Wondering what activities and attractions you can’t miss in the Music City? Our Nashville itinerary is just what you need!
Nashville may have developed a reputation for big nights, but it’s one of those rare tourist destinations that continues to deliver the goods even as the crowds grow.
Nashville is perfectly built for a three-day itinerary. There are several wonderful neighborhoods to explore, some beautiful parks, and historic buildings that complement Nashville’s mind-blowing live music scene.
Your days can be spent jumping between each sub-district from East Nashville to the Gulch, sampling the local cuisine (hello, hot chicken) and learning about the musicians that made the city legendary.
At night, all roads lead to the Honky Tonk Highway, where you can enjoy fantastic live music and an atmosphere that, while rowdy, is pure and joyful.
Read on to see how you can experience Nashville’s history, food, and music!
READ NEXT: Be sure to check out our list of the 21 best things to do in Nashville before your trip!
Table of Contents
- How to Spend 3 Days in Nashville Itinerary
- Nashville Travel Guide
How to Spend 3 Days in Nashville Itinerary
There isn’t just one way to experience Nashville. Sure, it’s the Music Capital, but there’s plenty of history, great food, and art to experience across your weekend in Nashville. Let’s get started.
Day 1 in Nashville
Your three days in Nashville start off with plenty of sun and fun at Centennial Park.
Not only will you be able to rest your legs after a long trip to the Music City, but you’ll be able to enjoy an upbeat atmosphere and some eye-catching architecture.
From there, your itinerary guides you down one of Nashville’s most famous streets on your way to one of the top attractions in town.
Afterward, day one ends with a big night making your way up and down Broadway.
Day 1 Morning
Your first morning in Nashville begins with a bike ride through the city. The Music City has fantastic year-round weather that will have you bursting to get outside and explore its many parks, the riverfront, and a handful of historic streets.
But to begin, whether you’re in Downtown Nashville or elsewhere, jump on one of the BCycle bikes (they’re now electric!) and make your way to the Parthenon.
No, you won’t have to fly all the way to Greece. Instead, a striking replica is waiting for you in Centennial Park.
The spacious green lawns and old-time trees provide ample space to lay down the bike and soak in the sunshine. You’ll be met with a great local atmosphere, food carts and, of course, the replica building which was created in 1897.
Within the Parthenon is a collection of contemporary and modern American art. You can also sign up for a tour to discover the fascinating architecture of the Parthenon and the story behind how it ended up in Nashville.
In the afternoon, you’ll be exploring downtown Nashville. But on your way there, ride down the famous Music Row. This will take you by the iconic RCA Studio B where Elvis weaved his magic and Dolly Parton recorded some of her biggest hits.
Ditch the bike and tour Music Row on the Old Town Trolley.
Day 1 Afternoon
After a relaxing morning in Centennial Park, it’s time to see why Nashville is the country music capital of the world. Whether you’re a country music fan or not, this experience begins at the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Nashville’s country music scene is legendary and at the hall of fame, you can discover the tales behind the city’s rise to a music mecca. Enjoy learning about the many voices that have become famous not just here in the U.S. but around the world.
The Country Music Hall of Fame is the perfect introduction before spending the night dancing your way down the Honky Tonk Highway.
You’ll be able to get to know the many famous artists in detail as you gaze upon Elvis’ memorable Cadillac limousine and guitars that were once in the hands of the one and only Carrie Underwood.
They are just a handful of the Hall’s 800 artifacts, costumes, and memorabilia!
Book your entry ticket to the Country Music Hall of Fame on Get Your Guide!
Before the afternoon turns to dusk, it’s time to kit out for a night on the town. In Nashville, that can only mean one thing, boots.
There are a bunch of options around the downtown area, including Lucchese Boots, the beloved Boot Country, and 2for1 Boots for any traveler looking to save a penny.
Day 1 Evening
Now that you’ve brushed up on your music history, it’s time to trade the books for a pair of cowboy boots and make your way to Broadway.
Nashville isn’t just the heart of America’s country music scene, it’s also a haven for live music. The rows of venues sling live tunes from the early morning hours to, well, the early morning hours.
This (almost) full-day extravaganza is at the center of what will make your weekend in Nashville such a thrilling experience. It’s not just your average cover band experience either, with many of the musicians trying to make it to the big time.
Such is the quality of music and the intoxicating atmosphere, you wouldn’t blame the bars and clubs for charging a cover fee. But none of them do. This means you can wander up and down the Honky Tonk Highway as you please.
Some of the best music bars to keep an eye on include The Stage, Second Fiddle and the Legends Corner. You can’t go wrong. If you want to test out your own talent, then you can get behind the microphone at Wanna B’s Karaoke Bar.
The most famous of the venues along Broadway, however, is Tootsies. It began as a humble bar back in the 1960s and is not an unmissable attraction. Enjoy the excellent music along with the refreshing rooftop with epic views of Downtown Nashville.
Day 2 in Nashville
After trying to get a good night’s sleep, day two starts with a bang as you make your way around the heart of Nashville to explore top sights and historic buildings.
Learn all about the city’s musical past and even pay a visit to a local farmers’ market.
