Visit Nashville, TN – Things to Do, Attractions and Safety
Nashville, Tennessee, Music City, birthplace of Country Music, is one of the best cities to visit for anyone who enjoys life and likes any type of music. Nashville is a large city but is one of those gems that people don’t think about when planning a vacation, but absolutely should. It’s a beautiful, green city huge on attractions and loaded with things to do for visitors of all ages and tastes.
If you’re considering whether to take a trip to Nashville, or you have already decided to visit Nashville but want to know a little more first, we’ve got you covered. This article will give you everything you need to know about Nashville, safety, yearly weather, the best time to visit, where to stay, safety tips, safest neighborhoods, and areas to avoid, top attractions, restaurants, and shopping, how to get around in Nashville, things to pack, and annual events. You’ll also get access to some money-saving deals to make your trip even better.
Things to Know About Nashville Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of Tennessee and is in the center of Tennessee, about a three-hour drive from either Knoxville or Memphis. Nashville is endearingly nicknamed the buckle of the Bible Belt. Nashville isn’t just good for music, it’s also home to Vanderbilt University. 16 million people visit Nashville each year and is home to about 700,000 people.
Famous people in Nashville: Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Billy Ray Cyrus, Martina McBride, Oprah Winfrey, Dolly Parton, Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban.
Nashville is home to the Tennessee Titans whose home field is the Nissan Stadium. Nissan Stadium is also used for Nashville’s biggest concerts for artists like Kenny Chesney, Garth Brooks, and many others. Country Music isn’t the only music in Nashville, other genres get their fair share of attention too.
Best Time to Visit Nashville
The busiest (and most expensive) time to visit Nashville is in the summer. June, July, and August are usually completely booked a month out. Expect lots of crowds, but also plenty of events and things to do. The warm weather brings people outside and makes for a much more electric atmosphere.
The cheapest months to visit Nashville are in winter November through March (excluding holidays). This is the tourist off-season, and while there aren’t as many big-name concerts as possible, you’ll still be able to find plenty to do while enjoying big discounts on big hotels.
Weather In Nashville
Nashville has a southern climate, with hot, muggy summers, and cold, wet winters. There’s plenty of rain all year, averaging 7 rainy days each month. The hottest month is July, with highs around 90°F and lows around 70°F. The coldest month is January, with highs around 47°F and lows around 29°F.
Where to Stay in Nashville
When visiting any city, there are areas that cater to visitors, and areas that don’t. That’s why it’s important not only to find hotels that fit your budget, but also to find areas that will meet your travel needs. These areas we’ve put together are the most popular areas for visitors to stay in and have the best access to attractions and other things to do.
Downtown Nashville is the best place to stay for a variety of reasons. Downtown Nashville is also home to the famous Honkey Tonk Highway (Broadway between 1st and 5th Avenue) which is the best area to eat, enjoy a concert, go to church, and enjoy Nashville’s thriving nightlife. Downtown is an upscale area with dozens of 4- and 5-star hotels, but fewer budget options.
The Midtown Neighborhood of Nashville is home to two hospitals (Ascension St. Thomas and TriStar Centennial). Midtown is also home to Vanderbilt University, and Music Row so you can expect a slightly younger, more musical scene. There’s lots of great nightlife and good eats in the area, and as a plus, it’s not as crowded as Downtown, though still within walking distance.
West End is mashed next to Midtown and offers the same great nightlife, as well as a more relaxed atmosphere. You’ve also got Centennial Park (there’s a zoned area for dogs) which is awesome for walking, biking, or picnicking. West End is closer to Four-Forty Parkway, so you’ll have more freeway noise. There are also less hotels in this area, but you may be able to find some nice bed and breakfasts.
Hillsboro Village is a more historic part of Nashville and is home to most of Vanderbilt’s student body. There are even fewer hotels and Airbnb options here than in the West End, but if you can find a place, it’s a very nice, walkable area. You’ll be far from downtown though, and public transportation doesn’t have as many connections here.
The Gulch is one of the nicest areas of Nashville with new developments and luxury hotels. This is the best area for high-dining and designer stores and boutiques. This is the most expensive area. There are great spas here, and of course, The Frist Art Museum. It’s walkable from both downtown and midtown and offers plenty of live music.
East Nashville is mostly residential, which makes it quieter, but offers lots of shots, boutiques, and places to get drinks. It’s a quieter area, with more Airbnb options than hotels. If you’re visiting Nashville for sports, this is probably the place to stay. There are few crowds and more budget options than other areas, without putting you too far from all the attractions.
