Discover the Best Things to Do in Nashville
The music scene in Nashville draws plenty of tourists – they don’t call it Music City for nothing. But the capital of Tennessee has so much more to offer. From historical landmarks to beautiful hiking trails to its famous hot chicken recipe, Nashville serves up endless entertainment and culture for you to explore.
Unique Things to Do in Nashville This Weekend
Country music is famous for its storytelling, weaving through the narrative of Nashville itself. And while music features high on our list, we’re also rounding out the city’s story with a few unique experiences that you’ll only find here. Check out our top seven picks for the best things to do in Nashville this weekend.
Listen & Learn at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is nicknamed “The Smithsonian of country music,” and it’s no surprise why. It safeguards a collection of more than 2.5 million artifacts, including priceless rarities like Les Paul’s 1941 experimental “log” electric guitar and the only remaining transcription disc of the first network radio broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry from 1939.
The architecture of the building itself has become an iconic part of the Nashville skyline. Viewed from the air, it forms a bass clef, rising up like the beating heart of the city amidst live music venues and the nearby historic Ryman Auditorium where many of its honorees got their start. Even if you aren’t a massive fan of the genre, you’ll leave with a new appreciation for its cultural influences on today’s music scene.
Test Your Taste Buds with Nashville’s Famous Hot Chicken
If you talk about food in Nashville, the topic of hot chicken will inevitably come up. It’s the city’s namesake signature food, and chefs all across the country – even as far away as Australia – are creating their own versions of it. But if you really want a true taste of Nashville’s culinary claim to fame, you should try it in the place it was invented – Prince’s Hot Chicken.
The story goes that in the 1930s Thornton Prince had done something to upset his woman. Seeking revenge, she added hot spices like cayenne pepper to his fried chicken, but the plan backfired. He loved it and opened a restaurant to sell his ‘hot chicken’ specialty. These days, the spicy pan-fried dish has taken on various forms, but Prince’s is the original and the standard to which all other hot chicken dishes are measured.
Sip and Savor Some Tennessee Whiskey
While the big names – like Jack Daniels and George Dickel – are the most widely recognized in the Tennessee whiskey industry, there’s a local Nashville operation that has just as much history as any other brand. Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery is a 100-year old distillery that was shuttered during Prohibition but has been revived by the original owner’s great-great-great grandsons.
Andy and Charlie Nelson learned about their whiskey heritage on a trip to Greenbrier, Tennessee when they discovered the original warehouse built by their enterprising ancestors. Honoring the original recipe that was first popularized in the late 1800s, the men have committed to following the strictest specifications and ingredients in re-creating the whiskey heritage of their family. Even the design of the filigree and ivy-draped label is a nod to the family brand. A tour and tasting here is a must on our list of the best things to do in Nashville.
Watch the Presses at Hatch Show Print
At 140 years old, historic Hatch Show Print maintains its status as heaven on earth for poster nerds and music buffs. This fully functioning print shop creates over 150,000 posters every year in their own distinct design aesthetic. Originally founded in the 19th century as a printer of posters for traveling circuses and minstrel shows, Hatch Show Print continues to craft stylized lo-fi posters that are sought after by everyone from art directors to die hard music fans.
Being located in Nashville, the first types of posters that may come to mind are bills featuring country music icons like Willie Nelson or Patsy Cline. But the shop has worked with musicians across all genres, including the likes of Etta James, B.B. King and Bruce Springsteen. Their eye-catching imagery, lovingly printed throughout the years, has become a wonderful map of American music history. You can take a tour of Hatch Show Print in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum building.
Enjoy Nashville’s Nature at Radnor Lake
Get outside and stretch your legs in Nashville this weekend with a visit to Radnor Lake. This 90-acre lake is surrounded by the kind of scenic beauty and recreational opportunities that are good for the soul. Over six mile of unpaved trails wind through the 1,402 acres of Class II natural forest, where you can enjoy hiking, stunning photo opportunities and native Tennessee wildlife
From wildflowers in the spring to migrating birds in the winter, you’d be hard pressed to find this type of natural suburban oasis in other metro areas of Nashville’s size. It’s one of the best hikes in the area and a great idea for things to do in Nashville on a date!
Explore a Replica of the Greek Parthenon
Nashville is known as “the Athens of the South” due to the multitude of colleges and universities around town. So, it seems fitting that there’s a full-sized replica of the Parthenon rising up out of Centennial Park. It was originally constructed for the city’s 1897 Centennial Exposition to pay homage to the real Athens. But since then it has become a destination in and of itself. Currently, it serves as one of Nashville’s top art installations, housing a permanent collection of 19th and 20th century paintings by American artists. It also showcases a variety of temporary shows and exhibits in additional gallery spaces.
Once you’ve got your fill of art, head outside and stroll over to the pond in Centennial Park. During the warmer months, be sure to take some bread to feed the adorable ducks that come out to splash and play. With its fresh air and beautiful views it’s the perfect place to while away a weekend afternoon.
Indulge in Music and Dinner at The Listening Room Cafe
There are more live music venues in Nashville than you can shake a stick at, and there are almost as many restaurants. Sometimes, the two even come together in a blend that feeds both body and soul. The best spot to find both delicious food and top-notch music is The Listening Room Café in SoBro.
Showcasing a great dining experience as well as talented singer/songwriters in the round, The Listening Room Café, offers the purest form of both. A great place to hang out off the beaten path of Broadway, it attracts entertaining local acts as well as the occasional famous songwriter showing up to try out their new stuff. It’s a one-of-a-kind venue where you will enjoy a true Music City experience.