Nashville, Tennessee is one of the liveliest, most popular cities in the American South. When I visited Nashville, I was captivated by the amazing country music and eventful history. With the famous Grand Ole Opry, the up-and-coming district known as the Gulch, and everything in between, there are simply so many things to do in this Southern city. In other words, a weekend trip to Nashville is a fantastic idea.
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Nashville on your weekend getaway, this guide has you covered!
In This Post:
How to Get to Nashville, Tennessee
Getting to Nashville is pretty easy. You can fly into Nashville International Airport (BNA) or you can take a road trip to Nashville.
There are direct flights to Nashville from many locations in the States and it’s about a twenty-minute drive from the airport to the downtown area.
When it comes to booking flights, I like to use Expedia to find the best deals. It compares all of your options from practically every airline and provides you with the cheapest fares.
How to Get Around Nashville, Tennessee
I highly recommend renting a car when visiting Nashville. Depending on what you want to see and do, things can be pretty spread out. It’s definitely going to be the easiest and most affordable way to see the city.
If you don’t want to rent a car, you can use Uber or Lyft. However, those will start adding up and it’ll be cheaper to rent a car.
We took a road trip to Nashville and were so thankful that we had our own car. We had the freedom of going wherever we wanted whenever we wanted without having to pay for Uber or Lyft.
How to See the Most of Nashville on Your Weekend Getaway
As you’ll come to find out, Nashville is brimming with things to do! In fact, you’ll have a pretty eventful weekend. But, you can definitely see everything Music City has to offer in a few days. Here are the best tours in Nashville that cover all of the highlights and more!
Best Areas to Stay in Nashville, Tennessee
When searching for hotels and Airbnbs for my weekend trip to Nashville, I was pretty overwhelmed. There are so many incredible areas in Nashville to stay and I had a hard time choosing. We stayed near SoBro (South of Broadway) and were quite happy with our decision.
I don’t want you to have to go through hours and hours of research about where to stay as I did so here are some of the best areas to stay in Nashville.
If you want to be in the middle of all the action, this is the perfect area for you! This area is filled with bars that have live music every day of the week into the early morning hours. You’ll be able to walk to a lot of the main attractions from here.
Recommended Places to Stay in This Area:
This is a trendy and upscale part of Nashville with lots of boutique stores and yummy restaurants. When I go back to Nashville, I’ll stay in this area. While I enjoyed the SoBro area, I felt like the Gulch was more my jam. It was quieter and less touristy. You can still walk to the downtown area from here.
Recommended Places to Stay in This Area:
The West End/Hillsboro Village
These areas are near Vanderbilt University and is another upscale area of Nashville. Nightlife is prevalent here so you can keep the party rocking and rolling. It’s located further away from other popular tourist areas so accommodation is a little cheaper here.
Recommended Places to Stay in This Area:
Germantown is a historic neighborhood in Nashville and it’s named after the European immigrants who settled here in the mid-nineteenth century. It’s a few blocks northwest of the downtown area and is home to some chic shops and delicious restaurants and cafes.
Recommended Places to Stay in This Area:
16 Things to Do During an Amazing Weekend Trip to Nashville
Whatever you decide to do in Nashville, you can count on having a great time! Trust me — you’re going to become addicted to this city. Here are 16 of the best things to do on your weekend trip to Nashville.
1. Check Out the Original Venue of the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium
Once upon a time, the Ryman Auditorium was the venue for the Grand Ole Opry. Eventually, the fanbase and memorabilia collection outgrew the Ryman Auditorium, but this attraction is still worth a visit during your two days in Nashville!
Due to its impact on the popularity of country music, the Ryman Auditorium is considered a National Historic Landmark. To truly understand how this venue made the huge impact that it did, consider taking a behind-the-scenes tour.
2. Listen to Your Favorite Artist at the Grand Ole Opry
One of the most popular things to do in Nashville is going to a show at the Grand Ole Opry, which means that it’s a must-do on your weekend trip to Nashville. While it’s most popular among country music artists, the Grand Ole Opry has hosted musicians of all genres, including gospel, bluegrass, and folk artists. That said, many of the biggest stars in country music, such as Blake Shelton, Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, and Kelsea Ballerini have all played at this iconic venue.
Besides going to a concert, you can also take a tour of the dressing rooms and the stage before the music begins. So what are you waiting for?! See which artists will be playing during your weekend trip to Nashville.
3. Peruse the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
There’s no question that Nashville is steeped in country music, making it the perfect home for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. This massive museum is packed with memorabilia from some of the greatest country artists.
Pose for a picture with Elvis’ solid gold Cadillac limo, learn about the evolution of country music, and stare in awe at every single gold and platinum country record that has ever been created.
4. Take a Tour of Belle Meade Plantation
If you’re into architecture or history, be sure to make time for the Belle Meade Plantation during your 2 days in Nashville. Built just before the Civil War, this Greek-revival style mansion has survived much of America’s history – and it shows.
The interior of the Belle Meade Plantation is reminiscent of the Antebellum South. But that’s not the most shocking mark of history that this building shows. The Belle Meade Plantation mansion is actually littered with bullet holes from the Civil War! To catch all of the bits of history marring the Belle Meade Plantation, be sure to take a tour of this Nashville attraction.
5. Pretend Like You’ve Traveled to Greece and Pop Into the Parthenon
You don’t have to go all the way to Athens, Greece to get a glimpse of the Parthenon. Instead, you can just head to Nashville, also known as “the Athens of the South,” where a Parthenon replica stands.
Originally built for the Tennessee Centennial Exhibition in 1897, the Parthenon in Nashville was supposed to be a temporary structure. Since then, it has remained standing and has become an iconic Nashville attraction. Within the Parthenon, you can wander through an art museum and even catch a Greek play.