Music Valley is away from Nashville’s downtown area, but still just as popular when it comes to tourism. Music Valley is home to the Grand Ole Opry (which everyone should visit) and is a more family-friendly area.
Gets Deals for Nashville Hotels
Our MySittiVacations hotel finder can help you find affordable, safe hotels and bed and breakfast options for your trip. You can type in specific hotels or search by area and select dates of stay that work best for you. We apply special coupons which save you money and make planning your vacation that much easier. Check it out here.
Safest Areas of Nashville, Tennessee
The safest neighborhoods in Nashville are Green Hills, Hillsboro Village, West End, Belmont, Charlotte Park, Historic Edgefield, Five Points, Inglewood, Belle Meade, and Bellevue. These may not be the most “touristy”, but they are a great option for families and solo travelers. While there aren’t as many upscale hotels as possible, Airbnb keeps these areas accessible and affordable.
Most Dangerous Areas of Nashville
The following neighborhoods have the highest crime rate in Nashville and are best avoided: Talbot’s Corner, Antioch, Glencliff, Heron Walk, Buena Vista Heights, Salemtown, McKissack Park, Bordeaux, Eastwood, Cleveland Park, Four Corners, and Haynes Area. As a traveler, it is best to avoid these areas and make reservations in other parts of the city, even if they are a bit more expensive.
Must See Attractions and Things to Do in Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville’s attractions, like its music and food, have their own Tennessee flair which you won’t find anywhere else in the world. There’s lots to see when it comes to music, but there’s lots of history worth checking out as well.
What began as a humble radio show in 1925 eventually grew into the country music juggernaut that is the Grand Ole Opry today. The longest running radio program in the world is visited by nearly one million people each year to see their favorite stars—like Garth Brooks, Ashley McBryde, Randy Travis, or Kacey Musgraves—then to experience the history of “the Mother Home of Country Music.”
Often referred to as the birthplace of bluegrass music, Ryman Auditorium is a historic part of the foundation of the Grand Ole Opry. Not only has the Ryman been named theater of the year many times by Pollstar Magazine, but it is also revered for its diversity of music talent that it hosts from year to year. The hall is not limited to country music. Coldplay, Beck, Taylor Swift, and Bruce Springsteen are a few of the many massive titles the Ryman has hosts each year.
- Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Let’s just get something straight—this is not your typical museum. The Country Music Hall of Fame is renowned as one of the largest music preservation buildings in America. Witness the home of the world’s most extensive music collections all portrayed in vivid beauty.
- Belle Meade Historic Site & Winery
Located in an idyllic southern backdrop, the Belle Meade Mansion offers visitors two main options for tours: a Mansion Tour and a Journey to Jubilee Tour. The first tour, a tour of the plantation house, runs about 45 minutes and focuses on the history of its occupants and the architecture. Other tours center on the complex history of African American Emancipation. You can also tour the gardens, arboretum, and vast acres of the plantation. Belle Meade features a famous winery where you can enjoy a food and wine tasting or head over to the bourbon house to sample other refined spirits and even make your own cocktails.
- Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage
Andrew Jackson spent much of his time in his mansion using his hermitage as an office, a gathering hall, and a gathering place for entertainment. The beautiful estate is filled mostly with original possessions of Jackson’s. The garden and grounds are also available for touring and show the history of the cotton plantation. Additionally, visitors enjoy visiting the tombs of Rachel and Andrew located on the grounds.
The history of the “Man in Black” is accurately and artistically on display for all to see at the Johnny Cash Museum. With number one rankings for the top music museum in the world by Forbes, Conde’ Naste, and National Geographic Traveler as well as a AAA Gem Rating, this museum is not a stop you want to miss.
Also known as Nashville’s Historic Temple of Sound, the RCA Studio B the studio is part of the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum. The recording studio is the closest thing to time travel as you stand in the same places Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, Elvis Presley, and more created history in music. Tour the “Home of 1,000 Hits” and take in decades of artistry.
- Gaylord Opryland Resort Gardens
Mostly known for its lush nine acres of stunning gardens, the resort and convention center are the largest hotel in the (continental) United States not connected to gaming. Explore over 50,000 different plants, rare blooms, and various atriums. The Garden Conservatory is a favorite for guests to tour with over 215 species of plants.
- Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum
Learn the stories of hundreds of the country’s greatest musicians. Explore nearly every genre of music, watch special backstage interviews, or check out the interactive Grammy Museum Gallery. The museum caters to all interests and all ages which makes it a perfect place to spend an afternoon for any traveler staying in Nashville.
