Nashville and the area around it is full of outstanding activities. A person could do something fun every weekend and not even get close to doing it all. With so many things to do in Nashville, it is hard to narrow it down, but here are 52 of our favorites, one for every weekend! This post contains affiliate links.
1) Loveless Cafe
You want the best biscuits in town? Go to the Loveless Cafe. Located right by the Natchez Trace it is a great starting point for a fantastic road trip! The honey chipotle smoked chicken is my favorite entree, but everything I’ve tasted there is good. Important to know: expect a wait. Use that time to check out the stores around the restaurant.
2) Fall Creek Falls
Fall Creek Falls is the number one most visited state park in Tennessee. The falls there are breathtaking, and the other activities are just icing on the cake. Camp for a few days if you really want to see what this great park has to offer!
One of the most overlooked places in Middle Tennessee, Sewanee is home to the University of the South. Surrounded with hiking and biking trails, gorgeous Gothic architecture, and great food, this small town is the one you have been looking for!
4) Nashville Farmers Market
Fresh local produce, cooking classes, great dining? All of this and more can be had at the Nashville Farmer’s Market. Open 362 days a year (closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day), the Nashville Farmer’s Market has something for everyone. Be sure to check out Market House restaurants and shops!
5) Bluegrass Underground
Middle Tennessee is full of incredible music venues, but the Bluegrass Underground is unique. 333 feet below the ground in a cave you can catch some of the best music around. The acoustics are incredible, and the setting is surreal. You have to see at least one show here, but you will probably keep going back for more!
6) Long Hunter State Park
Long Hunter State Park is a great place to get away with the family. Whether you are just going for a short hike or you are headed out for back country camping, this park is the place to make it happen. Get out and explore this beautiful area!
7) Nashville Shores
Did you know Nashville has an amazing water park? Nashville Shores is a great place to take the family for a day of sun and swimming! I am a fan of the lazy river myself, but there are so many fun water attractions in this park! If you plan on going more than a couple of times, you may want to consider getting a season pass to save some money.
8) Kayak the Duck River
Middle Tennessee has some excellent kayaking locations. One of my favorites is the Duck River. Flowing out from Normandy Dam with multiple put in and take out spots, the Duck is perfect for spending a day paddling. At over 200 miles, you are bound to find a little piece of the river just for you.
9) Radnor Lake State Park
This park is an absolute gem! Along with its nice hiking trails Radnor Lake State Park is a Class II Natural Area. This means the wildlife and ecosystem there is protected. On the beautiful protected area you will have ample opportunities to observe wildlife such as deer, reptiles, and birds. If wildlife isn’t your thing, just hike and enjoy the scenery, but don’t skip this amazing park!
10) Miller’s Grocery
Bluegrass, country cooking, and a little bit of history are a winning recipe at Miller’s Grocery in Christiana. With live music on Friday and Saturday nights, a Sunday Buffet, and some of the best scratch made desserts Miller’s Grocery is worth the drive!
11) Natchez Trace Parkway
Want to take a road trip in Middle Tennessee? There is no better place to do it than the Natchez Trace Parkway. Dotted with hiking trails, waterfalls, and other great views, this road from Nashville to Natchez, Mississippi is one you have to experience. Give yourself plenty of time, take it slow, and really explore the areas around the Trace.
12) The Treehouse Nashville
Nashville has an amazing food scene. It really takes something special to stand out, and The Treehouse Nashville has that something. They have an incredible menu with locally sourced ingredients. They also have a great beer and drink selection. The namesake treehouse in the back is an awesome addition to an already great place to eat.
13) Cheekwood Botanical Gardens
Cheekwood is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon. The botanical garden and art museum are both splendid year round, but if you can make it during one of their special events like Cheekwood in Bloom or Cheekwood Lights, you are in for a real treat! Along with the yearly special events, occasionally they have huge outdoor art exhibits like Light by Bruce Munro and Chihuly at Cheekwood. Take the family and spend an afternoon exploring these beautiful grounds!
14) Frist Center for The Visual Arts
Right in the heart of downtown Nashville, you can find the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. The Frist features an ever changing array of incredible exhibits. They have had everything from Art Deco cars to Samurai: The Way of the Warrior, and each exhibit I have attended has been incredible. Watch their Facebook page for discounts and even free nights on occasion.
