of the best bars and pubs in the city. Best of all, you pay one flat price which includes a selection of different moonshine, cocktails and craft beers. It includes a visit to at least five honky-tonks, gin mills and pubs, with a speciality drink at each and no queueing necessary.
Downtown Nashville Walking Food Tour
The culinary scene in Nashville is thriving, home to big southern-style barbeques along with creative new concept restaurants. It’s the birthplace of that finger-lickin’ Nashville hot chicken too. The best way to soak in the flavours of the city is on a food tour, like this 3.5-hour downtown tour. It includes an enormous lunch at a few different locally-owned restaurants, which each specialise in something special, as well as craft cocktails.
Led by a professional local guide, you get to see famous sights like Historic Broadway, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Printers Alley along the way. You’ll leave with tons of tips on places to go in Nashville for food too.
Sightseeing, Murals and Brewery Combo Tour
With so much to see and only so much time, sometimes you’ve got to cut corners. On this bumper tour, you get to combine three different tours in one – travelling by golf buggy too. There’s an hour-long traditional tour that covers all the main sights across the city, a brewery and distillery tour, and a whole tour dedicated to murals and Instagrammable spots.
Nashville is actually famous for its murals and they’re literally everywhere, from restaurant doors and shops to water tanks and old silos. They’ve all been created by local and internationally known artists too – great for the ‘gram. You can customise the tours too, spending longer at some or cutting out any that don’t interest you altogether.
Plaza Mariachi Music City
There’s something different happening every day at this Mexican-inspired marketplace, Plaza Mariachi Music City. True, you can pretty much guarantee you’ll find mariachi bands and DJs, but there are also big-name Latino stars, boxing matches and incredible salsa performances to enjoy.
The main arena is colourful and chaotic – in the best sense of the word – with a stage shaped into a castle and acrobats winding their way down silk scarfs. There’s a range of great spots to eat and shop in the plaza too. This is easily one of the best places to see in Nashville.
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