One of my bucket list USA travel destinations has got to be Nashville, Tennessee. Little do people know, I do enjoy my share of country music and have been a fan of the TV show “Nashville” since it aired back in 2012. And watching the show and seeing what a vibrant place Nashville is got me interested in visiting.
As the capital of and largest city in Tennessee, Nashville (aka Music City) has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the USA. In fact, they were named Best Places to Travel in 2017 by Travel + Leisure, Frommer’s, and AFAR. Located on the Cumberland River, Nashville boasts a metropolitan population just under 2 million and has gained notoriety as the center of the country music industry. From famed honky-tonks to the legendary Grand Ole Opry, Nashville is sure to offer up fun for the whole family. Here are 13 Top Things to Do in Nashville in 2018.
1. Sightseeing Night Tour
Hop aboard Old Town Trolley for their Soul of Music City Night Tour on a musical journey through Nashville. From the city’s honky-tonks to its famous music venues, uncover insider stories and intriguing facts about the people, places and events for Nashville’s iconic reputation. Points of interest include Ryman Auditorium, Barbershop Harmony Society, Music Row, Third Man Records and the rhythm and blues heritage of historic Jefferson Street. Tickets are around $40 for adults.
2. Grand Ole Opry
The Grand Ole Opry has become an American icon where country music legends are made. From Clint Black and Carrie Underwood to The Gatlin Brothers and Barbara Mandrell, Opry members are just part of the reason why the landmark is continuously called the “home of American music” and “country’s most famous stage.” Take a backstage tour with tickets starting at $21 for children ages 4 to 11 and $26 for adults.
3. Lane Motor Museum
Housing the largest European collection of cars and motorcycles in the United States, the Lane Motor Museum features 150 unique vehicles dating from the 1920s all the way up to today. Established in 2002 by Jeff Lane, an automotive enthusiast who donated his personal collection to the museum, Lane Motor Museum features everything from a 1962 Alfa Romeo 2600 Berlina to a 1981 Caterham Super Seven – all under the roof of a 132,000-square-foot facility on Murfreesboro Pike. Tickets range from free for children ages five and under to $12 for adults.
4. Tin Pan South
Touted as the world’s largest songwriters festival, Tin Pan South will feature hundreds of performers at more than a dozen venues around Music City from April 3-7, 2018. For more than a quarter-century, the festival, which is produced by the Nashville Songwriters Association International, has helped launch the careers of come of country and folks music’s biggest names. Tickets will go on sale on March 5, 2018. When you attend, remember to use the official hashtag #tinpansouth.
5. The Parthenon
As the centerpiece of Centennial Park, The Parthenon is a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, Greece and was built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. The structure, which stands 42-feet tall, also serves as Nashville’s art museum with a permanent collection of 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists as well as additional gallery spaces for temporary shows and exhibits. Tickets are $4 for seniors and children ages 4 to 17 and $6 for adults.
6. Nashville Fashion Week
Dubbed as a citywide celebration of Nashville’s thriving fashion and retail community, Nashville Fashion Week will feature local, regional and national designers and industry professionals in an array of creative events throughout the city. From April 3-7, 2018, NFW (as it’s known by the locals) will promote the city’s diverse fashion and retail spaces with promotions, partnerships and educational workshops with all ticket proceeds benefiting the Nashville Fashion Forward Fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
7. Historic Ryman Auditorium
It’s the place where bluegrass was born, where Johnny Cash met June Carter and where country music found a mainstream audience. Historic Ryman Auditorium, a 2,362-seat live performance venue on 5th Avenue North, has been through a laundry list of renovations and revivals over the past hundred plus years. From Elvis to Emmylou Harris and Kings of Leon to B.B. King, every performer who has played at Ryman Auditorium has been forever changed by its history, unparallel acoustics and testament to all the ways a stage can connect people to one another. Take a backstage tour with tickets ranging from $15 to $30.
From clothing boutiques to record stores, Nashville has a bit of something for everyone when it comes to shopping in Music City. Whether you’re looking for the perfect pair of cowboy boots or a handmade stage outfit, look no further. Check out Lower Broadway (also known as the Honky Tonk Highway) for a slew of shops and boutiques including Acme Feed and Seed as well as Opry Originals for home furnishings and artisan goods. SoBro, or South of Broadway, offers up an assortment of retailers such as the confectioner, Goo Goo Shop and Dessert Bar, and Hatch Show Print, a historic letterpress shop. There’s also Nashville Farmer’s Market, Marathon Village, The Gulch, 12 South and Hillsboro Village. Learn more here.
9. Johnny Cash Museum
A tribute to The Man in Black, the Johnny Cash Museum on 3rd Avenue South pays homage to one of country music icon’s brightest stars, Johnny Cash. Listed as a top place to visit on Forbes and National Geographic travel lists, the museum houses a world-class collection of everything Cash from instruments and clothing to historical documents and awards. Tickets range from $15 to $19.
10. The Hermitage Hotel
A cherished landmark in downtown Nashville, The Hermitage Hotel offers an old-world blend of classical Italian and French Renaissance features with modern amenities. Located on 6th Avenue North, the hotel was built between 1908 and 1910 and has remained one of the most lavish and luxurious lodgings the Music City has ever seen. From personalized service to inviting staff and the most spacious rooms and suites in downtown, The Hermitage Hotel is an oasis for relaxation during your Nashville vacation.
11. Hop-On, Hop-Off Sightseeing Tours
One of the best ways to take in all that the Music City has to offer is aboard an Old Town Trolley sightseeing tour. This hop-on, hop-off, fully-narrated guided tour takes you to 15 stops and more than one hundred points of interest including Bluebird Café, Country Music Hall of Fame, Johnny Cash Museum, Ryman Auditorium, Legislative Plaza, Centennial Park and Vanderbilt University. Tickets are free for children 4 and under, $19 for children ages 4 to 12 and $34 for adults.
12. Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival
Hailed as the best family-friendly festival in the city, the 10th Annual Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival will be held on Saturday, April 14, 2018 in Nashville Public Square with a Cherry Blossom Walk from 9 am to 10 am and the Festival held from 10 am to 5 pm. The festival is free to the public and is a celebration of spring and Japanese culture including music, dance, martial arts demonstrations, cuisine, artwork, anime and much more.
13. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
With a mission to preserve the history and traditions of country music, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on 5th Avenue South boasts 350,000-square-feet of state-of-the-art galleries, archival storage, education classrooms, retail stores and special event space. Called the “Smithsonian of country music,” the museum’s core exhibition, Sing Me Back Home: A Journey Through Country Music, takes visitors through the history and sounds of country music including honored artifacts, vintage video and technology-enhanced activities. Tickets range from $18 to $27.
To find out more USA destinations to visit in 2018, 13 Top Things to Do in San Diego 2018.