Later, tour the Grand Ole Opry or stick around for a live show to understand how it holds such a presence across the United States. Night two ends in East Nashville with good food and an even better time.
READ NEXT: Don’t miss all of the best things to do in Memphis while you’re in the area!
Day 2 Morning
Your head may be pounding from a big night on Broadway, but with so much to do in Nashville, we have no time to waste.
At your leisure, wake up, grab your preferred hangover cure and get back downtown. The grid-like streets of Nashville and the lack of elevation change ensure that the Tennessee capital is a pleasure to walk around.
You can see the best sights on this walking tour. The best part? It’s self-guided and self-paced, which is the perfect option as who wants to be in a crowd of people after a big night on the town? On your walk, you’ll discover more of Nashville’s music history along with some of the city’s hidden gems.
As you’re guided around town with some fun and interesting narration, you’ll also enjoy some tunes that fit what you’re seeing.
Take a trip into the past and uncover the old stomping crowds of Johnny Cash and Elvis, wander along the eclectic Printer’s Alley and by the Ryman Auditorium.
Afterward, you’ll be in a great position to visit three other major sites in Nashville, the beautiful Tennessee State Capitol Building home to the relaxing Victory Park, the Frist Art Museum, and the Nashville Farmers Market.
The Farmers Market is a great spot to load up the picnic basket for lunch in the park. You’ll also uncover rows of artisan treats, handcraft goods, and a great food court.
Day 2 Afternoon
After a morning of music and history, it’s time to visit perhaps the most historic music venue, not just in Nashville but in all of the United States, the Grand Ole Opry House.
The iconic venue opened in the 1920s and from the get-go concerts were broadcast over the radio. It’s continued over the 100-plus years, making it the longest continually run radio program in the nation’s history.
Watching one of your favorite musicians grace the famous stage is on the bucket list of many travelers (you can check their schedule here). But it’s not just country music fans that want to grab a spot in the Grand Ole Opry, it’s the musicians as well.
You see, it’s not just enough to call up your manager and book a spot. Musicians have to be invited to perform by someone that already played here. It’s safe to say that standing on the stage at the Grand Ole Opry is an exclusive feat.
Its reverence means that musicians always want to play here, ensuring a packed lineup of stars for you to enjoy.
However, if your favorite acts aren’t in town during your Nashville weekend getaway, don’t skip out on a visit! This behind-the-scenes experience promises to be just as unique as a live show.
Retrace the footsteps of some of America’s biggest stars, hear old-time tales of past legends, wander out onto the revered stage and even venture into the green room where the musicians have stood for over 100 years before their shows.
READ NEXT: While you’re in Tennessee, consider taking a short drive to check out the best things to do in Louisville, Kentucky.
Day 2 Evening
If you aren’t settling in for a show at the Grand Ole Opry, then take the night to explore the other side of Nashville.
Across the Cumberland River, East Nashville offers a glimpse into local life that those on bachelor and bachelorette parties won’t get the chance to see.
East Nasty isn’t anything like its nickname, harboring a wonderful charm, great bars and an even better arts community. The neighborhood rivals The Gulch as the coolest in Nashville and its distance from downtown can give travelers a break from the crowds.
It’s effortlessly laid back, and a place worth arriving before dusk in order to explore the many boutique art galleries and colorful thrift stores.
But if you are wandering across the river around sunset, be sure to stop at the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge to enjoy one of the best golden hour spots in Nashville.
With the sounds of the Honky Tonk in the rearview mirror, dive into East Nashville’s outstanding, but underrated, nightlife. Here, you’ll find some great pubs to knock back a pint with friends and enjoy some live tunes before tucking into the area’s delicious food scene.
Some of the best bars to visit in East Nashville include the Crow Bar, where you can pair beer-cheese nachos with your favorite adult beverages.
Then there is Mickey’s Tavern where the jukebox works overtime and the Crying Wolf. The latter is a top spot for live music best enjoyed alongside a row of sliders and a great selection of beer.
Day 3 in Nashville
Day three has quickly come upon us, but don’t worry, you won’t be taking the foot off the gas.
Hit up some local museums or wander around Nashville’s chic districts to discover its fabulous street art.
Spend your afternoon jumping between distilleries, sipping whiskey and learning all about their place in Tennessee culture. Finally, kick back at one of Nashville’s most beloved institutions.
READ NEXT: Check out our post on all the best things to do in St. Louis, Missouri.
Day 3 Morning
Your last morning in Nashville is a great opportunity to tick off any attractions that you have yet to experience. Those visiting Nashville may want to explore either of the following three destinations to round out the trip. The first is the Johnny Cash Museum.
You would have wandered by the Johnny Cash Museum on your journey down Broadway, but it’s well worth popping in and seeing what all the fuss is about.
As the name suggests, the space is all about the legendary musician. It features a wide range of exhibits from his costumes and instruments, even some handwritten lyrics that marked the beginning of some of his biggest hits.
The second option is the Tennessee State Museum, where you can go beyond the music and learn about local and state history.
The Tennessee State Museum is beside the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and will guide you beyond the Civil War back into the past where Native American communities first explored the land.