The Parthenon in Nashville replicates architecture and civilization in 5th century Athens BCE. The replica exactly mimics the original temple in Athens, Greece in size and decoration—including the 42-foot-tall Athena statue featured inside the Parthenon. The Nashville Parthenon often hosts art exhibitions for visitors to enjoy. Located in the center of Centennial Park—Nashville’s version of Central Park—the Parthenon replica has become a classic Nashville attraction.
- Nashville Superspeedway (Lebanon)
NASCAR motor racing is big in Tennessee, and the Nashville Superspeedway which holds over 30,000 people a race. They regularly host the Ally 400, the Tennessee Lottery 250, and the Rackley Roofing 200. While technically in Lebanon, Tennessee, the Nashville Superspeedway is only a 40-minute drive from downtown so it’s worth checking out.
Home of the Tennessee Titans, the Nissan Stadium serves as a host to NFL games, concerts for musicians like Kenny Chesney, and various community events like 5ks, Girls Flag Football, as well as host to the 2016 National Spelling Bee. The beautiful stadium is a perfect outing for any sports fan or those who enjoy a great time with great food. It’s hard to beat the positive yet competitive southern atmosphere of a football game, especially with classic stadium eats like BBQ, Pizza, and deep-fried anything with an ice-cold drink of your choice.
- Nashville Zoo at Grassmere
Considered one of Nashville’s best family attractions, the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere is home to an amazing collection of live animals, events like animatronic dinosaurs and nighttime light and sound shows which paint the zoo in a colorful illumination of lights. Currently there are exhibits featuring the newest members of the zoo: chicks, joeys, pups, and other precious babies!
MySittiVacations has special discounts and deals for these and other major attractions in Nashville. From tickets to entrance fees, as well as tours and other entertainment packages that can help make your trip even better while saving you some money. Check deals on attractions and things to do in Nashville here.
11 Best Restaurants in Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville has a unique and very tasty food culture–comfort food with a Tennessee twist–which is why you should try out local restaurants rather than eating at chains. Most of Nashville’s restaurants are casual, which makes for a perfect family meal or date without wrecking the budget. There are still plenty of high-end and low-end options which still maintain that Nashville flare.
- Famous Nashville – American Food – Dine-in, takeout, delivery – $$
- Lockeland Table – American Food- Dine-in, curbside, delivery – $$$
- Maggiano’s Little Italy – Dine-in, takeout – $$
- Etch – Eclectic – Dine-in, takeout – $$$
- Merchants – Southern Food – Dine-in, takeout, delivery – $$
- The Chef and I – Fine Dining – Dine-in, takeout – $$$
- The Standard – Steak – Dine-in only – $$
- Bakersfield – Mexican Food – Dine-in, takeout, delivery – $$
- Henrietta Red – Oyster Bar – Dine-in only – $$$
- Butcher and Bee – Mediterranean Food – Dine-in, takeout, delivery – $$
- The 404 Kitchen – Craft Food – Dine-in only – $$$$
MySittiVacations has a variety of deals to help you save while dining. You can also search other popular restaurants in the area, and we automatically find you the best deals and coupons.
Best Shopping Centers and Local Shops in Nashville
Opry Mills is Nashville’s biggest and most popular shopping mall, featuring both chain and boutique stores, and an awesome Aquarium Restaurant. Fun for visitors of all ages.
- The Shoppes on Fatherland
Close to the 5 Points area, the Shoppes on Fatherland are a dozen of Nashville’s trendiest stores and boutiques.
Fanny’s House of Music is one of the best music stores in the country focusing on instruments in those hard-to-find women sizes. Instruments are priced fairly for musical artists of all ages.
Apple & Oak is a high-end home decor shop selling everything from rugs, candles, mirrors, etc. You can get big stuff here, sure, but this is also the place to get your trip souvenirs.
Two Old Hippies is a unique store with a blend of both music inspired fashion, and musical instruments. Every piece is both unique and fashionable and worth checking out.
Lemon Laine is a beauty store with quality makeup products made local from high-quality natural ingredients. Lotions, sodas, masks, cleansers, perfect for a personal splurge or as gifts.
Is Nashville Safe to Visit?
Nashville has an above average crime rate with moderate risk to travelers. Downtown Nashville is well-lit, and considerably safer than the suburbs. There are some areas of the city to avoid, but with some planning, risk is minimal. Overall, Nashville is safe during the day, and it’s during the night when you should find other people to walk with.
Safety Tips for Visiting Nashville
You can have a worry-free trip to Nashville by following standard safety precautions and a couple other tips. As always:
- Always lock doors.
- Stay alert and know where you are and where you’re going.
- Go out with a group at night.
- Keep your eye on your children.
- Watch your drinks and don’t drink too much.
- Drink water. Heatstroke is a thing.