15) Isha Institute of Inner-Sciences
McMinnville, Tennessee is probably the last place you would think of in relation to spiritual retreats, but that is exactly where you will one of the biggest. About an hour’s drive from Nashville, you will find The Isha Institute of Inner-Sciences a mountain retreat offering experiential classical yoga and meditation classes. Day visitors are welcome (just call ahead) and the setting is unbelievable.
16) Cummins Falls State Park
Voted on of the top 10 swimming hole sin the US by travel and Leisure Magazine, Cummins falls in Cookeville is one of the best ways to stay cool on a summer afternoon. The swimming hole is filled by a 75 foot waterfall, and the water is nice and chilly. It can get a little crowded, so get there early!
17) High Point Restaurant
Perched atop Monteagle, you will find this fabulous restaurant (and rumored hide out of mob boss Al Capone). High Point Restaurant has an awesome menu. My favorites are the Filet Mignon and the Grilled Shrimp Charleston. High Point has a great story to go along with its fine dining experience.
18) Puckett’s Grocery
Smoked Chicken, Redneck Burritos, and Skillet Mac & Cheese? Awww Yeah! Puckett’s has that. With multiple locations including Nashville, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Columbia, and Chattanooga Puckett’s makes it easy to get in for some of their good grub. Is breakfast more your speed? They have that too.
19) Nashville Sounds
The Nashville Sounds have been entertaining fans in Nashville since 1978. After relocating from Greer Stadium in 2015 to the new First Tennessee Park, they have continued to provide great opportunities for families to enjoy great minor league baseball.
20) Belcourt Theater
The Belcourt Theater is recognized as one of Nashville’s most influential arts organizations. Showing independent, documentary, world, and classic cinema the theater fulfills it mission to “engage, enrich, and educate through innovative film programming in our historic theater, our community, and beyond”. Don’t miss this unique theater or the great films they screen there.
21) Schermerhorn Symphony Hall
Nashville’s Symphony Hall is situated perfectly downtown. Just a couple of blocks from the river this amazing venue brings music to life. The Nashville Symphony plays frequently; often playing themes from movies like Harry Potter, Star Wars, and even Dreamworks films. The Schermerhorn also hosts other concerts such as: Johnny Lang, Experience Hendrix, and Buddy Guy!
22) Farmhouse Restaurant
One of my favorite things to do in Nashville is eat. With so many amazing dining options, you could eat somewhere new every day and not run out of options. The Farmhouse in downtown is one of my favorite places for a nice meal. Start with some cornbread and Steen’s butter. You’ll thank me. Chef Trey Ciocca grew up in Mt. Juliet and maintains a great relationship with the local farmer’s that provide the ingredients for this delicious menu.
23) Rutledge Falls
I can’t pass up a good waterfall. Rutledge falls is a breathtaking waterfall located on private land in Tullahoma. It is hard to find a better place to escape the summer heat. If you can’t make it in the summer, it is still gorgeous year round! Only about an hour away from Nashville, it is worth the drive to see this hidden gem!
24) Tennessee Performing Arts Center
The Tennessee Performing Arts Center is where it is at for live theater in Nashville. TPAC is home to three resident performing arts organizations (Nashville Ballet, Nashville Opera, and Nashville Repertory Theater). They perform multiple shows there throughout the year. Along with these shows special guests often speak or perform at TPAC including: Alice Cooper, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and Penn & Teller.
25) Stardust Drive-in
When was the last time you went to a drive in? Did you know there was one just a short drive from Nashville? Stardust Drive-in is located in Watertown and shows double-feature first run movies for less than the cost of a single traditional movie ticket. The Stardust Drive-In operates from the first weekend in March through the end of November.
26) Discovery Center at Murfree Springs
The Discovery Center at Murfree Springs is a great place to take the family for an educational experience. With featured exhibits that take on everything from nutrition to fluid dynamics, the Discovery Center at Murfree Springs is committed to their mission of “Engaging Curious Minds to Fuel the Future”. Located in Murfreesboro, the Discovery center is easy to get to and easy to have fun at!
Famous for their witty signs, Rosepepper Cantina also has great food and tasty drinks. Rosepepper is a pioneer in the East Nashville Bar and Restaurant scene. They have won Nashville’s best margarita for 11 years in a row! Have a seat on the heated covered patio and enjoy some Sonoran style Mexican food and some refreshing beverages.
