5 Unique Things to Do in Nashville

Join Budget Travel as we continue our new series Discover USA. Discover USA explores states, counties, cities, and everything in between. We will explore a new US destination to help you find things to do, itinerary ideas, and plan where to go next.
This week, we invite you to Discover what Nashville, Tennessee has to offer. When people think of Nashville, they think of music. There’s a reason it’s been called “The Music City” for almost 100 years. Discover what else they are known for.
Hattie B’s Hot Chicken – Courtesy of Visitmusiccity.com
Discover the spots that make Nashville the culinary destination it is today, including classic dining spots serving up hot chicken, barbecue, and meat & three. With nearly 200 new restaurants opening in the past two years, a one-of-a-kind culinary adventure awaits.
Hot Chicken
Hot Chicken is a Nashville original, fried chicken dish, doused in fiery spices, and served on a bed of white bread with a pickle. Find this at restaurants throughout the city, with heat levels ranging from mild to “clucking hot.” Discover Nashville’s staple cuisine, hot chicken via famous spots like Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack and Hattie B’s Hot Chicken.
Tennessee is known for its low-and-slow barbecue and Nashville is no exception. Check out the different spins on the dish at restaurants throughout the city like Martin’s BBQ Joint , Peg Leg Porker BBQ and Edley’s Bar-B-Que.
Meat & Three
A Meat & Three meal is southern food at its best. Choose a delicious meat dish, accompanied by three mouthwatering sides. Don’t forget a sweet tea and slice of pie to round out the meal. Classic Nashville restaurants like Puckett’s Grocery, Elliston Place Soda Shop and Arnold’s Country Kitchen are the perfect spots for experiencing a true meat & three style meal.
Fine Dining
While Nashville is known for its hot chicken, bbq and meat and three – fine dining has become a force as diners venture out in search of a more upscale experiences. To cater to the new trend, fine dining restaurants are opening up all over the city serving gourmet eats. Places like The Catbird Seat, Kayne Prime Steakhouse and Miel are Nashville fine dining staples that diners have consistently received 5 star reviews.
Arts and Culture
Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum – Courtesy of Visitmusiccity.com
In a city where creativity thrives, Nashville’s ever-growing arts scene is as diverse and approachable as its music scene. Murals, street art, public art, art galleries, and museums are all a part of experiencing Nashville’s visual art offerings. The city also hosts art crawls, festivals, and events throughout the year.
Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is the definitive home of American music, safeguarding more than 2.5 million priceless artifacts, including countless recordings and photographs, numerous stage costumes, musical instruments, and more.
National Museum of African American Music
Tour the 56,000-sqaure-foot facility that encourages visitors to discover the central role African Americans have played in shaping and creating all genres of music. From classical to country to jazz and hip hop, NMAAM integrates history and interactive technology to share the untold story of more than 50 music genres and sub-genres.
The Johnny Cash Museum
Located in the heart of downtown Nashville, The Johnny Cash Museum is dedicated to the life and music career of the late Man in Black. Exhibits featuring the world’s largest most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia chronicle Cash’s legacy through stunning graphics, artifacts and interactive technology.
Frist Art Museum
The Frist Art Museum is a family-friendly, world-class art museum located in downtown Nashville and is dedicated to presenting an ever-changing schedule of exhibitions from local, regional, national and international sources. The Frist also features the award-winning Martin ArtQuest Gallery with 30 interactive art-making stations; educational programs; and a gift shop full of hand-crafted merchandise — all surrounded by gorgeous architecture.
For a city called “Music City” you can’t speak about art and culture without mentioning the iconic music venues.
Ryman Auditorium
Ryman – Courtesy of Visitmusiccity.com
When you walk through the doors of historic Ryman Auditorium, one thing becomes clear right away: this isn’t just another nightly music venue, and it’s so much more than a daytime tourist stop. This place is hallowed ground. This is the exact spot where bluegrass was born—where Johnny Cash met June Carter, where souls were saved, and a slice of history was nearly lost. It was right here that country music found an audience beyond its own back porch, and countless careers took off as deals were signed on napkins and paper scraps backstage. This is a building where anything is possible: a soul can find redemption, a crumbling building can find salvation, and an unknown kid with a guitar can find his or her name in lights.
Grand Ole Opry
Nothing says “Nashville” like a night at the Grand Ole Opry. What began as a simple radio broadcast in 1925 is today an entertainment phenomenon showcasing a mix of country music greats– new stars, superstars, and legends. Known around the world as “the show that made country music famous,” you can count on things happening at the Opry that you just can’t see anywhere else.
Station Inn
Catch a show at Station Inn, a beloved music listening room in The Gulch area of Nashville. Here you can find the world’s best bluegrass, classic country, Americana and roots music seven nights a week. All are welcome, every day. Good food. Great music.
Anchored in Nashville’s music scene since 1971, Exit/In is the reason the strip is known as The Rock Block. The renowned venue is locally, independently, family-owned and operated. Its history and cultural importance cannot be overstated. Take one look at the Wall of Fame, on the front of the building, to begin understanding the magnitude of the performances that have taken place at the storied club.
Honky Tonk Highway
Music City’s honky tonks line both sides of Broadway (steet) and pump live music into the streets all day, every day. There’s no cover charge but the tip jar gets passed around for those wanting to appreciate the musicians that make Nashville Music City. The music starts at 10am with the party lasting until 3 in the morning.
Parthenon at Centennial Park – Courtesy of Visitmusiccity.com
Within minutes of downtown Nashville, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether your outdoor sport of choice is biking, hiking or horseback riding, the rolling hills, long trails and majestic lakes of the Nashville area will not disappoint. Fish in a calm, beautiful lake, canoe on a lazy river, or get your thrills in a state-of-the-art wave action pool.
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
Tour Tennessee via a 200-foot granite map of the state, a walkway featuring the state’s 95 counties, 31 fountains representing the major rivers of Tennessee, and an extraordinary wall depicting the state’s history.
Centennial Park
Centennial Park is Nashville’s premier park. The 132-acre park features the iconic Parthenon, a 1-mile walking trail, Lake Watauga, the Centennial Art Center, historical monuments, an arts activity center, a beautiful sunken garden, a bandshell, an events shelter, sand volleyball courts, a dog park, and an exercise trail.
Enjoy the natural beauty of Middle Tennessee at Radnor Lake, Percy Priest Lake, Old Hickory Lake or Harpeth River.
Wave Country
Since Nashville doesn’t have an ocean, the folks at Wave Country decided to bring some wave motion to Music City. The popular water park generates waves that can be ridden, courtesy of 3 water flumes and 2 speed slides. The speed slides drop from a 40-foot tower and travel 80 feet! Floats are included in your admission price. If you have children, or if you’re a child at heart, you will enjoy the waves while getting some rays! Wave Country is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.


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