Last up, you may wish to experience Nashville’s street art scene. The city’s many narrow alleys are the perfect honeypot for murals and other pieces. But you’ll also find plenty of color under bridges and in random parking lots.
One of the top murals in Nashville is “Wings” which is found in the Gulch. From there, wander down 11th Avenue to find even more pieces. Other popular neighborhoods for street art include Germantown and East Nashville.
Day 3 Afternoon
Nashville may be renowned for its live music scene, but Tennessee as a whole has a different kind of reputation. Kentucky may be the heart of distilling in America, but the Volunteer State isn’t lagging far behind.
Within a brief drive from Nashville, you can arrive at a number of distilleries that not only showcase quality products but also tell the tales of liquor in Tennessee before, during and after the Prohibition.
On this whiskey tasting tour you’ll visit the iconic Jack Daniel’s Distillery along with George Dickey Tennessee.
Travelers will be able to take a peek behind the curtain at the process of creating such beloved whiskeys before sampling the product. Not only is it tasty, but the tales behind each drink are as interesting as any.
This distillery tour does, however, take up much of your last day on your Nashville itinerary. For a shorter experience, take a self-guided trip down the Masters and Makers Trail. Start and end where you wish, picking up a passport along the way to commemorate each distillery you visit.
The trail takes you to some of the best and little-known distilleries around Nashville while providing you with a front-row seat to the beauty of the countryside in Williamson County.
If you only have time for one distillery, then make a beeline for the cozy Leiper’s Fork Distiller with its famous cabin and songwriter nights.
While you’re in the area, check out this post on the best things to do in Asheville, North Carolina!
Day 3 Evening
To finish off your three days in Nashville, participate in one of the Music City’s most hallowed traditions. The Bluebird Cafe is the city’s best example that music, not partying and bachelorette nights, is at the core of its identity.
North of downtown, the Bluebird Cafe is a local institution. It’s the go-to place for up-and-coming singer-songwriters (hello, Taylor Swift) and those that have played at major venues.
It’s an intimate setting, with just a few seats set around a small stage. If you didn’t know any better, it would just be a regular cafe with a musician and their guitar.
But throughout history, it’s been a place where new lyrics are put to the test, honed and refined before hitting our airwaves.
Only a handful of tickets are put on sale and the rest are first-come, first-serve. It’s a unique experience and one that’s worth planning your day around.
For the lucky few that get to witness a night at the Bluebird Cafe, you’ll enjoy a close-up experience of a delightful acoustic set. Who knows? It could be the basis of the next great country hit!
To reserve your spot, or to see what’s on at the beloved venue on your Nashville trip, click here.
Nashville Travel Guide
Now that you know what to do in Nashville, here is some information that will help you know the best time to visit, how to get around and where to stay when you visit.
When is the Best Time to Visit Nashville
Nashville is one of those lucky destinations that doesn’t have a strong “off-season”.
Sure, it heats up in the summer, in a number of ways, but with great year-round weather, the cold isn’t something you need to worry about. Neither is the slowing down of live music.
During the summer, Nashville can get quite hot. It’s also when the local festivals kick-off and the crowds swarm around the downtown streets.
For those who love to get about on foot, spring and fall are great times to visit. You can enjoy the parks, explore the countryside, and still enjoy balmy evenings on the roof of Tootsies.
Getting Around Nashville
You won’t have a hard time completing your Nashville weekend itinerary. Getting around the Music City is easy thanks to the compact nature of the area.
You can easily walk around downtown, seeing all the highlights from the Hall of Fame, to Broadway and the Capitol building. In order to head north to Centennial Park or across the Cumberland River to East Nashville, simply jump on one of the electric bikes.
Nashville also has a decent public bus network. The routes can take you between all major neighborhoods, with each ride costing $2. Visitors can also pick up a 7-day pass for $20, which features unlimited rides.
Nashville International Airport is 20 minutes southeast of downtown. Bus 18 is the cheapest way to go between destinations. Rideshare is also available.
Read next: Plan the ultimate 3 Days in Atlanta Itinerary
Where to Stay in Nashville
If you’re wondering where to stay in the city, our recommendations for the best accommodation in Nashville will help you choose the top spot for your budget!
Best Hostel in Nashville: Nashville Downtown Hostel
When it comes to hostels in Nashville, there aren’t a lot of options. Nashville Downtown Hostel is the best, however, and gives you VIP access to Broadway. The hostel is temporarily closed for renovations, but you can find updates and contact info on their website.
Best Mid-Range Hotel in Nashville: Nashville Riverfront Lofts
At Nashville Riverfront Lofts you’ll sleep right on the banks of the beautiful Cumberland River.
Guests will have a private balcony with great sunset views, along with a full kitchen to cook up a storm. From your room, you’ll have easy access to some of the top attractions in Downtown Nashville.
Best Luxury Hotel in Nashville: The Hermitage Hotel
Want to treat yourself during your weekend in Nashville? Then book a night at the Hermitage Hotel. Your luxury rooms are paired with several on-site services, including restaurants and bars, a spa facility and a concierge at your disposal.
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