6. Experience Broadway, the Heart of Nashville
As just about anyone who has visited Nashville will tell you, Broadway is the heart of Nashville, making it a must-do on your weekend trip to Nashville. Filled with shops, museums, and restaurants, Broadway is a great place to just stroll around during the day. But, it’s at night when this area really comes to life.
After the sun has set, Broadway becomes a place overflowing with bars, pubs, and country music. Hop from bar to bar until you find someone playing a set that catches your ear. Then, stick around and listen to some fantastic music for the rest of the night.
7. Pay a Visit to Tennessee State Capitol
As the capital city of Tennessee, Nashville is home to the Tennessee State Capitol Building.
You can take a free tour to learn about how the laws of the state are made, how to become a Tennessee politician, and even how the Greek-style building was constructed.
8. Enjoy the Nashville Nightlife in Printer’s Alley
While the name Printer’s Alley was once appropriate for the area lined with publishing companies and newspaper stands, this area of Nashville is no longer known for its media companies. Instead, the publishers have been swapped out for some of the trendiest bars and clubs in the city.
The highlights of this hidden, gritty street include Fleet Street Pub, Skull’s Rainbow Room, and Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar.
9. Learn About the History of the State at the Tennessee State Museum
As the 16th state in the U.S., Tennessee has been around through the vast majority of the country’s history. Much of this history is documented at the Tennessee State Museum.
From the time of the Native Americans to the Civil War to the present day, you can learn all about Tennessee’s history at this Nashville attraction. I’m not much of a history buff and I tend to stick to art galleries and science museums. However, I thoroughly enjoyed walking around this museum and learning about Tennessee’s history.
10. Admire the Architecture at Belmont Mansion
Belmont Mansion was built in 1853 as a summer home for the wealthy couple, Adelicia and Joseph Acklen. This Italian-style mansion was even more elaborate than the mansions of the time, as it even included a zoo!
Today, you can take a tour of Belmont Mansion, during which you can see some of the original furniture and learn about what it was like to live in 19th century Nashville. In other words, if you’re interested in history or architecture, be sure to add a visit to Belmont Mansion to your weekend trip to Nashville.
11. Look at Murals All Across Town
Within the past few years, there’s been a new wave of appreciation for street art. It has graced walls – and consequently, social media feeds – all across the world. And, you can visit some of the best street art murals during your weekend trip to Nashville!
The most popular mural in Nashville by far is the “What Lifts You Wings” mural created by Kelsey Montague. Situated in the Gulch, visitors line up just to pose with this iconic creation.
Another fantastic Nashville Mural is the red, white, and blue “I believe in Nashville” mural in the 12South neighborhood.
12. Stay Ahead of the Trend and Visit the Gulch
The Gulch is one of the trendiest up-and-coming neighborhoods in Nashville. Between the delicious restaurants, the cool entertainment venues, the cute shopping boutiques, and the Instagrammable street art, it’s no wonder that the Gulch is becoming so popular!
Bottom line: be sure to make time for the Gulch during your two days in Nashville.
13. Walk Along the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge
Completed in 1909, the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge connects downtown Nashville to the East Nashville suburbs. More importantly, this bridge provides some of the best views of the city.
From the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, you can see Nissan Stadium, Cumberland Park, and the Cumberland River. Basically, you’ll be able to see a stunning view of the Nashville Skyline.
If you make the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge your last stop on your weekend trip to Nashville, you can peer out and reminisce over all of the great memories that you were able to make in such a short time.
14. Shop Around the Nashville Farmer’s Market
There’s something oddly comforting, yet exciting about farmer’s markets. Nearly every city has one, yet each over something completely different, making it worth a visit. And, the Nashville Farmer’s Market is no exception.
Open every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Nashville Farmer’s Market is packed with vendors selling all sorts of wares. Purchase everything from authentic French cuisine to Guatemalan crafts to farm-fresh produce.
You can easily spend at least an hour at the Nashville Farmer’s Market – especially if you grab a bite to eat, which you definitely should – so be sure to block out an appropriate amount of time in your 2 day Nashville itinerary.
15. Enjoy Nature at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
If you’re looking to escape the bustling life of downtown during your weekend trip to Nashville, consider venturing out of the city to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are so many things to do in this stunning national park, from admiring the fire-colored leaves in the fall to kayaking around Fontana Lake in the summer to stopping to smell the wildflowers in the spring.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is especially gorgeous during fall because of the vibrant colors of the leaves. I highly recommend planning your weekend trip to Nashville during the fall so you can witness the beautiful fall foliage!
Regardless of the time of year, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is work a visit. After all, you can always bike, hike, camp, and picnic amongst the wonderful sights and sounds of nature.
16. Savor a Scoop or Two from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
In the summer, Nashville can get very, very warm. So what better way to cool down than with a scoop of ice cream?
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream is the go-to place for ice cream in Nashville. Established in 2002, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream has served up fun, delicious flavors, including brambleberry crisp, brandied banana brulee, and pineapple upside-down cake for nearly two decades! Wildberry Lavender is my favorite flavor.
And we’re not the only ones who have noticed. Jeni’s has been featured on Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and even The New York Times.
Have you taken a weekend trip to Nashville? If so, what are some of the things you did when you were there? Let me know in the comments.
Disha Smith is the founder of Disha Discovers. She quit her job in 2017 to travel the world to explore new cultures and experience new adventures. She has since been to 95+ countries and counting and has lived in South Africa, Thailand, Croatia, and Australia. She has done all kinds of travel ranging from luxury to budget backpacking, and her mission is to inspire others to discover their own sense of adventure and to help them plan a life full of meaningful experiences through travel.