28) Johnny Cash Museum
Few people have had such an impact on Music City as the Man in Black. Johnny Cash lived a remarkable life and it is fitting that he is honored with a museum dedicated to telling his story. Located downtown, the Johnny Cash Museum provides an intimate look at the life and career of a country music legend.
29) Nashville Zoo
The Nashville Zoo is a great family friendly attraction. The zoo does a fantastic job of balancing conservation, education, and fun. The exhibits are incredible learning experiences for children and adults alike. The zoo also has occasional special events like Brew at the Zoo and Zoovie Night.
Pasta, steaks, grilled chicken, and some of the best soup I have eaten are what they are serving at Demos‘. With multiple locations including Nashville, Lebanon, and Murfreesboro, you are never too far from a good meal here. Family owned, affordable, and delicious, Demos’ hits all the right notes for me. Be sure to leave room for dessert.
31) Greeter Falls
It was hard not to make this list all waterfalls! The number of beautiful waterfalls in middle Tennessee is staggering. Greeter falls is one of the best. Located in Altamont, TN and part of the South Cumberland State Park, Greeter falls has a 15 ft upper falls and a 50 ft lower falls. It is a moderate hike to get down to the falls from the parking area.
32) Lane Motor museum
Lane Motor Museum is one of the few automotive museums in the United states that specializes in European cars. If you are a fan of unique cars, this place is perfect. They have around 150 unique cars and motorcycles including amphibious and micro cars. This collection is impressive.
33) The Pharmacy Burger & Beer Parlor
There is no shortage of places to get a good burger in Nashville, but the Pharmacy stands out. Located in Nashville, the Pharmacy serves up killer burgers, wurst, and a vast selection of beer. Beer not your thing? No worries, they also have a soda shop where you can order up cream sodas, milkshakes, and malts.
34) Adventure Science Center
Adventure Science Center is a science museum dedicated to providing mind opening learning experiences for children and adults alike. With over 175 exhibits, science center has an abundance of ways to explore the wonders of the world around us. Along with the exhibits, the Adventure Science Center has a state of the art planetarium that shows both educational and entertaining programming.
35) Soulshine Pizza Factory
Live music and great pizza? Yes please! Soulshine Pizza Factory has 2 Tennessee locations (Nashville and Franklin) where they serve delicious pizzas like “the Marley”, “the Rainbow Warrior”, and “the Kitchen Sink”. Named after one of my favorite Allman Brothers Band songs, the restaurant is decorated with imagery of great musicians and carries that theme throughout. Take out is available too.
36) Tomato Art Festival
East Nashville is home to an incredibly fun summer art festival. The Tomato Art Fest has been going on since 2004 and always draws an interesting crowd. In 2016 an estimated 60,000 people came out to celebrate! Wear your favorite tomato costume, join the parade, and explore some tomato art!
37) Nashville Predators
Nashville is a hockey town. Attending a Nashville Predators game is an experience like no other sporting event. The crowd is incredible and the energy in Bridgestone Arena is electric. You don’t have to be a hockey expert to have an excellent time at a Preds game. The first time I attended I knew pretty much nothing about the game and still had an incredible time!
38) The Parthenon
In 1897 Nashville was home to Tennessee’s Centennial Exhibition. As a part of that, a full scale replica of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece was built in Centennial Park. This building still stands today and houses a 42 ft statue of Athena. The Parthenon also houses an art museum, with a permanent collection of 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists.
39) Ryman Auditorium
The Ryman Auditorium is a legendary music venue. Many magazines put it in the top five music venues in the U.S. If you are a music fan at all, you have to see a show at the Ryman while you are in Nashville. There is something about the “Mother Church” that brings out the best in artists. Get there early for your show and snag dinner at the recently added Cafe Lula.
40) Patsy Cline Museum
Located just upstairs from the Johnny Cash Museum, you will find a museum celebrating the life another legendary country artist. The Patsy Cline Museum opened in 2017, and tells the story of her incredible life. From her humble beginnings in rural Virginia to her tragic death in Tennessee, the Patsy Cline Museum tells the story of a legend.
41) Shelby Bottoms Natural Area
Part of Nashville’s Metro Park system, Shelby Bottoms Natural Area is a 960 acre oasis in the middle of the city. The park is located just minutes from downtown and features over 3 miles of river frontage, 5 miles of ADA accessible trails for biking and walking, and over 5 miles of primitive trails for those times you want to get off of the pavement.