- Carry pepper-spray.
Best Ways to Get Around Nashville, Tennessee
When visiting Nashville, the best mode of transportation (except in the downtown area) is by car. Nashville’s public transportation isn’t nearly as developed as other cities like Boston or Austin, Texas, and it isn’t nearly as safe. While the immediate downtown Nashville area is walkable, you’ll need a ride to get there and to get to other areas of the city.
You can check out car rental companies and cheap car rentals in Nashville through the MySittiVacations Cheap Car Rental Deal Finder.
Taxis as well as rideshare services like Lyft and Uber are all popular and reliable in Nashville but cost significantly more per trip.
The downtown area has a golf cart service that can take you anywhere within a couple blocks for free. Tipping is encouraged but not required.
Pedicabs (bike-taxis) fit up to three and provide fun transportation to get you around the city. Tours are available.
E-Bikes and E-Scooters
Nashville has plenty of e-bikes available through the city endorsed B-Cycle. There are 36 stations around the city allowing you to pick-up and drop off anywhere. E-Scooters are also popular through brands like Bird and Lime and can get you anywhere in a skip.
Nashville’s main public transportation system is WeGo which offers a variety of cheap routes over both train and bus. The train travels east to Lebanon and is mostly used for work commutes. Nashville buses are as standard as every other city. Public transportation is not very tourist friendly and doesn’t connect to many attractions, so, if you can, we recommend you avoid it.
Things to Pack for Nashville
Nashville has a standard packing list, with breathable clothing for the summer, and warm clothes for winter. There aren’t any fashion taboos in Tennessee, so wear what’s comfortable.
- Nashville sits in the top ten of cities most plagued by mosquitos, so make sure to pack some bug spray.
- With so much rain, always have an umbrella at the ready.
- Nashville ranks moderate-high for seasonal allergies, so bring medication just in case.
- Sunscreen and sunglasses. A must for outdoor concerts and events.
Is Nashville Family Friendly?
When it comes to families, Nashville ranks average. It’s safe for families, and while there’s plenty to do and see, there aren’t many attractions geared towards children. Concerts and events are focused on older audiences, and many of the things to do in Nashville will likely bore youngsters. The top city we recommend with family-friendly attractions is Boston.
Is Nashville Good for Solo Travelers?
Nashville is a great destination for solo travelers, but still has plenty of risk especially when it comes to female travelers. If you’re visiting for a concert or event, then go for it. Public transportation is pretty sketchy though, so if you don’t have a car or can’t fit renting on into the budget, consider places like New York or Seattle. These cities offer more of a cultural experience with plenty of attractions, photos, eats, and things to do.
Is Nashville Good for Couples?
Yes! Nashville is a fantastic city to visit as a couple, particularly if you like live music and concerts. As the “heart of the South,” Nashville is popular for honeymoons. Riverboat tours and fine dining never disappoint. Accommodations for couples in Nashville are classy and sweet and the city plenty to do for fun and romantic dates. Food is awesome, matching the high-energy of the city.
Is Nashville Good to Visit with Friends?
Yes! Taking a trip to Nashville with a friend or group of friends is an awesome idea. There are tons of Airbnb options in Nashville which are perfect for getting lots of space without spending so much like you would in hotels. Nashville has tons of nightlife and other adult-oriented attractions perfect for checking out with friends.
Cities like Nashville to Visit
If you’ve already been to Nashville or decided that Nashville isn’t for you, but you still want a great musical atmosphere, fear not! There are other destinations to check out. We recommend checking out Austin (known as the Live Music Capital of the World), Las Vegas, or New Orleans. If you want a great party/nightlife atmosphere, check out Miami.
Annual Events in Nashville
While concerts change artists each year, Nashville does have a few repeating events each year that are worth checking out no matter when you visit.
Battle of New Orleans Anniversary
Nashville Boat Show
Nashville Auto Fest
Black History Month
Antiques and Garden Show of Nashville
Nashville Wine Auction Pairings
Nashville Lawn and Garden Show
Tin Pan South
Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon and Half Marathon
Nashville Comedy Festival
Nashville Fashion Week
Sevier Park Fest
K-Love Fan Awards
Ally 400 NASCAR Cup Series Race Weekend
Nashville Pride Festival
Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman
Music City Hot Chicken Festival
Tomato Art Fest
Defy Film Festival
Shakespeare in the Park
Live on the Green
African Street Festival
Nashville Whiskey Festival
Nashville Film Festival
Centennial Craft Fest
Old School BBQ Festival
Nashville Design Week
Music City Bowl
Cheekwood’s Holiday Lights
Gaylord Opryland’s A Country Christmas