42) Ascend Amphitheater
Concerts are always better outside. Nashville has a great medium outdoor venue right on the Cumberland river downtown. Ascend Amphitheater is home to some great summer shows. Hosting concerts from a diverse array of artists from the Nasvhille Symphony, to Carlos Santana, to Sam Hunt, Ascend has a show for everyone.
43) Stone Door
Part of South Cumberland State Park, Great Stone Door at Savage Gulf is one of the prettiest places in the State. Around 2 hours from Nashville this gorgeous scenic area is worth the drive. An easy 1.6 mile hike takes you to an absolutely breath taking stone outcropping overlook. This area has a lot to offer and would make a great weekend trip for the family.
44) Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Who doesn’t like great ice cream? Jeni’s is one of my favorites and they have 6 locations near Nashville. They have seriously good ice cream and use high quality ingredients. You won’t find synthetic flavors and dyes in these cones. My favorite is the Cookies and Cream, but the selection of flavors is incredible!
45) Tennessee Titans
Nashville loves its sports! If you haven’t been to a Titans game you are missing out. Tailgating at Nissan Stadium is a blast, and the Titans are set to have a great season. The Titans have had some great seasons, and attending a game is more fun than should be allowed. Head out to Nissan Stadium and fire up the grill!
Treasure Hunting at its finest. McKay’s used Books in Nashville is a unique shopping experience. Everything in the store is previously owned by customers like you. It is a great place to find books, video games, movies, and music. Looking to get rid of some of the same things? McKay’s offers cash or store credit for your used stuff! Be sure to check their website for information on how selling your used items works.
47) Live on The Green
One of the best things to do in Nashville is to go to concerts. Live on the Green is one of my favorites. It is a month long series of free weekend concerts held at public square. This series pulls some incredible acts. Past years have been headlined by acts such as Dr. John, Cage the Elephant, Moon Taxi, and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. I am a huge fan of free shows, and the quality of artists involved in this one is unmatched.
48) Monell’s at the Manor
Monell’s at the Manor is a unique dining experience. First the menu is incredible. They serve traditional southern food like fried chicken, catfish, mashed potatoes, and biscuits, and it tastes just like grandma used to make. The things that sets Monell’s at the Manor apart is the seating arrangement and serving style. The tables are long and seat approximately 12 people. If your party is smaller than that, you will be seated with other parties until the table is filled. The food is passed around family style. It reminds me of Thanksgiving dinner, but with strangers. It is a fun way to interact with new people and try some outstanding food!
49) Third Man Records
Jack White of the White Stripes, started Third Man Records in Detroit in 2001 and opened its Nashville Location in 2009. The Nashville location is home to a record store, a novelties lounge with a recording booth, the label offices, and the worlds only live venue with direct to acetate capabilities! This place is a must visit for locals and visitors alike.
50) Two Ten Jack
Two Ten Jack is another unique dining experience in Nashville. This Japanese-inspired pub (or izakaya) serves amazing ramen, yakatori, sushi, and other Japanese inspired pub fare with a southern twist. There is also a wide selection of craft beer, cocktails, and sake. My favorite thing to eat there is the yellowtail jalapeno sashimi, but there is no shortage of great tasting food to try.
51) Parnassus Books
Parnassus Books is an independent books store in Nashville. It is co-owned by author Ann Patchett and publisher Karen Hayes. Featuring an extensive local writer section and a wide selection of fiction, non-fiction, and children’s literature. Parnassus opened in 2011, when the idea of opening a bookstore was viewed as ludicrous, and has carved out its place in Nashville. Keep an eye on their event calendar and go see them at a book signing or a reading.
52) Grimey’s Record Shop
Nashville is music city, and of all the things to do in Nashville, you have to check out the local record shop. Grimey’s is Nashville’s independent record shop. Along with an incredible selection of vinyl from legends and local artists, Grimey’s has some pretty amazing in-store appearances too! Artists such as Jason Isbell, the Avett Brothers, and many more have played shows at the shop.
Things to do in Nashville
Well there you go, 52 thing to do in Nashville. To make a complete list of the entertainment options in Nashville would be impossible, so my goal was to focus on things that I feel embody the character and culture of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. What are your favorite things to do in Nashville? Let us know in the comments.